The Parish Catechism, Lesson 07: Human Beings

Creation of Adam“Thou hast made him [man] a little less than the angels.” (Psalm 8:6)

77. What is a human being (man)?

A human being (man) is a creature of God made up of a body and a soul.

“And God created man to his own image; to the image of God he created him. Made and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27)

78. In what way is a man like God?

Man is like God because:

God is a spirit – man has a spiritual part too, his soul.

God has intelligence and will – man also has intelligence and a will.

God lives a supernatural life – man can live the supernatural life of grace.

“Let us make man to our image and likeness” (Genesis 1:26)

79. What is the spiritual part of man called?

The spiritual part of man is called the soul.

“Man became a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7)

80. Prove you have a soul.

We know that you have a spiritual part, the soul, because you can perform spiritual actions, principally thinking and willing. Thinking and willing are not material actions that you can see, feel or touch. You cannot put a thought in a test tube. No one has ever seen or touched a man’s will.

81. Is the soul real?

A man’s soul is real. It is just as real as your own ear, your foot, your eyes, your tongue.

Everything in God’s world is either material or spiritual. You must give up the notion that the only real things are material things you can see and touch. Spiritual things are just as real as material things.

82. Should you take more care of your body or your soul?

You should take more care of your soul because your soul never dies, while your body will someday decay in the grave.

“All flesh shall perish.” (Job 34:15)

83. Why did God make man?

God made man to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him forever in heaven.

“I will please the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 114:9)

84. What is the real purpose of life?

The real purpose of life is ultimately to save your immortal soul.

“For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul?” (Mark 8:36)

85. What must you do to save your immortal soul?

To save your immortal soul you must:

Give up your serious sins.

Live according to all the teachings given in this course of instructions.

“For the grace of God our Saviour hath appeared to all men: instructing us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly desires, we should, live soberly and justly and godly in this world. Looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:11-13)

86. What is death?

Death is the separation of the soul from the body. At death the body “return into its earth, from whence it was, and the spirit return to God, who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7)

87. After death what happens?

After death there are two judgments:

The Particular (private) judgment – the judgment which will be passed on each one immediately after his death.

“It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)

At this judgment you will know whether you have saved or lost your immortal soul.

The General Judgment – the judgment which will be passed on all men at the end of the world.

“And all nations shall be gathered together before him: . . . Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world . . . Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:32-41)

88. Will your body be reunited to your soul in heaven or hell?

Your body will be reunited to your soul at the time of the General Judgment. Each man (body and soul) will then enjoy the unspeakable happiness of heaven or the terrible torture of hell for all eternity.

“In the last day I shall rise out of the earth. And I shall be clothed again with my skin: and in my flesh I shall see my God.” (Job 19:25-26)

– from The Parish Catechism, by Father Martin W Farrell, 1954