Is the soul alive or how is man different from an animal?
The Lord created man in one day with animals, endowed him with the same properties and biological mechanisms. Hence, many philosophers believed that man and animal are equal. There are systems, for example, Hindu, which even equates the soul of man and the soul of the animal. But if we look at the person in the Christian aspect, we can find significant differences.
The soul is alive
“And God said, Let the water of the reptiles produce a living soul” (Genesis 1.20). This is characteristic of the Old Testament turnover. But “The Soul is alive” is not our Greek idea of the soul, it is not the psychic part of man. The “living soul” in Hebrew is not a definition, but a characteristic of living biological life, the presence of vital force in the body. Man, of course, also has a living soul. The animal dies and the living soul leaves the animal, therefore the soul of the animal is mortal. In the Greek view, the soul of the animal is mortal, because in it there is only the Jewish “living soul” and nothing else.
There are two versions: whether animals were mortal or immortal before the fall, two theological interpretations, two theologians. In any case, if we imagine that nature was formerly the same as it is now outside of paradise and existed as mortal, then reproduction meant that the animal lives, multiplies, dies, the living soul dies, the body decomposes, enters into nature and reproduces the new ов cycle in nature. And if the person would not be the person, he too would be in this circulation. We have a testimony of this in the third chapter, “the fallen man returns to the Marxist whirlpool” I came out of the dust and entered into the dust. This is scary for man. It is natural for an animal, it does not have the spirit of God, it has a “living soul,” vital power.
"And the Lord God made man of the dust of the earth, and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul." (Genesis 2.7) Man became a “living soul,” that is, just like an animal, he began to biologically live on earth. But the mechanism of its release from non-existence is completely different. Unlike an animal, it begins to live not according to the word of God, not according to God's logical definition, but after the breath of life is breathed into this dust, earth, chemical elements.
Ruach - Eternal Breath
And in the Hebrew original, the word “Ruach” is used, which in the scripture means the spirit of God, breath breathed from God, eternal breath. The same word, by the way, in the Hebrew scriptures meant the wind. The ancient Jews believed that the spirit of God can be described as the wind that suddenly comes and brings with it coolness. This is a very interesting image, the image of coolness in the description of God is often found "in paradise God walked among the coolness of the day." (If the Holy Scriptures were written, say, in Chukotka, then they probably would have written that God walked among the hot Egyptian summer). Elijah the Prophet also says that in reality God is in the breath of a light breeze. The same line continues with the Lord in the Gospel in a conversation with Nicodemus about the breath of the Spirit of God and being born again of the spirit. There, the Lord also speaks of spirit as of a wind that comes suddenly, and it is impossible to keep it. This is a very interesting image of the spirit of God. In the third chapter of the Gospel you can see specific quotes about the spirit.
So, the image of God is that which raises, distinguishes man over the animal world.
Firstly, this is what is called human spirituality.If this topic had been analyzed not in an Orthodox university, but in a secular one, then, probably, they would have begun not from spirituality, but from such a topic as human consciousness. By the way, they used to always say that, unlike animals, man is a conscious being. However, this formulation of the nineteenth century has long been repulsed. Indeed, biology recognizes in animals the presence of many conscious manifestations. Therefore, speaking of human consciousness, we must be very careful. One Indian philosopher said: "Plants have an instinct, animals have an instinct with glimpses of intelligence, and man has an instinct and intelligence with glimpses of intuition." In fact, there are cases when an animal can even serve God's providence, which means, to some extent, the work of human intuition. Even the human intuition of the Divine can touch animals. And if we did not define spirituality, oh, which I said, but human consciousness, then we would have to emphasize, first of all, not on the concept that man is a conscious being, because both a dolphin is conscious, and a bear, and a cat . Man, unlike consciousness, has self-awareness and self-knowledge.The knowledge of oneself, one's meaning of life, the history of mankind, one's place in history, the knowledge of global problems, is a feature of human consciousness, in contrast to the consciousness of an animal.
If we talk about the spirituality of man, then, first of all, we understand that man is an animal, Aristotle said: “man is a social animal” in this he is the predecessor of Marx. In fact, it must first be said that man is a religious animal. It is not necessary to put in a word “animal” a derogatory meaning, a living being, a living being of God, a religious one. Today, it is known for certain that there have never been the first non-religious beings on earth. There were periods of human falling away from God, but as soon as a man appears on earth, a sign of his religiosity immediately appears.
What is the oldest sign in all excavations? Of course, not just a burial, but a symbolically executed burial, a symbolically decorated burial. Because there is evidence that rats also bury their relatives in some cases. But a person has not just a burial, but symbolically designed, explicit symbols of faith in the resurrection and in the next life. With this, a man appears.
Archpriest Lev Shikhlyarov. Asceticism. Lecture 1.