Many Orthodox prayers and writings sound dualistic to Western ears, that is, they seem to degrade the body and the material creation and the self, and elevate the “spiritual.” Actually what they do is restore the proper, original perspective, such as I’ve discussed previously. We were created in love with God and in control of our bodies and drives, and at peace with the rest of Creation. Like some “Celts” say, Orthodox teach that the body doesn’t have a soul, but the soul this body; but in a union intended to be permanent, now interrupted between personal death (“falling asleep”) and the General Resurrection. And sometimes the word soul is a way of referring to the whole person. Without a human soul we’d be mere primates. There is no disembodied “spiritual” aspect; we are forever (by God’s Graciousness) body and soul. But since the Fall of Adam and Eve, we’ve been in fact more animalistic than prior (at the risk of degrading animals!), and the Orthodox cure of the soul aims at restoring our attitudes and our reality. So when reading or praying Orthodoxly, remember that it’s not dualistic…we are.


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