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Headword: Ψυχικὸς ἄνθρωπος
Adler number: psi,167
Translated headword: natural man
Vetting Status: high
[Man is composed] of soul and body. Now whenever [one] performs one of the actions that seem [to be good] to God, he is called “spiritual”, and [one] is not named from his soul, but due to another honor which is superior: the activity coming from spirit. For soul does not suffice for a correct action, if it does not take advantage of spirit’s aid. But just as he who serves the flesh is called “fleshy (or carnal) man”, so too the Apostle calls “natural” the man turning towards the things [that are explained] by human reasoning and that do not admit the activity of spirit.[1] And again: whenever we correctly perform a virtue, we are called “spiritual”. But whenever we are upset and perform an action which is contrary [to virtue], [he] names us “dust” on account of our base nature.
And the Prophet says, "He will afflict earth with a word of his mouth”;[2] he is not talking about earth, but about sins. And again: “the whole earth became only one lip”;[3] he is [again] speaking of sins. And Abraham, while disparaging himself, [says]: “I am dust and ashes”. [4] And again: “His entrails are despised in his life”; [in this case] he is making reference to the womb.[5]
Souls of those who die violently[6] do not become devils following the opinion of the many, but those of the sinners; their substance does not change but [their] choice imitates the vice of those [devils]. That is also what Jesus Christ used to say to the Jews: “you are of your father the devil”.[7]
Greek Original:
Ψυχικὸς ἄνθρωπος: ἐκ ψυχῆς καὶ σώματος. ὅταν μὲν οὖν πράττῃ τι τῶν τῷ θεῷ δοκούντων, πνευματικὸς λέγεται καὶ οὐκ ἀπὸ τῆς ψυχῆς ὀνομάζεται, ἀλλ' ἀφ' ἑτέρας μείζονος τιμῆς, τῆς ἀπὸ τοῦ πνεύματος ἐνεργείας. οὐ γὰρ ἀρκεῖ ἡ ψυχὴ εἰς κατόρθωμα, εἰ μὴ ἀπολαύσοι τῆς τοῦ πνεύματος βοηθείας. ὥσπερ δὲ σαρκικὸς ἄνθρωπος λέγεται ὁ τῇ σαρκὶ δουλεύων, οὕτω ψυχικὸν καλεῖ ὁ Ἀπόστολος τὸν τοῖς ἀνθρωπίνοις λογισμοῖς τὰ πράγματα ἐπιτρέποντα καὶ μὴ δεχόμενον τοῦ πνεύματος τὴν ἐνέργειαν. καὶ πάλιν: ὅταν μὲν κατορθώσωμεν ἀρετήν, πνευματικοὶ λεγόμεθα: ὅταν δὲ ὑποσκελισθῶμεν καὶ πράξωμέν τι ἐναντίον, ἀπὸ τῆς εὐτελοῦς φύσεως γῆν ἡμᾶς ὀνομάζει. καὶ ὁ Προφήτης, πατάξει, φησί, τὴν γῆν τῷ λόγῳ τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ. οὐ περὶ γῆς λέγων, ἀλλὰ περὶ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν. καὶ πάλιν: ἐγένετο πᾶσα ἡ γῆ χεῖλος ἕν: περὶ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν λέγων. καὶ ὁ Ἀβραὰμ ἑαυτὸν ἐξευτελίζων: ἐγὼ δὲ εἰμὶ γῆ καὶ σποδός. καὶ πάλιν: ἐν τῇ ζωῇ αὐτοῦ ἐξουδένωται τὰ ἐντόσθια αὐτοῦ. τὴν γαστέρα λέγων. ψυχαὶ τῶν βιοθανατούντων οὐ κατὰ τὴν τῶν πολλῶν δόξαν γίνονται δαίμονες, ἀλλὰ τῶν ἁμαρτανόντων: οὐ τῆς οὐσίας αὐτῶν μεταβαλλομένης, ἀλλὰ τῆς προαιρέσεως τὴν ἐκείνων μιμουμένης κακίαν. τοῦτο καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς ἔλεγε τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις: ὑμεῖς τοῦ πατρὸς ὑμῶν τοῦ διαβόλου ἐστέ.
[1] The opposition is between the "spiritual" (πνευματικός ) and the "carnal" (or "natural"; ψυχικός ) person (see pi 1823). The former is he who acts according to God's law, the latter he who follows his own lust and natural desires, and, accordingly, is under the rule of sin. See Paul, Romans 7:14: "the law is spiritual (πνευματικός ), but I am carnal (σαρκικός ), sold under sin (ἁμαρτία )." See also 1 Corinthians 2:14, 15:44; cf. sigma 137, psi 166.
[2] See the pseudepigraphal Psalms of Solomon, 17.35. In Greek the word for dust and earth is the same: γῆ ; cf. pi 779.
[3] cf. Genesis 11:1: "the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech;" see also 11:6.
[4] Genesis 18:27.
[5] cf. Judges 9:38.
[6] This paragraph derives from [John Chrysostom], In Lazarum 2 (PG 48.983A).
[7] Gospel of John 8:44.
Keywords: Christianity; definition; ethics; religion
Translated by: Marcelo Boeri on 3 September 2002@15:54:16.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (modified translation) on 3 September 2002@19:56:56.
Patrick T. Rourke (Added link) on 5 September 2002@07:12:52.
David Whitehead (augmented notes; cosmetics) on 2 February 2003@08:10:20.
Marcelo Boeri (Added reference.) on 13 September 2004@16:42:41.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 4 October 2005@09:12:44.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 2 January 2006@11:33:43.
Catharine Roth (added cross-references, deleted link) on 25 July 2011@18:44:32.
Catharine Roth (added cross-reference) on 30 July 2011@22:27:09.
David Whitehead on 7 November 2013@03:59:20.


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