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Incorporeal or uncarnate means without a physical body, presence or form. It is often used in reference to souls, spirits, and God in many religions including Judaism and Christianity. In ancient philosophy, any attenuated "thin" matter such as air, ether, fire or light was considered incorporeal.Priestley, Joseph. Disquisitions of Matter and Spirit. p. 212 The ancient Greeks believed air, as opposed to solid earth, to be incorporeal, in so far as it is less resistant to movement; and the ancient Persians believed fire to be incorporeal in that every soul was said to be produced from it.Priestley, Joseph. Disquisitions of Matter and Spirit. p. 235 In modern philosophy, a distinction between the incorporeal and immaterial is not necessarily maintained: a body is described as incorporeal if it is not made out of matter.In the problem of universals, universals are separable from any particular embodiment in one sense, while in another, they seem inherent nonetheless. Aristotle offered a hylomorphic account of abstraction in contrast to Plato's world of Forms. Aristotle used the Greek terms (wikt:somatic|soma) (body) and hyle (matter, literally "wood").The notion that a causally effective incorporeal body is even coherent requires the belief that something can affect what's material, without physically existing at the point of effect. A ball can directly affect another ball by coming in direct contact with it, and is visible because it reflects the light that directly reaches it. An incorporeal field of influence, or immaterial body could not perform these functions because they have no physical construction with which to perform these functions. Following Newton, it became customary to accept action at a distance as brute fact, and to overlook the philosophical problems involved in so doing.

In theology

File:Plato-raphael.jpg|thumb|PlatoPlato|Kevin L. Flannery|"Ancient Philosophical Theology" in A Companion to Philosophy of Religion}}In chapter 10 of De ratione animae, Alcuin defines anima (soul) by combining Platonic attributes, including intellect and reason, ceaseless motion and immortality with the Christian tenents of free will and salvation. As a means of interaction with corporeals such as the human body and incorporeals such as God and the Forms, his definition includes traits pertaining to the soul as an incarnate entity within the natural world.|Leslie Lockett|"Why Must the Soul Be Incorporeal?" in Anglo-Saxon Psychologies in the Vernacular and Latin Traditions}}|Charles Taliaferro|"Incorporeality" in A Companion to Philosophy of Religion}}

LDS view

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church, Mormons) view the mainstream Christian belief in God's incorporeality as being founded upon a post-Apostolic departure from the traditional Judeo-Christian belief in an anthropomorphic, corporeal God. This concept of a corporeal God is supported by Biblical references to his face, mouth, finger, feet, back, and right hand; as well as various references to God creating man his own image and likeness.ENCYCLOPEDIA,weblink Topical Guide: God, Body of, Corporeal Nature,, LDS Church,weblink" title="">weblink 2014-12-08, no, {{citation |last= Robinson |first= Stephen E. |contribution= God the Father: Overview |contribution-url=weblink |pages= 548–550 |editor-last= Ludlow |editor-first= Daniel H |editor-link= Daniel H. Ludlow |year= 1992 |title= Encyclopedia of Mormonism |location= New York |publisher= Macmillan Publishing |isbn= 0-02-879602-0 |oclc= 24502140 }}JOURNAL, Neusner, Jacob, Jacob Neusner, 1997, Conversation in Nauvoo about the Corporeality of God,weblink BYU Studies, 36, 1, Examples of physical manifestations of God include {{lds|Genesis|gen|32|30}} where the prophet Jacob declared, "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved"; and in {{lds|Exodus|ex|33|11}}, which reads: "...the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend."Mormons believe that when the Church's foundation of revelation ({{lds|Ephesians|eph|2|20}}, {{lds||eph|4|12|14}}) crumbled with the martyrdom of the Apostles, doctrine gradually began to shift as a result of the speculation and reasoning of theologians who took it upon themselves to continue the development of Christian doctrine despite not being authorized receivers of revelation for the body of the church. The writings of many of these post-Apostolic theologians show that they were influenced in varying degrees by the prevailing Greek metaphysical philosophies of that era, which strongly rejected the idea of a corporeal, material God.{{citation |url=weblink |title= Does God Have a Body in Human Form? |last= Bickmore |first= Barry R. |authorlink= Barry R. Bickmore |year= 2001 |publisher= FairMormon |archive-url= |archive-date=2014-12-09 |deadurl= no }}{{citation |url=weblink |title= FairMormon Answers: Corporeality of God |website= |publisher= FairMormon |archive-url=weblink" title="">weblink |archive-date= 2014-12-09 |deadurl= no }} For example, in "Confessions" Book 7,BOOK,weblink Book Seven, Chapter One, Confessiones, Confessions (St. Augustine), Confessions, Augustine, Augustine of Hippo, Albert C. Outler, Albert C. Outler, c. 400, 1955, 55005021, Philadelphia, Westminster Press, Augustine of Hippo attributed his conception of God as incorporeal substance to Neoplatonism: "I no longer thought of thee, O God, by the analogy of a human body. Ever since I inclined my ear to philosophy I had avoided this error". Origen's preoccupation with the philosophers' concept of God is apparent in this quote from “Homilies on Genesis and Exodus”: "The Jews indeed, but also some of our own people, supposed that God should be understood as a man; that is, adorned with human members and human appearance. But the philosophers despise these stories as fabulous and formed in the likeness of poetic fictions".Ronald E. Heine, translator; "Origen: Homilies on Genesis and Exodus", The Catholic University of America Press, Washington D.C., 1981This Hellenistic rejection of anything material in the "metaphysical" world caused the resurrection to be one of the most hotly debated doctrines. This was apparent in the Greek's skeptical reaction to the doctrine of the resurrection in {{lds|Acts|acts|17}}, and is what prompted Paul's defense of the resurrection in {{lds|1 Corinthians|1-cor|15}}. In “Expositions on the Psalms” Augustine wrote, “Nothing has been attacked with the same pertinacious, contentious contradiction, in the Christian faith, as the resurrection of the flesh...many Gentile philosophers have...written that the soul is immortal: when they come to the resurrection of the flesh...they most openly deny it, declaring it to be absolutely impossible that this earthly flesh can ascend to Heaven.”"Exposition on Psalm 89", Translated by J.E. Tweed. From "Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 8". Edited by Philip Schaff. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1888,weblink Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight Mormons believe that the truth about God's corporeal nature was first restored to the earth when the Father and the Son appeared to the fourteen-year-old Joseph Smith in 1820 to begin the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.Joseph Smith–History, Pearl of Great Price (1981). See also: Joseph Smith–History

See also



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