Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Crows and Sheep

            Cal shook his head.  “Well, then what is it?  I mean, if Luther’s wrong, then what is the ‘burst of energy’ that pops outta the Firstborn when they die?”
            Thalanes shrugged.  “I don’t know.  I don’t think anyone really does.  I don’t think anyone really can.”
            “The Memphites think that a person has five parts,” Sarah said.  She was happy for every opportunity to show that she knew what she was talking about, as much as the monk did.  “There’s the body, and the shadow, and the name, and two things that don’t make a lot of sense from a Christian perspective, the ka and the ba.”
            “Crows and sheep,” Cal muttered.  “What’s a ka and a ba?”
            “It’s hard to say,” Sarah said, hiding her ignorance behind a claim of difficulty.  “They’re both kind of like the soul, as we know it.”
            “Two souls?” Cal asked.  “You’re right, that don’t sound Christian.”
            “No?” Thalanes pushed.  “But Paul says to the Thessalonians ‘I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless.’  That’s psyche and pneuma in Greek, two different things.  He uses the same words again in chapter four of the Epistle to the Hebrews, psyche and pneuma, ‘the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow.’  St. Jerome translates them as spiritus and anima.  Doesn’t that sound to you like a person has two invisible parts, a soul and a spirit?  Do you think Paul wasn’t a good Christian?”
            “You’re askin’ the wrong feller,” Calvin said, retreating into a shrug.  “I’m jest a poor cattle rustler, and I don’t have the answers.”
            “I’m just a poor monk,” Thalanes agreed, “and I don’t have any of the answers, either.  But I hope that St. Paul is right, and that you’re right, too, Cal.  I hope that when I die, my ka or my pneuma will explode in a burst of energy, and my psyche or my ba will go to Heaven.”
            “What if you’re wrong?” Sarah asked him.  “Aren’t you kind of gambling your salvation on a guess?”
            “Don’t we all do that, all the time?” Thalanes countered.  “Do we have any other choice?”

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