Human Consciousness and the Soul
When considering human consciousness it isn’t enough just to say that human beings are conscious and have consciousness. This state of being awake and aware clearly differs from person to person and changes within each of us throughout the day. Nor is it sufficient to say things like: I am health conscious, I have a national consciousness of shared beliefs and feelings, or that I lose consciousness if I faint, or that the way I think represents the kind of consciousness that I have. This is skimming the surface. To be fully aware of our consciousness means that we must consider it in detail.
Human consciousness has three core activities; thinking, feeling and willing. Each one of us uses these activities differently, and in different combinations. It is these three activities that actually make up the human soul. In the biblical Greek there are more than 30 different words for these three activities. If we look up “An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words with their precise meanings for English readers” by W.E. Vine, M.A. we find 15 words for think, 5 for feel and 7 or more for act, commit, do. Each particular word reveals a specific quality of human consciousness, and a particular aspect of our soul, and it is in the specific use of these words that the real wisdom of the Bible unfolds.
Aristotle 384BC-322BC was among the first to write about the human soul. Prior to this it wasn’t necessary to write anything about the soul because the soul wasn’t differentiated into different activities. Aristotle was aware that a differentiation was taking place and he described the soul as having three qualities which he called: Orektikon, Kinetikon, and Dianoetikon.
1. Orektikon refers to desires, appetites, sensations, impulses which is the soul activity of feeling.
2. Kinetikon means to set in motion, to try every way, reasoning which is the soul activity of thinking.
3. Dianoetikon is about intention which is the soul activity of will.