"Churchianity" (to distinguish from simple but true Christianity) and religionists down through the ages have misunderstood and/or mis-characterized the soul. This has resulted in Humanity's failure - particularly in the West - to understand what is termed "The Constitution of Man" (using the term "man" in its loose Sanskrit connotation as "one who thinks.") This misunderstanding has led to much distortion, glamour and illusion because of the innate human tendency to "materialize" concepts. Unfortunately, human materialization of spiritual concepts is all too frequently distorted and even in reverse expression to initial, pure impression or teaching concerning those concepts. Put another way, humans tend to interpret materially that which is spiritual.
One example of distortion and wrongful materialization is the near universal concept that man is made in the "image and likeness of God." This is a veritable truth and is the reason for hope in progress of understanding and wisdom through experience upon the plains of Earth. As we shall see later, the truth of this aphorism lies in the essence of God and man, not man's physical expression which is not his essence because it is limited and temporary. Moreover, if we did not contain within us the "likeness" to God, then truly life on Earth is meaningless. It is precisely through the literally "God-given" components of the human soul that enable a gradual but eventual "synchronization" of personal soul components with their "higher and greater" correspondences. This is the process of coming to know "universality" - simply because we are a part of that very universality through our essential "likeness" to God. This is the true "amazing grace".
Nevertheless, despite the existence of essential components of human life that are in the "image and likeness of God", the tendency to materialize this concept drives the anthropomorphism of some religions. This anthropomorphism then directly generates so many materialistic distortions of life and the afterlife which are blatantly inconsistent with modern science - thus driving many scientists toward an unhealthy agnosticism or outright atheism.
So what is the essence of the belief that humans are made in the "image and likeness of God"? Can a thread of truth be ascertained - a thread that then can be grasped and followed to greater truth? And does that thread hold up to the litmus test of universal application? That is, can the essential teaching of the soul as it is - its constitution, personal applicability, universality - align with and be coherent with religious and spiritual teachings and even psychological science (the origin of psychology being the study of the psyche or soul)? Can the essential teachings of religions lead back to the universal simplicity of the Soul - the foundation of all religious teachings?
Scientists, engineers, artists, mathematicians employ the term "elegant" to describe any solution to a problem that posseses:
"...simplicity and consistency of design...(in math) The proof of a mathematical theorem exhibits mathematical elegance if it is surprisingly simple yet effective and constructive...In engineering, a solution may be considered elegant if it uses a non-obvious method to produce a solution which is highly effective and simple. An elegant solution may solve multiple problems at once, especially problems not thought to be inter-related. (emphasis added) " (Wikepedia).
Indeed, describing a solution as elegant is a foundational reassurance that the solution is the ultimate one. It becomes a touchstone for evaluating other "solutions".
Perhaps through the "simplicity of the soul," the key to the "door" containing the "elegant" solution for human life and life on this planet can be found.
It has seemed to me that through the concept of the Trinity (at the core of materialistic distortion) that humanity can begin to understand just how we are made in the image and likeness of God.
To be continued......
"How greatly...must the disciple realize the power of perception and the comprehension that there exists only one law which governs the entire Cosmos...; along this line the evolution of the spirit is created. This law unites all related and manifested magnitudes. Striving toward fulfillment... leads to sensitiveness of perception. Only this path affords a decision in correspondence with realization and fulfillment... Thus, We also offer Our creative striving..., and thus the arcs of consciousness blend in the One Flaming Heart...Thus the great cosmic step is created!" (Hierarchy, para. 88)