Spirit, Saints, and Immortality

By Patrick Sherry

Paperback : 9780873957564, 102 pages, June 1984
Hardcover : 9780873957557, 102 pages, June 1984

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Table of contents

References and Abbreviations

1. Introduction
Sprit, Saints and Immortality
Spirituality, Theology and Philosophy

2. The Spirit of God
Spirits and Immaterial Persons
The Biblical Witness
Spirit, Action and Identification
Immaterial Substances and Persons

3. Saints
The Religious Significance of Sanctity
Philosophy and the Saints
Religious and Scientific Explanations

4. First Fruits
The Structure of the Argument
The Life of the Age to Come

5. Likeness to God
Finding where the Likeness Holds
The Saints, Christ and the Holy Spirit
The Desire for Purification

6. Conclusion
The Possibility and Purpose of Immortality
The Importance of the Saints



This book is a philosophical and theological study of the claim that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which produces sanctity, is an anticipation of a future state. Focusing on Christianity, Patrick Sherry investigates the grounds of this belief, examining the interconnections between the ideas of the spirit of God, saintliness, and immortality. Throughout, Sherry argues "that the existence of saintly people is of much more importance than is usually realized, for it is a rare and precious occurrence which requires evaluation and explanation. " The existence of saints raises questions about the attainment of likeliness to God, about grace, and redemption. Sherry's study gives essential and illuminating answers.

Patrick Sherry is a lecturer in the Religious Studies Department at the University of Lancaster, England.


"This book reopens an interesting and profitable set of questions which have long been neglected by the academic world. The reopening is overdue, and Sherry is to be congratulated on having taken this initiative. In these days when we are acutely conscious of the difficulty, or impossibility, of directly establishing the metaphysical claims of religion, it seems clear that the fruits of religious faith in human life, and particularly the production of the spiritual and moral giants whom we call saints, must constitute important religious evidence. Sherry examines the concept of sainthood, its connection with the idea of the Spirit, its significance as a first stage of human transformation into 'the likeness of God,' and the way in which it requires the idea of continued life after death. " — John Hick