Soul Faculties

A faculty is that power of the mind or intellect which enables it to receive, revive or modify perceptions; as the faculty of seeing, of hearing, of imagining, of remembering, etc.: the faculties may be called the powers or capacities of the mind. The power of doing any thing; ability. There is no faculty or power in creatures, which can rightly perform its functions, without the perpetual aid of the Supreme Being. The power of performing any action, natural, vital or animal. The vital faculty is that by which life is preserved.Webster’s American Dictionary
  A faculty as an inherent power or ability; a talent or natural ability for something; any of the powers or capacities possessed by the human mind.Oxford English Dictionary
  There are several synonyms for faculty, all of which mean a special ability for doing something: Faculty applies to an innate or less often acquired ability for a particular. Gift often implies special favor by God or nature. Aptitude implies a natural liking for some activity and the likelihood of success in it. Talent suggests a marked natural ability that needs to be developed. Genius suggests impressive inborn creative ability. Knack implies a comparatively minor but special ability making for ease and dexterity in performance.—Merriam-Webster Dictionary

“The faculties are your God-given powers of soul.”—Edna Lister

On the Via Christa, we acknowledge the soul’s relative physical material, mental and spiritual faculties as powers of being. The mental faculties include such powers as logic, memory, mimicry, and perception. Many faculties are the same as, or difficult to distinguish from soul virtues, and we express some faculties as soul virtues at higher levels of ascension of consciousness.
  The spiritual and mental faculties are tools of the creator servant of God. The spiritual faculties include wisdom, love and power, faith, will, comprehension, joy, understanding and peace. The mental faculties include logic, reason, discernment, discrimination, and discretion; and and courage, strength and endurance (learning obedience). You have many more faculties than those we discuss here.

Soul Faculties

On the Soul Faculties: Is it Right to Ask for Myself?

By Edna Lister, June 14, 1960

A faculty is the power to perform any action, any natural or specialized power of a living organism, the power to do some particular thing, a skill to develop by practice. This is not arbitrary. God has given you these faculties, which are powers of your soul, to use from birth, and you may change and expand them as you grow. The faculties are grouped into three classes: physical-material, mental and spiritual.
  Emotional traits are a subclass under physical-material. These feelings contain the three life urges (eating, sleeping and mating) and all propensities. An urge is an impelling motive, force or pressure of creature consciousness, the desire of instinctive intelligence. A propensity is an inclination to action, a habit, a tendency of mind. Propensities are also an expression of creature consciousness.
  Spiritual Faculties: The spiritual faculties must follow principle in their expression. They must be unchangeable, immutable, deathless, ageless and abiding. Three sets of three or nine faculties are dedicated to Spirit. Each of these nine can be broken into three: Wisdom, Love and Power, faith, comprehension and joy, and knowing, understanding and peace.
  Mental Faculties: The mental faculties include: Logic, reason and will, discrimination, discretion and discernment and courage, strength and endurance (learning obedience). We call the spiritual and mental faculties the tools of the creator servant.
  Physical-Material Faculties: Five physical senses (hearing, seeing, speech, feeling, tasting) form the basis of prophecy and the faculty of intuition. A faculty is any knack, aptitude, natural ability or skill learned by practice, such as the ability to ride a bike or to make friends.
  For example, if you have no intuition, you are not able prophesy. Unless you have five wise virgins with oil in their lamps, you have no intuition. When you turn the physical senses downward, your five virgins are foolish, caught sleeping, with no oil in their lamps. This means you are just "existing," not living, thus subject to every wind that blows.
  Physical-material faculties relate to doing. Mental faculties relate to ascending. Spiritual faculties lead into becoming. All faculties operate as a process in your body. The quality and quantity of your faculties depend on what you do with the life, Light, Power, Mind and Substance of God flowing through you on every breath.
  A child coming to parents who will properly supervise his spiritual growth, begins at birth with nine of the original 44 faculties developed and ready to unfold. The already-developed brain cells are ready to open when an outer world stimulus touches the child. A child can telepathically communicate when he is two years old as the nine faculties connect themselves by stimulation from outside impulses. Parents of such a child should live by law, because such children awaken only under the right outer conditions.
  The first three faculties are mimicry, memory and perception. They are instinctive capacities, related to subconscious development. All three stem from God having made us in His image and likeness.
  Mimicry is how you imitate the actions and speech of those around you. You have an unlimited capacity for memory, but must develop it to be usable. Perception gives you the ability to look right through the outer appearance and to know that you know.
  You develop the next three faculties (imagination, reason and judgment) as intellectual capacities: Imagination in 3- to 4-year-olds, reason in 4-year-olds and judgment; you must teach children reason and judgment to balance imagination. They are related to conscious soul development. They appear on the head and some have maintained that they be read through phrenology (the study of the physiognomy of the head).
  Imagination is the mental faculty you use to form images of external objects or concepts of conditions not present to the senses. It is the highest creative faculty of the mind.
  Reason adapts thought or action to some goal. You use reason to grasp a concept prior to experience, as distinguished from understanding after the fact. Reason is the relative application of principles as laws to gain understanding.
  Judgment is the ability to make prudent decisions. It is closely related to discretion, the faculty that governs knowing when to speak and when to remain silent.
  Understanding, intuition and illumination are spiritual faculties or soul capacities. They depend on how greatly the embodied soul expressed through the Oversoul in past ages. Understanding is the insight gained by applying the mental faculties. The quickest way to understand anything is to stand under the Light as you study the problem.
  Intuition is immediate mental apprehension without the intervention of any reasoning process. It is absolute knowing without suspicion or rationalization.
  Illumination is the soul faculty attained when Light penetrates and permeates every cell of the body until you can "see" and "know."

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Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of faculty: Latin facultatem (nominative facultas) "power, ability, capability, opportunity; sufficient number, abundance, wealth," from facilis "easy to do," of persons, "pliant, courteous, yielding," from facere "to do".


Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

Merriam-Webster Dictionary. 2023

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed. Oxford University Press, 1971.

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