Can the Soul Progress?
From the beginning, man was a living soul. This soul was made in the image of God and is the man. No other part of man was made in the image of God, but the soul. Soul progression is the spiritual growth of the individual. Man is comprised of a soul, or spirit, and a physical body. The spirit of man contains the mind or intellect, as well as forms the spirit-body (that part of man which would be his mind and body in the spirit world). The physical body is not the man. The spirit and soul of man are the same thing and are terms used to describe the individual within the whole that is spirit, or what some may call "God."
The heart of man speaks of the condition of one's soul, whether in darkness or light and refers to the soul (the individual spirit) and its condition. From the beginning, both soul and body were united in creation coming from the eternal Father (or Mother) - that one spirit that all exists within; the physical body being formed for the sole purpose of continuing the evolution (growth) of the soul, for mankind to become "individualized" through first progressing in the physical realm. In the physical world, man learns of "self." Some call this consciousness. This realm is used for only a short time to develop "self" and may be used to progress further in soul development through multiple incarnations (physical lives).
"...God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him..." - Genesis 1:27
"...this mortal must put on immortality." - I Corinthians 15:53
"...I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers." - III John 1:2
"Create in me a clean heart (soul), oh Lord, and renew a right spirit within me." - Psalm 51:10
As soul progression occurs, so does the intellect (mind) progress.
Most religious teachings work only on building the intellect or mind and never teach the developing of one's soul. Teachings which work solely to progress the intellect of man are not unlike the "Law of Moses." They both teach to come into some form of harmony with the law of God which says, "a man shall reap whatever he sows," by trying to identify what is "bad" and what is "good." Teaching the control of one's mind and emotions to stay clear of "the bad," may work to bring some peace and harmony but will not bring one closer to God and divinity...truth.
Truth is already known deep within and comes back unto realization through meditation (or listening within one's being, while quieting the mind). Freeing the mind of the various prisons the intellect can create is profitable, for it is our thinking in error (sin) that creates the self-imposed prisons we call hell (which is a state of mind). The mind (or intellect), can be allowed to darken the soul in lack of understanding -- which really is lack of truth known.
When the mind of man is allowed to reign over the soul, this is what Jesus referred to as "the devil." Others call this the "ego." And just as hell or a prison of the mind can be created by the intellect, it should be known that the hell or prison can be undone, as well. The control that the mind (or intellect) has over the undeveloped soul is what must be "undone." It is a change from being lead externally by the physical world, to being led internally by the spirit. "Salvation" is being set free or "saved" from this condition of "fallen mankind." This is what it means to be "born-again." For man was created in the image of God as a living soul, and the soul is what God communicates and identifies with.
The word image means "not real" or "an illusion." But God gave us the ability to just "be the real." When one begins to follow the soul (or heart), the image of God begins revealing the substance of God hidden within. By seeking to know the divine love of the One Great Spirit, one (though eternal), in effect, takes hold of immortality and divinity, as the soul is forever transformed. The son or daughter becomes in substance and reality like his or her heavenly Father. There is a distinct difference between being a part of the whole of God who is eternal - and, possessing, knowing and being immortal. It is best defined as, "knowing the truth of who you really are." For knowing and possessing immortality which is the love of God, empowers one to prosper in all things - even as the soul has prospered. It is the power to heal, bless and create.
All things eventually come into alignment when the soul prospers. Build the soul, and the mind comes into submission unto the soul. By seeking the love that can only come from the Father within each of us, the soul is cleansed by the holy spirit or "pure truth." The holy spirit of love, truth, joy and peace forever transforms the soul. And as the soul progresses, so does the intellect of man. Wisdom or truth that has always been within is known. Health is gained. In fact, all aspects of one's life should prosper as the soul prospers. Progression of the soul causes one to know the creative power within it.
As the soul progresses, so do the worlds in which it is able to exist within. The soul will travel up and out of hells to heavens; and when the soul progresses to being fully possessed of God's love and darkness removed, that soul is as an angel in the highest heavens - immortal on its own.