“Even supposing life could be described as a condition imposing upon matter,still the source from which this condition entered the matter must necessarily admitted to be immortal simply b being unable to take into itself the opposite of the life which it conveys.
“Of course, life is no such mere condition, but an independent principle, effectively living.
“A further consideration is that if every soul is to be held dissoluble the universe must long since have ceased to be: if it is pretended that one kind of soul, our own for example, is mortal, and another, that of the All, let us suppose, is immortal,we demand to know the reason for the difference alleged.
“Each is a principle of motion, each is self-living. … The soul then must … itself be eternal.” ~Plotinus
Life is not Death
Much like the somewhat comical saying that the leading cause of divorce is marriage, some will say that the leading cause of death is life. While at a superficial glance, that may appear true, it isn’t. The difference is that divorce is the end of a marriage. If no marriage happened, there can be no divorce. On the other hand, death can exist where there never was any life. So death is not the end of life, but the absence of it. The difference may seem subtle and irrelevant, but it isn’t.
So Plotinus tells us that life is not death, and can never be death. If the life force carried death within it, life itself would die, and that isn’t possible. No matter how much the universe changes, life will exist and create living beings from the substance of that universe. So life itself must be immortal. And Plotinus wisely argues that if life itself is immortal, than the gift of life that it brings to us and other beings must also be immortal. Yet we know that some things die. So what gives?
Immortal Life can only give immortal life to other beings. Those beings, in some cases at least, can give life to lesser beings. Because this secondary life is indirect, it can end, it can die. That is what Plotinus is saying. So what is immortal life and what is mortal life? The answer is simple, and yet difficult for many to understand.
Only spirits are immortal. The only beings that are immortal are spirits. Only spiritual beings are given life directly from The Source, the All, that most call God. The immortal life force is an aspect of God.
But the realm of matter was not created by God, but by the fallen angels. His level of being is a secondary level and the life in is secondary. It is borrowed, in a sense, from the spirit of that being. That makes it temporary, so death of the material being is possible. Of course, even at the low-level of being, some parts of life remain immortal. We know that even though a person or a frog dies, the atoms it was made of continue to live and form new beings.
Mortal and Immortal souls
Plotinus asks for an explanation of how some souls could be immortal, while others not. Here it is. There are basically two classes of souls. One is part of our spiritual being and is itself spirit, and only spirit. This is the Divine Soul. It has immortal life.
There is another kind of soul which is, in a sense, an outgrowth of the physical body and mind. This soul is called the Mundane Soul. It was given life in the same indirect way as the physical body. Therefore, it is not immortal. This mundane soul is found in both humans and animals. It may even be in plants. So for those who say animals have souls and those who say they don’t: both are correct. Animals have a mundane sou just as we do. But only humans, angels, and Light Beings have a divine soul. And only the divine soul has immortal life.