From: Allen Roy [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Mon 7/15/2002 10:05 PM
To: Adrian Teo; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Re: Immortality of the Soul
of course, brings us back to important point of the context.
context of Genesis 2:7 is different from that in Judges 10:16
1:14. You cannot apply the definition of the human 'soul' in
Genesis 2:7 to
any and every occurrence of the word in the Bible. But it
would be logical
to apply it to those contexts which deal with the human being.
The same definition could work for animals also. A body +
the breath of
life = a living animal/soul. The word soul, as 'living
being,' (per the
NIV) can apply to the animal world also. It is only if you
try to make the
soul into some kind of conscious intelligent entity that
exists in a body
that one would be hesitant to think of animals as having a conscious
intelligent entity in their bodies.
A living being is a soul, a soul is a living being, whether human or
AT: Living beings are sometimes referred to as souls in the
bible, and other times it refers to the very depth/totality of a
person's being. The varied use of the word does not allow us to
conclude that a living being is identical to a soul. Both in
Scripture and theroughout the history of Christianity, some form of
dualism is evident and widely accepted. Nephesh, while sometimes used
to refer to the whole person, it is also used to refer to the inner
life of the person - consciousness, thought, and emotion. The
translators of the Spetuagint always translated nephesh as psyche,
and never bios (biological/physical life).
The OT concept of Sheol implies survival of personal identity
after physical death. Furthermore, the practice of necromacy is
assumed to be a real possibility and occurence. Christians since the
earliest days have always held that there is a soul that lives on
after physical death. In fact, I think that the NT makes it even more
compelling that there is an immaterial soul that survives physical
But for me, the heart of the matter is how the monist view
affects Christology. What happened to Jesus between the death and the
resurrection? Did He cease to exist as God-man, or do we confess that
after the incarnation, the Son as Jesus is forever the God-man? Did
God have to re-create the humanity of Christ, such that the human
part of the person who died for our sins is not the same as the new
one that was raised? In addition, the monist view suggests that there
is a clean break or discontinuity between my death and resurrection.
I die, cease to exist, and then am re-created.
I don't have the time now, but there are also philosophical
objections to monism that even Nancy Murphy, esteemed philosopher at
Fuller, was unable to respond to at a conference on human nature.
Thre are also moral implications of monism are troubling, to say the
least. In the preface to Whatever happened to the Soul by Brown,
Murphy and Maloney, the authors described the soul as "a functional
capacity of a complex physical organism, rather than a separate
spiritual essence." Whenever the human person is defined in terms of
functions, we set the stage for the justification of horrible crimes
against humanity. But this is the logical implication of monism.
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