From: Allen Roy [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tue 7/16/2002 10:15 PM
To: Adrian Teo; email@example.com
Subject: Re: Immortality of the Soul
Allen: I have no problem with the word soul also being used
to refer to the
inner-person, consciousness, thought and emotion. However,
that does not
automatically translate into the idea that the
etc., is an immortal entity. The soul as the being who's
the mind is the normal functioning of the brain ceases to
exist when the
breath of life ends.
Allen: The translators of the Septuagint were out to prove to
the Greeks that the
Bible did not conflict with pagan Greek philosophy. I'd consider their
position only with a very large grain of salt.
AT: As Bob wrote in his response to you, where is the
evidence that the translators of the Septuagint were out to reconcile
the Bible with pagan philosophy, and two, what is inherently wrong
with Christianizing pagan beliefs, if we acknowledge that even pagans
are made in the image of God and have some inkling of the truth,
however distorted and incomplete they may be?
>Furthermore, the practice of necromancy is assumed to be a
There is no such thing as communication with the dead.
For the living know that they will die,
but the dead know nothing;
they have no further reward,
and even the memory of them is forgotten. [or, even their memory is
Allen: What there is, is Satan's confederates masquerading as
the dead, to promote
the false concept of the immortality of the soul and to
support Satan's lie
to Eve -- "You shall not surely die."
AT: Read 1 Sam 28 - the witch of Endor incident. All the
condemnations of communicating with the dead is clearly condemned by
God, but what is significant is that the OT assumes that it is a real
possibililty, for otherwise the condemnations would have been moot.
It is not unreasonable to think that the author of Eccl may have a
limited understanding of life after death. Revelations in the OT tend
to be less clear and complete than the NT.
Also see Rev 6:9-10 where the dead are pleading for God's
judgment. Even Jesus himself makes a distinction between body and
soul in Matt 10:28. Yes, the soul can be destroyed, if God chooses to
do so, but that does not necessarily imply that the soul will be
destroyed upon death. Souls are immortal as far as they are sustained
by God, as all things are. They are not inherently immortal, but they
persists beyond our physical lives. There are just an overwhelming
number of passages in the bible that suggests the existence of souls
beyond death, and only a handful, like the one you cited that
seemingly contradict the claim. Of course, sheer numbers alone is
insufficient to make a claim one way or another. One needs to look
carefully into all these passages and evaluate them in the light of
the bible as a totality. Furthermore, the witness of the early church
fathers also supports the notion of a soul that persists beyond
death, such as Justin, Ignatius, Athenagorus, and Irenae!
>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
Allen: Granted, you can find some early Christians who
adopted the pagan Greek and
Roman concepts of immortality of the soul. The Catholic
Church is famous
for "christianizing' all kinds of pagan beliefs and theology. But just
because some did doesn't make it right or Biblical.
AT: Nor does it automatically make it unbiblical or wrong.
Allen: We don't make our
choices of theology based on what others have or have not
Rather, we believe what we believe because the Holy Spirit
leads us, if we
let him, to understand what the Bible says.
AT: Faith is not about what I choose to believe, but about
what is handed down from the Apostles through Christians who came
before us. The early Christians handed down to us the faith.
Therefore, the weight of their testimony has to be taken seriously.
Anybody can claim the leading of the Holy Spirit, even folks like Rev
Moon and Jim Jones.
> But for me, the heart of the matter is how the monist view affects
Christology. What happened to Jesus between the death and the
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?
Allen: According to the on-line American Heritage¨∆
Dictionary, monism is the
doctrine that mind and matter are formed from, or reducible
to, the same
ultimate substance or principle of being. I do not believe
that what I am
promoting is monism or anything remotely resembling it. I
believe that the
brain is a physical organ of the body composed of matter that
decays to dust
upon death. And, that the mind is the consciousness of the person that
results from the normal functioning of the physical brain. A living,
breathing body that is functioning as it was designed to do
results in a
living, conscious being or soul. When the person dies, consciousness
ceases, the mind no longer exists and the body and brain
decay. The mind is
different that the brain. The brain is composed of matter. The mind,
although it is the result of the proper functioning of the
is the consciousness of the living being. It cannot exist without the
brain, although the brain can exist without a mind. Unlike,
mind is not composed of or reducible to any ultimate
substance or principle
of being. The mind either is or is not. We are alive or we
are not. The
soul is or it is not.
AT: What you are proposing is not different from what Nancy
Murphy has proposed, that the mind is an emergent property, arising
from the complex arrangement of molecules we call the brain and the
body. That is why she uses the term Nonreductive Physicalism.
However, it is nevetheless broadly classified as monistic, as opposed
Allen: Nothing happened to Jesus between the moment of death
and resurrection. He
simply ceased to exist as God and Man. His dead body was in Sheol, the
grave. He died the second death of complete annihilation,
taking the place
of everyone who chooses His life in place of their own though
final annihilation. He was raised from the dead the same as
God/man incarnate with a body and the breath of life, i.e., a
Jesus became incarnate to die for us. He was incarnate
before His death,
He was incarnate after his death. While he was dead, he was dead.
AT: What you are proposing seems like a novel idea, although
it probably isn't. You may not realize this, but you have a big
problem in this argument because it claims that the divine nature of
Christ can actually cease to exist. Christ is therefore not the
eternal Son, because He ceased to exist even for a short few days.
The Trinity is therefore meaningless. The denial/distortion of the
Trinity is one of the most persistent heresy of Christianity.
> I don't have the time now, but there are also philosophical
monism that even Nancy Murphy, esteemed philosopher at
Fuller, was unable to
respond to at a conference on human nature. There 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
rather than a separate spiritual essence." Whenever the human person is
defined in terms of functions, we set the stage for the
horrible crimes against humanity. But this is the logical
Allen: How one can possibly justify any type of crime against
humanity because of
logical implications of monism is beyond me. But then, I am
AT: You are Allen, the way monism is used by philosophers of
mind, the idea that the mind and body are related in an inextricable
way, such that one cannot exist without the other.
My final comment is that I think that the reason why a number
of Christian scholars have abandoned the traditional dualistic
understanding is because of the deep desire to force theology to be
consistent with neuroscientific discoveries. Theology is no longer
the Queen of the sciences, but the subject of them.
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