Re: Comment's on Allens postings

From: Terry M. Gray (
Date: Thu Jul 18 2002 - 02:40:46 EDT

  • Next message: george murphy: "Re: Comment's on Allens postings"

    David Siemens wrote:

    >What Allen posted concerning the soul is standard SDA teaching, usually
    >described as "soul sleep." I consider the claims special pleading. The
    >nonreductionistic monism of Nancey Murphy and others happens to overlap
    >it. As I and Paul noted some time back, the latter group ignores all the
    >scriptures that do not fit their view. I will here go further and state
    >that nonreductive monism cannot accommodate the incarnation. I have
    >submitted a paper to EPS arguing this point.

    I wanted to piggy-back on David's post with a bit of a typology on this issue:

    I. The Anthropological Monistic/SDA view

    As David has pointed out what Allen has been advocating is standard
    SDA (Seventh Day Adventist) teaching. There is a cluster of beliefs in
    SDA theology that includes "body/soul monism", "soul sleep" (or better
    yet, soul non-existence except in the mind of God) and annhilationism
    (the total destruction to non-existence of the wicked after they are
    resurrected for the final judgment and punished for a period).

    The "consensus of modern theological scholars" has argued that
    "body/soul monism" is the Biblical (Hebrew) view. This has fit in
    nicely with the reductionistic and emergentistic psychological views
    that see mind/soul as a function of body/brain. Interestingly, the
    Dooyeweeerd/Vollenhovan school of Reformed theology has also held
    this view (contrary to the historical Reformed confessional view).

    Some evangelicals are now open to the notion of annhilationism --
    Edward Fudge in his book orginally published by ex-SDA Robert
    Brinsmead "The Fire That Consumes" is perhaps the most able statement
    of this view outside of SDA writings. "body/soul monism" and an
    argument against the immortality of the soul are found in this
    perspective as well (since an immortal soul could never be
    annihilated, these views go together somewhat).

    Thus, while this view has always been in SDA theology since the
    1840's as far as I can tell, it currently has some favor among modern
    theologians and some evangelicals.

    II. The Dualist view

    This is the view of most of the western church, both Roman Catholic
    and most Protestant denominations. I'm not sure where the eastern
    church comes in on this. Here are two quotes from the Westminster
    Confession of Faith that illustrate this view:

    IV, 2 "After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male
    and female, with reasonable and immortal souls..."

    XXXII, 1 "The bodies of men, after death, return to dust, and see
    corruption: but their souls which neither die nor sleep, having an
    immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them: the
    souls of the righteous, being then made perfect in holiness, are
    received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God,
    in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies.
    And the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in
    torments and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great
    day. Besides these two places, for souls separated from their bodies,
    the Scripture acknowledgeth none."

    These statements are similar to those in other Reformed and Lutheran
    confessions. The Roman Catholic view is similar with the obvious
    exception of the last sentence quoted above, which is anti-purgatory.

    While this view has fallen into much disfavor due to the "modern
    theological consensus" it is still taught as the orthodox view in
    most conservative Reformed (and possibly Lutheran) seminaries. An
    able scholarly defense of this view against the "modern theological
    consensus" was given by Christian Reformed theologian John W. Cooper
    at Calvin Theological Seminary in his book *Body, Soul, and Life
    Everlasting--Biblical Anthropology and the Monism-Dualism Debate*.
    Cooper develops what he calls "holistic dualism" that seeks to
    address some of the criticisms of the Monist camp against a crass
    soul-trapped-in-a-body sort of dualism. This is a recommended read
    for anyone feeling challenged by the sorts of arguments presented in
    "Whatever Happened to the Soul?"

    III. The Trichotomist View

    This view that man is made of body, soul, and spirit is found in much
    of modern evangelicalism, fundamentalism, and baptist
    theology--although according to Cooper there is evidence of it
    throughout church history. It is similar to the dualist position
    except that dualists argue that soul and spirit are the same thing. A
    trichotomist distingishes between them. I'm not quite sure what the
    difference is: spirit has to do with our relationship with God--soul
    has more to do with our mental and psychological aspects. The "pop"
    theology that I grew up with advocated this.

    You'll notice that I've not included any Biblical proof-texts here.
    That is deliberate--each group has it's favorites and my main point
    here is a simple typology for the sake of informing our discussion a
    bit, not to pursuade anyone one way or the other.

    Personally and presently, I'm in the dualist camp. I've given the SDA
    position some serious consideration and have been nearly convinced.
    It seems to me that the NT does describe some intermediate
    disembodied state of consciousness. I'll be quick to assert that the
    created norm for human existence is as a body/soul whole and that
    that will be our state following the resurrection and for eternity.

    Along with B.B. Warfield, I find dualism to be useful in thinking
    about the origin of man and how that relates to various evolutionary

    Hope all this helps.


    Terry M. Gray, Ph.D., Computer Support Scientist
    Chemistry Department, Colorado State University
    Fort Collins, Colorado  80523
    phone: 970-491-7003 fax: 970-491-1801

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