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 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.chm.colostate.edu/~grayt/ phone: 970-491-7003 fax: 970-491-1801
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