Re: "Ensoulment"

Jan de Koning (
Wed, 11 Feb 1998 10:12:25 -0500

At 09:22 PM 10/02/98 -0600, Scott wrote:

>I haven't studied this nearly to the level that I would wish to, being
>preoccupied with such trivial things as earning doctorates, but I think
that we
>should point out that the Scripture uses a number of terms to express the
>of the human personality and inner being. IN GENERAL, the Hebrew 'nepes'
>Greek 'psyche' usually convey the idea of mind, including emotion and will--

Not quite, see Gesenius Lexicon. First meaning "breath", "breath of life".
Consequently Gen.1 could talk about the "nephesh" of an animal. Lev.17:11
used to define the soul as blood, in more modern translations it is
translated as "the life is in his blood." Translating "nephesh" with
"soul" is very questionable. You can read it everywhere where I tried it
as "living being."

>things we tend to think of as "personality". (Interestingly, the Hebrew
term is
>also frequently used of animals as well as humans). Personally, as a
>psychologist and neuroscientist, I think of these things as being *strongly*
>based in the functions of the biological brain, though as a human and a
>Christian, I also find them difficult to separate from the "higher life"
>the Scripture *usually* describes as 'spirit' (Heb 'ruah'; Grk 'pneuma').

Here, too, be carefull. It seems that translators had an idea of "higher
life" which not necessarily is biblical, but probably influenced by Greek
philosophy. In John 3:8 it is translated both as "wind" and as "Spirit".
A lot of interpretation rather than translating went into that.

>These terms of 'soul' and 'spirit' often overlap with 'heart' as a
description of
>man's inner self, but there is a general trend toward using 'soul' and
>to refer to the 'lower' and 'higher' aspects of our immaterial qualities.
>example of this distinction is seen in I Thess 5:23, where Paul places the
>'lower' and 'higher' immaterial qualities alongside the material
>expresses his confidence that Jesus Christ will sanctify the whole package!

The whole package? Our life? Yes, at the end of times we will be made
alive again, and meet our Lord who comes down to establish the New Earth,
where we live in righteousness.
I had the fortune to have as my first philosophy teacher a Th.D. who went
through the Bible explaining these terms. "Leeb" = heart is the centre of
human being, out of which the directions of life are, Prov.4:23. This
heart has a direction set by the"spirit" ("ruach", "pneuma") if
unregenerated away from God, which the "Spirit", God's wind blows in the
direction of God again. Ever since thes lectures, I read in Scripture
"soul" as "living being" and "spirit" as "that what gives direction in our

The difficulties do not end there, because you are still stuck with "God"
who is outside" time" but who takes care of us. Therefor if you then not
see "eternity" as "extended time", you will say, that "the moment of my
death is" for my feeling "the moment of my resurrection on the New Earth,
where we will meet our SaviourJesus."

If you think this way, I believe, that many emotional etc. problems are
easier to understand. Of course, I did not yet talk about the reality of
Satan, who is going around and influencing people too.

>Personally and professionally, I find this distinction a helpful one in
>out what it means to us that biological factors in the brain exert so much
>influence over such "immaterial" things as emotion, behavioral
>and personality.
>How I would apply this distinction to this discussion is to assert that the
>"soul" probably does not exist until brain activity begins, whereas the
>of God" kind of unique human qualities which Brian refers to below might be
>better described as 'spirit'--the unique life breathed into us by God to
>fellowship with Him. I do not know when this event occurs, nor do I believe
>that science can answer that question. (For that matter, Scripture is
>essentially silent as well!) I am content, however, to leave the matter
in His
>Sovereign hands, and to err in the direction of protecting the sanctity of
>human life--born and unborn, rich and poor, saved and unsaved, regardless of
>national origin or relative epidermal pigmentation.

Maybe, it just simply, when there is blood there is a living being. One
cannot deny that in the womb there is life. When does it start as a
separate ? That is difficult to define, so do not abort at all, unless the
life of the mother is really endangered.

Jan de Koning
Willowdale, Ont.