Wally wrote: "I would agree that there is nothing unchristian about it.
But what does add? If we accept evolution (which I do), then we are
descended probably from worms and all sorts of things. Being desended
from something and being "man" in the eyes of God seem to me to be quite
different matters. We know there is a long train of evolutuion. Are we
attempting to reason our way through this by using science only and
ignoring any input from what many believe to be the "Word of God"?
Somewhere along the way we acquired a soul or didn't we?"
OK, I thought the idea itself looked "unchristian" to you. To answer your
last question, we need to understand what a "soul" is -- or if it even
exists. To say it exists implies dualism, so let's start there, since I
suspect you are a dualist (I am on the fence on that issue, myself).
1. You assert you "have" a soul. Or "are" a soul, in a body. Either way.
2. At some point in your ancestry an entity which had no soul gave birth
to an entity with a soul.
If that's your position, and it is the position of some, I see it as
having problems. But it could be. That means "God" (otherwise undefined
here) created a soul in some living (probably just born) entity at some
time in the past. Could be.
Now comes the hard question. At what point is the soul created (or
infused) in a developing fetus? And how does one defend whatever answer
is given here? If "the moment of conception" is chosen, what particular
moment in the conception process, which takes, as I understand, about an
I think you see where I'm going on this one -- and I'll leave the
soul-creation-in-a-fetus question as tangential and return to the
Neandertal issue. Perhaps, just perhaps, the creation of
humans-in-the-image-of-God did not take place as an event -- but as a
process. If one allows that it may be a process, rather than an
event-at-a-moment-of-time, then that process may well have started prior
to both Neandertal and Homo-sapiens -- perhaps as early as home erectus.
Perhaps even earlier than that. Teilhard tried to unpack this idea -- he
even attributed some sort of intelligence/"soulishness" to elementary
particles -- an idea expanded upon by Whitehead and others. If one can
only see the universe as "particles hitting other particles," then all
the above makes no sense, of course. Quantum mechanics, of course,
suggests that such a view is very naive. Whitehead's "occasions of
experience," each occasion "prehending" past occasions, although
difficult to understand, begins to help explain all this.
Sorry for the long answer -- I don't pretend to be any kind of an expert
on all this -- I do study a lot about it. It fits my educational training
(physics) rather well -- I have no idea how it is viewed by other
John Burgeson (Burgy)
(science/theology, quantum mechanics, baseball, ethics,
humor, cars, God's intervention into natural causation, etc.)
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