Re: conscious existence after death?

From: Loren Haarsma <lhaarsma@calvin.edu>
Date: Tue Apr 19 2005 - 13:23:03 EDT

On Tue, 19 Apr 2005 drsyme@cablespeed.com wrote:

> After death, do our souls/person/mind whatever you want to call it,
> cease to exist until the general resurrection?
> Or is there an intermediate state of conscious existence until the
> resurrection? And if there is an intermediate state, is this corporeal
> or only spirit?
> I am still working through the monism/dualism question.
> And scientifically it seems to me the best evidence is
> leading me towards monism. But the Bible, from the best I
> can tell, seems to say that there is an intermediate
> conscious state, followed by a general resurrection into a
> "spiritual" body.

  (This is a repeat of something I sent to this list a few weeks ago. My
apologies. But it's relevant.)
  The "intermediate state" is often seen as an argument in favor of
dualism. I'm not convinced that it is.
  Granted: under monism, belief in an intermediate state would require
that God somehow specially "maintains" the person after physical death and
before the resurrection. But consider: our existence right now depends
moment-by-moment upon God sustaining us and the universe. The same is
presumably true of our existence in our resurrection bodies. Is an
intermediate state all that different?
  Now consider dualism. What abilities of a person still function, in
some sense, during the intermediate state? We don't know for sure.
Consciousness? Memory? The ability to communicate and interrelate? But
_before_ death, all of those functions rely on a working brain. Before
death, the immaterial soul cannot do those things "on its own" without a
functioning brain. So if an immaterial soul has some of those
capabilities after death, during the intermediate state, then presumably
God must augment (and sustain) those abilities during the intermediate
state. But if so, how is this dualist picture substantially different
from a monist picture of the intermediate state described in the previous
paragraph?

Loren Haarsma
Received on Tue Apr 19 13:24:28 2005

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