Re: [asa] Evolution of the Soul

From: David Campbell <>
Date: Tue Sep 26 2006 - 12:47:08 EDT

Among those who accept both evolutionary origins of humans and the existence
of human spiritual nature, some have suggested a fairly direct infusion of
this spiritual nature into a non-spiritual, biologically evolved body.
Others have suggested a gradual evolution of spirituality, paralleling
biological evolution. Yet another possibility is that God designed
organisms such that, when a particular threshold of intellectual capacity
was reached via evolution, the organism would become spiritually aware as

I don't know any good way to test these ideas. If we could establish
agreement as to what physical evidence consistutes evidence of a spiritual
nature, then we could look for traces of them in the archeological record.
Although several people have proposed such criteria, there isn't general
agreement. Furthermore, inability to find such traces associated with early
hominids could merely mean that the traces are not preserved or that we're
not looking for the right thing, so it would be hard to get a clear answer
even with agreement on what to look for.

Accepting evolution more or less entails accepting that the Bible is not
especially concerned with telling us about the methods of creation. Knowing
that God did it doesn't distinguish among the options above (not to mention
other possibilities that I didn't think of).

This is somewhat related to the question of when and how babies get souls,
to the historically debated question of whether newly discovered peoples
were fully human and in need of evangelism, to speculation on the spiritual
status of extraterrestrials, etc. Arguments on those topics might provide
some ideas, but probably would not provide many answers, except insofar as
taking a particular stance on one of these might have implications for the

Dr. David Campbell
425 Scientific Collections
University of Alabama
"I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
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Received on Tue Sep 26 12:47:46 2006

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