Re: [asa] Event or process

From: Christine Smith <>
Date: Tue May 08 2007 - 00:03:20 EDT

Hello all,

Okay, as this relates to one of the chief reasons for
my recent "spiritual meltdown" and I think I've now
come to a tentative reconceptualization for the idea
of a soul, I'm going to take a crack at this one...for
the sake of completeness (I'm rearticulating this to
some extent as I write), I'm going to go a bit beyond
the question here...anyway, please handle with care :)

In my current, very humble understanding, I see that
God has largely used process (working in, with, and
under the laws of nature, to use a Lutheran phrase) to
form the universe as it is today. He has however,
having a divine purpose for this universe, intervened
at certain points in this process to bring about
certain parts of His plan...these points might be
thought of as a sort of "step" (fundamental change in
substance) in the otherwise smooth curve function of
evolution, which nature itself could not have

Mainly, first, He created the raw materials and the
functioning laws of the universe--He created something
from nothing. Second, once the appropriate
pre-conditions were in place, He created the mechanics
of life (i.e DNA, RNA, genes--I'm not a biologist, but
whatever was the appropriate "something" that made
inanimate chemicals/electrons suddenly become
"programmed" to self-replicate, survive, adapt, etc.
and become as it were, "life").

Now non-sentient life (i.e. bacteria) evolved to the
point where brains began to form in animals, and
brains as I see it, are a sort of physical prism
through which the divine may be perceived (think of a
telescope, through which you can see the stars--I've
also heard the comparison made to a radio, which
receives the music); thus, with the advent of brains
comes the advent of a soul (thus, animals have souls).
A soul here being defined as the portion of God (His
light, if you'll follow the prism metaphor) that 1)
comes from God 2) fills our being (i.e. is the "I" in
"I") 3) is reflected by our being so that it can be
perceived by others and 4) is (physically) shaped by
our brains. As our brains physically evolved/matured,
they became more capable of perceiving and reflecting
this light--thus, as one goes up to the higher orders
of animals, one sees that they seem more and more
human in their characteristics. Finally, at the
appropriate time, to form humans "in His likeness", we
receive the capability of perceiving morality & to
thereby exercise free will (i.e. Genesis--knowledge of
good/evil--the fall).

Off topic tangent--A potential implication in this
line of logic is that those humans whose brains have
not developed to the point of perceiving good/evil and
exercising free will (infants/young children and
severely mentally disabled) are incapable of sinning
(like an animal is incapable of sinning), and
therefore they are already saved (having never fallen,
as it were)...okay, back to the main topic...

In other words, the development of the "soul"
throughout evolution is the increasing ability to
perceive/receive into ourselves God's
characteristics--consciousness/self-awareness (the
Great I AM), feelings/emotions (God is love),
logic/reason (God created natural laws), creativity
(God created, period!), and finally, morality/free
will (God is the author of good/evil, makes choices,
etc), which has come about both through God acting
in/with/under a process and through God's overt
actions at critical points in time.

Throughout human history, God has continued this
revelation in both the traditional (natural) way and
in a relational way (parents/children) as over time we
have learned to express our spiritual gifts through
religion/faith, and God has guided/corrected our
understanding of His truths through miracles and other
more direct means of communication (thus, the
evolution of religion/faith)--finally culminating in
God Himself entering into the creation to teach us
(and save us!) in the form of Jesus Christ. (so we
have symmetry in creation--just as we came to be
"human" through both process and overt action, so God
is making us a new creation through both process and
overt action).

Why the long process then? Why not an instant "boom"
and here we are? As the study Bible at my church posed
the question in Genesis Chapter 1--why, if God could
have created the universe in an instant, did He choose
to create it even in 6 days (process)? Being a
geologist (and again, my prism metaphor being a lot
like a mineral structure), I liken the process to that
of metamorphism. God uses the laws of nature and the
constraints/challenges of evolution (a.k.a. high heat
and pressure), to form the truly precious gems of His
creation--his souled creatures for whom He cares and

Okay, I've literally poured out some of my soul
here...what do you think?

Christine Smith

...."For we walk by faith, not by sight"...still!!

--- Carol or John Burgeson <> wrote:

> Something Terry Gray posted about 2 months ago, when
> I was defending some
> of Glenn Morton's data has had me thinking about the
> TE vs PC (Theistic
> Evolution vs Progressive Creation) world view.
> (As a philosophy, I continue to favor a PC view,
> although I recognize (I
> think) its problems. But that is not the point of
> this post.)
> Terry argued, as I remember, that Glenn's data,
> which shows evidences of
> humanity going back millions of years, is valid, but
> does not therefore
> provide persuasive evidences that organisms back
> then were, in any sense,
> "created in the image of God." In theological terms,
> they did not possess
> souls. After all, some animals today (elephants,
> bears, etc.) also
> possess some of these characteristics.
> I think one of the points on this issue comes down
> to this question:
> When the first humans were created by God, and
> infused with a soul, was
> this an event -- or a process?
> I am having difficulty posing the question
> coherently. I'll try again:
> Was there a time in history when a soulless entity
> gave birth to an
> entity with a soul (event)?
> Or -- was the emergence of the soul a continuous
> function over a span of
> time (process)?
> I am aware that "soul" is not at all a scientific
> term, and this is not a
> "scientific" question. I suspect that it is either a
> nonsense question or
> one that cannot, by its nature, be answered.
> Burgy
> "The first key to wisdom is frequent questioning.
> For it is by doubting
> that we come in enquiry and by enquiry we arrive at
> the truth." --
> Abelard
> (Review of Eugenie
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Received on Tue May 8 00:03:53 2007

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