Re: [asa] Event or process

From: David Buller <>
Date: Tue May 08 2007 - 20:38:55 EDT

The gradual "soul coming along with the brain" view is pretty common.
That's the view Kenneth Miller takes in Finding Darwin's God. I would still
have to say that even though the early humans could evolve brains capable of
sensing the divine, I don't think that that made them closer to having an *
eternal* spiritual nature.

By the way, in Mere Christianity, CS Lewis explains the Moral Law, and in
The Language of God, Collins mentions how this is contradictory to what
natural selection would produce. It seems to me that there are
characteristics of man's soul that seem to defy a natural, gradual evolution
with the soul coming along with the brain. I'll go reread those sections of
those two books and see what they say about the origin or man's soul.

-David Buller

On 5/8/07, Christine Smith <> wrote:
> 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
> accomplished...
> 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
> loves.
> 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!!

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Received on Tue May 8 20:39:24 2007

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