Re: [asa] Event or process

From: Christine Smith <>
Date: Sat May 12 2007 - 02:17:33 EDT

David writes:
"I would agree with what you said about the main
thrust of the passage, but the main thrust does not
allow us to ignore any minor statements along the way.
 The point remains that this "minor statement" seems
to draw a distinction between the animal and human
souls. So far no one has countered otherwise. I
agree that it is important to look at the context of a
verse, but in this case I don't think the context
changes the meaning of the verse at all. The larger
context of the verse also contrasts the fates of the
bodies of animals and humans (they both go into the
ground) with the fates of the souls of animals and
humans (the human soul goes up, transcending the
natural realm)."

I would agree that there is a distinct difference
between human and animals souls, but I'm not convinced
that that difference relates to their eternal status;
nevertheless, you bring up a good point (I agree, you
can't ignore minor statements, but rather must
interpret within its proper context), and I will
ponder it further.

David continues:
"My statement that animals are "purely material" was
poorly worded. I should have said "of purely natural
origin." Evolutionary biologists have demonstrated
how natural selection can also work on "emotions."
Once again, I am no expert, but I would view emotions
and conciousness as emergent properties of complex
brains. Are they unrelated to souls? No, not
unrelated. They are very closely intertwined but at
the same time seperate from the human soul. How then
can it be said that "God is love" and that God is the
"great I Am"? I see absolutely no contradiction here.
 I can bake a cookie that has no conciousness,
emotion, or love, but does that say anything about me.
 After all, did I claim that I baked it in my own
image? Nope, so there's no contradiction."

What distinction do you draw between "purely material"
and "purely of natural origin"? Beyond the fact that
God is the supernatural creator of our natural laws,
is not everything that is of pure natural origins also
purely material?

The emergent properties issue gets back to the very
heart of my "spiritual meltdown"--if you can say that
somehow, someway, the unique complexity of our brains
RESULTS in emotions, consciousness, etc., then what is
left to say of a soul? What part of our "being" is
eternal, if not these? When we *feel* hatred, is that
not a sin? Do we tell an atheist that everything, even
the most intangible parts of us, come from nature, but
conveniently there is something else in us that is
eternal, that not only is completely immaterial, but
is also completely imperceptible? That would seem to
me to make a creator God rather superfluous in the
creation process. From a Christian vantage point, if
we say that these attributes are derived from the
physical structures of our bodies, then do we also
attribute these qualities in God to a physical
structure of some type? If not, and we maintain that
(at least until the Word became flesh) God is entirely
spirit, then how can we assume that these same
qualities in us are not as spiritually immaterial as
these qualities in God--how can we presume to
attribute these qualities to natural processes in the
one case, but not the other?

I agree that there is certainly a *correlation*
between the complexity of brain structure and these
types of intangible qualities, but one cannot assume
cause based only on correlation. That was where my
prism analogy came in--if light is reflected through a
prism, the physical structure of the prism directly
correlates to how, or even whether, the light is
reflected--but it itself does not produce the light.

I was a little confused on your cookie example--maybe
you could clarify?

Jack writes:

"I will say that I am very uncomfortable with this
idea that animals
eternal souls. I see no scriptural evidence
supporting this. As I
see it
the ENTIRE Bible is about Man's creation, fall,
redemption, and
It all centers on Christ.

Do animals sin? Do they need a saviour? Of course
not. Christ was
second Adam, he was a man to save mankind. I dont
think there is any
affect on the rest of creation from the fall. There
is no need for the
physical creation, the animals, or the laws of the
universe to be

I agree that the Bible says little about the
relationship of animals to God, but I think that that
is inherent in its purpose. As you noted, animals do
not sin, and are in no need of a savior--thus, they
have no need for a Bible. We do. If I am a geology
student and I have a geology textbook, do I assume
that any science not in that textbook does not exist,
or is not important? Of course not. In the same way, I
see the Bible as being about us and for us because we
needed it to understand our own relationship with God.

Also, in terms of the restoration of creation, Romans
8:19-23 states:
"For the creation awaits with eager longing for the
revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was
subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the
will of him who subjected it in hope; because the
creation itself will be set free from its bondage to
decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children
of God. We know that the whole creation has been
groaning in travail together until now; and not only
the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first
fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for
adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies."

Although this passage certainly is not specific to the
status of animal souls, I think it's pretty clear that
creation is to be redeemed along with humanity; since
animals (and humanity, for that matter) are part of
creation, can we not infer that animals are
encompassed in this redemption?

In looking at Revelations to answer your next
question, I also find the verse:
"And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and
under the earth and in the sea, and all therein
saying, To him who sits upon the throne and to the
Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for
ever and ever" (Rev. 5:13)
Does this not also point to a heaven involving

Jack continues:
"If what the scriptures call the souls under the altar
are just
bodies, somehow brought back in time, why would they
be so interested
when Judgment Day was coming? It seems obvious that
they were
because they were awaiting resurrection."

I'm assuming we're still referring to Rev. 6:9? If so,
I agree with what was said earlier--this passage would
seem to indicate to me that these souls had physical
bodies of some type, though admittedly it doesn't
specify, so I wouldn't exclude the possibility that
they are only spiritual beings.

Jack continues:
"I dont agree with the idea that free will is what the
image of God is.
image of God is our eternal nature, our immortal soul.
 Free will came
later, after Adam ate of the fruit of the tree of the
knowledge of good
evil. Then their eyes were opened. And while this
made us like God,
knowing good and evil, this is obviously after man was
created in the
of God."

I'm not sure I follow you're logic here. God specified
that Adam and Eve were NOT to eat of the tree--yet,
they did. Doesn't this act of defiance constitute free
will, and that in the act of exercising that will,
they discovered there is such a thing as good & evil?

To clarify, what I specified as the "image of God" was
that we became god-like because He allows us to
exercise our free will even in defiance of His will,
not that free will in and of itself constitutes the
"image". Maybe that's a fine line, but I think it's an
important nuance.

Jack--good point on the link between farming,
civilization and Genesis. That makes sense to me on
its face, but I'll ponder it a bit more :)

Okay, I really need to go to bed. Thanks for the
comments--a good challenge always brings good growth!


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Received on Sat May 12 02:18:09 2007

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