[asa] Event or process revisited

From: Don Winterstein <dfwinterstein@msn.com>
Date: Wed May 16 2007 - 05:55:57 EDT

Burgy wrote: ...I do not argue any..position other than one of seriously considering all options.

For many reasons I take seriously the possibility that the human soul evolved stepwise continuously from lesser souls all the way down. Such soul evolution holds that the emergence of the human soul involved both a series of processes and a series of events. "Soul phylogeny" and "soul ontogeny" both involve such series.

Human soul phylogeny refers to the emergence of the human soul from animal souls, where those animal souls in turn emerged earlier from souls of lesser animals and before that from souls of single living cells, and so on. Human soul ontogeny refers to the emergence of the human soul in the womb from the fertilized egg.

The processes of this evolution consist of the activities leading up to the events. An event is the formation of a higher new soul through unification of lesser component souls. The activities leading up to an event would be those that physically prepare the component souls for unification. For example, in order to form the soul of a living cell from organic chemicals, it is first necessary to bring together all the component chemicals that go into the cell. Once these are properly arranged and fitted together, the cell emerges as more than the sum of its components; it gains a soul. In higher forms of life, the processes would not involve assembly of diverse components so much as enhanced unification and integration of diverse components. Enhanced unification in mammals presumably comes largely through brain enhancements.

To my mind the best analogy for the event of soul formation is what happens when an insight pops into the mind: Before the insight, one immerses oneself in all the details of the problem, but how the details fit together is elusive until the instant of insight. Likewise, when a soul forms, all the necessary hardware has been put in place, and at some felicitous point the soul simply pops into existence; the physical components go collectively to a state of new and higher awareness under the aegis of the new soul.

The highest levels of consciousness result from the fullest possible unification of many parts having great diversity. Soul is not equivalent to consciousness but is closely related, and high consciousness cannot exist without an appropriately advanced soul. (That's what I assert, anyway.)

This model of soul evolution is relevant to the question of abortion, whether and when: The human fertilized egg does indeed have a human soul, but it's a soul far less advanced than that of any adult mammal. As the fetus grows, it forms successively more advanced souls until it reaches a point where it becomes the kind of person that I believe God has an interest in saving eternally. I don't believe God has any long-term interest in fertilized human eggs or microscopic embryos.

(Is this any sillier than what's been handed down to us from the philosophers? IMO it's less silly.)

Don

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Carol or John Burgeson<mailto:burgytwo@juno.com>
  To: asa@calvin.edu<mailto:asa@calvin.edu>
  Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2007 7:30 AM
  Subject: [asa] Degrees

   
  I see no problem (theologically) with the process approach where the afterlife is granted to all who came before Adam -- just as it MUST be granted to at least certain animals.

  As I noted earlier, the presumption that "soul" refers to something real may be at the root of our difficulties on this subject.

  Consider an analogy with the human reproductive process. Some hold that a "soul" is infused by God at the "moment" of conception. Assuming this to be true, and assuming "innocents" are granted heaven, it follows that heaven is 50% populated by persons who died in the first two weeks after conception. Possible, of course, but it does seem strange. Again, the "soul" concept seems to play a sticky part.

  Note that I do not argue any other position other than one of seriously considering all options.

  Burgy

  www.burgy.50megs.com/crisis.htm<http://www.burgy.50megs.com/crisis.htm> (Why $4.00 gas and rationing is on the horizon)

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Received on Wed May 16 05:53:02 2007

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