Re: [asa] Event or process revisited

From: Christine Smith <christine_mb_smith@yahoo.com>
Date: Fri May 18 2007 - 14:35:51 EDT

Speaking as a person who had a Grandmother who passed
away from Alzheimers, and who is "pro-life", I do not
see a conflict between this and saying that animals
have eternal souls.

As noted in previous posts, I believe an eternal soul
will manifest itself as endowing a physical entity
with qualities that God has shown Himself to possess.
These qualities include, in no particular order,
consciousness, self-awareness, reason, a sense of
morality, free will, and feelings/emotions. I believe
that since God is spirit, these qualities are also
spirit, and do not emerge from what is traditionally
thought of as "natural". Nevertheless, it is clear
from science that how these qualities are revealed in
us is directly *correlated* to our brains. Therefore,
I would take the position that God has endowed each of
us with a soul that is suited to the level of
evolutionary development of our brain, and that
animals, who have some of the qualities I mentioned
above, are included in this.

I would not characterize this as creating a "partial"
or "developing" soul. Rather, I would say that each of
us is given a "whole" soul--that is to say, God has
given a "cat soul" to a cat, a "frog soul" to a frog,
and a "human soul" to a human--each is "whole" in so
far as each of those species is concerned because it
is what they were meant to be. Likewise, it is not our
soul which is developing, but our brains--as our
brains become more complex, God endows us with a
greater number and degree of His qualities. From the
perspective of a mentally disabled person, or a fetus
or infant, they still have full human souls, but
they're brains may be considered "partial" in the
sense that they are incapable of fully manifesting
that which has been given them.

In terms of process vs. event, I therefore see both
playing a role--through evolution, our brains (the
prism which is filled with the light of God and
reflects the light of God) change through a process;
through the grace of God, we are endowed with an
eternal soul appropriate to our species in a single
event (I hold that this moment is conception); through
our growth and death (process), our brains become more
capable, and then increasingly less capable of
expressing that which is given to us.

For those who would argue with me that the qualities I
attribute to an *eternal soul* are caused by (emerge)
the physical structure of our brains (rather than
*correlated* with), can you please explain to me,
*mechanistically* how this is accomplished? (or is
this something that you feel has not been discovered
by science, but will be?) Maybe I'm not aware of (or
don't fully understand) the research you are using to
support this??

--- Jack <drsyme@cablespeed.com> wrote:

> This is exactly why I think the view that there are
> partial souls, or developing souls, or that animals
> have souls is very dangerous, and in my opinion,
> unbiblical.
>
> If souls emerge from neural complexity, in other
> words from brain development. What happens to the
> souls when the brain deteriorates from Alzheimers
> disease, or a spongiform encephalopathy, or anoxic
> brain injury, or any other sort of severe brain
> damage?
>
> I would like to see Don explain how his position
> does not lead to justifying killing people in those
> conditions.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: David Buller
> To: Don Winterstein
> Cc: asa@calvin.edu ; Carol or John Burgeson
> Sent: Thursday, May 17, 2007 8:29 PM
> Subject: Re: [asa] Event or process revisited
>
>
>
>
>
> On 5/16/07, Don Winterstein
> <dfwinterstein@msn.com> wrote:
> 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.
>
> If God has no "long-term interest" in an embryo or
> even a fetus (where would you draw the line? at
> birth?), than the embryo is in essence no different
> from any "animal." Both have souls but, not eternal
> ones. Killing an animal is not morally wrong. As
> soon as you come to the conclusion that God doesn't
> have an eternal interest in embryos, than why in the
> world would we object to abortion? As you said, an
> embryo has less of a soul than any other "fully
> formed mammal." I would strongly object to the last
> sentence in Don's statement above. The Biblical
> authors seemed to think that God had a "long-term
> interest" for them from their conception onward:
>
> "On you was I cast from my birth,and from my
> mother's womb you have been my God"
>
> "And now the LORD says,he who formed me from the
> womb to be his servant"
>
> "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,and
> before you were born I consecrated you;I appointed
> you a prophet to the nations."
>
> If you would would object to an early-term
> abortion, I would be interested in hearing on what
> grounds you would do so.
>
> -David Buller
>
>

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Received on Fri May 18 14:36:46 2007

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