Re: [asa] TE The Future

From: wjp <>
Date: Wed May 20 2009 - 18:06:35 EDT


Just to make it clear, while I am not certain of Wright's view, I am of Murphy's. She is a monist. She believes there are only embodied humans. As I am trying to remember her view, it occurs to me that there are at least two possible positions here:
1) there is only what we'd call matter or the physical, i.e., there is no immaterial substance, save only of God and angels, or
2) there is a immaterial substance we might call a soul, but there are only embodied souls.

The first view would please our neuroscience friends, but not the latter.

With this in mind, at death there is not a separate disemodied existence, where one awaits the bodily resurrection. One would have to speculate well beyond my pay scale what the status of the dearly departed is at this point, but to say they are in the arms of Jesus. What then of the damned?

What I have always been taught, and I believe Scripture teaches, is that there is ONLY a bodily resurrection. As to state of our existence prior to the Last Day, there is general silence. But I have also been taught to think of ourselves as composed of body and soul (again, Scripture speaks of us this way). I have always been taught not to think that the dearly departed are strictly speaking in heaven. Perhaps this view has derived from the story Jesus tells of Lazarus (Luke 16).

As with Scripture, so what I have been taught, so I have believed, it is not meant to be a complete coherent metaphysics. Indeed, I have been warned not to try to force Scripture into a metaphysical whole.

What I am trying to say here is that the belief in only a bodily resurrection does not entail Murphy's monism.


On Wed, 20 May 2009 14:50:10 -0400, "Ted Davis" <> wrote:
> David,
> I recommend for your study the works of John Polkinghorne (esp his book,
> "The God of Hope and the End of the World," but also "The End of the World
> and the Ends of God," written with Michael Welker) and Robert Russell
> ("Cosmology from Alpha to Omega"). Both P and R greatly admire N.T.
> Wright's book, "The Resurrection of the Son of God," perhaps R even more
> than P. As you may know, Wright argues that, according to the
> understanding
> of second temple Jews (i.e., Jews at the time of Jesus), the resurrection
> meant the eschatological future. The person is given a new, glorified
> body
> (like that of Jesus following the resurrection) when the new heaven and
> earth are brought into existence. Jesus is thus the "first fruits of them
> that slept," in this quite literal sense: we will become like him. This
> is
> a general resurrection of all individual believers, unless I have
> misunderstood something somewhere.
> I do not see TE as necessarily involving such an interpretation of our
> resurrection hope. Indeed, if Wright is correct, this was the view of the
> early Christians, none of whom (I assume) was an evolutionist. However--a
> point whose significance seemed entirely lost on my friends in the ID
> movement when I talked about this a number of years ago--it is a view held
> by some of the leading TEs today (I just gave two examples), and it is
> also
> held by some of the leading Christian thinkers in neuroscience (Nancey
> Murphy, I think, holds this view, and so does Malcolm Jeeves to the best
> of
> my knowledge). What the neuroscience people like about this view is that
> it
> emphasizes the body/soul unity (their view) as the "biblical" view.
> (Murphy
> and Jeeves are also TEs, thus two more examples.) The point often missed
> here, relative to TE, is that those TEs who hold such a view clearly have
> a
> very high view of divine transcendence: you need an omnipotent God to
> accomplish either of those things. The God of process theism can't get
> there without "coercing" nature, and that God isn't in the business of
> coercing anything. (This is one of those subtle but very important things
> that is obscured when Gregory Arago describes TEs generically as "process
> oriented." That terminology as a generalization is misleading at best, if
> made out of ignorance--an example of the kind of ignorance of modern
> theology on the part of ID proponents that I've talked about. If not said
> out of ignorance, than it's either sloppy or at worst it's deliberate
> distortion.)
> Again, David: I would never couple this view with TE in some necessary
> way.
> Barbour, almost certainly, would reject such a view of the future. And,
> lots of people who have believed something like this have not been
> evolutionists at all. However, it is significant (IMO) that some of the
> leading TEs today do believe this. It's a crucial point of contact with
> biblical Christianity and a crucial denial of metaphysical naturalism. If
> Johnson is right, that accepting MN really commits one to accepting
> atheism,
> then very smart and very honest Christians like those identified here
> should
> not exist.
> David and fellow ASA members: Russell will be speaking about this very
> topic (eschatology and evolution) at Messiah this November. I will
> announce
> details later this year, but you may want to save the date: Saturday, Nov
> 14.
> Ted
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Received on Wed May 20 18:07:02 2009

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