RE: [asa] RE: (fall-away) TE and apologetics

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Mon Sep 21 2009 - 14:20:05 EDT


I understand your reason (expressed below) for rejecting theism, or at least revealed religion, on the basis of your conclusion that there is no such thing as the "soul." That makes some sense to me, although I don't see the two conclusions as having a necessary connection (as you do).

You gave no evidence, however, that you are familiar with any of the many Christian authors who have offered various notions of what the "soul" actually is--that is, what is the nature of our spiritual/mental component? People such as Malcolm Jeeves, Warren, Brown, Nancey Murphy, Donald MacKay, William Hasker, William Alston, and many others have talked about and debated various philosophical conceptions of "soul," in relation to what the Bible actually says about us; none of them holds a view that (IMO) would lead to the conclusion you drew. As for the resurrection, which you link with "soul" in what you say below, I should point out that N.T. Wright, the great scholar I cited the other day on the truth of the bodily resurrection, also shows convincingly (IMO) that the Bible itself actually teaches a very different relationship between "soul" and "resurrection" than the one you seem to think it must hold. To get a glimpse of what Wright says so carefully but at much leng!
 th, you can read the exchange between Scott Rae and Joel Green, on pp. 191-96 on the latest (Sept) issue of PSCF. You might not agree with either of them, but as a fair-minded person you would probably agree that this issue of "soul" isn't nearly as clear cut as you seem to think.

The questions you list below, Bernie, are serious questions that I take seriously. They aren't trivial talking points; they aren't childish, even though children sometimes ask about senile people and heaven. I simply want to convey that a lot of really serious people have thought about these things and made serious suggestions in an effort to reply. Quite a few of them, Bernie, hold your own view, stated below, that the conscience emerges from the brain: that view need not rule out biblical theism, and indeed it might actually be more consistent with biblical theism than the classical, Platonic "dualism" that seems to be your conception of the biblical conception.

Such matters can't be adequately discussed on an email list, esp when (as you've often said) you don't like to read lengthy posts. They are discussed, however, in authors such as those I've named--and many other authors. I sense that you've already concluded what are you going to conclude; I doubt that you will explore any of these people for yourself. But, I also sense that you've drawn your conclusions without much of an effort to engage/investigate the kinds of ideas I've pointed out here. In other words, on this topic at least, you do appear (from where I sit) to have jumped to the wrong conclusion.

My best to you, Bernie,


>>> "Dehler, Bernie" <> 9/21/2009 12:48 PM >>>
I think my latest awareness came at the last ASA conference with the discussions about the "mind/body" problem. I've come to see the 'conscience' as something complex that emerges from the brain. Christians would call it a 'soul' by I see no reason to attach a spiritual entity to it. In Christian theology, the idea of a soul introduces many unanswered questions-

What are toddlers or senile people are like in heaven (eternally toddler or eternally senile?).

If souls given at conception: how are souls given to identical twins (one egg/sperm splits off into two kids after some time) and chimeras (two fertilized eggs grow then at some point combine tomake one person) at birth? Also, Siamese twins?

Seeing the conscious as just emergence (and dissipation in old age) from the brain resolves all these questions.

No soul -> no afterlife -> no resurrection -> no work of Christ on the cross.


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Received on Mon Sep 21 14:21:18 2009

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