Mind/Body Dualism A biblical account of personhood and a response to skeptics
dualism • Jesus recognized that body and soul as distinct entities • “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the One who is able to destroy soul as well as body in hell.” (Mt. 10.28; Lk. 12.4-5) What is matter? What is immaterial?
what is matter? • Publically accessible • Such that an object must be either spatially located or extended to be considered having material properties • Such that when a strictly material object has physical properties, that object does not behave in a goal-oriented or purposeful manner
what is the immaterial? • Privately accessible • Rationality: the universe has an inner logic that we are capable of understanding • Consciousness: awareness, intentionality, cannot be reduced to neurons • Thought: The ability to do abstract reasoning
personhood derives from God The Hebrew word for “image”, tselem, indicates personhood. Whenever tselem is used it never describes a characteristic of anything, but rather a meaning behind something or a personhood to someone be it YHWH (Gen. 1.26, 27, 5.3, 9.6), false idols (Num. 33.52), or other forms of ungodliness (Ps. 73.20). The reference to Numbers 33.52 does refer to a physical object but is directive to the purpose and meaning behind the melting of the physical object so that it’s image or purpose should be destroyed. For further information on the personhood of God see William Lane Craig’s "Divine Timelessness and Personhood." International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 43 (1998).
dichotomy vs. trichotomy • Dichotomy: Humans are composed of two distinct components: body and soul • Trichotomy: Humans are composed of three distinct components: body, soul, and spirit • “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb. 412)
origin of the soul • Creationism: The human soul is miraculously fused with the human body at [or some point] during conception. • Traducianism: The human soul is passed biologically from parent to child.
[biggest] argument against dualism O1: How could a soul, totally lacking in physical properties, cause things to happen or vise versa? R1: This objection assumes that if we do not know how A causes B, then it is not reasonable to believe that A causes B, especially if A and B are different.