Adam & Eve and the Soul Question

Is there a God? If so, what is She like?

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Lawrence Crocker
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Adam & Eve and the Soul Question

Post by Lawrence Crocker »

Many of those who believe that the Book of Genesis is divinely inspired also believe in evolution, and, in particular, in the descent of humankind from earlier species going all the way back to the unicellular. “God behind evolution” and “guided evolution” are popular ways of expressing their view. As I understand it, Catholic doctrine does not speak to the question of evolution, although recent popes have expressed confidence in it as lay scientists. Still, the spiritual truth of Adam and Eve is a tenet of doctrine: there was an historical couple, the progenitors of us all, and these two were the first people on this planet in that they were the first creatures with souls. (More accurately they were the first with the religiously important sort of soul, not the sort of soul that dogs, clams, and dandelions may have if you tend towards the Aristotelian. The human soul has life after death potential. By virtue of its possession humans are “in the image of God” and only a little lower than the angels. This is what I mean by soul hereinafter.) Actual Adam and Eve committed an actual historical act of disobedience to God, constituting original sin and prefiguring the relation of our species to God. Salvation is possible for, and only for, the descendants of Adam and Eve.

This theory must accommodate the fact that some of the other pairs of the generation of Adam and Eve will have had children, and grandchildren, and so on. None in their lines of descent will have had souls until they were crossed with a line descending from Adam and Eve. (They all do either so cross or die out on the assumption that we are now all descended from the select couple.) That would have taken many generations. So for that length of time, on the doctrine at issue, the human race would have had ensouled and soulless members living side by side.

Now there is nothing impossible about this, but it seems pretty implausible. The root problem is the idea that there is such a thing as a soul of an either you have it or you don't sort: humans do, animals don't. This is the traditional Jewish, Christian, Muslim doctrine, and combining it with the theory of evolution inevitably brings some puzzles.

One problem involves the status of fertilized ova. Aquinas, following Aristotle, had ensoulment at 40 days for males, 80 for females (remarkable the polarity of this distinction, given what we now know about the development timing of the male and female brain). Anti-abortion ideology has now followed the view of Pythagoras over that of Aquinas and Aristotle to settle on ensoulment at conception. This, however, raises the embarrassing questions whether the zygote that splits (identical twins) had, pre-split one soul or two, and when two zygotes fuse (chimerism) did the souls of each of the predecessor zygotes fuse or did they disappear, replaced by a new soul. (If the latter is the case, then it is not true that each fetus has his or her soul from conception.) (For more on this you could take a look at the 6/3/2014 post “Life at Conception” of http://www.LawrenceCrocker.blogspot.com.)

What about fetuses with genetic abnormalities inconsistent with their survival to birth? Is every miscarriage a soul that never sees the light of day? What if those genetic abnormalities that prevent the formation of the cerebral cortex? Was there a soul “in” a fetus that could never have had a thought and that met its end after a few weeks of gestation.

The theory of an all or nothing, ontologically crucial, soul requires some elaboration, in addition, with respect to whether homo-other-than-sapiens. Did Neanderthals, Denisovans, Flores have souls or not? Perhaps only those Neanderthals and Denisovans with some sapiens blood had souls?

For a fuller version of the main theme here, see “Doctrinal Adam & Eve and Genetic Adam & Eve,” at http://www.LawrenceCrocker.blogspot.com.
bobevenson
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Re: Adam & Eve and the Soul Question

Post by bobevenson »

Most of the above is inconsistent with even a rudimentary understanding of science.
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Arising_uk
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Re: Adam & Eve and the Soul Question

Post by Arising_uk »

bobevenson wrote:Most of the above is inconsistent with even a rudimentary understanding of science.
:lol: Where does your 'divinity' sit within this rudimentary understanding?
Dalek Prime
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Re: Adam & Eve and the Soul Question

Post by Dalek Prime »

Lawrence. All you need to do is trace from Noah's generation. No one else was left.

Anyways, there is no soul. It's a consciousness, inseparable from its biological works. That's it, and bugger all else.
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Re: Adam & Eve and the Soul Question

Post by Dubious »

I don't get it. Why would these 'soul' speculations be in any way relevant? The days of Scholasticism have long passed. Without it there is much more clarity which relates to both humans and animals. With it there are only incessant logic permutations which never conclude and only manage to redesign the problem in different ways. It's as impossible to rinse out any bona fide conclusions from these types of argument as it is to play the Hammerklavier Sonata with only three fingers on each hand.
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attofishpi
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Re: Adam & Eve and the Soul Question

Post by attofishpi »

Dalek Prime wrote:Anyways, there is no soul. It's a consciousness, inseparable from its biological works. That's it, and bugger all else.
Welcome back old tin chap. No i don't believe the soul has any consciousness (without the biological means). For me its something like a *pointer recursively traversing time through the biological matter that is us.
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Re: Adam & Eve and the Soul Question

Post by Dalek Prime »

attofishpi wrote:
Dalek Prime wrote:Anyways, there is no soul. It's a consciousness, inseparable from its biological works. That's it, and bugger all else.
Welcome back old tin chap. No i don't believe the soul has any consciousness (without the biological means). For me its something like a *pointer recursively traversing time through the biological matter that is us.
Someone's been naughty, and has been doing C, when Lisp is the superior language... Lol!

Honestly, I'm here off and on. Still so tired. Never seem to get enough rest. And I've been planning a big software project, when I should be resting.

Cheers my friend. Thank you for the warm welcome. :)
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attofishpi
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Re: Adam & Eve and the Soul Question

Post by attofishpi »

Dalek Prime wrote:
attofishpi wrote:
Dalek Prime wrote:Anyways, there is no soul. It's a consciousness, inseparable from its biological works. That's it, and bugger all else.
Welcome back old tin chap. No i don't believe the soul has any consciousness (without the biological means). For me its something like a *pointer recursively traversing time through the biological matter that is us.
Someone's been naughty, and has been doing C, when Lisp is the superior language... Lol!

Honestly, I'm here off and on. Still so tired. Never seem to get enough rest. And I've been planning a big software project, when I should be resting.

Cheers my friend. Thank you for the warm welcome. :)
Have to admit i have no idea about LISP, had heard of it but just wikid it 4th Gen? Old school 4th gen by the sounds of it. I did live C tho!!

Im still binary around here - on and off. Ill chat bom about your project, its always good to have a puzzle or two!
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Re: Adam & Eve and the Soul Question

Post by Dalek Prime »

Well, we can do some Lisp in another thread. I actually do love C. A portable assembler whose library can fit in one's memory, or on a cheat sheet for easy reference, and let's you do what want.
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attofishpi
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Re: Adam & Eve and the Soul Question

Post by attofishpi »

Dalek Prime wrote:Well, we can do some Lisp in another thread. I actually do love C. A portable assembler whose library can fit in one's memory, or on a cheat sheet for easy reference, and let's you do what want.
Ah the inline assembly getting to the guts of the machine. I never did any of my own but pinched a screen refresh delay in assembly for flicker free vid memory dumps.
Looking forward to hearing about your project. :)
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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: Adam & Eve and the Soul Question

Post by Hobbes' Choice »

Lawrence Crocker wrote:Many of those who believe that the Book of Genesis is divinely inspired also believe in evolution,.
The theory of an all or nothing, ontologically crucial, soul requires some elaboration, in addition, with respect to whether homo-other-than-sapiens. Did Neanderthals, Denisovans, Flores have souls or not? Perhaps only those Neanderthals and Denisovans with some sapiens blood had souls?
....
For a fuller version of the main theme here, see “Doctrinal Adam & Eve and Genetic Adam & Eve,” at http://www.LawrenceCrocker.blogspot.com.
I find this a curious and banal question to ask in the 21stC. One can only assume that you are born in the Mid-West of the USA and had a thorough 19thC upbringing, Chapel and Candels.

What the fuck do you mean by the phrase "soul"?
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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: Adam & Eve and the Soul Question

Post by Hobbes' Choice »

Arising_uk wrote:
bobevenson wrote:Most of the above is inconsistent with even a rudimentary understanding of science.
:lol: Where does your 'divinity' sit within this rudimentary understanding?
Here's Bob's Brain, in a nut(case) shell.

Definition 2.
BIOLOGY
an undeveloped or immature part or organ, especially a structure in an embryo or larva which will develop into an organ, limb, etc.
"the fetal lung rudiment"
Philosophy Explorer
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Re: Adam & Eve and the Soul Question

Post by Philosophy Explorer »

Hobbes' Choice wrote:
Arising_uk wrote:
bobevenson wrote:Most of the above is inconsistent with even a rudimentary understanding of science.
:lol: Where does your 'divinity' sit within this rudimentary understanding?
Here's Bob's Brain, in a nut(case) shell.

Definition 2.
BIOLOGY
an undeveloped or immature part or organ, especially a structure in an embryo or larva which will develop into an organ, limb, etc.
"the fetal lung rudiment"
Dumb and dumber :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Greta
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Re: Adam & Eve and the Soul Question

Post by Greta »

Do Australopithecines count?
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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: Adam & Eve and the Soul Question

Post by Hobbes' Choice »

Greta wrote:Do Australopithecines count?
Australopithecus is extinct, so no longer can count.

One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Many....
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