Are humans composed of a material body and an immaterial soul? This view is commonly held by Christians, yet it has been undermined by recent developments in neuroscience. How much of Christian theology is built on views of humanity that modern science has proved to be untenable?
Exploring what Scripture and theology teach about issues such as being in the divine image, the importance of community, sin, free will, salvation, and the afterlife, Joel Green argues that a dualistic view of the human person is inconsistent with both science and Scripture. This wide-ranging discussion is sure to provoke much thought and debate.
The Logos Bible Software edition of Body, Soul, and Human Life: The Nature of Humanity in the Bible is designed to encourage and stimulate your study and understanding of the Bible. Scripture passages link directly to your English translations and original-language texts, and important theological concepts link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. In addition, you can perform powerful searches by topic and find what other authors, scholars, and theologians have to say about interpreting the Bible.
“‘man, his person as a whole, can be denoted by soma.… Man is called soma in respect to his being able to make himself the object of his own action or to experience himself as the subject to whom something happens. He can be called soma, that is, as having a relationship to himself—as being able in a certain sense to distinguish himself from himself.’10 The human person does not consist of two (or three) parts, then, but is a living whole.” (Page 4)
“Unrest around these issues, especially among philosophers, has yielded a plethora of options, including, for example, substance dualism, wholistic dualism, emergent dualism, naturalistic dualism, emergent monism, two-aspect monism, dipolar monism, reflexive monism, constitutional materialism, deep physicalism, nonreductive physicalism, and eliminative materialism.” (Pages 29–30)
“Personal identity with regard to both present life and life-after-death is narratively and relationally shaped and embodied, the capacity for life-after-death is not intrinsic to humanity but is divine gift, and resurrection signifies not rescue from the cosmos but transformation with it.” (Page 144)
“The first is that, in the ‘intertestamental period’ (i.e., the period of Second Temple Judaism), testimony to an intermediate state was ubiquitous. The second is that this intermediate state was conceived in a common way across Jewish literature of this era.” (Page 158)
“Schnelle writes, Paul nevertheless ‘uses σῶμα as the comprehensive expression of the human self.’” (Page 7)
In this outstanding work, the author provides a scholarly and thoroughly biblical analysis of human personhood in dialogue with the neurosciences. This book is likely to provide the definitive overview of this topic for many years to come.
—Denis R. Alexander, director, The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, St. Edmund’s College
If you think nothing new ever happens in theology or biblical studies, you need to read this book, an essay in ‘neuro-hermeneutics.’ Green shows not only that a physicalist (as opposed to a dualist) anthropology is consistent with biblical teaching but also that contemporary neuroscience sheds light on significant hermeneutical and theological questions.
—Nancey Murphy, professor of Christian philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary
Few biblical interpreters have delved as deeply into the science of the human brain as Joel Green. Here he draws upon that learning in conversation with Scripture to put forth a fresh picture of human existence, one that makes sense from both perspectives. He does not shy away from hard questions, especially those about life and death, body and soul.
—Patrick D. Miller, Charles T. Haley Professor of Old Testament Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary
Here is an important and courageous study that steps out into a new frontier of biblical study. . . . This is a very informative book and, hopefully, the vanguard of many more studies in this area.
—The Bible Today
Those interested in examining the compatibility of biblical faith with the present neuroscientific consensus will find much that is helpful in this very readable and engaging, but no less profound, book.
—Religious Studies Review