Friday, December 31, 2004

More on the shell

Okay, so I've not been clear. Let me put this another way:

To me, the fat on my body is something I've put on, like a garment. It's not me, it's not part of who I am, and hating it in no way relates to hating myself. It's as benign as hating a shirt I'm wearing.

I don't know what I believe for sure about the soul and the body. I plan to take Nancey Murphy's class at Fuller, and I've been told she thinks they are one and the same. I'm already a big fan of Dallas Willard, and J tells me that in "Renovation of the Heart" Willard states that you are not your body, you are your soul. Yet your body is somehow part of your soul, too.

I have always believed that the body is something other than the soul, and that it will pass away while the soul will continue into eternity. I don't believe it is me. I just don't. I am something other than this mortal vessel.

And I get that from Paul, mostly, who also uses the metaphor of clothing, or sometimes a "tent", to refer to the body. I think there is strong Biblical evidence for the rotting of the flesh while the soul goes on.

That doesn't mean I believe the body is evil, by any means! I'm no gnostic. It's neutral, I think. Like I said, it's like clothes. And clothes can indeed make a statement about who we are. But that doesn't mean they define who we are. Clothes don't make the man.

Or the woman, as it were.


Vaughn said...

Ok, so this is an interesting question. I can respect that Christians for centuries have held dualist accounts of the person that had much in line with platonism and early greek thought (certainly not earlier Jewish thought). Although, I think that perhaps appeals to the Bible won't really help much (i.e. "I get that from Paul...") platonist dualism or Christian holist accounts ;-)

As they say, "Many wonderful things in the Bible I see, most of them put there by you and me."

Gideon Strauss said...

Calvin Seerveld and most neocalvinist students of Herman Dooyeweerd argue against a soul/body dichotomy. See:

Herman Dooyeweerd wrote: "The human body is not at all identical with an abstract 'physico-chemical soma'; it is the structural whole of temporal human existence in the intermodal coherence of all its modal aspects."

Paraphrase: The human body _is_ the human person in time. The human body is the complex and coherent interlacement of all human functioning. Human functioning includes, but is not limited, to chemical and organic functioning ... bodily functioning also includes reasoning, imagining, doing justice, loving, believing and so forth ... But all these functions can only be abstracted from the whole of the bodily human person _theoretically_. The whole human person, turned to or against God, is biblically signified by "heart" or "spirit" (inter alia).