Monday, July 20, 2020

about the Soul

Are souls real? What is a soul? - Quora

Bill Lauritzen, in  “Can a Machine Have a Soul,”[1] argues against the existence of the soul.It is my contention that  he has a simplistic and wrong notion of soul. He tells us what he means by the term: ”I am not talking about souls in a metaphorical sense, as the 'essence' of a person, I am talking about 'the spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal .'"
 It is my contention that he has it backwards. The notion he does not deal with as the essence of a human is the right notion and the idea of an immortal aspect is not the preponderance of uses in the Bible.

There is, however, a  Caveat. The  Hebrew term used in OT for soul is  nephesh or Nefesh it has a multiplicity of meanings. One can find passages where it is interchangeable with spirit and where it is an mortal aspect  separate from the body. But as I say that's not the preponderance of meanings.

I have changed my view on this. I had gone in for the modernist view that soul is only metaphorical. I think it's proven the Bible teaches and it is clear from other sources that the ancient Hebrews believed in an immortal soul separate from the body. Richard C. Steiner, has written a whole book about it.[2]

Modern scholarshp has abolished this view. For example see James Tabor:
, , access date: December 14, 2013. "The ancient Hebrews had no idea of an immortal soul living a full and vital life beyond death, nor of any resurrection or return from deathHuman beings, like the beasts of the field, are made of "dust of the earth," and at death they return to that dust (Gen. 2:7; 3:19). The Hebrew word nephesh, traditionally translated "living soul" but more properly understood as "living creature," is the same word used for all breathing creatures and refers to nothing immortal."The textual evidence indicates a multiplicity of perspectives on these issues including probable changes during the centuries in which the biblical corpus developed." ;[3]
According to Steiner that is not true. I think he proves that the ancient Hebrews had a notion  of soul as an immaterial, immortal part of us, desperate from he body, Yet, the real issue is so what if ancients had that idea is that really the important thing about the soul according to the Bible?  In seeking an answer looks look at several ways the word is translated:
soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion
  1. that which breathes, the breathing substance or being, soul, the inner being of man
  1. living being
  1. living being (with life in the blood)
  1. the man himself, self, person or individual
  1. seat of the appetites
  1. seat of emotions and passions
  1. activity of mind
  1. dubious
  1. activity of the will
  1. dubious
  1. activity of the character
  1. dubious[4]
We can see most of these uses in he Bible.There is a metaphorical meaning for soul as the  overall life of the person in relation to God.Genesis 2:7, KJV: "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." .. You don't have a soul you are a soul. In that sense the term is used for the overall life of the individual in relation to God. Jeff Bennner tells us:
I had always assumed that only humans had a soul, but it was during a study of the word "soul" many years ago that I discovered that translations often influence how we interpret Biblical concepts. In Genesis 2:7 we find that man is a "living soul" and in Genesis 1:21 we find that animals are "living creatures". When I first started using a concordance to look up the original Hebrew words I was amazed to find out that these two English phrases were the translations of the same Hebrew phrase - nephesh hhayah. Why would the translators translate nephesh hhayahas "living soul" in one place and "living creatures" in another? It was this discovery that prompted me to learn the Hebrew language....
The soul is the whole of the person, the unity of the body, organs and breath. It is not some immaterial spiritual entity, it is you, all of you, your whole being or self.[5]

 Given that Steiner is right Benner is wrong in that last line ("It is not some immaterial spiritual entity,") but that still leaves room for both views to have their aspects of truth. The ancient Hebrews did see soul as   "some immaterial spiritual entity, and he word also functions as the whole person or the overall life in relation to God. Speaking of the life in relation to God this is why we speak of lost souls or saving your soul.

Let's say Lauritzen is right and the soul as immaterial aspect of man is primitive and based upon ignorance of nature, there is still this other use that is not touched by his criticism. Here is some Biblical support for that view.

2Pete 2:14 "They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed.  Accursed children!" Souls fallinging to sin are usteady thawould imploy the relation toGod is part of the natureo the soul. James 1:2121 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. Saved soul or lost soul implies soul is something in relation to God. Lev. 17:11 "11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.

[1] Bill Lauritzen, Abstract, “Can a Machine Have a Soul,” Journal of Personal Cyberconscienceness. Vol. 8, Iss 1 (2013) 30-39, 30-31.

[2]  Richard C. Steiner,  Disembodied Souls: The Nefesh in Israel and Kindred Spirits in the Ancient Near East, with an Appendix on the Katumuwa Inscription. Atlanta: SBL Press. 2015, 23 and 124,

SBL press is Society of Biblical Literature. Meaning he's a real scholar.

[3]  James Tabor, "What the Bible says about Death, Afterlife, and the Future." the Jewish Roman World of Jesus, originally published 1989,



Jesse said...

This article might be of interest to readers:

Jesse said...


Obviously, you are not a fan of Donald Trump being our president. So are you supportive of Joe Biden or someone else running up against him?

If you had the power to appoint somebody to be president of America, who would it be?

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

I've followed Biden since the day he was elected to the senate. I've always been a fan. He was one of the best senators.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

Jesse's link

Jesse said...

I was wondering what you thought of the truthfulness of this guy's claims?:  

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

first of all before we tart I looked up "who is Beck?" It says: "Mount Vernon, Washington, U.S. Glenn Lee Beck (born February 10, 1964) is an American conservative political commentator, radio host, television producer, and conspiracy theorist."

for me this is like saying "Lying opportunist."

IN college debate our squad ran a money supply case that is extremely complex.I would not trust a political opportunist to understand it let alone explain it.

Jesse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.