On October 14, 2010, at our recent conference in Carlisle, papers were presented in favor of the immortality of the soul and the mortality of man. Formal responses were presented to both papers. After all papers had been read, we then opened things up for questions and discussion. You may read the paper favoring the position that man does not have immortal soul and the response by clicking the files below. Please post your thoughts on this discussion board. You can listen to audio recordings of these papers being read and the discussion that followed by going to the Audio Library on GloriousChurch.com.
Man Does Not Have an Immortal Soul by David Huston.pdf
Response to Man Does Not Have an Immortal Soul by Tom Ryerson.pdf
Please limit your comments on this discussion board to the topics presented in these papers. We have set up other discussion boards for the other topics presented at the conference.
Does existence for the lost END in the lake of fire? Or do they continue to always live in torment?
Woohoo! More people!
There are a lot verbs in the Psalm 139 being used poetically to describe God's creative work in each of our development; covered (sahkak), made (palah), made (asah), wrought (rahkam), and fashioned (yetzer). However, I don't think we can use any of these to immediately verify that God designs each of our bodies in the same process by which He made Adam.
To test your thesis, we must first determine at what point or by why state one has achieved full human existence. Then, we need to test and determine if that point or state can be undone by some means. If so, then that point or state cannot be said to be valid to achieve full human existence. I think I have given sufficient situations whereby we can disqualify breathing as that point. Or there any other points worthy of testing?
The biological blueprint to design a fully human body exists at the moment of conception. That zygote contains all the necessary DNA for life. Is it a human being or not? It's very tiny, but at what size or stage of development do we finally call it fully human? At conception, at three or six months, at full term, at age one or two years? The unborn child is smaller and less developed than a toddler, but a toddler is still smaller and less developed than an adult. At which size or stage of development is a human being fully a human being?
Does location factor in that determination? The unborn is within the womb, the born child is outside. But that child will be taken to varying locations throughout its lifetime. We don't believe its location outside the womb matters in determining its existence, then what difference does a four to six inch (average) trip down a birth canal make?
Perhaps it's a matter of dependence? The unborn surely depend on their mothers. But so does a birthed child, and an infant, and a toddler, and even teenagers (albeit, each to a decreasing degree). Since we believe Adam was a mature specimen, is that the size, stage of development, or independence necessary for granting human existence?
I think each of these sufficiently indicates that we cannot pinpoint anything by which we can say, "Eureka! This is it!" At least it seems extremely difficult to do so. Therefore, if no sufficient difference can be made from conception to adulthood (size, development, functional capability, location, or dependence), then I must conclude human existence begins at the blessed moment when biological life begins.
Mike, if that question was directed at me, I'll try to get to that another time. Right now, we're challenged enough as it is trying to determine existence itself! LOL.
OK, I agree that a human being's existence begins at the instant of conception. He then goes through a developmental process intended to culminate in something called maturity. Adam seems to have skipped this process and begun life as a fully mature man. In addition to physical development, there is also spiritual development, beginning at the new birth and culminating in something the Bible calls perfection. When God declared, "Let us make (be making) man," He was indicating the commencement of a process that continues throughout a person's life. Whether the process of making Adam was different from the process God uses in making us was not my point. I was only meaning to say that the terms "formed" and "made" are indicative of a process, not that the processes were necessarily identical. So I believe Bro. Michael and I agree that existence begins at the same instant that the process begins. Before we move on, does anyone else have a different view?
One additional thought, Bro. Michael. You wrote that "the biological blueprint to design a fully human body exists at the moment of conception." If I have the blueprints for a house and all the materials to construct the house stacked up on the property, I still can't say that the house exists. It first must be constructed. How would you respond to someone who used this analogy to argue for legalized abortion?
Lest anyone think that Bro. Dave and I have been in some kind of heated debate, let it be known that we have only been engaging in deep but healthy thinking exercises. I count Bro. Dave as a good friend and engaging thinker, so I don't want anyone to think that we've been "arguing." LOL
Although I used the analogy of DNA as a biological blueprint, we have to be careful to not extend the analogy so far that it becomes a fallacy in itself. Christ said that he was the bread of life, but it would be foolish of us to think he was a literal lump of baked wheat. For those who would want to try and poke a hole into my logic by creating a strawman out of the analogy, it is easily dodged by noting that the paper on which the house's blueprints are printed isn't "living," whereas the cell containing the DNA is. By "biological blueprint," I attempted to carefully avoid the Fallacy of Extended Analogy by constraining the context. To say that A and B are similar in some way is not to say that they are similar in every way. Simply because DNA exists, doesn't require that life exists. Scientists extract DNA from cells routinely. DNA can even moved from one cell and placed into another cell. Thus, the DNA itself isn't living and doesn't produce life on its own. But DNA in a living cell results in something that replicates itself, grows, responds to stimuli, etc.
The same issue of living vs. non-living applies to those who would try to compare the unborn to an unfinished house.
But I think we ran down a rabbit trail a while back and got side-tracked. If we say that human existence begins at the moment of conception, does that also imply that the soul/spirit of man exists at the moment of conception? Or does the soul/spirit of a man not exist until birth?
I will be out of the country until June 10, so my participation on the Network will be somewhat limited depending on Internet availability. I will be teaching in seven different cities in South Africa. Please remember me in your prayers. And yes, I have the greatest respect for Bro. Michael, which is why I am happy to be engaging him on this topic on a public forum. What a breath of fresh air to be able to discuss difficult subjects in an atmosphere of love and respect. It would be great to have some addional voices speaking out on this forum.
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