HOME

 

 

    NEWS

INTERVIEWS

RESOURCES

ABOUT

View by:

 SUBJECT

 THEME

QUESTION

  TERM

 PERSON

   EVENT

Peters, Ted. “Resurrection of the Very Embodied Soul?"

In “Resurrection of the Very Embodied Soul?” Ted Peters argues that the Christian understanding of eternal salvation is not threatened by the rejection of substance dualism. In fact, the rejection of dualism by both the cognitive neurosciences and the Christian tradition represents an important area of consonance between theology and science - namely, that human reality is embodied selfhood. Peters notes that this issue deserves attention because some theorists, in both cognitive science and philosophy, claim two things: first, the findings of the neurosciences regarding the brain’s influence on the mind demonstrate that the human soul cannot be thought to exist apart from a physical body and, second, that this physicalist interpretation so undermines the doctrine of the immortal soul that the Christian view of eternal salvation becomes counter- scientific.

Peters points out that until recently theologians have not been forced to clarify the distinction between two overlapping ways of conceiving personal salvation: One, rooted primarily in the ancient Hebrew understanding, pictures the human person as entirely physical, as dying completely, and then undergoing a divinely effected resurrection. The other, a later view influenced by Greek metaphysics, pictures the human person as a composite of body and soul; when the body dies the soul survives independently until reunited with a body at the final resurrection. In both pictures, however, the resurrection of the body is decisive for salvation. Now, however, to the extent that the dualistic vocabulary and conceptuality inherited by Christian theology from the Platonic tradition begins to look too much like Cartesian substance dualism, theology is in error.

In approaching the constructive question of how best to relate cognitive theory and theology, Peters first examines and rejects two “blind alleys”: the notion of the “humanizing brain” developed by James Ashbrook and Carol Albright, and the artificial intelligence model of the human soul as disembodied information processing developed by Frank Tipler. In contrast to Tipler’s view, Peters notes that belief in the resurrection, for Christian theology, does not depend on any natural process identifiable by science or philosophy, but on the witnessed resurrection of Jesus Christ at the first Easter. The Christian promise points toward an eschatological transformation - a new creation - to be wrought by God. Peters follows Wolfhart Pannenberg in connecting the resurrection to God’s eschatological act wherein time is taken up into eternity, and wherein God provides for continuing personal identity even when our bodies disintegrate.

Email link | Printer-friendly | Feedback | Contributed by: CTNS/Vatican Observatory

Topic Sets Available

AAAS Report on Stem-Cells

AstroTheology: Religious Reflections on Extraterrestrial Life Forms

Agency: Human, Robotic and Divine
Becoming Human: Brain, Mind, Emergence
Big Bang Cosmology and Theology (GHC)
Cosmic Questions CD-ROM Preview...
Cosmic Questions Interviews

Cosmos and Creator
Creativity, Spirituality and Computing Technologies
CTNS Content Home
Darwin: A Friend to Religion?
Demystifying Information Technology
Divine Action (GHC)
Dreams and Dreaming: Neuroscientific and Religious Visions'
E. Coli at the No Free Lunchroom
Engaging Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence: An Adventure in Astro-Ethics
Evangelical Atheism: a response to Richard Dawkins
Ecology and Christian Theology
Evolution: What Should We Teach Our Children in Our Schools?
Evolution and Providence
Evolution and Creation Survey
Evolution and Theology (GHC)
Evolution, Creation, and Semiotics

The Expelled Controversy
Faith and Reason: An Introduction
Faith in the Future: Religion, Aging, and Healthcare in the 21st Century

Francisco Ayala on Evolution

From Christian Passions to Scientific Emotions
Genetic Engineering and Food

Genetics and Ethics
Genetic Technologies - the Radical Revision of Human Existence and the Natural World

Genomics, Nanotechnology and Robotics
Getting Mind out of Meat
God and Creation: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives on Big Bang Cosmology
God, Humanity and the Cosmos: A Textbook in Science and Religion
God the Spirit - and Natural Science
Historical Examples of the Science and Religion Debate (GHC)
History of Creationism
Intelligent Design Coming Clean

Issues for the Millennium: Cloning and Genetic Technologies
Jean Vanier of L'Arche
Nano-Technology and Nano-ethics
Natural Science and Christian Theology - A Select Bibliography
Neuroscience and the Soul
Outlines of the Science and Religion Debate (GHC)

Perspectives on Evolution

Physics and Theology
Quantum Mechanics and Theology (GHC)
Questions that Shape Our Future
Reductionism (GHC)
Reintroducing Teleology Into Science
Science and Suffering

Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action (CTNS/Vatican Series)

Space Exploration and Positive Stewardship

Stem-Cell Debate: Ethical Questions
Stem-Cell Ethics: A Theological Brief

Stem-Cell Questions
Theistic Evolution: A Christian Alternative to Atheism, Creationism, and Intelligent Design...
Theology and Science: Current Issues and Future Directions
Unscientific America: How science illiteracy threatens our future
Will ET End Religion?

Current Stats: topics: >2600, links: >300,000, video: 200 hours.