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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Ken Schenck on the separate existence of the soul

Most Christians accept, uncritically, that we have a soul that is separate from the body. Some Christians believe that there are three entities that are parts of us, namely the body, the soul, and the spirit. Have Christians always believed these things? Is it necessary to believe them now?

Ken Schenck, a theologian at Indiana Wesleyan University, has posted on the view of the relationship between the body and the soul throughout history, among Christians, and their Jewish predecessors. In his part 1, he claims that the idea of a soul, disembodied and separate from the body, is a Greek introduction, not a Christian one. In part 2, he continues, and says that Daniel 12:2-3 is the only passage in the Old Testament that indicates a belief in an afterlife. In his part 3, he concludes, indicating that there is evidence of belief in an afterlife, and perhaps in a soul separate from the body, in the New Testament. But he is not sure that the New Testament writers believe in such an entity. He says this: "Because the Bible gives us varied pictures of human psychology and of the afterlife, we probably should not consider any of these pictures absolute."

I have written extensively about this matter, in a three-part on-line document. See here if interested.

Thanks for reading.

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