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The point is that each of these sciences offers a kind of “therapy” to help us out of our problems.
1). that which we make is unlike ourselves. It is the product of our own free determination. We impose a willed form upon material available in the world. What we make is alien from our humanity: because it has a human maker, it is at the disposal of mankind.
(2). that which we beget is like ourselves. We do not determine what our offspring is except by ourselves being the very thing that our offspring will become.
is a word that refers to a community's assuming responsibility for its future. To “make the future” is to try and control one's actions as well as the consequences of these actions. The future is treated as an artifact that can me made in several ways. The word revolution only entered the vocabulary of the west when its faith in divine providence was weakening.
O’Donovan notes that sex-change operations encourage us to think that even something as fundamental as one’s gender is artificial. By contrast, the traditional Christian position says that we are begotten in one sex or the other, and that gender is a given to be welcomed as a gift of God. Psychological maturity invokes accepting this gift/reality and learning to love/care for it. Even more importantly: accepting our gender is part of our vocation as human beings.
For apologetics: the subject of man is perhaps the best point of common ground on which to talk with unbelievers.
b. For theology: the nature of man is pivotal in ST, spanning as it does creation- fall - redemption. Calvin said: “Without knowledge of God there is no knowledge of self.” He also implied that without knowledge of self there is no knowledge of God. But in contemporary theology, all theology is often reduced to anthropology.c. For life: we desperately need answers to the problems listed above. Only in the Christian view can we attain (1) a unified view of man to counter modern fragmentation (2) the meaning and purpose for human existence that is currently the object of man's universal search and experimentation.
All human action is determined either by heredity or by environment. According to Skinner, the notion of the free self is an invention created to explain what could not be otherwise explained. “To man qua man we must readily say good riddance”. This is a “self of the gaps” kind of view, with the twist that there are few, if any, gaps left for the self to be a person (e.g., a communicative agent in a created background and a covenantal plot).
Here man is a product of a purely natural process: the survival and spreading of DNA. All that is needed is moving atoms that combine in different forms, some more viable than others, and given time and chance configurations, sooner or later an organism capable of surviving on earth will be produced.iii. All organisms are striving to become ancestors. Darwinism is the belief that those organisms in our world today have what it takes to become ancestors. Those animals that developed legs, for instance, were more suited to existence on land. Because survival is difficult, only the fittest or strongest members of a given species will survive. As a result, there is a gradual "upgrading" of the species. Eventually, man appeared on the scene, an organism of great complexity, not because someone planned him this way, but because these features enable him better to survive.
Sociobiologists suggest that every aspect of a species’ social life (a higher order dimension) is ultimately explicable in terms of biology (a lower order dimension). Wilson’s first book was entitled The Insect Societies (1971; Wilson is an entomologist by trade). The last chapter of that book was on “The Prospect for a Unified Sociobiology”, and it served as his Einsteinian-like manifesto for the life sciences.
argues that human choices are not choices at all but tendencies imprinted in the hypothalamus and limbic regions of the brain. This is sheer determinism. (It also leads to our next topic: for if our brains are fully imprinted at birth, and if the mind is nothing but the brain, then there is no place for human freedom, much less the human soul).
iii. Wilson believes he has closed the gap between the natural and the human sciences. Every aspect of our lives in only a sub-plot on a larger metanarrative, namely, the story of DNA survival.
The key assumption here is that the brain is the biological substrate for all experience, including religious experience. With the advent of brain studies in the 20th century, scientists have tried even harder to find correlations between human behavior and certain types of activity in particular brain regions. In the 1970s, for example, some scientists reported instances of sudden religious conversion occurring in individuals with temporal lobe epilepsy.
Substance dualism holds that there are two kinds of things in the world: the mental and physical are two distinct ontological realms.
The body is part of mechanical naturel; the soul is pure thinking substance. The body can do quite a bit without the soul’s intervention (i.e., reflexes). However, Descartes rejects the idea that the soul is in the body as a pilot is in the ship. The soul does not merely appreciate bodily needs or pains intellectually, but it somehow feels them. There is some kind of union, and Descartes locates it in the pineal gland (Descartes selected this organ because it appeared unique in the brain in being single and also because he falsely believed that it does not occur in other animals). This gland is where body and soul interact. These two different kinds of substances (extended and unextended) interact, but in a mysterious way. But it’s not at all clear how something mental can cause something physical. You can push a book off the table, but you can’t move it off the table simply by thinking it off the table.
i. Mind over matter (Cartesian dualism): the mind is separable from the body, and the person is identified with the former.
ii. Matter over mind (reductive physicalism; materialism)The person is a physical organism whose experiences – emotional, religious, and intellectual – will eventually be explained by the physical sciences. In short, all capacities of the mind are in fact capacities of the brain.
ii. The three most important words in the OT to describe man in relation to God and nature are “soul” (nepesh, 754 times), “spirit” (ruah 378 times), and “flesh” (basar, 266 times). Of the eighty some parts of the body mentioned in the OT, the terms for “heart”, “liver”, “kidney” and “bowels” are the most frequent. To each of these some emotion is attributed, probably metaphorically. “Heart” is the most comprehensive term, referring to man’s total psychical nature (we might call it “mind” today).
1). We are conscious of a distinction between body and soul, but not one between soul and spirit.
(2). But more importantly, the terms for soul and spirit are often used interchangeably in the Bible. For example, Luke quotes Mary in 1:46-47 “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior”. Here it is clear that there is a single subject that is expressed both in terms of spirit and soul. In this case, it would appear that we have an instance of poetic parallelism. The Bible does not teach a sharp antithesis between spirit (or mind) and body. This too has been imported into theology from Greek philosophy.
(3). Nor does Scripture teach an antithesis between spirit and soul. When “soul” and “spirit” are distinguished, they seem sometimes to refer to two aspects of man’s psychical nature, not to two separate substances. “Spirit” denotes life as having its origin in God; “soul” denotes life as constituted in man. Man is described in Scripture as having a body and soul (Mt 10:28) and as having a body and spirit (1 Cor. 7:34). Certain functions are referred both to the soul and the spirit, for instance, grief: Jn. 12:27 “Now is my soul troubled”; Jn. 13:21 “After he said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit”. Similarly, praising God is ascribed both to the soul and spirit (Mk 12:30 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength”. Lastly, dying is described either as the departure of the soul or of the spirit (Mt 10:28)
i. Dichotomy first given its systematic defense by Tertullian, who maintained that man consists of two substances.
ii. Most western theologians held to this position. Man is seen as a combination of dust and deity, of the material and the immaterial. Man’s body is of the earth (Gen. 3:19) while his spirit is of God (Eccl. 12:7).
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