The other day I received a comment on a review I did for one of the courses I had just finished. It was actually by Michael Patton from Credo House, and he asked if I’ve ever tried one of the courses on Credo Courses.
Well, I’ve been a fan of Michael’s since finding his Theology Program on Bible.org. I’ve finished two of the six courses in the program and really like them.
But, my research since starting my Unschooled Master of Theology Program has shifted toward the study of death, consciousness, and afterlife – not leaving much room for extraneous studies.
I looked at the website, though (I happened to get the internet working at the Eden property, but not very well), and I happened onto a lecture by J.P. Moreland about the soul. This fit in perfect with my current research, so I could justify the time, not to mention it was currently free!
When I got back to civilization today, the first thing I did was download the lecture and dig in. And, I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised at what I found.
So, let’s take a deep dive into all things related to the existence of the soul, shall we?
One Lecture Full of Content
Right off, I noticed the quality of the content of this lecture. This is not the typical hype I find in a lot of online teachings, especially about the soul or consciousness or the mind.
Most of the courses on the subject I’ve found online thus far have been draped in this neo-naturalistic, new age, consciousness study propoganda so popular today, always leading in the direction of, and usually just shilling for transcendental meditation or the universal consciousness idea or some new take on Solipsism (the mind creates reality).
But, this lecture is different. It appears to be grounded biblically in a very important way, yet still operates with a philosophical rigor not usually found employed by theologians (especially modern day ones).
I have to say, this is what I’m looking for in content. Detailed, exhaustive, informative. As I watched it, I kept pausing the video and bouncing between taking notes or going to my browser and doing searches for more lectures by Moreland and the like.
That’s when disappointment hit.
I Wish There Were More
Unfortunately, this “course” is only one lecture and a second Q&A video, which is disappointing to say the least.
I tried several attempts while watching the two videos to find a full course online from Moreland. But there are none available. I tried Biola’s free courses online, but there are only a few.
I even recognized the Biola website from one of my late night searches awhile ago when I was trying to find a grad school to go to. They have a perfect Master’s degree program in Philosophy (that’s even online), but there’s just no way.
Biola’s tuition is $650 per credit! Over $1200 for their PhD program!
This is not only punitive, but it is simply prohibitive. I could not afford nearly $30,000 on a Master’s degree, especially given the abysmal ROI on higher education these days.
I was able to find several of his books, though. So, that’s something.
A Concept of a Soul
I found the lecture content to be quite enticing. He talked about the existence of the soul, the probability of it existing in both humans and animals but to greater and lesser degrees.
He then broke down the underlining concepts, between things and their states of existence (such as water as a thing and their states being solid, liquid, or gas) and that consciousness (as a thing) has several states of existence as well.
He drew a distinction between brain events and mind events, something mainstream science seems unwilling to do, wanting instead to accredit mental events to brain events and erase the mind altogether (just like they try to do with the existence of God).
After the main lecture, I watched the Q&A, and found several points of interest, but nothing quite like his breakdown of the composition of the soul.
His view that the soul is composed of inseparable parts is very similar to the view I’ve been developing of the soul – the bundle of memories, emotions, traits that seem integrally connected to our persistent conscious state.
I really connect with his idea of inseparable parts that make up the soul, since the person, the individual is indivisible and in order to be considered the whole of the person cannot lose any portion or part of that whole. The body is, thusly, not part of that collection, as we also see in Matthew 10:28, since humans can only kill the body, but God can kill both the body and the soul in Gehenna. He does not divide the soul from the mind, or the soul from the emotions, because it is impossible to do so. But, the body can be divested of the soul.
Another point of interest is the idea that in the regeneration of the individual (at their salvation), when they are born again, something metaphysical takes place within the soul. As he puts it, the soul is imbued supernaturally with a new set of traits or abilities, or functionalities (in addition to our emotions, our mind and our conscious awareness).
I would even argue this also occurs again at what the bible calls the “Revealing of the Sons of God” (Romans 8:19). Whether at the resurrection or afterward, there is a point at which we become like the angels, we are “clothed with immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53-54), and we will know as we are known (1 Corinthians 13:12).
I really don’t know what it means to become a Son of God. The examples we have are the angels and, of course, the resurrected Christ, and his world seemed very different after the fact.
But, I don’t think we can honestly fathom what it might subsume the new from the old when that moment comes and we are clothed in the light of eternity.
Toward the end of the Q&A, someone asks about presuppositional apologetics, and Moreland’s answer was fascinating. He first tries to describe it, then provides a few examples, but then speaks quite candidly, letting the questioner know he really wasn’t the person to ask, that he didn’t think knowledge worked firstly from presupposition.
This is one of the main ideas I’ve taken from Missler over the years. It’s something he hammered on in nearly every lecture he gave.
And I’ve carried that with me throughout my journey. Everything needs to be adequately argued and established only if it logically holds under the scrutiny. To be honest, I think too much of Christianity, especially in this age, has relied too much on presupposition. It is akin to dogma and is a short step from doctrines of men or worse, doctrines of demons.
I would agree with Moreland’s alternative, that all knowledge starts from experience. The world, our reality, it is perceived solely and wholly from our senses, from our conscious awareness of it, and is filtered by our senses, our emotions, our mind – our soul.
Highly Recommend this Course
I just wish there were full courses like this particular lecture available out there for those of us who simply can’t afford to attend grad school. The world has the technological capability, unfortunately, we just do not have the will.
Until my next review….
Please consider supporting my writing, my unschooled studies, and my hermitic lifestyle by purchasing one or more of my books. I’m not supported by academia or have a lucrative corporate job – I’m just a mystical modern-day hermit trying to live out the life I believe God has called me to. So, any support you choose to provide is GREATLY appreciated.
Excerpt from Our Daughter:
“Okay, mom,” Randy said.
“You behave yourself and be nice. You’re lucky to have company while you wait for the doctors.”
The woman turned and started back the way she came.
“The nurse said it would be twenty or thirty more minutes, so we’ll eat quick and be back up here before they take you in, okay?”
“Sorry for him,” the woman said to Katie as she walked by.
As the woman left, Katie noticed the boy moving around again on the bed. Before she realized what was happening, the tiny lump disappeared and she could hear the faint sound of bare hands and feet on the tile floor.
He was low crawling under the beds toward her.
A moment later, Randy popped his head out from under the nearest hospital bed, craning his neck around to look up at her.
“Hello, there,” Katie said.
Randy disappeared back under the bed, the bed sheet draping down almost to the floor. Katie could still see three little fingers pressed to the tile.
“What are you here for?” Katie asked, readjusting her seat in the chair, trying to get the ache in her chest to lessen.
For whatever reason, the wheelchair was really uncomfortable.
“Why are – ”
Randy’s voice trailed off for a moment as he looked around.
“Why are you here?”
“I’m getting my leg fixed,” Katie said. “See?”
Randy poked his head back out from under the bed and looked at the leg she was pointing to.
“What’s wrong with it?”
“The doctor said it’s broken,” Katie said. “Shattered.”
“Can you feel it?” Randy asked, able to stay out from his hiding place.
“I can feel it, but it’s not too bad,” Katie said, then tapped the IV in her arm. “This thing is giving me medicine of some kind for the pain. At least that’s what the nurses said.”
“Why are you – ”
Randy stopped mid-sentence.
He scooted out from under the bed entirely and slowly crept over to her on all fours.
“What are you, some kind of spider?” Katie asked, giggling a little.
“What are you?” Randy echoed.
He was now only about a foot away from her chair and sat there, his legs folded up under him, gawking up at her.
“What are you staring at me for?”
“I’ve never – ”
Randy put out a hesitant hand and ever so gently touched her arm.
“Are you some kind of ghost?”
He looked around again.
“Are you – ”
He leaned in, talking in a whisper.
“Are you dead?”
A nurse came around the corner and stopped abruptly, spotting the empty bed in the far corner where Randy should have been.
“Randy Andrews,” the nurse said, her hands now on her hips. “You get right back into the bed and you stop playing around, please. They are ready for you in surgery.”
Katie watched as Randy scrambled on all fours under the beds and back up onto his, pulling the sheet back over top of himself again.
She started to ask him about his question, but couldn’t get the words out before his parents appeared at the door.
Katie sat there quietly, watching Randy stare back at her from under his sheet. She glanced over at his parents and the nurse, noticed Randy’s dad had no hair on the top of his head.
Are you dead?
What kind of question was that?
The snap of the wheel locks being disengaged on Randy’s hospital bed jarred Katie out of the confusion she was in.
The doctor she’d first seen was now at the door, waiting for Randy.
He was his surgeon.
They wheeled Randy out of the room, his parents following right behind, disappearing to the left, heading for his operating room.
The pre-op room was empty again.
Are you dead?
What kind of crazy question was that?
The nurse came back through the double doors.
“It won’t be long now,” she said.
Katie tried not to think about the dull ache growing just behind her sternum.
The nurse disappeared around the corner as Katie watched the double doors to the operating rooms slowly shut.
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