Body, Soul, and Human Life

I started reading Joel Green’s recent book, “Body, Soul, and Human Life: The Nature of Humanity in the Bible.” Dr. Green was my Exegetical Methods & Practice professor at Fuller Seminary, and one of the most intelligent human beings I have ever come across. I haven’t finished reading the book yet, but so far, it has caused me to think about my own preconceived notions of what it is to be a human. This book is a challenge to the traditional theological conception of human beings as either a body/soul dichotomy or a body/spirit/soul trichotomy.

Most Christians are dichotomists, believing that the real essence of humanity is in the soul or the spirit. The body perishes at death, but the soul is eternal and survives after death. Dr. Green makes a compelling case for a biblical monism, the view that the bible does not conceive of humans as a compilation of diverse parts, but as a whole person, an integrated self. Humans are not embodied souls. Nothing of the human survives after death. A person quite literally dies at death.

Nothing survives death. (more…)


Death Be Not Proud

The past few years I have been to several funerals. Most of them were for older persons who had passed away after having lived a comparatively long life. Just a few weeks ago, however, was the first time I attended a funeral for someone younger than me. We had grown up together in Brazil and I have nothing but the most cherished memories of a good childhood friend.

Though the occasion was sad, there was a sense of celebration because she was such a deeply committed Christian. Of course we cried and felt a profound sense of loss because for a little while we have been separated from her. Jesus cried too at the loss of his dear friend Lazarus (John 11:35). And so, even if by faith we know we shall see her again, there is still much sorrow at the loss of a loved one. (more…)