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…)