View Full Version : Concerning Evolution: When did the evolutionary man/ape receive a soul?
April 2nd 2003, 10:48 PM
This question came to me while reading another thread about materialism , determinism, evolution and consciousness.
When, during the long process of evolution, did a rational soul differenciate between man/ape? In simpler terms lol , When did the homonids, homo erectus, etc (from ape to man) get a soul and consciousness.
i almost believe this question and philosophy is unanswerable due to the fact that if evolution did occur, our soul could still be in a permature state. Im stating that man could still be evolving physically and our soul evolving as well. Could there be a higher state of consciousness that man may encounter in millions of years.
My theory: Man/ape has always had somewhat of a rational soul but has evolved just as man's physical nature has. e.g. Homonids and the like=soul yet still undeveloped
Homo sapiens=rational soul
future=more developed rational soul
yet if we consider man now as having a rational soul, what we consider now as a rational soul might just be the introduction or prelude of what we might have through the next millions of years in evolution.
im 16yr old soph. student in highschool and a new user to this forum.
please give me your thoughts and critiques
April 3rd 2003, 01:46 PM
- Nice to meet you, Kab. :smile:
- I don't have much to offer right now, except of course that I don't believe in a "soul" that endures after the death of the body and so on. I believe in an intelligent mind, though.
- The idea that humans are still evolving (and improving) and will someday evolve to a higher state of consciousness (or physcial prowess) is often referred to as transhumanism, although I am not sure about the underpinnings of such a thing. Certainly we're still suseptible to Darwinism in that if our environment changes drastically enough, we will all die and become extinct. But hopefully this won't happen anytime soon.
- If you want, I can offer you some links, but I have not read them thoroughly myself and cannot vouch for their... non-kookyness. :brow:
Pereynol of Sheer Dread
April 3rd 2003, 10:56 PM
"Soul" can simply mean "life"; when looked at like this, any living being has a soul. But there are degrees of advancing consciousness and minds seem to become more complex with respect to the more advanced brains in homo sapiens. The soul/mind of man needn't be construed as intrinsically immortal anymore than that of any other life form, yet, immortality could be viewed as something God grants to some souls at his discretion. There remain all kinds of opinions concerning these things, theologically, biologically, and philosophically....
April 3rd 2003, 11:15 PM
Welcome Kab - :teeth:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the term "soul" a spiritual concept? Is it not completely different than "mind" or "brain?"
I have some unformed belief in man's continued spiritual "evolution" - I think individuals can be enlightened but it will be a long time before most of mankind is ready for such a leap. Consider that we have groups of people who are as yet incapable of simple compassion, like a dictator and his minions who will torture for fun and assassinate their own countrymen just to remain in power. We have a long way to go.
April 3rd 2003, 11:52 PM
I am basing this as a Theological Philosophy:
In Theology i was taught this the same definition straight out of a dictionary
1. The animating and vital principle in humans, credited with the faculties of thought, action, and emotion and often conceived as an immaterial entity.
2. The spiritual nature of humans, regarded as immortal, separable from the body at death, and susceptible to happiness or misery in a future state.
Therefore, using these definitions, my question is valid and relevant.
I also disagree with the concept of the soul as a 'mind.' The term soul seems to be a presence within oneself that brings understanding, not the brain.
And yes these are spiritual terms lol
Pereynol of Sheer Dread
April 4th 2003, 12:04 AM
In the Greek, aspects of soul, life, and mind are often represented by the same word, and our familiar theological distinctions may not always hold for the biblical language; there is quite a bit of room for debate....
April 4th 2003, 11:50 AM
Speaking from a biblical perspective, I would say that the soul refers to that transcendental aspect of your being such that it is, in essence, distinct from your material body. Jesus said in Matt 10.28: Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. So X is a soul iff X participates in a particular form of phenomenal consciousness. You could also designate the soul as the self, I think.
Also, from a biblical perspective, again, the soul doesn't seem to be the same thing as the mind. Verses which say something along the lines of Mark 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.' bring to light this distinction.
Apologist Glenn Miller describes the function of the mind as follows: "Mind can be programmed through attention/learning/choice (Dt 11.18; Is 46.8; Luke 21.14; Luk 8.18; Dan 10.12), can be influenced/dominated by the 'heart' and 'spirit' (Rom 8.6; Eph 5.19), and can be loaded with value-based goals (Rom 8.5) and principles (John 15.18; Rom 7.23). Mind seems to reflect the cognitive 'workspace' for immediate memory and attended percepts (Mt 16.23; ) and is subject to constant refresh and turnover (Rom 12.2). The mind is the primary mechanism we have under our control to effect self-initiated changes to the heart, generally through attention, fixation, meditation, and saturation (Phil 4.8 ; 2 Cor 3.18. cf. Phil 3.19; Col 3.1-2)."
So even though the soul and the mind seem to operate on different levels, the essence of their operation is relatively the same.
April 4th 2003, 05:24 PM
Greetings Kab. I will respond to this from two perspectives, first from the point of view of my current strong atheism and then from the point of view my former liberal Mormonism. I will tag these as "JOHN ATHEIST" and "JOHN MORMON."
There's no such real thing as a supernatural spirit or soul. It's probably derived from the ancient knowledge that living things breathe, dead things don't and that persons who have nearly died, such as drowning, can be brought back to life by mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Yes, I'm suggesting that this modern medical procedure was successfully performed in ancient times. Why not?
When a child is born it takes in breath. When a person dies they exhale one last time. It's as if something important to their life that is light like air leaves their body. The face might even appear to change after that last breath. That, I believe, is one of the key origins to the religious idea of spirit.
Man is an animal, the most advanced from a mental point of view.
I would like to understand the behavior of the relatives and ancestors of modern man. Perhaps anthropologists will give sensible indications of how these near-men thought. Religion seems to be introduced fairly early among our ancestors because of the burial evidence. They buried their dead as if they believed the dead would live on in some other reality.
Spirit is a form of matter that is more pure and refined than Earthly matter. We were all initially intelligences, beings of "light" who could learn, but were limited. Elohim and one of his wives gave each of us a spirit body which has gender. Our spirits have the potential to become Gods whereas other spirits, such as those which God created for animals and the Earth, do not have that potential.
When we were physically born on Earth, our spirit took control of the physical body forming inside our biological mother. A veil of forgetfulness caused us to forget our pre-Earth life existence with God.
Soul is spirit body + physical body such as we have on Earth. When we die then the body dies, but the spirit cannot die. The soul also dies because the union is severed. When we later resurrect with an immortal glorious body similar in appearance to our Earthly body then our spirits will be coupled with that physical body never to be separated again. That soul or union will be eternal.
My Grandfather's Views:
My grandfather believed in theistic evolution. The Mormon church is split on the question since it seems to contradict the Garden of Eden story. My grandfather had dreams in which his "guide" showed him visions to help answer his questions. This is some of what I remember that my grandfather wrote down and taught his children about the origin of Adam and Eve. There's more.
Adam was the first man-like creature with a physical body in which there was a God-like spirit. Adam's parents had physical bodies the same as his, but their spirits were highly developed animal spirits without the potential to ever become Gods. Adam had sex with his mother and she gave birth to Eve, the first woman with a God-like spirit. Adam and his daughter Eve then became the parents of those like Cain, Abel, and Seth. Forbidden intermarriages between Adam's posterity and those of his non-Godlike biological relatives caused God to kill the non-Adamites and Adamites off in the flood so only man-like descendants of Adam through Noah would survive.
The seed of these others was partly preserved, however, because Ham took a negro to wife. Although her ancestors had been at least partly man-like animals, her children through Ham had God-like spirits. These, however, were not worthy to hold the priesthood until modern times when the Prophet Spencer Kimball received the revelation that allowed all worthy males to hold the priesthood.
Can you believe that I used to believe this? Weird, huh? Racially intolerant, huh?
A former believer in Mormonism.
Now an athe-ist or strong atheist.
April 4th 2003, 06:57 PM
Like you, I am new to these forums. I have a few ideas to share with you that I consider to be answers to your questions.
I don't think there was any point in history where man/ape "acquired" a soul or a consciousness. Instead, I think that consciousness is something that is inherent in matter and energy, and only at some point in the observable evolutionary history did that matter and energy assemble itself into a form that meets our arbitrary definition of what "life" is. In other words, consciousness is fundamental, and didn't suddenly appear within a select few life forms. "Soul" is then identical to consciousness, but also implies a more fundamental identity. Simply, the soul is not something you have, it is what you are.
Additionally, it seems to me that "rational" is a relative concept, and soul's are not rational or irrational unless you perceive them to be in comparison to your own subjective standards of what is rational and what is irrational. Therefore, you might say that lemmings are irrational for committing mass suicide, but to the lemmings it may be the most rational thing to do.
Looking forward into the future, I anticipate an expansion of consciousness that envelops a greater perspective of reality than the typical focus upon the present moment that seems to be the initial quality of human consciousness. I anticipate a recognition of simultaneous probable realities and greater breadth of temporal awareness within those realities. I only say this becuase it seems to be how I would characterize the evolution of man's conscious awareness in the past in a general sense.
You'll likely have a lot of questions, and I'll be happy to answer them as best I can. Thanks.:thumb:
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