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Body Soul and Human Life PB (Studies in Theological Interpretation) [Paperback]

Green Joel

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Book Description

9 May 2008 Studies in Theological Interpretation
Are humans composed of a material body and an immaterial soul? This view is commonly held by Christians, yet it has been undermined by recent developments in neuroscience. Exploring what Scripture and theology teach about issues such as being in the divine image, the importance of community, sin, free will, salvation, and the afterlife, Joel Green argues that a dualistic view of the human person is inconsistent with both science "and "Scripture. This wide-ranging discussion is sure to provoke much thought and debate.
Bestselling books have explored the relationship between body, mind, and soul. Now Joel Green provides us with a biblical perspective on these issues.

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good points, but ultimately unsatisfying 16 Feb 2009
By Phil Heaps - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book addresses the knotty issue of the relationship between brain, mind and soul. It seeks to present the Bible's teaching on `what a human being is' in the light of the neurosciences (brain biology, psychology etc.) Is the `real me' my soul? Green rightly rejects this popular approach as incompatible with both science and Scripture. On the one hand, thinking and behaviour is inextricably tied to brain state, which is undeniably physical. On the other hand, Scripture presents human persons as a unified whole - demonstrated climactically in God's commitment to bodily resurrection, rather than `souls going to heaven'. Along the way Green considers the issues of [1] humankind in God's image - in terms of role/relationship rather than `we have a soul, animals don't'; [2] sin, freedom and moral responsibility - given that physical/brain factors at the subconscious level profoundly influence our choices and actions; [3] conversion - not something that happens to our souls, but a new framework of understanding, vitally tied to integration into the community of God's people; and [4] the intermediate state - where Green denies personal independent existence after death, claiming rather that God recreates us at the final resurrection. Green locates personal identity in the `embodiedness' of our lives, in our relationships (primarily with God, but also vitally with others), and in the overarching story by which we understand ourselves and our world. This rightly critiques the modern tendency to locate personhood in the `inner person's independent, self-contained autonomy. Green intermingles neuroscientific research conclusions with philosophical reflection and exegesis of key Biblical passages.

Green describes fascinating science, raises good questions, and makes a number of helpful or thought provoking points, e.g. on `nature vs. nurture', and on Sin as a shaping power rather than simply individual misdeeds. Undoubtedly we underestimate the `embodiedness' of our existence, with its impact on our thought, behaviour, and even `spiritual experience'. Ultimately though, the book was unsatisfying - not because the issues are `out of bounds', but because Green cites the biblical conclusions of others without giving their evidence, and never really grapples with certain key objections. He has the irritating academic habit of dismissing alternative views as `insufficiently nuanced' and of disguising vague/simplistic statements with fine-sounding language; he also resorts to false "either-or"s, and eloquently restates his position as if that constituted proof. For example he dismisses one study of afterlife in the Old Testament by observing that this is not a primary OT concern (which may be true, but hardly proves his point); similarly, he seems to assume that because `soul/body/spirit' words are used in various ways, the study of such terminology is irrelevant. Some pertinent passages were conspicuously absent (Matt.10v28, Hebr.12v23, Rev.6v9-11, Luke 20v38, 1Thes.5v23), or dealt with summarily (Philipp.1v23, 2Cor.5v8). His decision to postpone discussion of post-death survival to the final chapter was based on the logic: "the Greeks/Romans had various views; so did the Jews; the Biblical writers had no firsthand knowledge of the subject". Hardly reassuring from a Christian standpoint.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great thoughts on Creation, Life, Death and Science 6 Mar 2009
By Ronald E. Jutzy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
An excellent review and fresh perspective on life, death, creation and science; showing the coherence of all perspectives. Uniquely qualified as a neuroscientist as well as a solid Biblical scholar, Joel Green rethinks the Biblical references to the meanings of life and death. He clarifies particularly the state of the dead-in-Christ; reinterpreting, in the light of modern linguistic understandings, the references to the relationship of body and soul (unity) and their unlikely separation in death. He also describes thoughts on the immortal body of Jesus and the significance of resurrection into a new body. Excellent science and theology in harmony.
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting 13 Dec 2013
By pifer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book brings into light some very interesting points about the body, the soul, and what happens when we die.
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