It’s really quite ironic when you think about it:
Anytime a person attempts to argue that humans are simply material beings without souls, the person arguing instantly disproves their own argument by arguing.
(Allow me to explain…)
Three Things Worth Considering
In order for a person to argue any point they believe to be true, the person obviously needs a couple of things from which to do that:
a. the person needs a mind in which to form the argument,
b. the person needs a free will in order to choose to argue,
c. the person needs an identity to make the argument.
However, if all we are as human beings is merely physical matter, then—logically speaking—we wouldn’t have those things.
A. A Brain Isn’t the Same Thing as a Mind
Oh, sure: in a solely material universe, we’d have physical brains—no doubt about that! But a mind and a brain are not the same thing.
Whereas a brain is physical and can be measured physically (via size, weight, etc.), a mind—and all that comes with it (such as thoughts, emotions, memories, etc.)—is, quite obviously, private and immeasurable. You can’t tell what any given person you meet is thinking or feeling unless they tell you what they’re thinking or feeling; you can’t find those things out merely by examining their physical brain in a laboratory.
“Well, what if your mind is just an illusion?” as some may suggest. But, as author and former cold-case detective J. Warner Wallace has retorted, “[If that’s true], then where does that illusion reside?” (Wouldn’t you need a mind to experience such an illusion?)
Clearly, there is more to human beings than just physical elements—which brings us to Point B:
B. A Brain Isn’t the Same Thing as Free Will
If human beings were merely physical beings without souls, then—as philosopher JP Moreland has said,
“There would be no free will. That’s because matter is completely governed by the laws of nature. Take any physical object—for instance, a cloud. It’s just a material object, and its movement is completely governed by the laws of air pressure, wind movement, and the like. So if I’m a material object, all of the things I do are fixed by my environment, my genetics, and so forth. That would mean I’m not really free to make choices. Whatever’s going to happen is already rigged by my makeup and environment. So how could you hold me responsible for my behavior if I wasn’t free to choose how I would act? So if the materialists are right, kiss free will good-bye. In their view, we’re just very complicated computers that behave according to the laws of nature and the programming we receive. But, obviously they’re wrong—we do have free will. We all know that deep down inside. We’re more than just a physical brain.”*
That brings us to Point C:
C. A Brain Isn’t the Same Thing as an Identity
Speaking of being held responsible for our actions, consider what else would be true if we were merely physical beings with no souls. As “Bible Answer Man” Hank Hanegraaff has written,
“[If] human beings were merely material, they could not be held accountable this year for a crime committed last year, simply because physical identity changes over time. Physically, we are not the same person today that we were yesterday. Every day, we lose multiplied millions of microscopic particles. In fact, every seven years, virtually every part of our material anatomy, apart from aspects of our neurological system, changes. Therefore, from a purely material perspective, ‘The self who did the crime in the past is not literally the same self who is present at the time of punishment.’ [Yet] legally and intuitively, we recognize a sameness of soul that establishes personal identity over time.”**
And why is that? Simple: as Wallace has also written,
“We, as humans, are NOT dependent on our parts for our identity. [No matter] how much we have changed (even if we have an organ transplant), we know our identity is not at risk. I am still me, regardless of the fact I am now made of a completely different set of cells compared to my youth.”***
That brings us to Point D:
D. “Something’s Missing…”
Anyone who has ever been to an open-casket funeral has seen it first-hand in even the quickest glance at the dead body: once a person dies, there’s, just, something “missing” afterward that no amount of makeup or embalming can replicate.
And I think we all know intuitively that it’s not merely the absence of various physical chemical and electrical processes that used to go on inside. There’s obviously something “more” that’s missing.
E. Even the Sciences Are Beginning to Agree
However, lest you be too quick to dismiss my arguments as “non-scientific” (and, therefore, invalid), consider what even some modern psychologists and scientists have said about all of this in recent years:
From Psychology Today: “Does the Soul Exist? Evidence Says ‘Yes’”:
From Australian News: “Scientists Offer Quantum Theory of Soul’s Existence:”
So what can we conclude from all of this? Personally, I like how Wallace sums it all up using the Law of Identity:
“The Law of identity simply states that something on one side of the equal sign is identical to something on the other side of the equation if they have the exact same qualities or properties [A = A]. If this is true, we can say that they have an “identity relationship”. When applied to our examination of the soul, monists describe the following identity relationship:
the brain = the mind
the body = the soul
“If this is true, all the properties and qualities on one side of the equations should be identical to all the properties on the other side of the equation. If there are differences in the qualities and nature of the items on opposite sides of the equation, we have two realities, just as Christians have argued all along.”***
So, I guess the bigger question now is this one—for you: is your soul prepared for eternity? If not, then can I challenge you to take just a few minutes to check out the information at this link: peacewithgod.net ? It just may change your life—literally forever.
*Quote taken/paraphrased from chapter 10 of The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel.