Why Emergence?

Authored by: William Hasker

The Ashgate Research Companion to Theological Anthropology

Print publication date:  February  2015
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781472410931
eBook ISBN: 9781315613673
Adobe ISBN: 9781317041320


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“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7, KJV). But what is a soul? It is not too difficult to give a functional definition of a soul—to say what a soul does. The soul is that in us which feels and thinks, which makes decisions and sometimes incurs guilt. Above all, the soul is that by which we reach out to God. In a word, the soul is the inward center of all our thoughts, feelings and actions, indeed of all of our experiences. But saying these things leaves some important questions unanswered. What is the nature of the soul—that is, what kind of thing is it? And what is the origin of the soul—where does it come from? It is the purpose of this chapter to consider these questions.

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