Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, January 9, 2019 0 comments

by David Odegard

I started, as did you, with a moment shared between my mother and my father. All of us spring from those shared moments, whether they’re occasioned by brokenness or wholeness, violence or love. Nevertheless, they are the essential beginning of a brand-new human being. (I realize there are technical means to circumvent this normal way, but on the whole, those means hold a vanishingly small percentage of conceptions. Besides, this is a reflection not a technical manual.)

Every seed is full of information, and that information has a destiny. For example, an acorn must become an oak tree if it becomes anything at all. It cannot become something else. The destiny of the acorn is to become a mature oak tree, create acorns, and then having fulfilled its destiny, it dies. It is the same for humans.

The material supplied by my parents was rich with information and energy and when combined, produced a new entity—me. The latent energy in my newly formed zygotic self soon was expended; so, in order to bring about the destiny that was also latent in me, I had to consume energy and it has been that way ever since—matter, energy, and teleological information (DNA).

As I grew, I consumed more energy in various forms; my cells split, regrouped, and repeated the process. My body appropriated nutrients from everywhere it could absorb them in order to grow larger, become more complex, and sustain life. Like an acorn growing into an oak, I absorbed matter and energy into my body, appropriating it in order to fulfill my own latent purpose.

But what is that purpose? That question has completely absorbed 20th century philosophy. Is there “something more” to our existence than just eating and reproducing?

The bond of matter, energy, and information (DNA) in the case of humans is more than the sum of its parts. It is more than just an entity capable of consuming and appropriating energy. After all, a plant can do all of those things, and a human being is so much more than a plant. For instance, I have consciousness and the plant does not. Animals have consciousness and have a higher form of existence than plants, but a human being is more than even an animal.

For example, I am self-aware. I can grasp cognitive of concepts like algebra, history, and the future. I can do more than react to present stimuli. These separate me from even the highest animals. I have abilities in my conscious mind that an animal can never have; an animal never wonders if he has done the moral thing, for instance.

Human beings have a higher form of existence than plants or animals. I am much more than an entity that consumes energy and produces matter according to a preordained pattern of information (DNA). I am more than the sum of my parts—and, constant reader, so are you. This is the synergistic reality of the human being.

In philosophy and theology, the soul is the thing that is greater than the sum of its parts. My composite parts cannot explain who I really am. I am not just a body, an eating machine. I am not just a domino in a cosmic chain of events. I am a soul and I have a body.

Not surprisingly, this is what we find also taught in the Bible. It says that in the very beginning “God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7).

This remarkable act of God confirms that I truly am more than just matter, energy, and information. God imparted something additional to Adam once he was formed. It was the addition of a rational soul. No other created thing received such a soul, making you and me unique. Adam and Eve reproduced according to their kind, and so on, all the way down to me. I am a conscious, enfleshed soul and accordingly, I will never cease to exist.

Because of this reality that deep down we all know about ourselves, the naturalistic story lacks appeal. It seeks to classify us in terms of eating and reproducing mammals, saying that we are just matter and energy accidently joined for no reason or purpose.

Even though the naturalistic story lacks appeal, many have bought in to it because they have been schooled only by naturalism. The details of the creation story are characterized as a fairy tale, never mind that the naturalist story doesn’t account for very many of the details of our real lives.

The naturalistic story is less than the total story, and because many today have built their mental lives around it, they have shunted their lives. They try to cram all meaning and value into just this life—the eating and drinking and being merry. The problem is that after all the eating and drinking is done, we still feel that we are missing out on something. Is this all there is to life? If you answer “Yes,” you will eventually come to a crisis of meaning and value.

But if you believe there must be something more to life, a spiritual dimension or something, I have good news for you. We live in a thick world full of spirit, soul, and body. It is a world that is charged with spiritual beings great and small, good and evil. And over it all is a good God, a maximally perfect God, who loves His creation so much that He does the unthinkable to keep it connected to Him. But that is for another time. Blessings, constant reader.

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