Body and Soul


Paul’s pretty clear about what he thinks on the resurrection.

13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

As we discussed some last week, this resurrection is not just our souls residing forever in heaven next to God, but an actual, physical resurrection. In Brenda’s post, we saw the ways in which the Corinthians were influenced by Greek philosophies into thinking of the soul as separate, and better than the body.

This is an idea that’s prevalent in our society, even our pop culture:

title ghost in the shell

Shell says it all really. Our body is something that can be tossed away. In the GITS universe our brains are still organic, though they can be augmented with cybernetic technology. We can even be “hacked”, have memories and experiences inserted into our minds. Our brain and body are the hardware, our “ghost” is the software, and even that can be rewritten.

This sounds crazy, science-fiction anime cyberpunk mumbo jumbo. Until you look at some of today’s technology, and how that technology might someday give us immortality of a different sort. We’re communicating brain signals over the internet, studying ways to restore lost memory, and using a brain implant to move limbs and restore functionality. On the purely technological front we have Google Glass which brings the world of the net directly into our visual field, bluetooth devices we wear in our ears, and black rounded rectangles (patent pending) that we carry in our pockets.

And then there’s the singularity project, who’s goal, among other things, is to usher in the advances of technology necessary to store, record and transfer consciousness. Essentially write our “ghosts” into new “shells”.

These medical advances and technology are not inherently bad, in fact in some cases they’re ground-breaking and wonderful. But I think the problem of our generation, or at the latest our kid’s generation, will be in defining exactly what is the essence of our humanity, our soul, and what is its relation to where we reside, our body. I don’t want to live forever in a robotic body, even a very well programmed one, I want to live in my body, restored and redeemed.

Big-Bang-Theory-robot_320Now I’m going to admit this, talking about transferring consciousness to robots sounds crazy, even if it’s entered our collective imaginations to the point that it’s the premise for an episode of The Big Bang Theory.

But today’s science fiction is tomorrow’s science fact. Just look at cell-phones, hypo-sprays, doors that open based on motion, touch screen displays, tablets we hold in our hands, warp drive (okay maybe not that last one, but you get the point, really letting my inner nerd out for this one).

It’s a common idea in society and in the church that our soul is separate from our body, and that idea is what Paul is trying to combat. If anything I think this idea is even more relevant in a day when we can contemplate building our own replacement parts.

ghost-in-the-shell-21I honestly wonder if in the next hundred years if “resurrection” and “eternal-life” will be the selling points for Christianity they are today. “Sure God will return and I’ll have a physical body again with no pain and eternal life. But there’s that death bit, and the floating around as a disembodied spirit in between. Who wants that?”

Note: I’ve written pretty extensively and admittedly hyperbolically on the Singularity before. If you’re interested in my more extended (and possibly frantic) thoughts on the Singularity, check out this post.

~Post written by Ben Trube

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