Weekly Series on the Soul, Part 40 – Body and Soul

+JMJ+ Welcome to part 40 of our weekly series on the soul. I’m preparing a post about Dr. John W. Cooper’s book that I’ve already mentioned in this series a few times, Body, Soul, and Life Everlasting: Biblical Anthropology and the Monism-Dualism Debate. It’s not a purely academic presentation of the subject but is written so that a layperson can read it and learn from it (thank goodness!). Basically, the premise is that there are those today who deny that humans are a union of body and soul, and some of those who deny it are Christians. In his book Cooper goes from the Old Testament through the New and shows that not only did the Old Testament Hebrew people and writers believe in the soul’s existence after bodily death, but that they came to believe in the resurrection, too, before the time of the New Testament. And he looks at contemporary studies and research, too. And what he finds is that the Biblical view of the body-soul union stands up to the supposed invalidating findings of the modern critics.

“Body, Soul goes on to argue that, given this teaching of Scripture, human nature must be so constituted that we—the very individuals who live on earth—can exist at least temporarily while our physical bodies or organisms do not. In other words, there must be enough of a duality in human nature so that God can sustain Moses, Paul, and my mother in fellowship with him even though they are currently without their earthly bodies…All things considered, therefore, the biblical view of the human constitution is some kind of ‘holistic dualism.’”

Cooper, J. W. (2000). Body, Soul, and Life Everlasting: Biblical Anthropology and the Monism-Dualism Debate (p. xvi). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

When I sat down to write this post, I ran a search on the web to be sure I knew about the available versions of the book and what did I find but the Logos/Verbum edition. I was so excited! Now I can study the book with the Scriptures and other works with search tags in it already. And not some computer-generated search tags but hand-tagged by humans. (See Note 2.) This makes study even more fruitful and cuts out some of my work, too. I can just click a reference and if it’s in my library, Verbum will pull it up for me. This will be fun. When I can find a Catholic book similar to this one, I’ll get that one, too. A Verbum edition would be an added bonus.

Just noticed that Cooper quotes from the Catechism. Here are some examples.

“In death, the separation of the soul from the body, the human body decays and the soul goes to meet God, while awaiting its reunion with its glorified body” (par. 997).

“The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the ‘form’ of the body; … spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature” (par. 366).

Ibid., xvi–xvii.

I’m seeing other quotes from E.P. Sanders, N.T. Wright, (then) Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope St. John Paul II, and many, many others. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Finding this Verbum edition of Body, Soul changes everything about how I was going to go about this. While I re-think my approach and study the book in Verbum, here is another video of Dr. Cooper giving talks about body and soul dualism. (There’s one in last week’s post, too, in case you missed that one.)

Video: Dr. John W. Cooper, Biblical Hermeneutics and the Body-Soul Debate.

Thank you for visiting and reading. Until next time, whoever and wherever you are, please stay safe and well, virtuous and holy. May the Lord bless and keep you, and may His peace be always with you. +JMJ+


Notes and Links

  1. Body, Soul, and Life Everlasting: Biblical Anthropology and the Monism-Dualism Debate, by Dr. John W. Cooper: Paperback, Kindle (those are Amazon affiliate links, see Full Disclosure below), Verbum, Logos (and these last two are not affiliate links). (The same text but used in both apps. Verbum is the Catholic one. This book could easily be used by Catholics or non-Catholics.) Explore the software, or get the apps for desktop or mobile: Verbum, Logos. (Check out the free ebooks and sales each month. They’ve got subscriptions, too, if you prefer that.)
  2. Why hand-tagging by humans matters: Computer-generated search tags will mean that the app is going to find exactly what you tell it to find. Tell it to “find every reference to Jesus in this text,” and it will. But human-generated search tags mean that a human is able to read the text and know that not every reference to Jesus will use His name. Some may say Messiah or carpenter or carpenter’s son or Son of Man or any number of other terms, even “he” in many instances. Try getting a computer-generated tag search to find all of that without loading it up with qualifiers. Gives me a headache to think about it.  
  3. Video: Dr. John W. Cooper, Biblical Hermeneutics and the Body-Soul Debate.

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