A Classical Christian Emergent Anthropology

John Cooper


I'll argue that biblical anthropology presents a holistic or integral view of soul and body, but one in which persons can exist temporarily without earthly bodies. I'l l then present a version of this anthropology - the generically Thomist view that that soul is the subsistent form (organizing, empowering principle) of the material body that constitutes humans as one spiritual-physical substance (not two-substance duali sm) - a living organism with human capacities. But by God’s supernatural power, the soul can exist apart from the body between death and resurrection. (It is not naturally immortal.) I modify Thomism by opting for a traducian rather than a creati onist view of the soul: the union of sperm and egg is not merely biological but produces a new spiritual-physical individual. The soul does not "emerge" and develop from mere physical stuff by metaphysical magic (as in physicalism), but because the person-spiritual capacities are potentially present from conception.