The podcast will return this Tuesday… Alas our host is again this week found to be roaming the west, (indeed the badlands), in search of business, work, inspiration and a high quality turquoise, glass and scorpion trinket one would be proud to display in the sitting room of one’s elegant country estate. That search continues and the Worldview Podcast must once again be delayed until Tuesday. But until then please consider a couple of exchanges we’ve engaged in this week. First, an article regarding the future of Focus on the Family. Read it at this link and see Doug’s comments below:
First of all, the reporter, Andrea appears to like the “Andrew” look, and I’m sure she got on famously with Mr. Daly!
Points of interest to me:
FOF has a budget over $100 M per year and claim to have “saved” 80,000 babies in 33 years. Estimate $30,000 per child. We rejoice for the lives preserved, but is this wise stewardship?
Daly says, “When you look back from a pro-life perspective, what were the gains there?” he asked, noting President Ronald Reagan’s judicial choices. A generation later, “we see a bit of fatigue. We don’t see the results for the energy, the money, everything else that’s been poured into the political sphere,”
-An admission that what God gave provided FOF has been for the most part squandered. And he makes the mistake of confusing the term “political” regarding issues of justice. He seems not to understand that “politics” involves zoning and mill levies, while stopping the murder of the innocent is a moral issue. And he thinks Reagan’s appointees were a victory… what a naive fool.
He ends with – “That’s a big task, to try to insure 30 million people. I don’t know that anybody but the government could do something for those people,”
Here’s a man who’s finally comfortable with ceding the responsibilities of the family to the government. And he appears just as comfortable ceding the battle for the culture to others more qualified than he. But who will fill the void?
I’ll just let that question hang out there and move on to the next issue at hand
We could use some help finding scriptural references as to the origins of each human soul. We’ve been searching and are hard pressed to find anything. The question is: “does God create each soul at the moment of our physical beginning, or is the soul/spirit a product of natural reproduction”. To give you some context please review this lively exchange amongst your host, brother Dennis Hoshiko, and Dianne Irving, M.A., Ph.D. we begin with br. Hoshiko’s inquiry as to whether the personhood movement should use the term “creation”, or “reproduction” in our efforts to promote the full humanity of all persons…
From: Dennis Hoshiko
Sent: Friday, April 23, 2010 9:13 PM
…you’ll notice that at the end of Dr. Irving’s dissertation, she indicates her preference for the term “unborn” instead of “preborn”, when she concludes:
**The terms “unborn” and “pre-born” both refer to the early developing human person. But I would suggest that in general the term “unborn” is preferred. This is because the term “pre-born” subtly implies that such human persons are eventually expected to or supposed to be “born”. However, many living innocent human persons are reproduced both sexually and asexually for purposes other than “birth”, and thus might not receive the full protection of their natural human rights as persons as those who are destined to be “born”.
Personally, I’ve always preferred the term “preborn” instead of “unborn”, precisely because it intimates that such persons are expected or supposed to be born, but I fully understand Dr. Irving’s point that those who are not reproduced for that purpose need to be protected too, so I suggest we follow her lead on this point.
Along those lines, I’m curious; may/should we use the term “created”, rather than “reproduced”?
From: Doug McBurney
Date: Friday, April 23, 2010, 11:16 PM
Thank you Dr. Irving for so professionally documenting an assertion I’ve tried to make wherever I see the term “fertilized egg” in a blog or report.
And Dennis, while I shared your position on pre-born vs unborn, Dr. Irving’s point is well taken, (brave new world indeed). I, like you am persuaded to the latter.
As to the term “created”, (and I would defer to Pastor Bob on this), my understanding is that the only person ever created was Adam, and Eve was taken from him, and it’s been reproduction ever since, whether sexual or otherwise.
Grace to you all,
From: Dennis Hoshiko Grace and peace!
Sent: Saturday, April 24, 2010 8:50 AM
Concerning using the term “created”, the Declaration of Independence states:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
A Bible search of the word “created” as used in the context of God creating people yields the following passages from Young’s Literal Translation:
- Psalm 89:47
Remember, I pray Thee, what [is] life-time? Wherefore in vain hast Thou created All the sons of men?
Psalm 89:46-48 (in Context) Psalm 89 (Whole Chapter)
- Psalm 102:18
This is written for a later generation, And the people created do praise Jah.
Psalm 102:17-19 (in Context) Psalm 102 (Whole Chapter)
- Psalm 104:30
Thou sendest out Thy Spirit, they are created, And Thou renewest the face of the ground.
Psalm 104:29-31 (in Context) Psalm 104 (Whole Chapter)
- Psalm 148:5
They do praise the name of Jehovah, For He commanded, and they were created.
Psalm 148:4-6 (in Context) Psalm 148 (Whole Chapter)
- Isaiah 43:7
Every one who is called by My name, Even for My honour I have created him, I have formed him, yea, I have made him.
Isaiah 43:6-8 (in Context) Isaiah 43 (Whole Chapter)
Thoughts to ponder.
In a message dated 4/24/2010 1:26:07 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, dougmcburney writes:
Regarding the Declaration: the use of “created” would be accurate in its context, I agree. And it’s a point worth noting, as I’ve always preferrred the Declaration to so many of the documents that followed. (Excepting the “pursuit of happiness” part). I’m convinced that replacing “property” with “pursuit of happiness” left open too wide the path to inappropriate governmental expansion… but that’s another topic…
As to the biblical references, your offerings here are well chosen, and have led to a fine morning in the scripture, and for that I must thank you in Spirit and Truth!
I would only offer the usage might be considered figurative in each case. Certainly God can be credited with creating, in a broad sense all that has ever existed.
But when we discuss the particulars of how the physical universe functions, perhaps there is a distinction worth noting. Here is my scriptural reasoning, (but the foundation of my argument for “reproduction” is based more on a scientific hunch than on clear scriptural evidence).
It has been noted that in the initial creation account the Father uses the term “created” when communicating His initial thought/action, (He refers to both beings as a product of His INITIAL intent):
Gen 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
But note that when Genesis returns to explain the details, that Adam’s origin is clearly indicated as being brought out of inanimate substance to life, (which I hold to be the definition of
Gen 2:7 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 being.
But then, when the story returns to the particulars of Eve’s origin, there is a subtle distinction… (and I have no Hebrew, I only note that the material used here was from a living being, and therefore
different from Adams creation).
Gen 2:21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.
Gen 2:22 Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
Gen 2:23 And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”
So Eve’s beginning involved supernatural intervention, and seems to be distinguished from Adam’s in the text, the distinction being made in the recounting of the physical events, and not God’s initial thought/action.
Now as each of us are the result of a documentable series of natural interactions between animate substances that are literally “copied” from our parents. And there is no supernatural element involved. So it would seem to me more appropriate to use the term “reproduction”.
I wonder if Dr. Irving would advise us, (leaving theology aside), whether “creation”, (perhaps in the case of people brought into being in vitro rather than in vivo) would be appropriate from a purely scientific perspective? Or would reproduction be more appropriate?
Many blessings to you Dennis, and to all who hear,
From: Dianne Irving
Sent: Saturday, April 24, 2010 2:22 PM
Well, I was hoping I wouldn’t get dragged into this one:-) But I’ll try my best. I think the answer is a mixture of what I have heard in the last emails.
First, I think we all agree that a human being/person consists of both a material physical body and an immaterial soul. The immediate issue is how each part of this compound human being is made, and when.
Second, I have never experienced any conflict between my science and my religion. I believe that God initially created the universe, and man in it — as well as the laws of nature. But I also believe that God creates out of nothing the immaterial soul of each new human being. The physical part, the body, is contributed by the parents.
So my own thinking, based on Biblical Truth, as well as that gleaned from my science and philosophy work, is the following.
God of course created Adam and Eve; but He also created out of nothing and instantaneously the human soul of every existing human being. Since He created the laws of nature, including the biological laws of human embryology, He allows those laws to operate automatically — unless He so wills something different. So when a new human being comes into existence, God immediate creates the immaterial soul, and He allows His laws of nature to operate whereby the physical sperm of the man and the physical oocyte of the woman come together to form the new human being’s physical body. In Catholic theology, the technical term used is “con-create”. Together with God and the human parents, a new human PERSON comes into being. This is immediate; there is no delay; the individual soul does not exist before God immediately creates it out of nothing (although the IDEA of each of us is probably already in the Mind of God!). So my understanding draws on the wisdom of both emails. God creates the immaterial soul out of nothing simultaneously when the sperm and oocyte unite to form the physical body — if He so wills. Also, the immaterial soul is all throughout the physical body, not just in the brain or the heart, etc. There is a wonderful encyclical statement that expresses this best, i.e., that therefore when one touches a human body one thereby also touches the human soul of that person.
As for asexually reproduced human beings, again, what is happening is according to the laws of nature created by God Himself. And yes, those laws can be abused. The easiest example to understand this is the case of naturally occurring human monozygotic twins — “identical twins” — that are reproduced within the body of a woman. For whatever reason, God has included in His laws of nature the capacity of some physical matter to be “flexible”. What happens is that the cells of the earliest human embryos are totipotent. That is, IF SEPARATED FROM THE WHOLE EMBRYO those cells have the capacity to revert to new embryos. It isn’t always successful, in which case those separated cells simply die. But when it is successful, then new human beings come into existence by asexual, not by sexual, means. This is all documented scientifically. The second twin is formed from the first twin. Only God knows precisely when He creates the new soul of the second twin, but it is probably when the DNA in that cell has been regulated back to what it should be for a new organism, rather than just for a mere “cell”. You can find a far more detailed scientific explanation for this in my article: “Playing God by manipulating man: Facts and frauds of human cloning” (October 4, 2003), presented twice at the Missouri Catholic Conference Annual Assembly Workshop, Jefferson City, MO, at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_22manipulatingman1.html. The point is that natural identical twins are reproduced asexually; what takes place in vitro is simply mimicking the very same biological phenomenon artificially. In both cases, a new human being is reproduced in accord with the laws of nature (which can of course be abused) whose physical “body” is generated from the parents and whose immaterial soul is created instantaneously by God. Don’t ask why God would “cooperate” in unethical techniques! Anyone who claims to know the Mind of God is pretending to be God Himself, as far as I am concerned. It is not that God is participating in evil; rather, it is that God is allowing certain things to take place. Why? Ask Him.
So, for what it’s worth, this is how I personally understand the issue. In the strict intellectual sense, then, the term “create” should be used — but only with reference to the human soul. The human “body” is “reproduced” from the physical material of the man and woman according to the laws of nature (specifically, the laws of the science of human embryology). Indeed, as you Biblical scholars have demonstrated, the term “create” is used in both the Constitution and the Bible, but there is a practical side to the issue.
In the pure practical sense, I worry about using the term “create” in an effort to appeal to voters to pass such a controversial law. The term “reproduce” does not necessarily negate any agency of God to create. And I think it is safer to use in this particular endeavor. The voters will be coming from a myriad of “belief systems”, even atheistic systems. One hint of “religion” and they will run the other way. Needless to say, your opponents would also love to have you use the term “create” so that they could “prove” to the electorate that your bill is mere “religion” and thus should be rejected in our “pluralistic, multicultural, democratic society”. In short, practically speaking, I think you would lose voters.
Also, the issue of “personhood” relies on at least two fields (because the human person is both physical and immaterial). When the physical body begins to exist is a purely scientific question, and we know the answer to that question. But when the soul begins to exist is a philosophical or theological question, and cannot be directly determined empirically. However, if there is no delay in the creation of the soul, then we can legitimately reason back to and identify with confidence when the soul exists by determining when the physical body exists. The soul literally animates the body, enabling it to produce specifically human proteins and enzymes that can be detected empirically. Since my efforts with you concern chiefly the science involved in your “personhood” bill, it might also be safer to stick with the scientific term “reproduce”, rather than the term “create” (which has a very different meaning).
These are certainly difficult questions, and I respect all of you for confronting them. And I would defer to your decision whether the term “create” or “reproduce” is used. The above is just my own understanding of the questions, and perhaps it might help. Any questions, let ’em fly:-)
PS — You can find a very detailed explanation of my thinking and position in a new article of mine recently published in the New Catholic Encyclopedia, which moves from the science, to the “bioethics”, to the philosophy and ends with Church teachings on these related issues; for historical purposes, the Bibliography is divided into four sections, and is 30 pages:
“Human Embryology and Church Teachings” (September 15, 2008), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/em/em_132embryologychurch1.html; also published in The New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2nd ed., Supplement 2009, (Detroit: Gayle), pp. 287-312, as “Embryology, Human”; see http://www.gale.cengage.com/NCE/
From: Doug McBurney
Sent: Sat 4/24/2010 10:28 PM
To digest your thinking on these subjects is edifying to the soul and a true joy! As with you Dennis, iron sharpens iron.
I must ponder the assertion that God creates each human soul at the time of that person’s beginning, and search the scripture.
I’ve operated under the impression, (and without yet seeking evidence) that the soul is a natural product of reproduction as is the body, (but existing in the spiritual realm rather than the physical, and therefore hopelessly tethered to the physical being from which it emanates, save for the Redeemer).
But for now I must retire and address this topic with a fresh outlook in the future.
Thank you for a stimulating discussion. I look forward to searching these things out,
From: Dennis Hoshiko 04/25/10
Biologically, the human egg is penetrated and fertilized by the human sperm outside of the womb, either in the body in the fallopian tube or in vitro in the test tube, so when God states in Jeremiah 1:5 that He “knows” us BEFORE we are in the womb, the implication is that we are endowed with our personhood AT LEAST, at the moment of our biological beginning. However, because of God’s omnipotence (all-knowing nature), it’s likely that He “knows” us even before that moment, which is mind boggling!:
Psalm 139 (Young’s Literal Translation)
1Jehovah, Thou hast searched me, and knowest.
2Thou — Thou hast known my sitting down, And my rising up, Thou hast attended to my thoughts from afar.
3My path and my couch Thou hast fanned, And [with] all my ways hast been acquainted.
4For there is not a word in my tongue, Lo, O Jehovah, Thou hast known it all!
5Behind and before Thou hast besieged me, And Thou dost place on me Thy hand.
6Knowledge too wonderful for me, It hath been set on high, I am not able for it.
7Whither do I go from Thy Spirit? And whither from Thy face do I flee?
8If I ascend the heavens — there Thou [art], And spread out a couch in Sheol, lo, Thee!
9I take the wings of morning, I dwell in the uttermost part of the sea,
10Also there Thy hand doth lead me, And Thy right hand doth hold me.
11And I say, `Surely darkness bruiseth me, Then night [is] light to me.
12Also darkness hideth not from Thee, And night as day shineth, as [is] darkness so [is] light.
13For Thou — Thou hast possessed my reins, Thou dost cover me in my mother’s belly.
14I confess Thee, because that [with] wonders I have been distinguished. Wonderful [are] Thy works, And my soul is knowing [it] well.
15My substance was not hid from Thee, When I was made in secret, Curiously wrought in the lower part of earth.
16Mine unformed substance Thine eyes saw, And on Thy book all of them are written, The days they were formed — And not one among them.
17And to me how precious have been Thy thoughts, O God, how great hath been their sum!
Humbly following Jesus: the Lord of Life,