Human organisms and the survival of death: a systematic evaluation of the possibility of life after death given animalism
Atkinson (Thomas)
Source: PhD thesis, University of Liverpool Website, August 2017
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Conclusion



Dualism in Scripture
  1. The aim of Atkinson’s Thesis is to demonstrate that Animalism is inconsistent with the Christian hope of resurrection. This is a two-edged sword, depending on whether or not Animalism is true (or the Christian hope, for that matter). Atkinson thinks that – because the Christian hope is true – Animalism must be false. The faithless would argue that because Animalism is true, the Christian hope is groundless. The Thesis itself is intended as a valid ad hominem argument addressed to Christian materialists.
  2. I’m not clear whether Atkinson is a dualist out of conviction or because he needs to be so because he’s a Christian and thinks the Bible (and Tradition) tells him to believe it.
  3. I agree that Christian tradition is very strongly dualist.
  4. I disagree with some of Atkinson’s objections to Christian Materialists. He implies that they associate dualism with gnostic cults and other heretics. This is not so – or not primarily so or need not be so! Christian materialists are trying to argue that dualism got into the air in NT times and thereafter because of Greek – particularly Neoplatonic – influence, which is foreign to Hebrew thought. So, the NT might use these categories without necessarily endorsing them.
  5. He cites various OT & NT Scriptures1 that he thinks settle the matter:-
    1. Ecclesiastes 12:7
      • Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.
      • καὶ ἐπιστρέψῃ ὁ χοῦς ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν ὡς ἦν καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα ἐπιστρέψῃ πρὸς τὸν θεόν ὃς ἔδωκεν αὐτό
      • וְיָשֹׁ֧ב הֶעָפָ֛ר עַל־הָאָ֖רֶץ כְּשֶׁהָיָ֑ה וְהָר֣וּחַ תָּשׁ֔וּב אֶל־הָאֱלֹהִ֖ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר נְתָנָֽהּ׃
    2. Matthew 10:28
      • And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
      • Καὶ μὴ φοβεῖσθε ἀπὸ τῶν ἀποκτεννόντων τὸ σῶμα, τὴν δὲ ψυχὴν μὴ δυναμένων ἀποκτεῖναι· φοβεῖσθε δὲ μᾶλλον τὸν δυνάμενον καὶ ψυχὴν καὶ σῶμα ἀπολέσαι ἐν γεέννῃ.
    3. Luke 16:22-28 (The Rich man and Lazarus)
    4. Luke 23:43
      • And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."
      • καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ἀμήν σοι λέγω, σήμερον μετ᾽ ἐμοῦ ἔσῃ ἐν τῷ παραδείσῳ.
    5. John 19:30
      • When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit.
      • ὅτε οὖν ἔλαβεν τὸ ὄξος [ὁ] Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν· τετέλεσται, καὶ κλίνας τὴν κεφαλὴν παρέδωκεν τὸ πνεῦμα.
    6. 2 Corinthians 5:1-9
      • 5:1 For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
      • Οἴδαμεν γὰρ ὅτι ἐὰν ἡ ἐπίγειος ἡμῶν οἰκία τοῦ σκήνους καταλυθῇ, οἰκοδομὴν ἐκ θεοῦ ἔχομεν, οἰκίαν ἀχειροποίητον αἰώνιον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς.
      • 5:6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord--
      • Θαρροῦντες οὖν πάντοτε καὶ εἰδότες ὅτι ἐνδημοῦντες ἐν τῷ σώματι ἐκδημοῦμεν ἀπὸ τοῦ κυρίου·
    7. Philippians 1:20-24
      • 1:20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I shall not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ shall even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
      • κατὰ τὴν ἀποκαραδοκίαν καὶ ἐλπίδα μου, ὅτι ἐν οὐδενὶ αἰσχυνθήσομαι ἀλλ᾽ ἐν πάσῃ παρρησίᾳ ὡς πάντοτε καὶ νῦν μεγαλυνθήσεται Χριστὸς ἐν τῷ σώματί μου, εἴτε διὰ ζωῆς εἴτε διὰ θανάτου.
    8. Hebrews 12:22-23
      • 12:23 to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect,
      • πανηγύρει καὶ ἐκκλησίᾳ πρωτοτόκων ἀπογεγραμμένων ἐν οὐρανοῖς καὶ κριτῇ θεῷ πάντων καὶ πνεύμασιν δικαίων τετελειωμένων
    9. 1 Peter 3:18-20
      • 3:18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;
      • ὅτι καὶ Χριστὸς ἅπαξ περὶ ἁμαρτιῶν ἔπαθεν, δίκαιος ὑπὲρ ἀδίκων, ἵνα ὑμᾶς προσαγάγῃ τῷ θεῷ θανατωθεὶς μὲν σαρκί, ζῳοποιηθεὶς δὲ πνεύματι·
    10. Revelation 6:9-11
      • 6:9 And when He broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained;
        BGT Revelation 6:9 Καὶ ὅτε ἤνοιξεν τὴν πέμπτην σφραγῖδα, εἶδον ὑποκάτω τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου τὰς ψυχὰς τῶν ἐσφαγμένων διὰ τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ διὰ τὴν μαρτυρίαν ἣν εἶχον.
      • 6:11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, should be completed also.
        BGT Revelation 6:11 καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτοῖς ἑκάστῳ στολὴ λευκὴ καὶ ἐρρέθη αὐτοῖς ἵνα ἀναπαύσονται ἔτι χρόνον μικρόν, ἕως πληρωθῶσιν καὶ οἱ σύνδουλοι αὐτῶν καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτῶν οἱ μέλλοντες ἀποκτέννεσθαι ὡς καὶ αὐτοί.
    11. Revelation 20:4
      • And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
      • Καὶ εἶδον θρόνους καὶ ἐκάθισαν ἐπ᾽ αὐτοὺς καὶ κρίμα ἐδόθη αὐτοῖς, καὶ τὰς ψυχὰς τῶν πεπελεκισμένων διὰ τὴν μαρτυρίαν Ἰησοῦ καὶ διὰ τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ οἵτινες οὐ προσεκύνησαν τὸ θηρίον οὐδὲ τὴν εἰκόνα αὐτοῦ καὶ οὐκ ἔλαβον τὸ χάραγμα ἐπὶ τὸ μέτωπον καὶ ἐπὶ τὴν χεῖρα αὐτῶν. καὶ ἔζησαν καὶ ἐβασίλευσαν μετὰ τοῦ Χριστοῦ χίλια ἔτη.
  6. My response to these passages is – necessarily briefly – as follows:-
    1. Ecclesiastes 12:7
      • This passage treats the ‘spirit’ as a life-force that returns to God when an organism dies. Human beings and other animals are on a par in Ecclesiastes in this regard.
    2. Matthew 10:28
      • Difficult to read this without dualist spectacles. Note, incidentally, that the soul – whatever it is – is destroyed. But it is evidently distinct from the body.
    3. Luke 16:22-28 (The Rich man and Lazarus)
    4. Luke 23:43
    5. John 19:30
    6. 2 Corinthians 5:1-9
    7. Philippians 1:20-24
    8. Hebrews 12:22-23
    9. 1 Peter 3:18-20
    10. Revelation 6:9-11
    11. Revelation 20:4



Reading List2
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Comment:



In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: Footnote 2: Footnote 3: Footnotes 4, 7, 9, 10: Footnote 5: Footnote 6: Footnote 8:

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