Christian physicalism, What if the resurrection is just another me, but like a clone?

(Luca) #81

I understand. Thanks. I might ask more things in due time cause this is an issue that is a bother to me.


Just curious. Why are you more skeptical about that than about the existence of God?

(Luca) #83

Well I believe in God. So i am not sure he exists. But to me the belief has to be coherent. If there is a problem it will bug me alot. And this is one such problem. So for now i am focussing on this one problem rather than if God exists. I have been focussing on that one for years now.


I see. I particularly focused a lot on the hiddenness of God and the problem of evil. These are the ones which bugged me the most for a long time.

(Luca) #85

Yeah i know those. They are also problems but i am not focusing on them.
What mostly bothers me is that if God / The Bible intended for us to have continuity ( our first person me) And science says its not possible. Then something isn’t right. So yeah problemo


I don’t think science says it is not possible…it surely doesn’t “prove” it is possible, because that is out of the scope of science, but there is no real way of proving that, essentially because we can’t build an apparattus to measure consciousness and answer the “is it still the same person or a copy?” question. If we had one of those, we could test many of these philosophical questions and make them scientific questions, but we can’t, and that is why science can’t really say if it is possible or not. I’ve never seem a biology or neuroscience book dedicate a chapter to these questions, it is always philosophers which discuss those matters (using data from neuroscience to back up their views sometimes).

(Luca) #87

Have you seen anyone who uses this pattern view counter the duplication paradox?
What are the solutions to it?


Nope, they usually just bluntly ignore it. But maybe there is someone out there who actually proposed a clever solution and I just didn’t found it.

(Luca) #89

Thats not good.

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #90

This. (emphasis added)

This is not a scientific question. At least, not in 2018. It’s a philosophical question.

(George Brooks) #91

@Totti and @BoltzmannBrain:

Am I understanding you two rightly? Where did all this angst come from?

Based on the kind of ramifications you two are bending around … there are less than a dozen Biblical people who are still the same ones… .maybe Way less than a dozen:

Enoch, who walked with God and God took him.
Gen 5:23-24
And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:
And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

Elijah - who went up in a whirlwind.
2Ki 2:1 And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.

Jesus - who went up into heaven.
Luk 24:51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.

Some people want to say Moses … but there’s not much warrant for this:

Deu 34:5-6
So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.

So… now let’s deal with all the rest of humanity:

@Totti, are you telling me you think the millions of corpses left all over this Earth are any different from the millions of cremated persons? Do you think the degenerated corpses are any more effective at supporting your personality than a cup of ashes? I shall assume you are going to say no. Both the bodies that have turned to dust are just as useless as the bodies that were turned to ashes in cremation.

So… what does that leave you with?

God is going to re-wire your whole body, like a light bulb, so that the light of your personality can be switched back on…


God has preserved your personality in a non-material envelope called a “soul”.

These are your only two choices. I think either one of them is going to work out fine.

Do you remember the Swartzenegger movie (with Robert Duval!), The 6th Day

In this movie, Swartzenegger’s helicopter pilot character is “duplicated” as a clone, with fairly plausible and realistic outcomes. In a perfect clone, the clone is going to think he is the real person. Wouldn’t you agree?

This all gets complicated in the movie because we start seeing multiple clones of people that still have the original (or the more original) still alive.

But if you think you need your body, and God re-builds your body… just once… and not a bunch of times… doesn’t that pretty much cover your concerns?

Frankly, I prefer the Essene view of the soul, where the soul can transmigrate and enjoy himself singing hymns to God, all the while waiting for the End of Days and the General Resurrection.

For me, the soul is installed into the human body like a “Cosmic ziplock bag of Spirit”… and when you die, the body deteriorates, but your Cosmic Ziplock Bag moves on. What happens next would depend on whether you insist that God has to make a new physical body for you … or a new “non-physical” body (whatever that might be). I think the Cosmic Baggy is your body. But you can differ on that point.

I do not think the Physical interpretation of a person is a very useful notion … but i could “live with it” - - if that’s what it turns out to be! [< Hey… funny play on words, yes???]


I’m not necessarely agreeing with physicalist interpretations. I’m just pointing out the paradoxes generated by it and comparing them to the ones possibly generated by dualist explanations. I particularly favor the view of the soul more than the physicalist one, though my concept of “soul” is very open, basicaly, for me the “soul” is the “thing” that keeps your personal identity and allows you to actually have conscious experience (qualia), but what exactly that “thing” is, I can’t really tell (though I do believe in its existence).

(George Brooks) #93

@BoltzmannBrain, isn’t that really all you need to know?

This “soul”, even if characterized by me as a Cosmic Ziplock Bag of Spirit… isn’t it pretty clear that the Soul “possesses” your body?

Where is your consciousness if not behind your eyes? When you look upon a cathedral… or upon a painting of God … are you looking at it from some other physical angle? Aren’t you looking at it from the precise angle of your EYES?

If you smell the incense in church… does it seem as if you are in a closet somewhere, trying to smell the incense? Or does it feel like you are right there, present, surrounded with the mist of incense?

The Bible is pretty explicit about spirit entities having the power to possess. Why you think the one thing that cannot possess your body is the soul that belongs to the body, I’m not quite sure.

But consider it …


Yeah, but is it a “weird ectoplasmic substance” attached to my brain? Is it an “on/off” state embeded on the universe which is triggered by a certain pattern of processing? Is it something else that our limited minds can’t even beggin to grasp the idea of? On that I’m very agnostic, though I do find some hypothesis more plausible than others.

(George Brooks) #95


I am pretty skeptical that anything we want to treat as the “soul” occupies space in 3 dimensions. Is it a pinpoint of energy? A singularity of consciousness?

Or does it require spatial measuring? Does the soul extend throughout the cortex? Or even into the whole brain? Or how about all throughout your body, with ectoplasmic pseudopodia that immediately retract if your arm or leg are severed from your body in an accident?

Have any of you ever considered such matters to be part of God’s mysteries? You act like you should be able to figure it out. I don’t believe there has been a shred of hint that you should.

Could it be that a lifetime of horror movies has left you befuddled?

Let God worry about the machinery of your soul.


Yeah, but I do think we can get a grasp of what the soul probably isn’t by doing these thought experiments, for instance, I’m skeptical about the non-existence of souls because of the problems associated with atributing consciousness to purely material processes, so it is not like we cannot get anywhere in these discussions, even it we don’t reach the actual truth about the inner workings of that possible soul thing.

(George Brooks) #97


Well, maybe we can put some of @Totti’s questions to rest too…

If she were the cloned helicopter pilot in the movie The Sixth Day, I think Totti would find it pretty much as wonderful as it should be … as long as there wasn’t Another Tottie walking around in the same neighborhood.

(Luca) #98

This is the issue. That clone will think he is me. Lets say i die. Its as if i fall asleep. Time passes and God performs a resurrection. This clone wakes up. And nobody could take him apart from me. But I am still asleep. In the grave.

What i expect God has in mind is: i die… same as sleep. God performs a resurrection… I wake up like it would be a nights sleep.

I dont want a clone walking around who thinks like me and acts like me but isnt truly me.

As for the dead bodies i agree withyou.

(Luca) #99

And you are right. I know nothing. I believe God made the fabric of reality…
So why cant he make me… me at the resurrection.

This is deep :smile:

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #100

This is all well and good as speculation, but according to Christian tradition, we actually have an example of what God’s resurrection looks like, in the person of Jesus.

At Jesus’s resurrection, his body was no longer there. The gospels are unanimous that the tomb was empty, the graveclothes left behind.

Furthermore, the new-and-improved post-resurrection Jesus was clearly not a clone of his previous self. This has always struck me as a strange quality of the gospel narrative about the resurrection, that it doesn’t just say, “Of course it was Jesus.” To the contrary, it says that it was not immediately obvious who it was, at least some of the time and to some people. If I were making up a resurrection story, I certainly wouldn’t have written it like that. To me that lends a certain odd verisimilitude to the whole narrative.

Anyway, whatever may be the case in all of our individual cases — whether we are alive at His coming, or recently deceased, or dead for many millennia (presumably completely disintegrated) — we must (as Christians) understand our own cases as similar in principle to His, because He was the “first of many brethren.”