People are physical, rational, and spiritual

Hi Roger,

That’s what you said in another thread. I find it most interesting and it keeps me thinking. I need you to explain more.

Do you think
the three are different things “assembled” together and each does their own job,
or they are three aspects of the same thing,
or they are the aspects or functions of a normal living human which could be a state of certain things or the effect of some things like fire is the effect of combustion.

And, what makes the difference between a human and a worm which is physical and can sense but not obviously rational or spiritual.

Any idea will be appreciated.

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@gmt Shaun,

Thank you for the questions. First let me say that Humans are physical, rational, and spiritual, because our universe is physical, rational, and spiritual. We mirror our environment.

Your question about the earth worm reminded me of the time long ago when my college biology class dissected Annelida. Indeed a worm does have a brain and a nervous system as we do, but much simpler.

What does it do with its brain? It seeks food and avoids danger. Exactly what we do, but differently. It is this that makes life forms different from things that are not alive and makes them rational or able think is a basic manner, including plants.

In terms of the spiritual the worm is impelled to live. Humans too have a desire to live, but differently from earthworms. We have a choice and many of us decide that life is not worth living any more and end it.

That is often a positive thing because for many people there comes a time when their life is over and it is best to end it rather than prolong it. The point is that we have this basic spiritual choice that most others do not.

What do you think?

Hi Roger,

I don’t have the answer. But these questions are important. The electrical activities in the brain we detect is certainly not consciousness itself, let alone emotions. They are possibly correlated.

If what you said was true, then we don’t have to ask how could the nervous system create consciousness because it’s already there.

An interesting article:
# Neuroscience’s New Consciousness Theory Is Spiritual
It appears that we are approaching a unique time in the history of man and science where empirical measures and deductive reasoning can actually inform us spiritually. Integrated Information Theory (IIT)—put forth by neuroscientists Giulio Tononi and Christof Koch—is a new framework that describes a way to experimentally measure the extent to which a system is conscious.

Our brain is made out of connections. The more the connections, the bigger the brain, but a big brain does not mean consciousness. Consciousness means that you are aware of yourself. Adults are aware of themselves, but babies are not. I think that there may be some animals who are self aware, but only a few if any.

Humans are conscious, self aware, and can think because they are able think two thoughts are once and compare them. We are complex/one beings, unlike other creatures.

The biggest problem that humans have is not how to think, but how to love or be is right relationship to others.

I had thought (my wild guess) that our consciousness was the effect of something, like fire is the effect of combustion. And based on that, many things come into existence like feelings, emotions, thoughts, decisions, etc. But we are wading into one of the biggest scientific challenges among all: how consciousness arises in the brain. It’s an impossible task for us, though thinking about it helps us understand morality, or even the universe, God, etc. This approach is different than the pure religious one.

I don’t think so. Evolution takes place by a gradual process.

The problem is that science does not know the basic structure of reality, so how can it determine the final structure. I thought that you might be interested understanding the basic structure of Reality, instead of speculating about how things might be.

No, science hasn’t learned. Scientists are like explorers. They guess and travel to see, and often see what is not what they guess.

My guess about consciousness is partly “inspired” by body-soul dualism. I can hardly believe dualism is the basic structure of reality. But until it’s disproved, I’d say dualism is possible.

(But, ever wonder will Heaven become overcrowded over time if souls can be made or given?
Or, is the total amount of souls constant?)

The choice is not between materialism and the “ghost in the machine”-dualism. Just saying.

If you have a positive opinion, please share it.

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For me, the only logical explanation for the world we live in is dualism. Many, many people choose to believe in pure materialism and many die in that belief, but for me, this reinforces the theory of dualism. If everyone took dualism as a fact, then what purpose would it serve?

Adam and Eve lived in purely spiritual existence with full knowledge of God and His angels, and yet they still chose to defy God.

If materialism was a fact, then everything would be knowable, predicable. During “the age of enlightenment” newtonian physicists made this prediction in their arrogance. This arrogance was shattered with the discovery of quantum mechanics. But neither quantum theory, nor genetic theory reflects the nobility of Nature (Einstein). They do not explain a human desire for enlightenment nor the illogical search for virtue. One would expect widespread narcissism in a purely materialist world.

I do not deny the existence of something different than a rock, for when we feel, we can say who feels, and the “who” couldn’t be something like a rock, unless a rock can feel when we hit it.

When we sense, we need at least two, the one who senses and the one that is sensed. This “subject + verb + object” is different than “an apple falls from a tree and hits the ground”. Physics has already explained the latter.
Consciousness is often related to decision or reaction. It’s not something like gravity.

If spiritual existence is true, then
Does it need energy or mass to exist?
And does it need space?
When it travels, at what speed? Travel at will or need energy to propel?
Does it also have components?
Is the total amount of the spiritual things constant, or can it be changed?

These questions are basic.

These are good questions Shaun, and if you are sincere, I am sure you will find answers to them. (Seek and ye shall find, knock and the door will be open)

And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. Luke 19:40

Every natural object in this world has has spiritual content, even the stones and Jesus says. Spiritual energy and its substance (mass) follow the same laws of conservation you learn in introductory physics. Our spirit is bound to our body by what is called the “silver cord.” It is our spirt that gives our body life, holds our consciousness and the more enlightened a person becomes, the more access they have to their spiritual essence.


And I would say that dualism isn’t about the structure of reality but about the way we think about reality. Furthermore, I think it has been shown to be a rather ineffective way of thinking. Science has demonstrated that the monistic approach is the far more powerful way of thinking, for it not only explains differences but why they are different. For example, science understands ice, water and vapor not as three separate elements but as the same molecule in different states because of the different molecular motions describable as heat. The way of thinking from the middle ages and earlier of everything composed of the elements of fire, water, air, and earth is quite lame compared to the scientific understanding of these things as different combinations and motions of the same atomic elements. Over and over again science has demonstrated the power of the monistic approach explaining different things as different combination of atomic elements, and those as different combinations of the same particles, those as different combinations of the same elementary particles, and possible even those as different vibrational modes of the same space-time structures.

Thus I see no reason not to extend this same basic principle to the belief in non-physical things to ask and explain why are some things physical and other things non-physical – looking at them also as the same basic stuff made different by differences in form and relationships. And it is my guess that we will find that old qualitative way of dividing things up like we did with fire, water, air and earth miss the mark considerable and that making it about mind and body or mind and soul are not the fundamental things we imagined them to be.

Personally, I don’t believe in this pagan concept of souls being stuffed into bodies so that they can be moved around like putting mail into different mailboxes. I do believe in a spiritual aspect to reality and my monistic explanation is that not everything is a part of the mathematical space-time structure of the physical universe, but that there is a more universal stuff like energy, perhaps it can be called the pure potentiality of being itself which can have other forms than the mathematical space-time structure of physical energy (kg m^2/s^2) which has so many different forms in the physical universe.

At one time we may have thought of the world as a dome shaped box but now we know much better than this, so why in the world would you think of heaven like that? Would you ask if the universe might become overcrowded over time if people could move freely out among the stars and galaxies?

Done! Just read the above. Questions?

Clearly you are just describing your own limitations.

Energy, mass, space, and speed are space-time quantities. Spiritual existence is not, so the answer is no, it has no need of such things.

The material idea of components are also a matter of space-time structure. Spiritual things do not partake of space-time and so the talk of components is somewhat inapplicable. Of course anything can be divided into components conceptually, but that is likely to be an artificial imposition of our own thinking. My own way of thinking is that spiritual things have their own form of being, existing and acting according to their own nature alone. This mean they only change and relate to other things according to that nature and not by any external circumstances, laws, relationships, or forces. Any relationships and changes must come from within themselves by what they are, ultimately defined by their own choices.

@mitchellmckain, this may come as a chock to you, but Western dualism is the made of thought of modern science, not of the Middle Ages. What it refers to is two aspects of reality, the physical and the metaphysical. This is basically the point of view that you put forward, but you call it the physical and the spiritual.

Most others call it the rational and the physical, or mind and body. I think of the structure of Reality as physical, rational, and spiritual or body, mind, and spirit, but that goes beyond dualism to a trinity, which makes all the difference between a system that works and one that does not.

We live in a universe that has a physical dimension, and also rational and spiritual dimensions. We can understand part of this through science, but to get the full picture we need to understand philosophy and theology also in a trinitarian view of life.

chock full of nonsense maybe…

Dualism has its roots in the thinking of Plato a millennia before Descartes reformulation of the idea. And it certainly has nothing whatsoever to do with modern science… ever. Furthermore, you are misusing the word “metaphsyical” which was NEVER about anything to do with an alternate aspect of reality to the physical. What you want is the term “non-physical.” The prefix “meta” means “about” taken to another level of abstraction. So metaphysical certainly does not mean other than physical, but in general means the study of the nature of reality and thus is about understanding what part the physical plays in reality as a whole.

Only those who are mired in the antiquated pagan Gnostic philosophy of Plato.

And this multiplication of aspects to explain things with another added aspect of reality is another refection of the poverty of dualism in the first place, and why monism will always be the superior way of thinking.

We live in a physical universe both as a body and a mind – two interdependent living organisms with their own needs and means of passing an inheritance to the next generation – gene life and meme life. The spiritual exists because God is spirit. The physical exists because God created it.

I reject utterly this nonsense about being made in the image of God means we have three aspects, since that implies an heretical modalistic distortion of the Trinity anyway. The doctrine of the Trinity really has nothing whatsoever to do with the number three.

Dear Roger, You seem to be focused on the Trinitarian view of the world, but this is based in paganism, the belief in three gods. The physical body is rational, but so is the spiritual body. Rational requires a body or mind to exist, it is not a separate entity. When an unlighted person dies, they have no idea they are dead. Their spirit has the same level rationality that their body did as they lived. They do not become instantly enlighten upon death, otherwise they would not keep doing the same routine they did as they lived.

True. The Doctrine of the Trinity has everything to do with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Doctrine of the Trinity also has everything to do with the fact that God is both Many and One, is both Diverse and Unified. God IS WHO GOD IS.

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Dear Roger,
You use “God is who He is” to justify He is three people, but God is the Father, Jesus is the King of Heaven and the Son of God while the remaining billions of trillions angels are holy spirits.
Best Wishes, Shawn

Mitchell, The difference between your thinking and mine is small.
You believe the spiritual things exist without needing a living organism. But I think a living organism is necessary to help them exist or function.

The below is what I think.

(It may not be accurate in terms of science. But I tried to find the right thinking that would not be at odds with the known facts.)

If we try to explain the behaviors or phenomena of

Physical things, which serve no purpose (or we haven’t discovered their purpose)
Their behavior can be explained by natural laws.

Simple organisms, which have a purpose (to serve themselves), but do not have the need or urge.
Their behavior can be explained by A + the purpose of serving oneself including reproduction + DNA/RNA, etc.

The organisms are no longer pure physical but have sensors and reflexes, and spiritual things arise and they can have urges or unbalance to push them to actively look for food and avoid danger. But they can’t remember like human. They can’t be trained. For example, a worm.
Their behavior can be explained by B + reflex + urge + a spiritual thing (or mind, soul).

The organisms have something working between what they sense, feel and what they do. They do not just react by reflex. They can decide. They can remember and recognize something, can learn and be trained. They have emotions. But they can’t have theories. They may possibly have simple but not complex imaginations. For example, a leopard approaching its prey.
Their behavior can be explained by C + decision + possible imaginations or expectations to complete a task.

A few animals can make and use tools. They can have more complex imaginations and can think.
Their behavior can be explained by D + some intelligence.

Decision making plays a much more important role in human life than in an ape’s life. Humans also suffer more distress from their own imagination and wish.
Humans can have the ability to make theories based on facts, can have much more complex imaginations, make decisions based on their knowledge or belief, can decide what to pursue, deal with their emotions, wishes, etc. which can’t be found in any other animals.
The non-social human behaviors can be explained by E + a powerful mind and the need to deal with the “side-effect” coming with such a powerful mind + finding solutions to the problems they face in their life, + the personal choice of the way of life, etc.
The social human behaviors can also be explained but in a different way.

So the spiritual thing appears not the same in a worm as in a human. But is it because the same thing in different states? Probably.

And, if the existence of spiritual things is independent of the living bodies, then why does their performance vary from species to species? If the spiritual things have to work with the nervous system, then how do they work together?
Until we know how do they work together, everything we say now is just a guess.

Please explain when someone’s shot, why does his spirit no longer give him life, or no longer hold his consciousness?

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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