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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great thoughts on Creation, Life, Death and Science
An excellent review and fresh perspective on life, death, creation and science; showing the coherence of all perspectives. Uniquely qualified as a neuroscientist as well as a solid Biblical scholar, Joel Green rethinks the Biblical references to the meanings of life and death. He clarifies particularly the state of the dead-in-Christ; reinterpreting, in the light of...
Published on March 5, 2009 by Ronald E. Jutzy

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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good points, but ultimately unsatisfying
This book addresses the knotty issue of the relationship between brain, mind and soul. It seeks to present the Bible's teaching on `what a human being is' in the light of the neurosciences (brain biology, psychology etc.) Is the `real me' my soul? Green rightly rejects this popular approach as incompatible with both science and Scripture. On the one hand, thinking and...
Published on February 16, 2009 by Phil Heaps


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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good points, but ultimately unsatisfying, February 16, 2009
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Phil Heaps (Yate, Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Body, Soul, and Human Life: The Nature of Humanity in the Bible (Studies in Theological Interpretation) (Paperback)
This book addresses the knotty issue of the relationship between brain, mind and soul. It seeks to present the Bible's teaching on `what a human being is' in the light of the neurosciences (brain biology, psychology etc.) Is the `real me' my soul? Green rightly rejects this popular approach as incompatible with both science and Scripture. On the one hand, thinking and behaviour is inextricably tied to brain state, which is undeniably physical. On the other hand, Scripture presents human persons as a unified whole - demonstrated climactically in God's commitment to bodily resurrection, rather than `souls going to heaven'. Along the way Green considers the issues of [1] humankind in God's image - in terms of role/relationship rather than `we have a soul, animals don't'; [2] sin, freedom and moral responsibility - given that physical/brain factors at the subconscious level profoundly influence our choices and actions; [3] conversion - not something that happens to our souls, but a new framework of understanding, vitally tied to integration into the community of God's people; and [4] the intermediate state - where Green denies personal independent existence after death, claiming rather that God recreates us at the final resurrection. Green locates personal identity in the `embodiedness' of our lives, in our relationships (primarily with God, but also vitally with others), and in the overarching story by which we understand ourselves and our world. This rightly critiques the modern tendency to locate personhood in the `inner person's independent, self-contained autonomy. Green intermingles neuroscientific research conclusions with philosophical reflection and exegesis of key Biblical passages.

Green describes fascinating science, raises good questions, and makes a number of helpful or thought provoking points, e.g. on `nature vs. nurture', and on Sin as a shaping power rather than simply individual misdeeds. Undoubtedly we underestimate the `embodiedness' of our existence, with its impact on our thought, behaviour, and even `spiritual experience'. Ultimately though, the book was unsatisfying - not because the issues are `out of bounds', but because Green cites the biblical conclusions of others without giving their evidence, and never really grapples with certain key objections. He has the irritating academic habit of dismissing alternative views as `insufficiently nuanced' and of disguising vague/simplistic statements with fine-sounding language; he also resorts to false "either-or"s, and eloquently restates his position as if that constituted proof. For example he dismisses one study of afterlife in the Old Testament by observing that this is not a primary OT concern (which may be true, but hardly proves his point); similarly, he seems to assume that because `soul/body/spirit' words are used in various ways, the study of such terminology is irrelevant. Some pertinent passages were conspicuously absent (Matt.10v28, Hebr.12v23, Rev.6v9-11, Luke 20v38, 1Thes.5v23), or dealt with summarily (Philipp.1v23, 2Cor.5v8). His decision to postpone discussion of post-death survival to the final chapter was based on the logic: "the Greeks/Romans had various views; so did the Jews; the Biblical writers had no firsthand knowledge of the subject". Hardly reassuring from a Christian standpoint.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great thoughts on Creation, Life, Death and Science, March 5, 2009
This review is from: Body, Soul, and Human Life: The Nature of Humanity in the Bible (Studies in Theological Interpretation) (Paperback)
An excellent review and fresh perspective on life, death, creation and science; showing the coherence of all perspectives. Uniquely qualified as a neuroscientist as well as a solid Biblical scholar, Joel Green rethinks the Biblical references to the meanings of life and death. He clarifies particularly the state of the dead-in-Christ; reinterpreting, in the light of modern linguistic understandings, the references to the relationship of body and soul (unity) and their unlikely separation in death. He also describes thoughts on the immortal body of Jesus and the significance of resurrection into a new body. Excellent science and theology in harmony.
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4.0 out of 5 stars interesting, December 12, 2013
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This book brings into light some very interesting points about the body, the soul, and what happens when we die.
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Body, Soul, and Human Life: The Nature of Humanity in the Bible (Studies in Theological Interpretation)
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