No one in heaven or hell


I firmly believe there is nobody in hell… or heaven. Why?

Because we don’t have souls and when electricity stops moving throught our brains we are gone forever.

There is no demonstratable evidence that we do have souls. I pose the following as fuel for thought:

Lets say, you are right now a devout believer, everything is in order, you are assured of salvation. Later in your life you develop Althziemers desease. At first you forget things. Later you become nasty and hateful. (sadly it happens). You forget God. After this your brain forgets about your personality but your body remains. Still later your brain forgets about your body and it dies. when did your soul leave your body? is your soul in your body? if so where?

Will you go to hell if not why not? (invincable ignorance?)

Second question:

A child is born. It dies on the second day of it’s life. Where does it go?

To hell? (unbaptized?)
To heaven?(invinceable ignorance) Can it now think, and speak, does it know things or is it still like a baby? if not where did it’s knowledge come from? how is this knowledge connected to it’s soul.
to limbo? (the too hard basket?)

What happens when a person is in a coma, and then dies. when does the soul depart? Is there a link between the soul and the mind? or are the two totally seperate?

Will there be memories in the afterlife? if so how will they be stored / carried accross without the Brain?

I’m truly interested to know, your thoughts. These are the questions which caused me to cease to believe. I appreciate there are a lot of questions in this post, and I don’t expect anyone to answer them all I just used them as a conversation starter. A basic overview of how the soul - mind - relationship is thought to occur would be appreciated.

Please when you answer if you want me to read the bible please give references rather than pasting in vs after vs after vs. I will read these in any version you suggest if your post is coherrant and courteous.

Kind regards


“The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make heaven of Hell, and a hell of Heaven.”

So saith Milton.


I’ve never seen an electron, but I believe they exist.

I’ve never seen a photon either, I believe they exist also.

I experience life in three dimensions, but I have faith in the scientists who tell me that the equations of quantum mechanics work in eleven (including time) dimensions.

Dark matter, dark energy? Could be.

Strings? Might be the most fundamental unit of matter/energy.

I accept the existence, or the possible existence of these possibly mythical quantum concepts based on my faith in the capabilities of some really smart folks who have devoted their lives to studying such things.

Likewise, I ahve faith in those who have experienced a deeper participation in the divine life thatn I have been able to attain.


An interesting fantasy…


You pose some interesting questions about when the soul leaves the body. My guess would be that it doesn’t until after the person is physically dead but I could be wrong. You are right about people’s brains deteriorating and people are very fortunate to be alive and conscious with all their abilities. At any given moment one could be in an accident and have major brain trauma and never be the same or slowly come down with Alzheimers. Therefore, my solution is to just occasionally make note of this in prayer. I tell God that I am thankful for everything I have at the time and that even though I know that at any given time I may be in some accident or anything where I am no longer the same, all that is important is that at this moment, right now, I believe in God and his mercy to one day be in Heaven. You have to consider the fact that God can do anything so yes, in my opinion the soul would maintain the best of one’s abilities in life and be cured of everything and made perfect in Heaven. The person with Alzheimers would be back to normal and a baby actually knows every single language for the first 6 months and has memory and all kinds of things. However, this of course is shortlived in a baby as the memories don’t last and the baby adopts the language it hears. A baby’s soul still would be perfect after baptism or at the mercy of God if not baptized and potentially made perfect. Finally, in regards to a coma who knows what the person is capable of thinking. What difference does it make anyways in any of these situations where the person might not be the same for some part of his or her life. We are talking about eternal life and eternity here. Even if the person had to be dormant for years before the soul left his or her body, what is that in the spectrum of eternity?


Perhaps that’s where the quote in my sig came from. :smiley: To quote it:


Mortal Sin requires intent. People with Althziemers probably don’t have intent. God can judge this perfectly for Himself.

(I won’t even venture about when the soul leaves the body…though I suspect that its a badly phrased question…Unless someone can show me a teaching showing me otherwise…“in” refers to “space” and the soul doesn’t exist within space.)

Second question:

A child is born. It dies on the second day of it’s life. Where does it go?

To hell? (unbaptized?)
To heaven?(invinceable ignorance) Can it now think, and speak, does it know things or is it still like a baby? if not where did it’s knowledge come from? how is this knowledge connected to it’s soul.
to limbo? (the too hard basket?)

Reminds me of the Saudiccees asking Jesus “A woman, over the course of her life, marries 7 men. In the after life, who is her husband?”

And the answer was along the lines of : “Husbands and wives are for this life. There are no husbands and wives in the afterlife.”

Don’t know the Church’s teachings re:memories…gut instinct is that the nature of some things are going to be a bit different in the Afterlife, for the very reasons you stated.

Though, as a former atheist, I have to wonder: Why these questions? These are not fundamental questions, they are simple mechanics and logistics. Unless someone can actually construct a valid syllogism showing that there is some actual contradiction in the doctrines concerning these matters, they don’t seem the type of questions to stop belief.

If someone shows me blue prints to a machine, and says the machine does something, but I don’t understand enough engineering to read and understand them…I don’t automatically disbelieve in the possibility and reality of the machine.

What would cause me to disbelieve in the reality and possibility of the machine would be for someone to show me a machine and say “This machine takes in 10 W of energy and puts out 15 W.” Then I know that the machine is impossible (it violates one of the fundamental laws of the universe: conservation of energy).

These questions don’t seem to be saying “God is impossible.”…they are saying “I don’t understand.” There is alot of not understanding in religion…and alot of not understanding in life (I don’t know how a computer works, mechanical wise. I’ll probably never know.)


Kind regards

Wow, lota stuff.

I started trying to answer but it got to long. I’m trying again with brevity.

Guy with Althziemers.
Problem 1 with your guy: you stated he’s “Assured of salvation”, that’s protestant thinking. Catholic teaching says that isn’t possible. So, we’re going to have to throw that out and saw he was a faithful Catholic.

So, he’s a faithful Catholic. Then he starts forgetting things. Becomes nasty and hateful, forgets God, and then forgets himself.

Is he in Heaven or Hell? Well I’ll start by telling you we’d probably never know while living here on Earth. We don’t know of anyone in hell. And we only know those Saints in Heaven that either A. scripture & tradition tell us are there or B. have gained 2 proven miracles for person’s invoking their name, thus proving their position in Heaven.

Still, we’ll try seeing what we can learn. Heaven is lost and Hell is gained from a person holding on to even a single mortal sin. But mortal sin can be hard and his hate and nastyness may not be mortal sins at all. To committ a mortal sin a person has to be of sound mind to actually choose the sin, also they have to understand that what they are doing is wrong. This man may have lacked both these capacities. God will judge and He will know.



God doesn’t make mistakes. He will not take a soul before the person is dead (in a coma or without memory), nor will he take a person who will be revived.

As for a link between soul and mind, I’d say there must be some link, but I’ve never studied that sort of thing.

A child is born. It dies on the second day of it’s life. Where does it go?
To hell? (unbaptized?)
To heaven?(invinceable ignorance) Can it now think, and speak, does it know things or is it still like a baby? if not where did it’s knowledge come from? how is this knowledge connected to it’s soul.

For the child. If they were babtized the there is no reason to doubt they are in heaven. They are born in a state of sin, but God offers grace to wash that away. If they were not babtized, then we still hope for God’s mercy, but as far as I know don’t presume His mercy (I could be wrong).

When children enter Heaven, yes they can think, speak, etc…just as a sick man is no longer sick and a blind man no longer blind.
Infact, entering Heaven would necessitate the child thinking if only to accept God’s will with it’s own will for the first time.

One last thing. You seemed troubled by the question of being in heaven without a body. We did recieve a renewed flesh in the afterlife. Again I can’t be sure of the specific details in my answer (like if we get them on day 1 or when the end of time comes, or even if day 1 for everyone is when the end of times comes). The different possibilites all have different supports and faults in the conceptions that I have of them at the moment.

But mostly with Heaven, it’s a wait and see type venture. Can’t prove any of it, can’t disprove any of it. :shrug:


Your question seems to assume the theory of mind known as eliminative materialism, which basically argues that mental states are essentially brain states, and the mind is identical with brain activity. There is no survival of the ‘soul’ because the ‘soul’ is to the brain what software is to the hardware in a computer; if the hardware is destroyed or damaged past a certain point, the software cannot function coherently, and thus can no longer said to ‘exist.’

There is another deeper objection though, raised by Kant; the soul is what would be called a ‘noumenal’ object, like God. Kant argues very powerfully in his critique of reason we can never have transempirical cognition of transcendant ‘noumena’ or unconditioned things such as God or the soul in such a way we can speak or reason coherently about them. What remains is only the experience of the empirical reality before us, which is appearance. Many philosophers and scientists these days (including when it comes to mind/soul) take Kant as the starting point and regard the soul as unknowable, but empirical conciousness is.

I don’t believe there is a coherent, rational proof for the immortality of the soul, and Christian philosophers as early as Duns Scotus and William of Ockham believed the immortal soul was an article of faith, not something which could be proved using logic. Descartes did try to prove the existence of an immortal soul from the fact we have concious thinking, which is distinct from the material, though Cartesianism is not that popular.

Rather than an immortal soul I would point to conciousness itself. Conciousness and concious awareness has several intruiging properties and states (particularly of religious experience) which suggest the mind/brain cognitive unity is engaging with something very deep and profound. The fascinating analysis which Eastern religions in particular subject concious awareness to, as well as their emphasis on a great richness and variety of cognitive states, suggests to me there is more to mind than reducing it to a few material properties. The phenomenological area of philosophy also suggests conciousness has an incredible richness and complexity which while not ruling out material explanations for mental states, also suggests conciousness is something more complex than simply some brain states.

I am aware there is a great richness and depth to be found in contemporary accounts of the mind and its relation to the brain, particularly in relation to cognitive science. But I don’t think scientific naturalism exhausts what a person is in terms of their metaphysical nature, and clearly some things such as human choice are difficult to reduce to deterministic causation. There seems to be something more to human nature, a possibility for the transcendant dimension of Being, and I feel this is where the ‘soul’ can be said to lie, along with our openness to Being in other ways, such as through art, beauty, moral freedom, and exploration of philosophical wisdom and scientific truth.


Are you SDA? Be honest here;)


Because we don’t have souls and when electricity stops moving throught our brains we are gone forever.

There is also no physical evidence for the rational mind. You can disect the brain down to the moecular level and you will not find anything that can properly be called the “mind”. Therefore, from your post, I assume that you believe that we are physical beings only. But then you say, “when electricity stops moving through our brains we are gone forever.” This is obviously false. I’ve been to many funerals and have looked into the open caskets. The body is still there even though there is no electricity moving. So, what is “gone”? The person? If the person is the body, the body is still there, so it is not gone. That which is gone is what we call the soul. The soul animates the body. A soul without a body is a ghost and a body without a soul is a corpse.

In Christ,


yes!. Aristotle can help too, on the subject of the relationship between body and soul. He works it out that the soul is the act or form of the body. The body is potential to the soul (the opposite of the way we may think of it). The soul gives form or shape to certain matter–physical shape, spiritual shape. The soul “actualizes” the matter potential to it, and the result is an individual living bodied thing. Death is when the soul withdraws its effect upon the matter. Without that which defines, forms, shapes it, our very important and unique body dissolves back into the elements, to be reunited in glorified form with our eternal soul on the last day.

When a mind is less than itself, whether from some birth defect, due to some injury during life, or from the approach of death, this is not to the say that the soul is also suffering the same defects. As purely an intellectual substance, the soul is not affected by matter, by time, by any practical impact including whatever happens in the course of nature. Mind is a function of the soul, but it is not identical to it.

Hope that helps on soul/mind/body. So, OP, are you SDA?


Hi, Gareth. You asked a similar question over on a different thread, and I just posted a response there before I found this thread. So, with your permission, I’ll just re-post here (I say, not waiting for permission :smiley: ):

  1. Those things which arise out of a purely physical process are neither true nor false; they simply are what they are. Examples: digestion taking place, ice forming, grass growing, rain falling, etc. Digestion is not “true” or “false.”
  2. Our thoughts, however, can be true or false.
  3. Therefore our thoughts are not the result of a purely physical process (although the process does involve physical organs such as the brain, primarily). If our true thoughts are purely physical in origin, then they are unlike everything else in the universe, and the burden of proof is on the materialist to explain: How can something be TRUE or FALSE and yet also be purely physical in origin?
  4. If our thoughts are not the result of a purely physical process, something non-physical is involved in producing them. This non-physical element is variously referred to as a mind, or soul, or intellect, or spiritual nature, etc.
  5. Because humanity is aware of this rational, intellective consciousness, the vast majority of humanity has also always been aware of the non-physical side of us.
  6. Since this side of us is non-physical, it would not seem to be affected by physical death.
  7. This non-physical side of us can also contemplate eternal, unchanging truths. For example: A triangle has three sides. That truth will never change, even if no other triangles are ever instantiated for the rest of the history of humanity.
  8. Since the non-physical side of us can contemplate eternal and unchanging truths, and it seems likely could survive physical death, it also seems logical that the mind/soul/spirit itself would also be eternal, and capable of eternal contemplation.
  9. This eternal contemplation in theological terms is often called either the Beatific or Miserific Vision.
  10. This afterlife was given stronger assurance by the Resurrection of Christ.

By the way, the position you seem to be holding is very similar to Aristotle’s: belief in God and the soul, but belief that the soul perishes with the body, except POSSIBLY insofar as the soul is united to God. He certainly didn’t seem to believe in a personal afterlife. Aquinas took this position and made it more congenial to the Christian vision of death and the afterlife. A lot of this he argues out in the “Treatise on Man” in the Summa Theologica Part I.


Thanks for you all for your thoughts.

Thanks for the positive well thought out feedback, I’ll print this off and reread it carefully, there’s a lot in this. Thank you all.

P.S I am definitily not SDA! :slight_smile:


I think it helps to look at the subjective. Ponder your own conciousness. The fact you are aware of yourself and that you are aware of the fact you are aware of yourself, especially in terms of non-material abstractions like good, bad, love, and altruism. That conciousness is the key ingredient of what we are. However, its existence on a mere physical level, is a logical impossibility. Physically, it means the machine could, unaided, learn itself, know itself, and know how to build itself. What kind of machine can do that, and how would the first machine’s conciousness have been able to know? Well, there must be a part of us that is beyond the mere physical. That, of course, is the God given soul.



A good book for you to read is by the physicist Anthony Rizzi entitled The Science before Science. He gives proofs for the existence of the soul using philosophy.


I have some concerns about this logic. Your knowledge of science seems good, so you would also know, that the church has actively supressed truths when they were inconvenient.

If souls exist, then they are not outside the realm of science to discover since they exist in reality.

If we were to appeal to higher authorities, scientists for science, theologians for theology etc, that would make sense to a point.

But the higher authorities of religion, make no effort to error check their findings unlike science, and as a consequence held very odd and extremely inaccurate views about reality, that unltimatly were turned on their heads. They have a poor track record, think earth centered universe, think young earth, think evolution etc. etc.

I no longer view them as higher authorities on any possible aspect of reality.


There kind of is physical evidence for the rational mind. Under surgery parts of the brain can be livened up with electricity and the patient will expereince different things, memories, sounds, smells, etc.

I don’t believe we are purely physical, but as another person stated in this thread, I see our being as a combination of hardware and software. We are more the software than the hardware, and it is true the software has no physical component, but without the hardware it cannot exist.

If i smashed a calculator you wouldn’t think the software had someone excaped it’s shell continueing to exist as some functioning object… it is gone forever, as in its function is permantly destroyed.

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