Would we be able to conjure up a soul in our creations?


#1

Say it is 20 years from now and nano-technology has given us the ability to replicate DNA. Would we be able to conjure up a soul in our creations? At its most basic level, what is a soul?

When I was asked this in college I struggled with the concept. At the time I was a computer science major and associated everything with 1’s and 0’s. So I thought of the brain as a collection of synapses. The conclusion for me was that the difference with the brain to a computer, at the basic level, is that a synapse has variability. That rather than a on off, there is a ‘maybe’ variable. This randomness is what the soul is. Now if we could add a truly random variable to our creation, would we replicate the soul?


#2

The soul is not material. The soul is pure spirit.

No, you cannot create a soul. Parents do not create the soul of their children. God infuses the soul, he specially creates each one.


#3

So if we were to design a DNA strand, the energy that creates the chain reaction to get it to replicate, that comes from god? So we can bring a person into this world, but the energy it takes to breath life comes from the design and rules of physics that god created?

I mean this creation would not be a zombie would it?


#4

Why go to all the trouble with DNA. Why can’t you do the Dr Frankenstein bit and restore life to a dead body?


#5

No, it would not be a zombie. Are you referring to cloning here? Technically, identical twins are “clones” of one another, just done by the body naturally instead of in a lab. But each has a soul given by God. Remember that most people you are addressing here are people of faith- myself included. We do not believe you can reduce the human soul to a scientific explanation of synapses, chemical reactions, etc. We believe that God created man in His own image, and breathed a piece of Himself into us- which in turn calls us Home to Him in Heaven. Animals have rudimentary emotions and reasoning powers- they are not “zombie-like.” And yet, we do not believe that they possess an immortal soul like humans do. We are unique- we are God’s children. Because of this sacred nature of the human soul, human life itself is sacred and should be held in the highest esteem. It is not to be toyed with, created in the lab, disposed of at will, etc. God’s plan for life is the BEST plan- anything we try to do in creating life artificially is trespassing on God’s turf. But I cannot believe that a life so created would be without a soul, because God would not allow it- He would bestow one on any human life created. I can’t say what He would do if science, as it has been trying to do, created some kind of animal/human hybrid. Maybe that would be such an abomination that He would decide the time was ripe for bringing down His judgement upon the Earth. And I would not blame Him one bit!!! Just my :twocents: Hope that helps. Welcome to the forums, by the way! I hope you find many friendly folks here. :slight_smile: Judie


#6

I have no problem with attempting to synthesize science and theology. In fact is this not what Ex Corde Ecclesia alludes to?

When I was in university, one of my profs taught us the difference between invention and creation. Lillith, for example, repudiated the notion that she had been created. Read MacDonald’s Lillith.

Point is that we can put together all the parts, but it is God who gives them life. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.

pm cpayne. He might have something to say about Aquinas on this subject.


#7

Hi everybody! (I feel late and breathless, as usual.)

Here’s a bad analogy, but it might help: Say you had a computer programmed to run a self-replicating and cumulatively developing system. However, the computer only works if it’s plugged in. The computer would be DNA, the DNA code would be the program, the plugging into animating power would be the soul.

The reason this is such a bad analogy (it gets worse the more I think about it) is that, as the second post said, in CC theology the soul is non-material, but electricity is material.

DNA itself, in other words, is no more than another feature of a human body, in some respects like another organ. The anima or psuche or soul is the animating, life-giving principle directly infused by God at conception. DNA directs our development, but the soul gives life to the DNA components brought together at the oocyte and zygote levels.

Another way of putting it is that humans procreate, and God creates. The soul is created by God; it has nothing to do with DNA, in standard CC theology. DNA is part of the “matter” of the human body; the soul is the non-physical “form” of the body.

So which makes us human, our DNA or our soul? Surprisingly, it’s the soul. The DNA is “coded” for the development of Homo sapiens, but would not begin to develop into Homo sapiens without the divine infusion of the human soul at conception. There would be no human without a human soul.

Could something develop with human DNA into a human shape, but without a soul? No, according to the CC, because it’s the soul that makes the body live and begin to develop in the first place.

Aquinas, by the way, thought the initial development of the zygote was vegetable in nature, then animal, then finally human. But that’s just because he didn’t know about the DNA code (today he would correct his biological mistake, but retain the philosophy behind it). The philosophical principle still remains the same: if it’s living and developing, it has a soul.


#8

I am no college student nor have I a degree. I do know that the soul is the life. Without a soul there is just rotting flesh. We are all chosen at the moment of our conception for a specific role in life. Each one of us shined bigger and brighter than anyone else at our moment of conception and God said, “You, I want you to be.” That’s all that really matters. Do we really have to know why or how all the time? Sometimes it’s just about exceptance. I hope this helps. Cool question though!


#9

I saw a quotation the other day that it is much more important that we know why God made us than that we know how He made us.


#10

In repsonse to the OP:

I just don’t understand why one would spend so much time and energy trying artificially to replicate life in order to see if it has a soul, when the old fashioned method is both foolproof and a great deal more enjoyable.

(Tongue removed from cheek…now.)

Peace,
Dante


#11

I guess, as computers and robots are able to do more and more, the questions of authority and moral theology arise as to ‘how they live their lives.’ Didn’t Heinlein write the Laws of Robotics?


#12

Ah, the mention of Dr Frankenstein…Read the book. Do not stop, do not pass go; read the book.
We tend to think of the story as a horror movie. It was, in point of fact, a fascinatingly well written treatise on this very subject: In the book, the Creature does not have a soul…and he wants one. Desperately.
It is not a horror novel; it is a commentary on “what if” none of these rules applied. It is a tragedy, a comedy, a warning. But it is not horror. Not at all.
Trust me. Read the book.:thumbsup:


#13

First, we have to understand that the soul comes from GOD alone. only he can create a soul, much like only He can bring forth life from dirt. So the real question is would GOD bless our creation with a soul?, and the answer is no. GOD brings life and GOD takes it away. Our job is to " be fruitful and multiply." GOD creates the egg in the mother’s womb and GOD creates the “seed” in the father. They “become one” and the egg is fertilized by the seed. That is how life is brought into the earth according to GOD’s Divine Will. He gives us no other option. We do not have the right to go against His Will and try to find an alternative. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. Second, if we are talking about human cloning, the human brain is way to complex to be artificially created and will probably never be successfully cloned. But even if somehow scientists find a way to re-create the brain, the person would not have a mind. The brain is just a vessel for the mind and the body is just a vessel for the soul. Our mind and soul tell us right from wrong and are our spiritual side; our direction. Since the clone does not have a mind or soul it is an empty vessel for Satan to control. If you look at the passage in the New Testament about the man possessed by demons called Legion, you will see how easy it is for someone that has a mind and soul to be possessed and controlled. In conclusion, the cloned human, not having a mind or soul to direct him, would be nothing more than a material body for Satan and his angels to use as they please.

“He who hears you hears me, he who rejects you rejects me, he who rejects me rejects the one who sent me”


#14

How do you know that this post is not generated by computer? Actually, you know. No computer can pass the Turing Test - communication over an ASCII interface, the challenge being tos ee if you can pick out the real people from the automata. A few program like Eliza have nice try, but all Eliza does is take your own words and throw them back at you “Tell me more about your soul”.

However we don’t know why that should be, nor even whether there is a fundamental reason why Eliza cannot pass the Turing test. However it is looking more and more like the answer is extremely important and extremely interesting.


#15

#16

It was also a commentary on the times which believed that some folks had souls and others did not have souls. The brutal classism inherent in these times was exposed in this book. Struck me as a bit Calvinist in that regard. Mind you, it’s been a loooooong time since I read this book.

Also see Blade Runner on the same topic. When replicant maker asks Roy Blatty “What do you want?” Roy says, “More life, ****er!” And the unspoken question is more life for what purpose, for what realization and does Roy get that realization at the end of his life?


#17

On the other hand one might literally conjure up a soul. Somewhere we are told that demons roam the world seeking bodies to possess. C. S. Lewis uses this in the last volume of his Space Trilogy.


#18

Does a tree have a soul? Can a tree think for itself? Can a tree choose to grow or not to grow? If the tree is living and developing, which it is, and does not have a soul, than how can your philosophical principle be true?


#19

Yes

Can a tree think for itself?

No

Can a tree choose to grow or not to grow?

No

If the tree is living and developing, which it is, and does not have a soul, than how can your philosophical principle be true?

Because a plant soul is different from the animal soul and is different from the human soul.


#20

See post 19 by Davidv. This isn’t some form of Hinduism, by the way; it’s Aquinas and Bible.


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