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The Table Video

J.P. Moreland

Soul, Body, and Spirituality - J.P. Moreland

Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University
May 1, 2013

J.P. Moreland (Biola University) comments on the place of the soul in spiritual growth and transformation.


There are also real implications from what we are to how we should live our lives and how we grow as Christians and as human beings. If I’m just a body and a brain, then, probably, at the end of the day, drugs and antidepressant medication, which I believe in by the way, but drugs and things of that sort will be the ultimate tools to help change people because we just turn out to be our brains and our bodies.

If, however, there’s more to me than my brain and my body, if in addition to having a brain that can be treated with medication, I have a soul, then there may very well be distinctive principles about how you grow souls, and these principles of how you cultivate the soul have been inscripturated in the history of the Church’s teaching on spiritual formation. So that we look at the spiritual formation literature and at the field of psychology, I might add, and these fields appear to be focusing in on how do you grow a soul.

How do you develop a self? How does the ego or the I become transformed through the process of prayer or something of that sort? So, if there’s more to me than my brain and body, these extra scientific practices seem to make sense. If, on the other hand, I’m just a brain and body, eventually, it’s likely that these practices will be done away with, and it will all be chemistry and physics at the end of the day. [soft music]