While most people throughout history have believed that we are both physical and spiritual beings, the rise of science has called the existence of the soul into question. Many argue that neurophysiology demonstrates the radical dependence, indeed, identity between mind and brain. Advances in genetics and in mapping DNA, some say, show there is no need for the hypothesis of body-soul dualism. Even many Christian intellectuals have come to view the soul as a false Greek concept that is outdated.
Concurrent with the demise of dualism has been the rise of advanced medical technologies that have brought to the fore difficult issues at both edges of life. Central to questions about abortion, fetal research, reproductive technologies, cloning and euthanasia is our understanding of the nature of human personhood, the reality of life after death and the value of ethical or religious knowledge as compared to scientific knowledge.
In this careful treatment, Discovery Institute Fellow J.P. Moreland and Scott B. Rae argue that the rise of these problems alongside the demise of Christian dualism is no coincidence. Employing theological realism to present a reasonable and biblical depiction of human nature as body and soul, the authors go on to show how such a view impinges on critical ethical concerns.