Genesis 2:7 “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
Two weeks ago, we examined the first message of more government control over our lives from the Democratic presidential candidates, as their answer for dealing with our supposed hopeless situations (massive college debt, expensive health care, etc.). With yet another shooter murdering innocent people in Texas last week, the second message of more gun control is at the forefront of these same candidates.
After the El Paso mass shootings on August 3, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick had a different view on where control is needed:
“As long as we continue to only praise God on a Sunday morning and kick Him out of the town square at our schools the other six days of the week, what do we expect?”
What did he mean? Inviting God back into our daily lives is our most effective means to control these mass shootings? Seems like a crazy notion, doesn’t it? Putting our focus on God, whom we can’t see, is the best way to control what we can see – the violence we commit against each other? Yes, that’s what he means.
That would work for two profound reasons. First, the God of the Bible is holy, which means He is in His essence morally perfect. In fact, His Ten Commandments are the epitome of societal order (if we simply took those Ten Commandments to heart, mass shootings would end). Secondly, and even more profound, is that unlike any other living creature, only people don’t have a soul. This might shock you, but it is true.
You see, you don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body. Our verse for this week explains that God breathed only into people the unique image of Himself, giving every person a moral conscience and a soul. So, each of us has within us the invisible attributes of God Himself – those moral attributes that define personhood, such as the capacity to love, hate, think, feel guilt, and much more. As special creations in His image, we can know and relate to Him, and we are accountable to Him for our thoughts and actions.
In his interview with Lee Strobel in ‘The Case for a Creator’, Christian philosopher J.P. Moreland explains who each of us really is, and it isn’t what we see with our eyes: “A person is really invisible. My soul and conscience are invisible (which makes it hard to conceptualize them), while my body is visible. If I were just my conscience, when my conscience was different, I’d be a different person. But I can be the same person even though my conscience changes, so I can’t be the same as my conscience.
I’ve got to be the ‘self’, or soul, that contains my conscience. The same holds for my body. I can’t be divided into pieces. I’m either a person or I’m not. But my brain and body can be divided. So, I can’t be the same as my body. We don’t learn about people by studying their bodies. We learn about people by finding out how they feel, what they think, what they’re passionate about, what their worldview is. We get ‘inside’ people to learn about them. I am a ‘self’, or an ‘I’, that cannot be seen or touched unless I reveal myself by my behavior or my talk. I have free will because I am a ‘self’, or a soul, not just a brain.”
This truth that you are a soul with a conscience makes columnist Dennis Prager’s 2012 article ‘Conscience, Not Guns’ very insightful: “The left tells us the problem of gun violence in America is not the moral values of gun owners, it is gun ownership. Because leftist thinking dominates American society – from elementary through graduate school and in virtually all the print and electronic news media – there is one view that almost never gets a hearing: that the primary reason for gun violence in America is not gun ownership, but the lack of a functioning moral conscience. But the real problem is guns in the hands of bad people.
This is so obvious that one has to be propagandized his whole life not to immediately understand it. Does one reader of this column – including individuals on the left – fear being massacred by a decent person? Of course not. Then why isn’t our emphasis on character development and the teaching of right and wrong? Why is this never mentioned? Why are guns, not the conscience, the root issue?
We have forgotten that who we are is not physical. From grade school through college, our young people are taught they are not each a unique creation by a sovereign, loving God. Rather, we are taught that we are all simply material beings that are the lucky result of billions of years of evolution, with no ultimate meaning to our lives except to make what we can of it before we die. But we all know this is a lie. That worldview is not livable. Next week, we will look at the more evidence for who we really are: a living soul.
The Evidence of Faith’s Substance – Article #363