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  1. #1
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    When does life start? The Problem of Identical Twins.

    Many Christians teach that the life of each individual soul starts at conception.

    But this presents a problem for identical twins. If life and creation of the soul began at conception, then what happens when the cell later splits into twins? Does God split the soul between the two? They each get half a soul? Or do they share one soul? Or does God give one soul to one of the twins and creates a new soul for the other twin?

    Perhaps the Catholic tradition is a little better. They teach that the soul enters the fetus some time after conception. They call this the "quickening" of the fetus. Of course, a lot of their ideas are just made up - they say that males are quickened after 40 days while it takes 80 days for a girl! Despite the foolishness this unfounded theory based on a sexist tradition, the basic idea might be correct - the soul enters some time after conception.

    Here's an interesting article I found when researching this: Inconsistency in the "life begins at conception" argument.
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    Many Christians teach that the life of each individual soul starts at conception.

    But this presents a problem for identical twins. If life and creation of the soul began at conception, then what happens when the cell later splits into twins? Does God split the soul between the two? They each get half a soul? Or do they share one soul? Or does God give one soul to one of the twins and creates a new soul for the other twin?

    Perhaps the Catholic tradition is a little better. They teach that the soul enters the fetus some time after conception. They call this the "quickening" of the fetus. Of course, a lot of their ideas are just made up - they say that males are quickened after 40 days while it takes 80 days for a girl! Despite the foolishness this unfounded theory based on a sexist tradition, the basic idea might be correct - the soul enters some time after conception.

    Here's an interesting article I found when researching this: Inconsistency in the "life begins at conception" argument.
    Some say at the first breath.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob May View Post
    Some say at the first breath.
    I've always had a problem with that because there is no ontological change. The baby inside, five minutes before birth, seems identical to the baby five minutes after birth.
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    Many Christians teach that the life of each individual soul starts at conception.

    But this presents a problem for identical twins. If life and creation of the soul began at conception, then what happens when the cell later splits into twins? Does God split the soul between the two? They each get half a soul? Or do they share one soul? Or does God give one soul to one of the twins and creates a new soul for the other twin?

    Perhaps the Catholic tradition is a little better. They teach that the soul enters the fetus some time after conception. They call this the "quickening" of the fetus. Of course, a lot of their ideas are just made up - they say that males are quickened after 40 days while it takes 80 days for a girl! Despite the foolishness this unfounded theory based on a sexist tradition, the basic idea might be correct - the soul enters some time after conception.

    Here's an interesting article I found when researching this: Inconsistency in the "life begins at conception" argument.
    Hi,

    Very interesting topic. I don't know about the "quickening" part. Quickening is when the mother can first feel the baby move. The baby has been moving inside long before the mother actually feels it, only this time it is big enough the mother can feel it now. So I don't know where they get this is when the soul enters the baby. Dosen't make sense medically, but who knows? Could be. All I know is that the first time I felt it, it was amazing. Pregnancy is such a wonderful, magical time. Sigh......

    Carrie

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Homemommy View Post
    All I know is that the first time I felt it, it was amazing. Pregnancy is such a wonderful, magical time. Sigh......

    Carrie
    Yep ... and that's what is so easily lost in the debate about when life begins.

    The wonder, mystery, sacredness of pregnancy is something everyone should know, since that is where each and every life begins. Folks who forget this have forgotten their own origin.
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    I've always had a problem with that because there is no ontological change. The baby inside, five minutes before birth, seems identical to the baby five minutes after birth.
    I should have said the soul enters with the first breath. This would of course go back to;

    Ge 2:7 And 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.

    From our point of view the whole process is a great miracle. We had all three boys at home (except the first we had to go to hospital after 30 hours of seeing the top of his head).

    But from the child's point of view I would think the first breath is a big deal. Going from living in fluid to air.
    Also when first opening their eyes.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob May View Post
    I should have said the soul enters with the first breath. This would of course go back to;

    Ge 2:7 And 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.
    Actually, the word "soul" there is a mistranslation. Exactly the same phrase translated as "living soul" (nephesh chayah) is translated as "creature that hath life" and "living creature" in reference to the creation of living animals:

    • Genesis 1:20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
    • Genesis 1:24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

    There is nothing in Gen 2:7 that speaks of a "soul" in the sense of a spiritual essence that is separate from the living creature made of dirt called "Adam."

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob May View Post
    From our point of view the whole process is a great miracle. We had all three boys at home (except the first we had to go to hospital after 30 hours of seeing the top of his head).
    Wow - 30 hours??? Incredible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob May View Post
    But from the child's point of view I would think the first breath is a big deal. Going from living in fluid to air.
    Also when first opening their eyes.
    I agree that it is a "big deal." I just don't think it is the "beginning of life" for the child, or the point at which the "soul" enters the body. Of course, I don't really have any reason for that latter opinion - I suppose we could imagine that the soul enters with the first breath. Can't imagine how we could ever test that theory ....

    All the best,

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob May View Post
    I should have said the soul enters with the first breath. This would of course go back to;

    Ge 2:7 And 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.

    From our point of view the whole process is a great miracle. We had all three boys at home (except the first we had to go to hospital after 30 hours of seeing the top of his head).

    But from the child's point of view I would think the first breath is a big deal. Going from living in fluid to air.
    Also when first opening their eyes.
    See Jeremiah:

    Jer 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." NIV

    "Before I formed you in the womb" seems to mean that before a fetus is formed, God already knew about you i.e. about 8 weeks before the fetus is formed, the spirit already enters it. It is during the 8th week after fertilization ,the embryo turns into a "recognizable" human fetus.

    Many dictionaries define fetus as:

    Fetus: The unborn offspring from the end of the 8th week after conception (when the major structures have formed) until birth. Up until the eighth week, the developing offspring is called an embryo.

    I believe that cloning a human being may be a way to understand about the spirit. Since the original spirit have returned back to God when one dies, God will not return back the original spirit to that same cloned person as a person can not go back to his mother's womb to be born again. That cloned person will most probably don't behave like the original person since it is not the same original spirit even though he may look and sound exactly the same as the original person. To use an analogy, it's like changing the programming software in a computer so that the original computer is the same original hardware but the capabilities and functions of the computer is now changed into something different from the original one.

    Many Blessings.
    Last edited by CWH; 09-08-2010 at 10:29 AM.

  9. #9
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    Hi Richard and all,

    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    Actually, the word "soul" there is a mistranslation. Exactly the same phrase translated as "living soul" (nephesh chayah) is translated as "creature that hath life" and "living creature" in reference to the creation of living animals:

    • Genesis 1:20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
    • Genesis 1:24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

    There is nothing in Gen 2:7 that speaks of a "soul" in the sense of a spiritual essence that is separate from the living creature made of dirt called "Adam."
    Richard
    http://s478.photobucket.com/albums/r...s.jpg&newest=1

    In the Qabalah, which I'm sure you know, the soul is not considered such a simple thing. Nepesh as you can see above in the chart is the lower "animal soul". But there is also the Neschamah. This would fit with the idea that man had already been "created" earlier in this chapter. A soul could be considered a form or vehicle appropriate to the environment it is functioning within. In that case mankind (Adam) is not losing that which is above,(Neschamah),...it is merely being clothed, (Nepesh). Kind of like a diving suit.

    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    Wow - 30 hours??? Incredible.
    Richard
    Correction, the entire labor was about 30 hours. We saw the top of his head for over 10. My wife is way tougher than me.

    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post

    I agree that it is a "big deal." I just don't think it is the "beginning of life" for the child, or the point at which the "soul" enters the body. Of course, I don't really have any reason for that latter opinion - I suppose we could imagine that the soul enters with the first breath. Can't imagine how we could ever test that theory ....
    Richard
    If you are looking for a scientific test, I don't believe there is one. A kirlian photo before and after the first breath might show that something happens at first breath. But that is all that it could show.

    I don't believe it is the beginning of life of the child either. I look at things as more of a continuum.
    I believe God knew us from before the beginning. I just can't fathom it. We came from God and will return to Him. That is our inheritance.

    But it's like trying to take a rainbow apart. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. Where do you get all one color without it also having something of the next?

    Science likes to catagorize things in order to be able to talk about them. To study them. But sometimes something is lost in the process.

    I read an interesting article not too long ago in which they had recently observed crows dropping pebbles into a container of water that was too narrow for their beaks to fit into. The water level was too far down to reach.
    By dropping the pebbles into the water it raised the water level to a point where the crows could drink it. If I'm not mistaken Aesop had a parable very similar to that.
    Maybe he came up with it by observing crows. Maybe there was no need for a moral to that particular story.

    There are human beings who could not have figured that one out. It goes beyond the use of tools which at one time was the "line drawn in the sand" separating humans from animals.

    Good talking to you,
    Bob
    Last edited by Bob May; 09-09-2010 at 09:58 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob May View Post
    Hi Richard and all,

    http://s478.photobucket.com/albums/r...s.jpg&newest=1

    In the Qabalah, which I'm sure you know, the soul is not considered such a simple thing. Nepesh as you can see above in the chart is the lower "animal soul". This would fit with the idea that man had already been "created" earlier in this chapter. A soul could be considered a form or vehicle appropriate to the environment it is functioning within. In that case mankind (Adam) is not losing that which is above,...it is merely being clothed. Kind of like a diving suit.
    Thanks for the link - here is the pic it points to:



    This shows how fun it can be to invent metaphysical representations. I used to do it a lot. But now ... I don't feel I have any reason to think that the structures based on roughly synonymous words gives reliable insight into reality.

    For example, who chose "Chiah" to be the highest expression of the soul associated with Aztiluth? What gave them such authority? And why Chiah anyway, since it is the lowest form in the sense that it describes any "living" creature like an ant or a zebra?

    And on I could go - metaphysical systems are a lot of fun, but they sure are filled with speculative invention!

    On the other hand, there are many archetypal insights buried in them because their inventors were operating on a very symbolic level. So they do have value. They just need to be "cleaned up" a bit to remove the subjective speculative from the objective symbolic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob May View Post
    Correction, the entire labor was about 30 hours. We saw the top of his head for over 10. My wife is way tougher than me.
    That still sounds pretty dangerous. Ten hours of crowning - I would have been very worried for both mother and child. Did you have a professional midwife in attendance? My sister gave birth at home and the baby had a little trouble breathing at first so the midwife gave him a hint of oxygen (she came prepared with basic medical supplies). The whole thing was so intense - it's amazing to watch a soul enter the world, but it is so bloody and painful and visceral (literally!).

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob May View Post
    If you are looking for a scientific test, I don't believe there is one. A kirlian photo before and after the first breath might show that something happens at first breath. But that is all that it could show.

    I don't believe it is the beginning of life of the child either. I look at things as more of a continuum.
    I believe God knew us from before the beginning. I just can't fathom it. We came from God and will return to Him. That is our inheritance.

    But it's like trying to take a rainbow apart. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. Where do you get all one color without it also having something of the next?

    Science likes to catagorize things in order to be able to talk about them. To study them. But sometimes something is lost in the process.

    I read an interesting article not too long ago in which they had recently observed crows dropping pebbles into a container of water that was too narrow for their beaks to fit into. The water level was too far down to reach.
    By dropping the pebbles into the water it raised the water level to a point where the crows could drink it. If I'm not mistaken Aesop had a parable very similar to that.
    Maybe he came up with it by observing crows. Maybe there was no need for a moral to that particular story.

    There are human beings who could not have figured that one out. It goes beyond the use of tools which at one time was the "line drawn in the sand" separating humans from animals.

    Good talking to you,
    Bob
    Excellent insights and observations. Thanks!

    I agree, it is a continuum. And I believe that abortion as birth control or mere convenience is a profound degradation of the dignity of life. But I don't think it is simply "murder" since no one mourns for a month old miscarriage in the way we would mourn the death of a child already born. Something mysterious happens somewhere between conception and birth. Of course, one reason we mourn less is just because we have much less invested in the miscarriage.

    Concerning science - yes, there is much "lost" if we make the false assumption that science is supposed to span all reality! There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your science, Einstein!

    On the other hand, since "science" is merely "knowledge" then it is reasonable to believe that ultimately science will encompass all that can be known. But that is a future science - not the modern study about "how physical stuff works." It is the science that we will have when what we call the "natural" encompasses what is now called the "supernatural." That is, when we achieve a unified view of all Reality. Don't hold your breath!

    You know - given the reality of evolution and the fact that all living creatures have descended from a common ancestor, I find it very difficult to draw a "line in the sand" between humans and our less evolved cousins. This is something that really has me stumped right now. I recently began to study evolution after years of just ignoring this area and I find that the evidence is overwhelming. A good read is Francis Collins "The Language of God" - he is a Christian and director of the Human Genome Project. The fact that we have been able to map the entire human genome provided a HUGE volume of extremely convincing evidence of common descent. So what no? Where is the "line in the sand?" How does the idea of a soul relate to us? It's odd, but the Biblical description of Adam as a "living creature" - same as all the other animals - supports the idea that there is no fundamental distinction.

    Now I've opened up a can of worms ....

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

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