Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Danger of the New Monism: Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 5a

The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 1
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 2
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 3
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 4a
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 4bThe Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 4c
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 5a
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 5b
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 5c
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 6
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Complete Series


What follows is a series of posts regarding the New Monist movement which combines neuroscience with theology and argues that science has "proven" we have no soul.  The problem I have with such a suggestion isn't just the challenge it presents anthropologically, but soteriologically. How does denying the existence of our soul affect our understanding of the gospel? That's one of the questions I hope to answer.  This debate is another example of the challenge that science can present for Christian theology.


A Critique of the New Monistic Soteriology

A simple evaluation of the soteriology of this new diverse movement within the anthropology of monism would not be complete without a brief critique.  The direction that they are going is dangerous to say the least.  It is important for Christians to understand not just how other theologies understand the gospel, but how that understanding lines up with Scripture and with the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).

Where is the Blood?

Where is the blood?  Outside of some of Joel B. Green’s writings on the atonement, in which he defends the Kaleidescopic view of the atonement, there is little said about the cross.[1]  This is perhaps the strongest critique one could offer any theology including the new monist movement. To read their many writings is to be engulfed into the science of the mind and the investigation into our future resurrected bodies, but virtually nothing is said regarding the cross of Jesus and the salvific nature of the resurrection.

Is this not exactly what Murphy asserted above? In her brief discussion on soteriology, Murphy postulated that if Christianity had embraced monism instead of dualism, “Would the creeds, then, not have skipped from his birth to his death, leaving out his teaching and faithful life? Would Christian then see a broader, richer role for Jesus Messiah than as facilitator of the forgiveness of their sins?”[2] Such an argument speaks volumes of monism’s implications. Propitiation has little to no room in the monist system because it is too individualistic and rings with the language of soulish salvation. Instead, the monists prefer the language of restoration and earthly redemption geared toward socio-political issues and social justice.[3]

This is one of the clear dangers of monism.  To ignore propitiation seems to be rooted in a fear of sounding like a dualists. As a result, the monists undermine one of the most crucial doctrines of Scripture and Christianity.  To deny penal substitution, for all their language of affirming Scripture, is to deny Scripture and its clear teachings.  Rejecting or discounting propitiation as a monists is not necessary, but it does seem to be natural.  Outside of Green’s extensive work on the atonement, nothing is said in regards to the cross.  Again, where is the blood?
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