Thank you, dear Jaguarbass (peace to you!) for your thoughts. Your "positions" greatly resonated with me.
I don't believe I have a soul.
If I may interject, dear Glad (peace to you, as well!)... and clarify a little on what dear PSacto (peace to you, dear one!) state: if you are in a living, breathing body, you ARE a soul. Because you live. One becomes a living "soul"... when one begins to breathe. A soul is a breathing thing (vs. an inanimate thing, like a rock). Thus, a living tree is a soul. A living worm is a soul. Anything that can and does breathe... is a soul. Thus, all living things that breathe... ARE souls. Hence, "Every BREATHING thing... let it praise Jah!"
However, the PERSON you are inside that breathing soul... that thinks, perceives, takes that breath... is the SPIRIT that you are INSIDE the vessel that becomes a breathing "soul." If that "soul" were to lose a leg... you, the SPIRIT that you are... would not change. If it were to lose an eye... the SPIRIT that you are would remain the same. If it were to have its pumping heart or breathing lungs removed/replaced... YOU... the spirit that you are... would still be the same spirit. Even if that spirit changed its thinking, its hopes, its desires, its dreams... its faith... it is still the same spirit - the PERSON that you, Gladiator, are.
You are not your body (the living soul); you are the entity that resides IN that soul.
The Christian church has for many centuries, believed that humans are distinct from other creature due to having a souls capable of surviving death.
If, so, they have no basis for such belief... if they claim to believe all that the Bible states, which most of them do:
"Man's fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same spirit; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?" Eccelesiastes 3:19-21
Your spirit, the person you are on the inside, does not die when your soul (living, breathing body) dies. It also doesn't float around playing tricks on people. It simply sleeps... and thus, has no knowledge of what is going on in the living world... unless/until it is awakened. While God is not the only One who can raise a spirit from such sleep... He is the only One who has sovereign authority to return that spirit to a living vessel. On occasion, He has given that authority to others, including, in full force, His Son... who, in turn, grants it to others on occasion.
I have always believed that the development of thought was a major part of evolution.
I would like to take this opportunity to say that I "hear" you, very often, and understand (and sometimes even agree with) your various positions. And while I want to agree that development of thought is a major part of some kind of "evolution"... for the species that is homo sapien... it isn't as to the scientific theory as to the origin of the species. The truth is that we've always had the mental capacities we have now - we just didn't have sufficient progression to bring it out.
We evolve mentally because of the knowledge we acquire... after observing previous results... and making improvements upon the products of that knowledge and observation (i.e., we strive to do better, think better, make things better based on what we knew/observed before). While our minds/thoughts may be so "evolving", however, our physical bodies are not. The truth is that our species goes through cycles of physical prowess and strength, robustness and wellness, sickness, disease, and epidemic death. We still come out, for the most part, however, with two arms, two legs, one head, two eyes, two ears, a nose, and mouth. No tails, beaks, feathers, talons (well, for those who take advantage of regular, non-extreme, mani/pedis), scales, fur (well... unremovable fur - LOLOL!)... or even larger brains. We still walk upright (when we walk)... and still cannot fly (without a mechanical apparatus to assist us). We still speaking human languages (versus growling/howling, etc., or even "binary" and similar technological languages) with our tongues.
We still cannot mate with other kinds, genuses, or species and produce offspring that form NEW species. Regardless of what we do, think, believe, eat, drink, or copulate with... we are still homo sapiens. Still humans. No humates. Or primans. Or bovimates. Or caninemans. Or humalines. You get my drift.
I often marvel, when I see depictions of the "evolution" of man... how it shows that one cell lifeform "evolving" out of the "soup" into a four-legged something, which "evolved" into a two-legged something that eventually began to walk upright. Given that there are only about 349 kinds (i.e., class/order/family) of animal life, what has stopped the kinds, even the genuses, from evolving further? True, species evolve, some rapidly. But since they do so within and not outside of the same GENUS... how does the theory that we call came from the same one-celled lifeform work (other than to say, yes, ALL life came from that same one source of origin... which I absolutely believe... but only to the extent that something FROM that one lifeform was used to make ALL other life... not in an evolutionary manner, but in a creationary manner)?
If evolution is a fact, why don't genuses and kinds still evolve? (For that matter, excluding a recent rare event between finches, species don't often evolve, either). For example, a lion will never evolve into a bull... or even mate with one... to create a new species, let alone genus, let alone kind (i.e., something other than a mammal). A lizard will never evolve into a frog... or even mate with one... so as to create a new species, genus OR kind (i.e., repphibious or amphtile). A shark will never evolve into a chicken... or even mate with one to create... well, you get my drift. In all instances, even if an offspring resulted, it would be sterile, thus stopping the progression of such "evolution."
The normal rule, however, is that even different species with a genus cannot interbreed while individuals within a species can (which is why bluebirds mate with bluebirds and not robins... or turkeys). A recent phenomenon where two different species of finch mated and produced a new species of finch was so rare that the scientific world went bananas! However, NO such events have ever taken place between two different genuses or kinds! The finch phenomena only showed that what may evolve the species... when mated with another species... is still within the same genus! And I have absolutely NO problem with that. But humans are the only species within the genus "homo". So what species would WE mate with or evolve into?
The only thing about the human species, indeed, the homo genus... that does "evolve" is the capacity to solve more complex equations, challenges, situations, dilemmas, etc. But again, that is merely do the progression in understanding and resolution of previous challenges... borne of education (on whatever level)... and not because the human brain is getting "better". The thinking ability has always been there; the information necessary to tap its potential has not. We think more "technologically" because, out of progress... and necessity... our world have become more technological. But our physical construct... as well as our species, genus and kind... remains entirely the same.
So, while I can neither totally reject some evolution (i.e., two different species of the same genus creating another species)... I cannot accept it as the absolute. Based on the evidence, which is the FACT that there is only one species and genus of man. I can accept that all lifeforms, however, came from One... that ALL living things have one... or more... "pieces" of HIS life... in us/it/them... and that's where the similarities in things like DNA, chromosomes, etc., come from.
(What of fossil skulls that "suggest" that humans and other hominines originated from the same common ancestor? My common sense says they've ruled out the highly likely possibility of nothing more than common deformity and/or mutation... due to many things, including lack of nutrition, environmental conditions, and the overall health of the mother... so many, many years ago. I mean, imagine if scientists 10's of 1000's of years from now found the skeletal remains of someone who had, say, severe rickets, should they conclude that we were all bow-legged... or rode horses? I know, I know, we have documentation now. Well, I haven't seen any cave drawings showing the humans dragging their knuckles. Until I do... I have to stick with the "evidence" - they all stood upright from day one.)
Again, peace to you!
A slave of Christ,