Who counts as a person? The severely mentally challenged? The elderly person at the end of Alzheimer’s? The unborn? On what basis do we decide this critical question? How do we know that we have a soul? Hasn’t science decided that all of what the soul does actually occurs in the brain? Join Scott as he tackles these questions and more with our colleague and guest, JP Moreland, and co-author of a new book, The Substance of Consciousness.

P Moreland is Distinguished Professor Philosophy, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. He author, edited or contributed papers to 95 books and authored dozens of articles defending orthodox Christianity, and he is a widely sought after speaker both in the US and around the world. In 2015 he was named one of the 50 greatest living philosophers in the world.

Episode Transcript

Scott: Who counts as a human person? The severely mentally challenged? The elderly person at the end of Alzheimer's disease? The unborn? On what basis do we decide this critical question? How do we know that we have a soul? Hasn't science, the neurosciences, decided that all of what the soul does actually occurs in the brain? We'll answer these questions and more today with our very special guest, Dr. J.P. Moreland, our Talbot colleague and the co-author of an exciting new book called “The Substance of Consciousness.” I'm your host, Scott Rae, and this is ThinkBiblically, a podcast from Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. So welcome, again. You're a regular on the podcast. Great to have you with us, and congratulations on the new book. Sort of sounds like a bit of your magnum opus.

JP: Well thank you, first of all, my brother. It's always good to be with you and on this great podcast. It is my magnum opus, meaning it's probably the culmination of decades of thinking and research and work, and I have summarized and tried to make a case that we are souls, the soul is real, and that we're human persons because we have a soul that's in God's image. And that's the purpose of the book, really.

Scott: So I think, yeah, a magnum opus sort of implies that this is the consummation of a lot of your life's work. Why is the subject of, particularly the subject of consciousness and the soul, so important to you?

JP: Well I began years ago, years ago, doing evangelism on campus, and I began to realize that more and more people would say things to me like, well you can't prove that scientifically. And the assumption was that if you can't prove it scientifically, then you can't really know it. So that science, the hard sciences, are the only way we can be sure of what we know about reality. And so my claims about life after death and the soul and this spiritual God and all that were considered to be on the level of an outdated belief like fairies and leprechauns, that if it helped you to believe in it, then that was good for you. And I began to realize that making a case for God's existence was very important to do, but also that in my own neighborhood, namely in my own life, me, myself, and my conscious life, we're not physical. And if I and my consciousness are immaterial and spiritual and not physical, then you can't make the claim that everything that exists is physical and there is nothing that is immaterial.

Scott: So life is not ultimately reducible to chemistry and physics.

JP: Absolutely, that's exactly right. And what this does, Scott, is if that's right, if life is something that's not reducible to chemistry and physics, that opens up the possibility that there may very well be life after death. And then you can go on and argue that in fact there is life after death. But this is an important first step. And I believe that one more thing that our culture is really floundering, as your questions at the beginning of this interview pointed out, about what's a person. And that is a crucial question that at this hour we're asking and not getting a very good answer to.

Scott: I still think this has been the most critical question for our culture from time immemorial.

JP: Yes, very long time.

Scott: And so the way it cashes out today, I think, is the question of who gets included in the human community. And as you know, at the edges of life, we are slowly eroding respect for essential human dignity and the classes of people who are no longer being included in the human community seems to be growing. And we're moving more toward, not that it's on the edges, but more toward the middle, which makes, I think, the project that you're involved in so important to defend philosophically and in a way that's consistent with the Christian worldview what exactly a human person is and how you defend it.

JP: Yes, absolutely.

Scott: In the book, you describe this as a substance dualist view of a human person. What do you mean by that? And maybe more importantly, how would you explain that to a child?

JP: Okay.

Scott: Because I know you've had to explain it to your own children.

JP: Yes, yeah, I have. Well, there are many definitions of substance dualism, but we use what's called just a generic definition. And that's the idea that I am a soul that is an immaterial, spiritual reality, and that I am not the same thing as my body, and that while I use my body, while I'm embodied, I could live and exist without a body when I die. And so, I'm a soul that has a body, but I could exist without a body, though that may not be ideal. And so that's what I mean by it. The contentious claim is that we have souls. That's today. That's the contentious claim. How would I explain this to a child? It's interesting you'd ask that, because in our book, “The Substance of Consciousness,” which I authored with Brandon Rickerbal, co-authored, a former student here and did his PhD and is now a professor on the East Coast, we have about 30 studies that we've documented that indicate that little children, without having to be taught religion, naturally come to believe that their souls and their consciousness isn't like a part of their brain at the age of three, four, five. And one psychologist said, we are natural born substance dualists. You don't have to be taught it. You have to be taught you don't have a soul, as communist countries do. And I would say something like this. I would say, you know, you know, Timmy, you live inside your body, but you're not the same thing as your body. You can see your body and you can touch it, can't you? And if I were to be able to just kind of take your body apart, part by part, cell by cell without hurting you, and I would look throughout your brain, I would never come to a place where I said, that's what Timmy thinks about the Kansas City Chiefs—he doesn't like them. Or look there, there's Timmy. He's right there between those two brain cells. No, your conscious life, which is your sensations, your experiences, your thoughts, your beliefs, your desires for a hamburger or something of that sort, those are all states of consciousness that belong to and are possessed by the self, the I, the ego, the soul, is the word I prefer. And so I would say that you know that you live inside your body and that you're not your body just because you're aware that someday you may leave your body. And so I would try to talk about the things like I can't see or touch, taste, smell or hear your experience of happiness, although I can read it on your face. So, I would begin to try to do things like that and to talk about the body as something you inhabit, but it's not what you are.

Scott; Okay, so a substance dualist is making an argument that there's an immaterial component.

‘JP: That's right.

Scott: That's critical to our identity, but that most of the capacities of that immaterial part require a body in order to come to fruition. Okay. So, how would you defend the notion that there is this immaterial thing, not really, I know that's a contradiction to call that a thing, but there's this immaterial essence that we all have that defines us as a person.

JP: Well, I think there would be two sides to doing that. The first would be to try to make some positive arguments for why should anybody believe that I have this immaterial, substantial soul as opposed to just being a brain and body. So you'd have to make a positive case. I think the other thing you'd have to do would be to respond to objections that people have raised against us, especially from the claim you raised earlier. And that is that, hasn't neuroscience demonstrated that the brain performs all the functions of the soul. And so why do we need to postulate a soul in the first place? So, I'm going to take that one first. There are these neurons in the brain, those are cell tissues in the brain called mirror neurons. And if they're damaged, you can't feel empathy for another person. So, how are we to explain that? Well, there are three theories that equally explain all the observations—the technical word is they're empirically equivalent. That just means that there's not a single observation that could favor one compared to the other two, because all three of them are consistent with exactly the same observations. And the first one is what we might just call physicalism. And that's the idea that a feeling of empathy is just the same thing as the firing of mirror neurons. And so, when mirror neurons can't fire, you can't feel empathy because they're just the same thing. That's physicalism.

The second would be what we might call property dualism or consciousness dualism. And that's the idea that your conscious states are utterly different from your brain states. In fact, they're immaterial, but they belong in the brain. They take place inside the brain. And so when your mirror neurons are excited and fire, that causes a completely different state. And so there's a feeling of empathy, which is in no way physical, but both of those occur within the brain. So, the brain would be the possessor of both your brain activity and your conscious life.

The third explanation is that the brain activity occurs in the brain, but the experiences occur in myself or my ego or my soul so that when my mirror neurons can't fire, then my brain is a tool that isn't working that the soul uses in order for it to have an experience of empathy inside of it. Let me illustrate this. If I were in, suppose we had a person that was in the driver's seat of a car and he was seat-belted in and that seat belt was locked and the doors were locked so he can't get out of the driver's seat. His ability to get around town depends upon the car working. And if the steering wheel got broken so it only turned right, then that would limit his ability to move around town. If for some reason the car actually broke down even though the engine was running, he wouldn't be able to go anywhere. Now that doesn't prove that that person's the car. It's consistent that the person is different from the car, but while in the car, needs the car to be working before it can do something. That's the view that I think makes the most sense, because what we have seen is that near-death experiences, which I believe so many of them are consistent with scripture, and that the evidence for them is very strong, they indicate that I can function outside my body when my brain is completely dead and flat, there's no brainwave. But then I might be able to come back into my body. And so I would say, in summary, that all neuroscience can show is that while I'm in my body, my soul functions by using the different organs of my body as tools or instruments. So, if they're damaged, my soul doesn't work in certain ways, but that doesn't prove I don't have a soul, it just shows that while I'm in the body, the soul's working is dependent on the body working.

Scott: Okay, that's really helpful. I appreciate that, especially the seatbelt in the car and the door's locked. That's a really helpful way to put that. Now to say the least, the view that you're defending, you and Wren are defending in this book, is not the consensus in the culture or in the academy. In fact, I think it's fair to say that most views that have dualism attached to them have been vilified.

JP: Yes.

Scott: And the idea that human beings have a soul is considered a non-starter in most intellectual circles. Why do you think that is?

JP: I think that the main reason why the soul has not been taken seriously is because it is associated as a religious idea only. And the idea is that science is increasingly showing that religious claims are not really true. You know, Thor doesn't cause the lightning, it's certain kind of electrochemical events that can be described in physics. And we don't need a God to explain why it rains and things of that sort. So I believe that there has been this adoption of naturalism, which is basically the universe is all there is, was, or ever will be. There's no immaterial world. And naturalism includes physicalism, which is basically the idea that everything in the universe is physical. And if there is anything that isn't, like maybe they'll allow that pains or certain conscious states aren't, at least they belong in the brain and depend upon the physical to exist. I think the idea is that science has pretty well shown that, and the war between science and religion is always won by the scientists, and so these religious ideas, like that we have the soul that survives death and all that, is probably something that's a superstition that we really don't need anymore. So, what's interesting is that these aren't arguments. These are just observations about culture. And what I find interesting, and we demonstrate this in our book, The Substance of Consciousness, is that there has been a revival among academics of a belief in a soul in the last 20 years. So, we've got a ways to go, but there is no doubt that physicalists are increasingly on their heels and that those who've argued for the soul are beginning to win the day. And it's about time that the other side stops just labeling us as superstitious and out of date and starts dealing with our arguments.

Scott: So, a good bit of your book, the part that I find so helpful, is why naturalism, which you describe as the empirical world is all there is, and physicalism, that we're human beings are nothing more than a collection of parts and properties. But naturalism doesn't work as an explanation of how the world works. Why not?

JP: Basically, tell our audience why you're not a naturalist. Number one, you cannot come up with truths about logic and mathematics by observation. Two plus two is necessarily four. If A is taller than B and B is taller than C, then A is taller than C. That's a logical truth. And logical truths and mathematical truths are about unseen realities. Nobody has ever seen the number two. I've never seen the law of non-contradiction. You can't bump into it with your car.

Scott: I mean, but I've seen two things.

JP: That's right. But you haven't seen—

Scott: But that's different.

JP: Yes. And what you haven't seen is that not only when you take two things and put it to two things, it happens to be four things, but it could have ended up being seven. No. Two things plus two things must, necessarily must be four. Even God couldn't make two plus two equal to the square root of minus one. So, it's that necessity that is invisible and that can't be proven. Like all ravens are black, you could maybe show that, but there could have been a white raven, but there couldn't have been two plus two is equal to 17. So, these are known through the mind and they're invisible. There's also the fact that the universe and the laws of nature came into existence. This hasn't been here forever. And something outside the universe had to bring the universe and the laws of nature into being. And then finally, I would say that there are so many things true of us, Scott, as human beings. We have free will and we're responsible for our choices. We can remain the same through time. I'm the same person that began this interview, even though the parts of my body are changing constantly. And there are other things about me that indicate that my conscious states and my own self are just not physical objects. And those would be some of the reasons why I think naturalism fails. As a Christian, I can rejoice with the vast majority of the discoveries of science. In fact, some of them have been favorable to belief in God, like the fact that the universe began. There are problems with some scientific claims in the early chapters of Genesis. That's fair. But, in terms of whether God exists and Jesus rose from the dead, these are basically not scientific claims, but where they are, science has helped us. So, I don't think naturalism can claim science because as a Christian, I can claim science. It's just there are a few areas where I don't follow the popular scientific theories.

Scott: It seems to me that the way our culture views things like criminal justice and moral responsibility assume a substance dualist position of a human person. For the reasons that you touched on, you are the same person now as you were 20 minutes ago when we started this interview, even though parts of your body have changed. But imagine that you have somebody who commits a crime, is on the lam for 20 years, loses all sorts of body parts and cells regenerate several times over, could not plausibly come back and claim to the court that I'm a different person than I was who committed the crime 20 years ago. Although that's been tried. But you can't plausibly make that claim. And so it seems to me if we don't have something like a substance dualist position where I can say that I am the same person tomorrow that I am today, and the same person 20 years from now, that our whole notions of criminal justice and moral responsibility, we're really hard pressed to have a coherent way of viewing that.

JP: Well, you can't develop a really coherent one. And I think you're spot on. I mean, suppose I had a podium that was made out of wood. And every day someone came in and took a little piece of it off and replaced it with a little piece of green plastic. And over the days, this podium is increasingly sitting there, but it's becoming more and more green plastic and less and less wood. Now suppose that halfway through the process, the podium is half green plastic and half wood. And over there on the corner is a pile of the little wooden parts that we took off. We just tossed them in a pile. Literally, is that the same podium that I began teaching that semester with? The answer is no, because it's got different parts. And what we learn is that if any physical object gains or loses parts, you have a stack of 10 boards in the backyard, and somebody takes one and puts a metal rod in. So you've got nine boards and a metal rod. It's not the same stack. So if my body gains and loses parts, it's not literally the same body, though for practical purposes it is. But I am the same person from one moment to the next. I, now, am responsible for the crime I did five years ago. I am going to be fearing the dentist in six weeks because I will be going there. That fear of the future and punishment for the past presuppose that I'm literally the same person. And after all, come on, if you hum a tune, you know, Jesus loves me, this I know, there's nothing more obvious than that I'm the one who began humming. I'm the one that's halfway through the first verse, and I'm the one who's anticipating finishing the verse. My continuity through time is something that I'm just aware of. ‘

Scott: Yeah, and there's just a lot of things that are hard to make sense of without assuming that we are the same person through time and change. So, you insist in the book, you make the argument that, without a soul, human beings don't have free will. Spell that out.

JP: Yeah, thank you for bringing that up. Well, there's a common sense notion of free will that studies have shown that everybody basically holds to this view of free will. They might not think we have it, but this is what they would mean by free will if they thought we were free. And by the way, most people really do think they're free. And that's the idea that when I act, the choice of acting, say raising my hand to vote or keeping my hand down and refraining from voting. And if I choose to do one of those, the choice was up to me. There was nothing outside of my control that determined what I would do. So, that means that when I choose, I could have done otherwise without anything changing. It was up to me to do it. So I raised my hand and vote. I am therefore responsible for voting because I freely chose it. I wasn't determined. Here's the problem. Every physical object in the world, a rock, a pile of sand, something complicated like a very complicated computer, the brain, my body, everything that's physical behaves according to the laws of chemistry and physics. So, your body is going to do whatever input happens to it and what the laws of chemistry and physics dictate will change in the brain and nervous system. And so, I literally don't have the freedom to transcend and act freely from a standpoint outside the laws of cause and effect that are governed by physics and chemistry if I'm just my brain or my body. If I act freely, I've got to be something that is above, that transcends, the physical world of chemistry and physics and is able to act into that world by, say, directing my freely and intentionally directing my arm for a purpose of some kind, say, to cast a vote for someone. So free will assumes that we are not purely physical or else we would be unable to exercise a choice. We would be governed by the laws of chemistry and physics and what we do.

Scott: So, why is it that so many naturalists and physicalists actually believe in something like free will?

JP: I think it's like believing that I'm conscious. There are some philosophers who say that there just is no such thing as consciousness. And you scratch your head and you hear that and say, when he goes home, does he really believe that? I mean, when he's driving his car and talking to his family—there's nothing more obvious than that he is conscious.

Scott: Or when he's driving in his car and talking to himself.

JP: Well, yeah, that's what makes it, yeah, he's aren't conscious then. And so the same thing is with free will. I mean, every single person knows that they've done things that they were responsible for. When you discipline your child, in the sense of they did something wrong, then you're kind of assuming that they're responsible for their choices. And we all do that. And so I think that in the classroom, their worldview of naturalism implies that we don't have that kind of common sense freedom. So they develop a theory so that they can be comfortable with that. When they get out of the classroom, I really don't think that they believe that.

Scott: And it doesn't sound like they actually live that way.

JP: No, they don't. That's right.

Scott: All right. One of the really interesting parts of the book, I thought, was where you took the application of this notion of a human person and applied it to some areas that, frankly, I wasn't expecting you all to do.

JP: Okay.

Scott: Which was really interesting to me. So how does this view of a human person make a difference in how we view things like mental health issues?

JP: Oh, Scott, it is absolutely essential to mental health, depression, anxiety. And, you see, in the substance of consciousness, we defend a common sense Christian view that while we are souls that could exist without the body, while we're in the body, there's a very tight connection between the two. And the soul can influence the body and vice versa. So if you believe that we do have souls, then as Jeffrey Schwartz, a neuroscientist at UCLA School of Medicine and a brother in the Lord, he believed that. And so he developed a theory to help people get over obsessive compulsive behavior. And he said, we are souls and we have free will. So what I'm going to do is an experiment and I'm going to take scans of people's brains. And he did. And those scans showed that their brains were damaged in a number of areas that were habituating them to be obsessive and compulsive. So, what he needed to do was to find a way to try to heal those grooves and to get rid of them so that they did not automatically trigger this behavior without people choosing to do it. And what he did is he told people, I want you to think in your mind for the next three weeks: I'm not going to die if I don't wash my hands. Look, my neighbor, they don't wash their hands a hundred times a day. They seem to be doing fine. In fact, I saw my neighbor eat a sandwich when he was working in his garden and he didn't really clean his hands. Talk to yourself that way, even if you don't believe it. Just start talking to yourself that way. So, the next time you feel a compulsion, choose with your free will to tell yourself these things. And after three weeks, he did a scan and those areas of the brain had been substantially, not entirely, it's too short a time, substantially rewired and healed. And so what the conclusion was is that the semantic content of those thoughts, the meaning of those thoughts, which is not itself physical, it's a state, it's a part of the thoughts in your consciousness. Those, the contents and the choice to tell them to oneself actually rewired the brain. And so this means that in mental health, our pocket of freedom to choose and to train ourselves to think different kinds of thoughts can have a tremendous impact on our mental health. It also, in our book, if there's a soul, it implies that psychology and therapy will never be reduced to medication and to modulating the brain with certain kinds of electricity and so on. Now—

Scott: As important as those are—

JP: Absolutely, because in our book we say, look, the brain is very important. So medications and anything we can do to help get the brain healed, absolutely. The point I'm making is that it's not just that, it should be a both-and, and that's what opens up from substance dualism.

Scott: That's fascinating.

JP: Huge, isn't it?

Scott: It's just enormously impactful. And I think very encouraging to those in our audience who, you know, who deal with difficult mental health issues.

JP: As I have in my past, yeah.

Scott: And I think maybe one of the best things, I'll refer listeners and viewers to this, too, one of JP's best books was about his own issues in this area called “Finding Quiet.” And about what you've just described, actually, that's your own personal experience too.

JP: It is my own personal experience, yeah. Anxiety and depression. And I found tremendous help by finding techniques to change my thinking. So, yes, I've lived this.

Scott: So if Jeffrey Schwartz had done scans of your brain, he would have found similar things.

JP: Yeah, he may have even found, you know, little mice running around in there for all I know.

Scott: Let's not go there. And then the other part that I thought was just so interesting was how you took your substance dualism and applied it to things like artificial intelligence and transhumanism. So, it's so interesting to see how that spells out. Take artificial intelligence first.

JP: Yes. Well, artificial intelligence is artificial. It's not real intelligence.

Scott: That's a profound grasp of the obvious.

JP: Yes, it should be. But artificial intelligence machines, computers, and those kinds of machines are not conscious. There is no what it is like to be a computer. But there is a what it's like to be me. There is a what it's like to be in pain or a what it's like to be thinking about lunch. Conscious states have their own unique experiential what it's like to them. But the different electrical states inside of a computer, they have no what it's like to them. They're just the firing of electricity and stored in this little place or that. And so artificial intelligence computers and machines are not conscious. They're not aware of themselves. They don't have a self. They're just a collection of parts that are made by a designer to function as if it was intelligent. But a computer doesn't literally read data and have contents in its mind. Okay, there's two plus two. And I'm supposed to add that, okay, that's four. And then it spits four out on your screen. Doesn't do that. It just runs an algorithm, an ingrained set of steps, that it has to do. And so it's artificial because it doesn't have a self or consciousness.

Scott: So what do we make of the notion of AI learning? How do you understand that concept?

JP: Well, you can take a metal rod that is straight and if you bend it a certain way so that it doesn't snap the rod, then it will, when you release it, it will go back to its original state. But if you do it enough, then it will learn to go into that particular twist. Yeah, that kind of twisting. So, it begins to have this kind of disposition to move in a way that has been habitually placed in the rod after doing this a hundred times or so. But that's not learning. And what a computer does by learning is not like what a fifth grader does by learning history or English grammar, which means that they master a set of real concepts that are in their minds and they know how to draw conclusions from data, let's say, or evidence. They learn how to reason. Computers don't reason. By learning, that just means that after scanning data and randomly processing it through certain pathways and feedback loops so that it has feedback, then this feedback causes the computer to be able to perform new tasks without really knowing what it's doing. So it behaves differently. It'll spit new information out on a screen, but that's not knowing that—It's just an ability to do something like the metal rod.

Scott: So the claim that artificial intelligence machines will be able to have relationships could emulate therapists, could do things like pastoral care in our local churches. What do you make of those claims?

JP: If you understand them strictly, they're just ridiculous. I mean, a machine can't be in love with anybody and can't have empathy and compassion. That's just not the sort of thing matter is capable of having. Those kind of states exist in a soul. They don't exist in matter. But, what a computer could do would be to be programmed so that when, let's just say someone is a patient, is typing or speaking a response into the computer, it has stored a whole bunch of guidance responses that statistically have been shown to work. And so it'll have an 80 percent, if you say, I've been feeling lonely lately, the computer will have a bunch of different electricity stored that will indicate that 90 percent of the time this response is helpful. And so the computer might make a sound: sorry to hear that. Why do you think you don't spend time with people more? Okay, but it's not really asking the question. Now it could have an effect on the person because it's the right thing to be brought up, but the computer doesn't know it's asking a question. It's just barfing out what was programmed into it statistically that psychologists have found to be the right response.

Scott: So data in, data out.

JP: Exactly. Data in, data out.

Scott: That's really helpful. One other aspect that you apply this to is the notion of transhumanism. What's meant by that? How does this view of a person impact the way we view that phenomenon?

JP: Well, there are different meanings of it. I'll give you my understanding and I'd love to, this is your area, too. So, but by transhumanism, I think that's the idea that there's going to be, as computers continue to develop, there will then be another level of even higher level humans that will be embodied in the computer community and that they will begin to be a higher level of evolution of human ability than homo sapiens. And then they would begin to perhaps even have greater rights than we do. Now is that?

Scott: Yeah, it's just the ability of machines to transcend or to enable human beings to transcend their present state of humanity.

JP: Yes.

Scott: And to go beyond that.

JP: Yes. And I think that if you hold that computers will have, will transcend human beings and in their abilities and thus in their worth, that doesn't make any sense to me because I think that you have to be a conscious, spiritual being to have significant intrinsic value. Because the image of God is the powers that we have, even though some think it's physical, I think it's powers that we have to do the sorts of things God does, like understand moral action and so on. So, humans have intrinsic value because they have a certain kind of soul. And that kind of soul is a soul that reflects the kind of spirit God is—to a limited degree. But a machine, it has value instrumentally. I mean, it's useful to accomplish certain tasks. But I don't know how—I don't care how excellent a machine gets in doing tasks, it still doesn't have a whole lot of intrinsic value. But now, if your question is: will transhumanism be able to enable human beings to function better on their own? I think that's quite possible in the sense that there might be ways to help a human beings reason more quickly and to have better memory. But you have to be careful at some point about ethical questions as to when you're changing things in a way that is not the way that things ought to be. And it's kind of like the question, if men become women, should they be allowed to compete in women's sports? In the transgender question, I'm among those that say, I don't think that's fair to women. I know there's a debate about that, but it would be that kind of question.

Scott: Good. Hey, one final question. I know that a big part of what you've spent your life doing is proclaiming the gospel. How does this work that you've done on consciousness and substance dualism better equip you to communicate the gospel?

JP: Thanks for closing with that. If you don't have a soul, you can't save one. And if you're just a physical thing, then when your brain stops working, you're annihilated. There have been some attempts by physicalists to defend that there could be life after death, but they don't make a whole lot of sense as to how that could really be me that survives death. So, I mean, if there is life after death, that makes far more sense in the Christian worldview if we have souls, and that salvation, it does include health and restoring the whole person, and we will be re-embodied. Nevertheless, it says, when you die, you're not going to be annihilated. You will keep on living because you aren't your body, and you will exist without it, and you need to face ultimate questions about what will happen to you when you die. And will you be in heaven or will you be in hell separated from God? So the soul, I'll tell you this, as we show in the book, as the loss of belief in the soul has grown, so has concern about life after death. More and more people just say, well, there just probably is no such thing. So I think that's...

Scott: Yeah, no, that's really helpful. And I think that's a way of showing that doing really good philosophy has an impact on the streets, on how we proclaim the message of Christ. And that, I think, that's sort of what we're about. And I want to say this to our audience, too, that if you've enjoyed this conversation and would relish the opportunity to study some more of this with folks like our colleague J.P. Moreland, our master's program in philosophy is a great way to do this. Our MA in Christian apologetics is a great way to do this, both of which are offered fully online. And we encourage you to check those out at biola.edu/talbot. So J.P., great conversation. Love the book called “The Substance of Consciousness.” I say it's not for the faint of heart for readers. It's tough sledding in places, but I think well worth the effort to go through this.

JP: Thank you, my brother. It's been great to be with you.

Scott: Thanks. So we're so glad you've been with us on this. If you have comments or questions that you'd like us to address or guests that you would like us to consider having on the podcast, you can email us now directly at thinkbiblically at biola.edu. That's thinkbiblically, all one word, @biola.edu. Thanks so much for being with us. We'll see you next time. We'll see you next time.