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#5652 - Tue Sep 16, 2003 4:41 PM Re: Two souls for one person? [Re: Pilgrim]  

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Thank you. That helps a lot. If I understand your position correctly there are two possibilities. The first is that only one of the fertilized eggs had a soul, and the other possibility is that her soul came to the two eggs when they joined.

I will accept your answer, but I must point out that both possibilities that you give say that not every fertilized egg has a soul and this may bear on the issue of the morality of abortion.

By the way, this woman is not actually unique. There are a total of three people who have been found to be like this, and it is generally agreed that the condition is drastically underdiagnosed. Inorder to find people like this, multiple tests have to be done of different organ systems to find differences. This particular woman was found only because she needed a kidney transplant and the initial tests said that two of her children were not her children. Tests of other organs of her body matched the two children under question.

#5653 - Tue Sep 16, 2003 5:00 PM Re: Two souls for one person?  
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In reply to:
[color:"blue"]I will accept your answer, but I must point out that both possibilities that you give say that not every fertilized egg has a soul and this may bear on the issue of the morality of abortion.

No, not quite! [img]http://www.the-highway.com/w3timages/icons/ponder.gif" alt="ponder" title="ponder[/img] What I said was in this specific case, which medically, is an abnormality God created the one unique soul for this one unique individual person. I have no way of knowing, and surely no one does, how these two alleged fertilized eggs joined to form the one person. But as to how this all relates to the issue of abortion, i.e., the possibility that a fertilized egg could be "soul-less", since the origin of the soul is beyond the ability of finite beings to comprehend, we are not at liberty to make any judgments in regard to whether or not it is possible that any one fertilized egg can be disposed off without impunity. The biblical teaching is that there is one soul per individual which we can confidently say comes into existence at conception. Thus there is no basis upon which anyone could abort a fetus and not come under the judgment of God.

Perhaps we should consider this particular case and those like it as we do miracles. God has set into place what we call the "laws of nature", which contrary to the general myth of "Mother Nature", don't operate automatically, but are superintended by God's providence. A miracle is not a violation of these "natural laws", but an exception to them since God Himself is in total control of all things. My point here is that a miracle is that which is a departure from the expected "norm" and is thus not something which one assumes will be a normal occurrence. That being true, we organize our lives around the "norm" and not the "exception" and so govern ourselves. To use a practical illustration, we expect and rely upon the rising and setting of the sun. One would be a little "off" to sit around and wait to set his clock expecting the sun to stand still as it did in the days of Joshua, eh? [img]http://www.the-highway.com/w3timages/icons/laugh.gif" alt="laugh" title="laugh[/img]

So, again I say that we must presume that with rare exceptions, each person will grow from one fertilized egg and be the possessor of one soul. And if there is a break in that norm, then we have no basis upon which to speculate that there will be more than one soul given to the resulting person. [img]http://www.the-highway.com/w3timages/icons/grin.gif" alt="grin" title="grin[/img]

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#5654 - Tue Sep 16, 2003 5:05 PM Re: Two souls for one person? [Re: MarieP]  

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I will try to describe the genetic proof process, but I am not a professional in this area and may make an error. Your genetic material is made up of your parents. Each parent contributes one half of his or her personal material, which joins together to make a whole for the child. It is important to remember that each parent only contributes one half of what they have. When the testing is done, a sample from the person is mixed with a series of DNA molecules that have a known composition. If the known DNA binds to the sample, then there is a match. The actual comparison is done by comparing which DNA molecules will bind with the sample and which will not. The series of what will bind is known as a person's genetic profile. It is called a profile because the test is only a sample of the whole. Genetic profiles are frequently used to compare samples from crime scenes. Then the goal is to find someone who matches the sample and the chance of any one randomly selected person matching someone else’s profile is generally said to be a few million to one. In this example we have the opposite, that is some of her organs do not match other organs. You can be absolutely certain of the genetic material not matching by using a genetic profile. <br><br>The final part of understanding the genetics of the woman is the part that I mentioned at the start about each parent contributing half of their genetic information to the child. We know that she came from two eggs because her organ systems show different halves of the genetic material of her parents.<br><br>On the soul issue, don’t worry; I am not advocating that she has two. I am trying to find an explanation that fits the facts. I reject the position that she has two out of hand as being just too outrageous.<br><br>

#5655 - Wed Sep 17, 2003 9:46 AM Re: Two souls for one person? [Re: Pilgrim]  

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Thank you for your answer. It deals directly with my question. There is just one thing that I think I need to point out, but I do not think that your answer would have to be modified to fit this fact.<br><br>The woman that I am talking about is not unique. There are at least three people identified with this condition. But the question then is how many people are out there unidentified. For the answer, I think that you should consider that relatively few people have been tested. A normal genetic test will not find people like this. Instead a few samples must be taken from different parts of the body and the genetic makeup compared across them. When I consider how few people have been tested in this way and that three people were found with this test, I must conclude that there are at least several thousand people like this in the world. If your answer takes several thousand miracles, I will take it at face value.<br><br>The next question relates to identical twins. Each set of twins is the product of one fertilized egg that split into two in the womb. Each set of twins is two people, with one soul per person. Is every set of identical twins an abnormality of the “laws of nature” that requires a special miracle from God to create the second soul?<br>

#5656 - Wed Sep 17, 2003 10:30 AM Re: Two souls for one person?  
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You are correct in that I do think there is no alteration necessary to what I have proposed already. grin
In reply to:
[color:"blue"]Each set of twins is the product of one fertilized egg that split into two in the womb. Each set of twins is two people, with one soul per person. Is every set of identical twins an abnormality of the “laws of nature” that requires a special miracle from God to create the second soul?

I do hope I haven't confused you with my use of "miracle" as an illustration? My intention was to point out that from OUR perspective, a miracle is a "violation or that which is outside" the laws of nature, i.e., the normal and seemingly automated sequence of events which we experience and expect to occur in everyday life. However, such things are normal from God's perspective for all things are by His providential attendance. Thus, each individual that comes into this world, beginning at conception, is due to God's direct providence. That there are such anomalies as the one you began your question with and such things as identical twins doesn't alter the fact that each INDIVIDUAL PERSON, regardless of how they originate biologically, has been foreordained and that a specific soul is created for that INDIVIDUAL PERSON. In short, the biological findings do not reflect upon or determine the origin of the soul as it is a direct creation of God. Also, in regard to the matter of "miracles" as they relate to this discussion, because they are exceptions to the established rules to which we experience, we would be amiss to try and establish any doctrine or principle from them. Perhaps this text should be applied to your question(s) as the final answer?

Deuteronomy 29:29 (KJV) "The secret [things belong] unto the LORD our God: but those [things which are] revealed [belong] unto us and to our children for ever, that [we] may do all the words of this law."
In other words, speculation may titillate the mind, but it does nothing toward comprehending the truth of God's secret works in and with His creation.

In His Grace,


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#5657 - Thu Sep 18, 2003 9:11 AM Re: Two souls for one person? [Re: Pilgrim]  

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The next abnormal group that I would like to discuss is that of spontaneous abortions. Two eggs for one person is rare, a few thousand in the world. One egg for two people is uncommon, a several million in the world. Spontaneous abortions are extremely common, several billion in the world. The spontaneous abortion rate is about %50. That means that for every person in the world, there was also a fertilized egg that was never born. Spontaneous abortions have nothing to do with a doctor performing an abortion. A spontaneous abortion happens when a woman involuntarily loses a pregnancy. They can happen after she has been pregnant for a couple of months, but usually happens when she has been pregnant for days. In this case, the woman does not even know that she was pregnant. Her period may be late for a day or more, but nothing more than this. <br><br>Do spontaneous abortions have souls?<br>

#5658 - Thu Sep 18, 2003 9:43 AM Re: Two souls for one person?  
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<blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr>[color:"blue"]Do spontaneous abortions have souls?</font><hr></blockquote><p>[color:purple]Deuteronomy 29:29 (KJV) "The secret [things belong] unto the LORD our God: but those [things which are] revealed [belong] unto us and to our children for ever, that [we] may do all the words of this law."</font color=purple><br>


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#5659 - Thu Sep 18, 2003 1:45 PM Re: Two souls for one person?  
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Are you trying to find a way to work abortion into Christian ethics?<br><br>It's been said before that we do not know exactly how or when the soul enters the person, but that is God's realm. It would be presumptuous in any case to decide whether any particular fertilized egg has a soul and that it should be okay to abort it.


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#5660 - Thu Sep 18, 2003 1:56 PM Re: Two souls for one person? [Re: Pilgrim]  

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The root cause of why I ask these questions is my own personal history. I started as a conservative and changed to a liberal. The basic reason for my change is that in my personal perspective, I was not able to honestly and consistently apply all conservative doctrine in my life and faith. I still feel a certain tension to look for resolution of the issues within the conservative doctrine. This particular issue is not the one that caused my personal change, but none the less, it is extremely important in our society today.<br><br>I do not see how it is possible that you can be sure that every person born came from a fertilized egg which joined to a soul at the moment of conception and at the same time think that the question about spontaneous abortions is one of the secret things that Deuteronomy 29:29 speaks of. At the same time, I think that it is wrong for me to press you into a subject that you think should not be discussed. I will let the thread die unless someone else is able to answer my questions.<br><br>

#5661 - Thu Sep 18, 2003 2:03 PM Re: Two souls for one person? [Re: CovenantInBlood]  

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I am not looking specifically looking for a way to work abortion to Christian ethics. I am exploring the difficult aspects of the ethics. My process is to compare two things. First is the ethics and I am leaving that up to who will answer. Second is how the world works and that includes all the things that I have brought up that are not normally considered. One of my personal tenants is that an ethic should work in all situations. Eventually I planned to discuss ethics and adult death. It seems to me that the same ethic should apply to both ends of life with no difference in the ethic.

#5662 - Thu Sep 18, 2003 8:32 PM A few questions  
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smithca,
In reply to:
[color:"blue"]One of my personal tenants is that [color:blue]an ethic should work in all situations.

Assuming that you meant tenets--unless you happen to be a landlord--let me ask you a question about yours:

How are [color:red]you able to define what comprises [color:blue]all situations?

And in relation to the "ethic" discussed in this thread, I would like to know your answer to the following questions as well:

How many souls do [color:red]you have?

On what basis do you know that your answer to the previous question is correct?

To whom does the soul(s) you know as your own belong, and thus owe an account?

If God were to determine to cause half of all souls made in His image, yet conceived in sin, to never be born, but to be called to account before they see the light of day, on what grounds will you call Him unjust?



In Christ,
Paul S
#5663 - Fri Sep 19, 2003 4:15 PM Re: A few questions [Re: Paul_S]  

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How are you able to define what comprises all situations?<br>I can’t define what comprises ALL SITUATIONS. I can think of various situations and ask how the ethic applies to it. That is what I have done here.<br><br>How many souls do you have?<br>I only have one. I think that everybody has one. I am using a valuable tool in understanding an ethic. What I have done is ask a serious of questions that appear to force ridiculous answers. Obviously, you have three choices. Explain how the ethic works in these difficult situations and prove the quality of it. Change the ethic. Or ignore the questions. If you choose to ignore the questions, it does not badly on you or the ethic. It is just your choice.<br><br>On what basis do you know that your answer to the previous question is correct?<br>I can’t know that my answer is perfectly correct. My answer is based on several things, mainly faith, logic and the test of reasonableness. <br><br>To whom does the soul(s) you know as your own belong, and thus owe an account?<br>Ultimately God has control over this, but I would not normally use the term belong because of the image of slavery.<br><br>If God were to determine to cause half of all souls made in His image, yet conceived in sin, to never be born, but to be called to account before they see the light of day, on what grounds will you call Him unjust? <br>I am not.<br><br>I posed these questions because I am torn between two conflicting positions. If a fertilized egg has a soul and deserves all the rights as any other person, then the rule should be applied evenly. All abortions would be outlawed even when it means almost certain death for a pregnant woman. A woman who has been raped should not be allowed a morning after pill. The Christian community should be rallying together to fund research to discover ways of preventing the billions of spontaneous abortions in the world. Because of the huge number involved, this last thing would be just as important as sending missionaries out to the whole world. <br><br>As I understand the ethic, these things should be demanded, but my sense of justice prevents me from advocating such. It bothers me that a woman may be denied the medical care that would save her. It bothers me that a woman might be told that she can’t take a morning after pill after she has been raped. It does not bother me that spontaneous abortions occur, even though I know that the Christian ethic requires me to extend a helping hand to those in need.<br><br>Ultimately, I am looking for a resolution of this conflict that I feel. <br><br>At this point, I ask you to do one thing for me. Tell me where in the Bible it says that a soul is joined to the egg at the moment of fertilization.<br>

#5664 - Fri Sep 19, 2003 7:30 PM Re: A few questions  
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Smithca,

I appreciate your taking time to respond to the questions I posed. I notice in your answers, as well in your previous posts in this thread, an apparent assumption on your part which keeps resurfacing. The assumption is that [color:red]you are capable of fashioning a universal ethic based on the impossibility of a solution to your proposed conundrum, while you simultaneously restrict the conundrum's data to information which [color:red]you can understand:
This is just a conundrum that can produce enlightening insights when you try to explain it.

In fact, if one of the eggs died, we wouldn't have the conundrum...

I am trying to find an explanation that fits the facts. I reject the position that she has two out of hand as being just too outrageous.

...in my personal perspective, I was not able to honestly and consistently apply all conservative doctrine in my life and faith.

This particular issue ... is extremely important in our society today.

I do not see how it is possible that you can be sure that every person born came from a fertilized egg which joined to a soul at the moment of conception and at the same time think that the question about spontaneous abortions is one of the secret things that Deuteronomy 29:29 speaks of.

It seems to me that the same ethic should apply to both ends of life with no difference in the ethic.

I can’t define what comprises ALL SITUATIONS. I can think of various situations and ask how the ethic applies to it. That is what I have done here.

I only have one. I think that everybody has one.

Obviously, you have three choices. Explain how the ethic works in these difficult situations and prove the quality of it. Change the ethic. Or ignore the questions.

I can’t know that my answer is perfectly correct. My answer is based on several things, mainly faith, logic and the test of reasonableness.
Do you see how you constantly revert to your own understanding as the final authority in this thread?

The reason you are unable to resolve "the conflict you feel" is because you are attempting to dissect a mystery of God while leaving what [color:blue]God Himself has said about it out of the equation. You reject at your peril the prohibition of Deuteronomy 29:29, for elsewhere God declares this issue veiled in mystery:
[color:blue]You have hedged me in behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain to it.
:
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed,
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them. (Ps. 139:5-6,13-16)
We have been given sufficient revelation of this matter that we are without excuse to treat the unborn as un-souled, but that revelation is only partial. Further astounding understanding of DNA will not pull back the curtain, either. Had David known what is now known, his response of awe and worship would not be less. Is this your attitude in the matter, smithca?
[color:blue]Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out? For who has known the mind of the Lord?

Your "ethical tension" must be solved by acknowledging that the Sovereign Lord who created You is not bound by your so-called "conundrum". He declares individuals alive at conception; He commands that we care for them as we have opportunity; He commands that we trust Him to do what is right.

The fatal flaw in these liberal (it's ok--I was one for many years!) ethical challenges is that they ALWAYS leave the Sovereignty of God out of the equation, both in His knowledge and power. That inevitably leads to an unworkable ethic--as you have acknowledged--which is then used to adduce relativism. I sincerely hope you don't go any further down that path.



In Christ,
Paul S
#5665 - Fri Sep 19, 2003 9:16 PM Re: A few questions  
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Smithca,<br><br>I ran out of time to finish my last post. I hope you will consider these additional thoughts.<br><br>1) Your desire to account for "all situations"--and I will take your scaled-down definition of it--in this issue has involved attempting to account for degrees of "abnormality" produced by variable combinations of numbers of fertilized eggs and resultant individuals. What you [color:blue]must</font color=blue> account for at the outset, however, is that the God who has revealed Himself in the Bible is able to create men and women in His image IN ANY WAY HE SO DESIRES, and IN WAYS HE ALONE UNDERSTANDS. That is a profound "situation" indeed, for which you have shown no inclination to account.<br><br>2) A side-note about: [color:red]I would not normally use the term belong because of the image of slavery.</font color=red><br>Does this mean you also avoid talking about:<br><br>the Father, because of bad fathers? Christ as Bridegroom, because of bad husbands? as Advocate, because of bad attorneys? as Lamb of God, because of stupid sheep? <br><br>Most of the men in my Heidelberg Catechism class are normally African-American. They know I will use Biblical language about "belonging", and normally several thank me for reconnecting them to this vital truth rather than shying away from it. I explain that the American slavery experience was uniquely perverted by theological issues which should have been settled by the churches in a disciplinary fashion, and overwhelmingly were not. Chief among those issues was the "enlightenment"-spawned questioning--in full disregard to the Scriptures--of whether the slaves were even fully human: "Do they really have souls?" (Hmm, sounds familiar.) But we cannot escape the fact that God owns us, and can do what He will with us.

Last edited by Paul_S; Fri Sep 19, 2003 9:22 PM.

In Christ,
Paul S
#5666 - Sat Sep 20, 2003 8:21 AM To God be the glory! [Re: Paul_S]  
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Paul S.
In reply to:
[color:"blue"]Your "ethical tension" must be solved by acknowledging that the Sovereign Lord who created You is not bound by your so-called "conundrum". He declares individuals alive at conception; He commands that we care for them as we have opportunity; He commands that we trust Him to do what is right.

The fatal flaw in these liberal (it's ok--I was one for many years!) ethical challenges is that they ALWAYS leave the Sovereignty of God out of the equation, both in His knowledge and power. That inevitably leads to an unworkable ethic--as you have acknowledged--which is then used to adduce relativism. I sincerely hope you don't go any further down that path.

[color:blue]AMEN

Preach it my brother! [img]http://www.the-highway.com/w3timages/icons/clapping.gif" alt="clapping" title="clapping[/img]

I especially appreciate these verses in Psalm 139 which tell us that God see our substance when we were yet unformed. Truely we are fearfully and wonderfully made.


Wes

[color:blue]Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out? For who has known the mind of the Lord?




When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride. - Isaac Watts
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