John Alan Turner

Speaker, Author, Mentor, Coach, Facilitator

It's Not All About Souls

Not too long ago I was at a big Christian event and one of the topics of one of the breakout sessions was actually titled, "It's All About Souls." I want to be clear here: No, it's not.

As we try to get a clearer understanding of the Bible's take on human nature (which must include equal parts dignity and depravity), we must acknowledge that people are more than souls. They have bodies, too. And those bodies are important. They're also social beings. It's never been good for man to be alone.

I came across this quote from John Stott that I think is apropos:

These human but godlike creatures are not just souls (that we should be concerned exclusively for their eternal salvation, not just bodies (that we should care only for their food, clothing, shelter and health), nor just social beings (that we should become entirely preoccupied with their community problems). They are all three. A human being might be defined from a biblical perspective as "a body-soul-in-a-community". That is how God made us. Therefore, if we truly love our neighbors, and because of their worth desire to serve them, we shall be concerned for their total welfare, the well-being of their soul, their body and their community. Our concern will lead to practical programmes of evangelism, relief and development....

So many Christians have been involved in coming alongside the poor and powerless, the sick, addicted and imprisoned since the time of Christ, not only serving their immediate needs, but also seeking justice on their behalf. Why have they done it? Because of the Christian doctrine of man, male and female, all made in the image of God, though all also fallen. Because people matter. Because every man, woman and child has an intrinsic and inalienable value as a human being. Once we see this, we shall both set ourselves to liberate people from everything dehumanizing and count it a privilege to serve them, to do everything in our power to make human life more human.

So, here's a question for you: How is this kind of thinking about humans and humanity distinctively Christian? How does it differ from other views of humans?