Has Science Proved or Disproved the Existence of the Soul?
At a website called “FollowSatan”, you can sell your soul to the Devil. A popular country song deals with the same concept: “The Devil Went Down To Georgia.” The idea of selling one’s soul to the Devil goes back at least to the time of Dr. Johann Georg Faust who was supposedly murdered back in 1540 because he reneged on his deal to sell his soul to the Devil.
Of course, many men and women have sold their soul to the Devil when they chose to disobey God and sin. Eve was the very first who “sold her soul to the Devil.” However, today men are selling their soul to “science.” To sell your soul demands you first have a soul. Science claims man is a souless, material product of Evolution. Man has a physical existence, but is not a spiritual being. Lawrence Krauss wrote “A Universe from Nothing” in 2012: “every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in our left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about Physics: You are all Stardust.”
Some Scientist Claim to Have Proved the Soul
Although many modern scientist reject the idea of the human soul, there are some who claim to have proven the existence of the soul.
The evidence for the soul includes such things as a ghost, communicating with the dead, out of body experiences, near death experiences which sometimes include trips to Heaven or Hell, etc. All these are measured with special equipment to scientifically prove the existence of souls. Neuroscientist Mario Beauregard points out “that patients report information later verified and recount life-changing experiences, from periods when they were known to be clinically dead. Recently two quantum scientists have claimed that they can prove the existence of the soul, a quantum entity that acts as the program for the computer of our brain, and exists independently of the physical body after death.” (Damon Isherwood, “Science at Last Explains the Soul” SCIENCE June 27, 2016).
The fact is, science cannot prove the existence of the soul. Science measures the elements found in the natural material world. The soul is immaterial and of the supernatural realm. A soul has never been spun in a test tube in an ultra-centrifuge or seen with an electron microscope. However one scientist studied the weight of a dying patient and observed a slight decrease in weight when the person died. Thus coming up with a measurement for the weight of the soul.
However, God created both the body and the soul. “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:26-27).
Many Scientist Claim to Have Disproved the Soul
Perhaps a majority of scientist will claim that the soul’s existence cannot be proven due to a lack of scientific evidence. However, keep in mind a lack of evidence is not proof of non-existence.
Yet others believe there is no such thing as a soul. Victor Stenger said, “All evidence points to a purely material universe, including the bodies and brains of humans, without the need to introduce soul, spirit, or anything immaterial.” The late Carl Sagan wrote, “My fundamental premise about the brain is that its workings – what we sometimes call ‘mind’ – are a consequence of its anatomy and physiology, and nothing more” Modern science gives us every reason to believe that we do not have souls” (Julien Musolino, Solon, January 25, 2015 10:30pm), The scientific evidence ranges from observed behavior changes seen in those who suffered brain injuries to brain scans of human emotions. Most of the evidence is based on the idea that the mind of man evolved through the evolutionary process. The most common proof is that the brain is the same thing as the mind and falsely interpreted by some as a soul. Daniel Dennett wrote: “the mind…is the brain” (quoted in Richard Dawkins A Devil’s Chaplain). The Mind and the brain are not identical. If this were true, then everything true of the brain must be true of the mind and vice versa. The brain can be scientifically measured, but the mind cannot. Look at identical twins. They have the same genetic code. But one can be heterosexual and the other homosexual
Just as science cannot prove the existence of the soul because it exists outside the realm of the physical or material world, for that same reason science is not able to disprove the existence of the soul.
Evidence For the Soul
When it comes to the beliefs of most men and women in the world, most of them are dualist. A dualist holds the view that they are both a physical being with an immaterial mind or soul. Others are monist who believe man is only a physical being with a brain which is physical.
The Bible supports the idea of man possessing a separate soul housed in a physical body. “For as the body without the spirit is dead…” (James 2:26). Jesus believed man to be both body and soul. He said, “and do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28) and “and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment” (Mark 12:30).
Further proof can be seen in man’s instinctive consciousness of self. Most people think of themselves as more than just a body with an organ called a brain. Almost all cultures throughout the world and history have held a belief in a “soul” which survives the death of the body.
If the mind is determined by biological factors, why are criminals held responsible for their choices? However, if man has free-will based on his personal choices, he can and must be held accountable. With an individual soul free to make its own choices, all men are self-guided in their actions. Genetic make up and brain chemistry cannot determine his actions. Does a man stop to help a person who has fallen and asked for assistance because of genetic coding or brain chemistry or out of a personal choice to help out a fellow soul in need?
Human response to the message of the Bible demonstrates the existence of the soul. Through His Word God speaks to the inner spiritual needs of the sinner’s soul. The Bible is the only book which reads a man as he reads it. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Final proof for the soul is seen in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. “For You will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption” (Acts 2:27). His resurrection gives man the hope of his own resurrection from the dead. It frees him from the fear of death. Man is not like the dead dog Rover. When a man dies he is not dead all over.
Why is the Existence of the Soul So Important?
So what does it matter whether or not one believes in a soul? First, our soul is more valuable than the whole material universe. Jesus said, “for what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). If we have a soul and the soul is lost in sin, the soul needs to be saved. “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). Finally, others have souls that are lost and in need of saving. James concluded his letter, “let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:20).
– Daniel R. Vess