Skip to content

Aware: Dualism and the onus of proof

In which I discuss animal breath…

One is often told or reads that the natural assumption of human cultures more or less universally is that humanity is composed of two parts – the body and the spirit. But I wonder if this is actually the case. There is evidence of early religions and philosophies  being effectively materialistic, in that even if they allowed resurrection the body needed to be reconstituted first (e.g., Ezekiel 37, which is probably a parable for Israel itself). Qoheleth, or Ecclesiastes in the Christian tradition, is explicitly monistic:

I said in my heart with regard to human beings that God is testing them to show that they are but animals. For the fate of humans and the fate of animals is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and humans have no advantage over the animals; for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knows whether the human spirit goes upwards and the spirit of animals goes downwards to the earth? (3:18-21)