Editor’s note: The following essay appears in the Fall 2021 issue of Eikon.
1. Understanding Human Constitution
In his recent book, Embodied: Transgender Identities, the Church & What the Bible Has to Say, Preston Sprinkle helpfully maps out the four main views of human constitution — i.e., the relationship between the material and immaterial aspects of the human person. The first is physicalism, which denies the existence of an immaterial soul or spirit. The second is non-reductive physicalism, which affirms that we are more than our bodies but denies a body/soul distinction. The third is soft dualism, which acknowledges a body/soul distinction but insists that both are necessary for human personhood. The fourth is strong dualism, which sees body and soul as fundamentally distinct substances and equates the human person with the soul, not the body.
Sprinkle, quite rightly, deems views one and four to be sub-Christian. His own view (I think) seems to hover…