Dan Popp
Are you a human being? Take this simple test
By Dan Popp
March 9, 2014

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7, KJV)

When someone wants to tell you there's no God, he doesn't start with things that are close to you – things you couldn't live one moment without knowing. He starts with things long ago and far away that no one can know empirically. Rather than founding his argument on mutually agreed facts, he uses shared ignorance. Let me suggest that you know God exists because of something you know about yourself.

First, the test that I promised in my title. It has only one question:

Do you have a soul?

If your answer was Yes, then congratulations: You are a human being. If you said No, then you're not a person; or at least not a fully-developed person as everyone has always understood the term, no offense intended.

When I listen to Dvorak's 9th Symphony, or to Mozart's Requiem, I'm touched in a place that evolution could not have accidentally formed. It's a place of indescribable yearning. It's a recognition of the astonishing gifts that produced that music, implying a divine Giver; and at the same time it's a desire to create something – oh, something – like that. It has to do with connection to other human beings on a deep level. And legacies. Or something. This bittersweet longing is as slippery as a dream, and even more profound and puzzling.

Remember that Aristotle said, "Nature does nothing uselessly." If these feelings inspired by a beautiful Handel aria are just animal emotions, like a dog's happiness at the return of his master, then what is their use? Darwin insists that they must make us more fit than our fellows to copulate, or to live to copulate another day. In evolutionary theory, the purpose of life is apparently to reproduce, as evidently the purpose of reproduction is life. Except that there is no purpose.

Now go out and live that.

Someone might say that the music of the Rolling Stones or Barry White could have a reproductive purpose – but you can't say that about the works of Haydn or Mendelssohn. These give us feelings that lift us up out of our animal nature for a short time.

For other people, it's painting. If you can view a Rembrandt or a Renoir and say, "I would just as soon look at a blank wall," you're not a complete human yet. For still others, it's poetry. Or it's the theater and movies. It's a Wonderful Life has moved so many people because it plucks chords on our heartstrings that cause the evolutionist to stutter and choke; chords of nobility and sacrifice, of remembrance and reward. No monkey or dolphin has such strange hopes within his breast.

I haven't yet mentioned sculpture. Or architecture. Wherever I stop the list, I will be cutting it short. We express ourselves artistically because we seem to need (contra Darwin again) to commune with other souls. An atheist artist is a self-contradiction because art can come only from a human soul, and a soul can come only from a Soul-maker. You may posit that matter created itself and then animated itself, but you can't tell me how matter developed a spirit. Or how or why a mere animal creatively tricked itself into believing it was creative.

But a soul is more than these feelings, or whatever I've been trying to describe. In Christian terms, soul is your "mind, will and emotions." If you're thinking right now – thinking anything – then you have a mind. You don't truly believe that your "thoughts" are merely chain reactions of chemicals in your brain. But if the universe is without meaning, then "meaning" is a nonsense-word. Every word is a nonsense-word. To ponder is to presume the existence of meaning. And purpose. And truth. As C.S. Lewis said, "Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning...."

Since the Christian explanation lines up with your experience of yourself as you respond to beauty and truth, and the materialist explanation does not, perhaps we can ask whether Christians are also right about you having a spirit. Do you think it's better to be a good person than otherwise? Or is that another delusional non sequitur? Morality doesn't apply to animals. If murder is wrong, if rape is wrong, if any act can be wrong, then you're not a mere animal. Only humans, angels and God are moral beings. That narrows it down.

What I've been trying to say is that the philosophies of the evolutionist and the materialist are dead ends because they're built on dead beginnings. You cannot live as if their tales were true, and indeed the concept of "truth" refutes them. You know that you have a mind. You know that your response to beauty is no accident, but touches the deepest part of you. And you know that you are a moral being.

So you have a soul. A spirit, too. Once again, congratulations.

Whatever explanation the atheist might concoct for the origin of Everything, or of Life, he has no theory for the origin of you – the real you. If he is right, you cannot exist.

You, yourself, are proof of a Mind, a Soul and a Love outside the material universe.

© Dan Popp


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