Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Thursday 8 May 2014

Souls and the Innocence of children

Are children born innocent? It's a question that has taxed philosophers and those of a religious persuasion for thousands of years but what does it mean?
Are they as pure as driven snow uncorrupted by the past at birth or do they somehow bear the sins of their fathers? Julian of Norwich, the venerated anchoress felt that children were born without evil but needed to sin in order to live their ignorant lives and learn. The Catholic Church believes in 'original sin' and advocates infant baptism as a way to counter it and yet Jesus conversely tells us to become like children and renounce sin (Mathew 18.3).  Scripture further teaches us that, at death, “the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Eccl. 12:7). The parents do not give the soul to a child, but God does. If God hates sin (Ps. 45:7), cannot look at sin (Isa. 59:2), and is the giver of the spirit, a newborn baby’s soul cannot be sinful.
What then is the truth?
So much has been written about 'souls' one is compelled to believe that their existence, like that of spirits or ghosts, is a certainty according to the 'smoke' and 'fire' principle. We must also accept that religious reasoning is biased because the priestly classes always fashion their philosophy to accord with their own ambition.
It is my contention that 'souls' exist, they move from body to body but only according to hereditary rules, passing on characteristics from one generation to another. These generations need not be continuous; indeed the character inherited may be from an ancestor a hundred or more generations earlier, his 'soul' dutifully recorded in his or her DNA. It therefore follows that a person without issue cannot pass on his 'soul'. Also when a parent dies his soul has already left his body, passed on at the act of procreation.
I believe that the character of a person, chosen, possibly at random, from a forebear, is selected as the embryonic brain develops. It is the 'nature' part of the nature/nurture dualism that moulds the new person's character. It means, however, that the new person may be born inherently pious or evil or any shade in between possibly with characteristics that may not be recognised by the immediate parents.  We've all heard parents protest that: 'we don't know where little Johnnie comes from!'. Physical attributes such as hair and eye colour may be explained by Mendelian genetics, but what about personality?

What determines which character from the past is chosen for the proto-infant? I'm tempted to say it is at random but somehow I suspect Nature is more sophisticated in its method. As the brain developes it uses NEGATIVE time, the same as used in memory processes, to troll through the DNA of both parents before making a selection and a 'soul' is passed on to a new body.
Some astonishing consequences may arise. A musical child may surprise the discordant parents, the science graduate will astonish the brain dead Mum and Dad and the entrepreneur will bring pride to his idle family.
Of course, mistakes occur. The selected character may be from too early a time, perhaps more than a thousand generations earlier, and the embryo cannot survive giving rise to a miscarriage. There will be other reasons that unsuitable selections give rise to unviable embryos.

There are other consequences. Readers may well ask, what would be the outcome if the character chosen is female and it is fitted to a male embryo.

To summarise. Souls are not supernatural, they exist and they survive death if a person passes on his or her DNA through procreation. A newborn child inherits a soul for good or bad, however nurturing helps define the finished product.

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