Saturday, August 22, 2009

John Locke on the Soul

Greetings to all:

I have been reading John Locke's (1632-1704) The
Reasonableness of Christianity
and found the foregoing comments interesting. The text that I own is edited by I.T. Ramsey. Concerning Gen 2:17, Locke reasons (on p. 26):

"I shall say nothing more here, how far, in the
apprehensions of men, this [the idea of eternal
torment] consists with the justice and goodness of
God, having mentioned it above; but it seems a strange
way of understanding a law [such as the one found in
Gen 2:17], which requires the plainest and directest
words, that by death should be meant eternal life in
misery. Could any one be supposed, by a law, that
says, 'For felony thou shalt die', not that he should
lose his life, but kept alive in perpetual exquisite
torments? And would any one think himself fairly dealt
with, that was so used?"

The obvious answer to both questions for Locke is
"no." He then defines what the word "death" as used in Gen
2:17 means to him:

"I must confess by death here, I can understand
nothing but a ceasing to be, the losing of all actions
of life and sense" (p. 27).

Warm regards,


javierpabon said...

Excelent find! Brother

Edgar Foster said...

Thanks! I believe that Locke had a number of interesting things to say and that he was able to discern aspects of biblical truth in some respects.

Your brother,