Personhood – The Most Important Question Today

Why write on personhood?  When thinking on personhood, I am considering what it is to be a person.  How do we defined a person?

Is a person an integrated body-soul or is a person, in some way, separate from the body they inhabit?  This, I believe, is a very important question when considering considering issues like, organ donation, In Vitro Fertilization, abortion and euthanasia.

For vital organs to be harvested for donation, they must be alive.  Living organs are only found in living bodies.  When a vital organ is removed from a body,  that body must die.  Does this result in the death of the person, or is the person somehow separate from the body, such that the person can be already dead, while their body  is still alive?

Consider Abortion. Generally in society the intentional killing of a person is considered murder. How is it that many do not consider abortion to be murder?  Most would not deny that a fetus is small growing human body, but do some consider a fetus a small growing human body who is not yet a person?

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) leads to the same questions as abortion. With IVF, many tiny growing fertilized eggs end up dying, being left to die, or are killed. Like the fetus, in abortion, these are tiny growing human bodies. Are these tiny bodies persons, or do they become persons with souls at some later date?

Euthanasia (see definition in blog post titled, Euthanasia – Definition – Human) involves the taking of human life for what is considered compassionate reasons.  When loved ones are very ill, crippled up, can not communicate, many may conclude that they would never want to live like that, that they would never want to live like half a person or like less than half a person.  Are people whose outward capacity to function appears extremely diminished, any less valuable or any less people?.

You can also read a paper I wrote titled, Comments on the Doctrine of Body And Soul[1]

For a definition of personhood see my blog posting titled Personhood-What Is It?  For the biblical basis of personhood see blog posting titled Personhood-Image of God.

[1] Available at  My essay, Comments on the Doctrine of Body and Soul is also available on where it was published in 1999.


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