In reading through my morning dose of tech news, I caught this story about the medical and health ramifications of humans having over 1 trillion bacteria inside us (more bacteria than there are human cells). The health ramifications are fascinating, but because I relate everything back to religion I immediately had to ask, “What are the religious ramifications?” Well, if humans really are “body” and “soul” in the classic dualistic understanding, does that mean that our “soul” doesn’t include the trillion “little souls” of our symbiotic bacteria? Or does it? What about the implication for identity? Am I: profxm = human DNA and its manifestation + soul + bacteria + bacterial souls?
And what about Mormon notions of resurrection? Will resurrected Mormons be resurrected with their trillion bacteria in place? Are they part of a resurrected body? Did Joseph Smith get it wrong when he said resurrected beings have “flesh and bone” instead of “flesh and blood”? Should the phrase instead be “flesh, bone, and bacteria”?
Of course, as a skeptic and atheist, this simply suggests to me one more argument against notions of a soul and one more argument for evolution. Did god/s/esses really create humans using bacteria as a key ingredient? That seems contrary to any notion of humans being a “special creation.”