Incorporeal Reality: Science’s Next Enigma

The concept of incorporeal reality (i.e., lacking material form and physical substance) may become science’s next enigma after quantum-entanglement. Incorporeality has long been debated as the reality of God. Orthodox Christian theology asserts that God is incorporeal. Yet the 2016 “Foundations of Evangelical Theology” stresses the description “incarnate” for Jesus, meaning “in human form.”

Today, it may seem common sense to accept religious interpretations made almost two millennia ago. Obviously, academic science disavows any reality other than the physical one; therefore the lay public dismisses the validity of such single-person metaphysical claims as near-death experiences. But, to learn how “incorporeal” feels from inside a near-death experience, read the story of a surgeon who recalled the details!

So, academic science evidently has some in its ranks who disagree with it. Yet, untenured faculty members don’t dare jeopardize their academic standing with unseemly research behavior. But the long-standing scientific paradigm of materialism is now being challenged openly. The 2014 Manifesto for a Post-Materialist Science has organized support ( Its call for an open study of consciousness is one of materialism’s weakest positions.

Ironically, several researchers have speculated that the “consciousness” that seems responsible for near-death survivors’ consistent memories might be incorporeal. So Elizabeth Grosz’s new book The Incorporeal: Ontology, Ethics, and the Limits of Materialism seems very timely. It is a scholarly book, of particular interest to academic scientists and philosophers.

Moreover, as Robert Renehan, Professor of Classics at UCLA Santa Barbara, concludes in his definitive paper, “On the Greek Origins of the Concepts of Incorporeality and Immateriality,” “For almost two thousand years, the concepts of incorporeality and immateriality were central in much Western philosophical and theological speculation on such problems as the nature of God, Soul, [and] Intellect. When all is said and done, it must be recognized that one man was responsible for the creation of an ontology that culminates in incorporeal Being as the truest and highest reality. That man was Plato.”

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