Thursday, July 28, 2022

Brain and Spirit (2)

Its important what we understand is that we live in a universe that has spiritual and physical dimensions. We tend to forget that because we have becomes locked in the physical.

The scientific method can only observe the physical part, so scientists, at best, can only produce half-truths. They don’t have the tools to observe an important aspect of reality, so we should never be intimidated by them. They are like a man who can see and hear, but has no sense of touch. His description of the world will be correct as far as it goes, but he will miss out something really important things like the difference between objects that are solid and those that are fluid. He will understand that some objects are a barrier and others are not, but he will not understand why.

If scientists had put cameras and heat sensors in the tomb where Jesus was buried, they would have measured his body being absolutely cold, then quickly warming. They might pick up some of heat that the Holy Spirit generated when reviving Jesus body. The cameras would observe Jesus beginning to breath and then get up and walking out. They might observe the stone moving back. They will see all this, but they will still have no idea of how or why it happened.

A Christian who was part of the scientific team could not use this evidence to prove conclusively that God did it, or even that God exists. He could say something odd happened, but he could not prove why. The reason is that the best scientific tools cannot observe or measure spiritual reality.

The spiritual realm that scientists cannot observe is probably far more important for what happens in human life than the physical realm (more here). Those who just observe the physical dimension get a very distorted view of reality.

Humans obviously have a facility within us (not floating over us or beside us) that has the ability to observe and communicate into the spiritual dimension of life. That ability has been badly damaged by the fall (original sin is not a very could term for describing what happened). I presume that this facility is within the brain (not the heart which is just a pump, which responds to adrenaline) but I have no idea how it actually works.

Some people have this facility to observe the spiritual world with a greater capacity than others do, just as some have greater intelligence and some have heightened compassion. I do not think it is just a gift of the Spirit (although discernment is one of the gifts that the Holy Spirit gives) because some non-believers have this heightened ability too.

No matter how much the neuro-scientists do, they will not be able to see this facility, because there tools can never observe the spiritual dimension. They might pick up the effect of the spiritual on the physical, but they will not be able to see observe the interaction. All they will see is effects in other parts of the brain, but they will never know what caused them.

I reckon that the deadening of this facility that interacts with the spiritual realms is the major effect of the fall. I presume that it is restored when we are born again. However, it is essential for followers of Jesus to be aware that they have this facility, and develop their ability to use it. This awareness is something that has been lost with the secularisation of or culture.

In terms of apologetics, McGilchrist’s comment that surveys show that most people believe “there is something more out there” is relevant. I believe that most people these days have an awareness of the spiritual dimension of life. Most of the younger generation have had a spiritual experience, and for most, it was a bad one. So the people of the world don’t need to be persuaded that the spiritual is real. What they need is an account of the spiritual realms that makes sense; that fits with their experience of the spiritual, whatever it might be, and which enables them to make sure that they are living on the right side in the spiritual battle.

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