Church of God, New World Ministries

Animal Brain Vs. Human Mind - Part 5

We have demonstrated that the human mind is enormously superior to the output of animal brain, and we have demonstrated that the human brain is just barely superior to animal brain – and that a non-physical component is absolutely essential to transform the human brain into the human mind.

In this article we find out what it all means and begin to answer the ultimate question: What is Man? Or is he something more – with a non-physical component?

The question is vital. Because if man is wholly physical, then humanity must find physical solutions for its physical problems. – before it’s too late. (But physical solutions are not working – and it’s almost too late.)

If, on the other hand, man is not wholly physical, if man does have a non-physical component, then humanity must find non-physical solutions for its non-physical problems. And – be it noted – many of his supposed physical problems would then be, in reality, non-physical problems. (Remember, physical solutions will never solve non-physical problems – no matter how much money and intelligence are allocated and expended.)

What are we? Everything revolves around this pivotal question.

In this series on the difference between animal brain and human mind, we have not been dealing with “some interesting problems in psychology and physiology.” We have been confronting the fundamental question of human existence!

Many readers will recognize that we seek to solve one of the most basic philosophical problems of all human thought. Throughout its tortuous history, the “mind-body problem,” as it has come to be known – has had two traditionally accepted solutions:

  1. The Dogma of Materialism.
  2. The Doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul.

And no two theories could represent more opposite schools of thought – even though both are staunchly supported throughout the entire educated world. In the historic struggle between evolutionary science and traditional religion, the materialism-immortal soul controversy remains the classic confrontation.

Everybody has his or her opinion. And you have yours. But millions of people, including thousands of scholars, fervently support the position opposite yours. You think they’re irrational. They think you’re irrational. Somebody must be wrong someplace.

We hear it. It’s an honest question that deserves a straightforward answer: “How can this Church (The Church of God New World Ministries) claim the right – have the audacity to really answer the ultimate questions of mind and man when thousands of scholars and thinkers have been unable to find these answer through centuries of search?”

First, a tangential reply: “If our generation does not find these ultimate answers, no other generation will ever get the chance.”

Now to the logical reply: “Our age has witnessed a gigantic explosion of technical information. In addition, the stifling shackles of tradition have been broken. We now have full freedom for truly original thought. It is within this context that we seek to solve the mind-body problem – the ultimate questions of human existence.”

It can be solved by combining and interrelating the discovered physical facts of contemporary brain research with the uncovered non-physical truths of the Bible.

Contemporary brain research and the Bible have at least one thing in common: their primary interest is man – from the neck up. But from there on, the two fields are as radically different as is possible within the scope of human knowledge. This is why a cross-pollination between the two has proved so fruitful.

It has only been in the last several years that such a mating between the neurological sciences and Biblical theology could yield any viable offspring. Only in the last several years have the multiple academic disciplines composing brain research acquire the full range of information necessary to properly evaluate the human brain. And perhaps of even more importance, only recently has a simple understanding of what the Bible actually says has been possible through the establishment of a college (Former Ambassador College) free from the repressive dogmas and stagnating myths of traditional religions – so necessary if Biblical theology is to properly evaluate the human mind.

Brain research for the human brain. Biblical theology for the human mind. Don’t pre-judge the marriage. Put it to the test.

In the first two articles, we saw how the activities of the human mind are immeasurably more advanced than the activities of animal brain. In the third and fourth articles we saw how, by contrast, the anatomy, physiology and biochemistry of the human brain are just barely more complex than the anatomy, physiology and biochemistry of the whale, dolphin and ape brains.

How can this seeming contradiction by explained? Only by the realization that the human mind does in fact contain a non-physical component!

There are just no alternative explanations! If the human brain exhibited a credible physiological explanation – a structure, function or mechanism not seen in animal brain, wouldn’t materialistic scientists have immediately publicized the data in order to support their contention that human beings are 100% physical? But they have not – because they cannot.

Of course, evolutionary theorists have long enjoyed pointing out the overt similarities between human and ape brains in order to corroborate their belief that both evolved from the same primeval source. It is supremely ironic that what they have actually stumbled upon is the most significant scientific observation in history - irrefutably attesting to the necessary existence of a non-physical component in the human mind. Without this non-physical factor, man could be nothing more than a “super ape” (or “super dolphin”), more intelligent than a normal chimp to the same limited degree that a chimp is more intelligent than a cat.

“I believe that there is a fundamental mystery in my existence, transcending any biological account of the development of my body (including my brain) with its genetic inheritance and its evolutionary origin . . ..  but this theory (evolution) fails completely to provide me with an explanation of my origin as the person I experience myself to be with my self-awareness and unique personality.” (Sir John Eccles, The Human Mind.)

The human brain cannot possibly account for the human mind. A non-physical component is needed. There is no other way.

Materialism is wrong. But does that magically cause immortal souls to exist? That would be faulty logic. Just because Russian Communism is wrong, must German Nazism have been right? (Far right, yes – politically! Absolutely right, no!)

The world has arbitrarily established materialism and the immortality of the soul as the basic alternatives to answer the question: “What is man?” So, cowed men have dutifully accepted one side or the other – and then firmly dedicated themselves to wipe out the “lunacy” of the opposing side. It is an interesting spectacle – much like the public games in ancient Rome – it amuses the people and dulls their minds.

But could it be possible that both choices are wrong? Could both the dogma of materialism and the doctrine of immortal souls be bedfellows in a diabolically deceptive plot – a plot designed to keep man bickering about nothing, argumentatively off balance, and apart from the truth? Could there be a third dimension to the mind-body problem?

Human beings are creatures of extremes. And so when modern man disposed of immortal souls, he quite predictably jumped to the opposite extreme and denied everything non-physical. But again – that’s faulty logic.

Biblical history abounds with occurrences and prophecies which defy an entirely physical explanation: the plagues of Egypt; Ezekiel’s clear, in-advance description of the specific manner of Tyre’s destruction; Daniel’s astoundingly intricate prophetic delineation of the successive histories of the Babylonian, Persian, Macedonian, and Roman empires – and on and on.

Non-physical reality can also be substantiated by the thousands of people who have reported all sorts of supernatural phenomena – happenings which defy the physical laws of space, time, mass and energy – telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, miraculous healing, etc. Surely many of these tales are pure fabrications, woven by kooks, fakes, crackpots and charlatans; many others can be classified as illusions, hallucinations, self-deceptions and coincidences.

But are they all? It seems rationally implausible. Remember, we don’t need a “democratic” decision, where more than 50% of all supernatural phenomena must be valid to prove the existence of any non-physical reality. If only one event could not be totally accounted for by physical means, our point would be fully made!

Then there are the rigorously scientific studies of Dr. J. B. Rhine and his colleagues in extrasensory perception (ESP). Statistical reliability, experimental honesty and psychological rigor are the touchstones of these pioneering investigations. Of course, there are some        ESP researchers – notable the Russians – whose ideological bias necessitates a physical explanation for psychic phenomena. However, Dr. Rhine has shown that ESP operates at the same level of significance when the parameters of mass, space and time are greatly varied. And since mass, space and time are the boundary characteristics of the physical world – and since ESP is completely independent of all three – Dr. Rhine concludes:

“There simply is no explanation based on physical principles that will do . . .  no hypothesis which could explain ESP phenomena as a whole on a physical basis has been offered . . .  {and} the most devoted physicalist finds himself in the sloughs of insuperable intellectual difficulty.”

The non-physical is real. It exists. And the human brain must have a non-physical component to transform it into the human mind.

But what is this “non-physical mind-component”? It is not the fabled immortal soul. But what is it? How does it work? What happens to it when you die?

To avoid needless speculations, we will discuss this non-physical mind component “the spirit in man” - using the word “spirit” in a non-restrictive sense, only meaning something different from the physical, without any other connotation implied.

The spirit in man, then, is that essence which imparts human mind power to physical brain tissue. It is the means by which man exercises his promised “dominion” over all other creatures (Gen. 1:26).

The spirit in man is not a soul; it has absolutely no consciousness apart from the brain. Job speaks of such a spirit: “it is a spirit in man that gives them understanding” (Job 32:8).  Paul asks, “What human being can understand the thoughts of a man except (by means of) the spirit of man which is in him” (I Cor. 2:11). This simply states that self-consciousness – the awareness of thoughts, not just the thoughts themselves – is generated by the spirit in man.

Zechariah shows that the Eternal God of Israel “forms the spirit of man within him” (Zech. 12:1). No immortal soul here – the “spirit of man” and the “him” are separate entities, with the former located “within” the later. Paul confirms that this “spirit in man” is “in him” (I Cor. 2:11). This does not say that man is a spirit, but rather that this “spirit” is located in the man. If a man swallows a marble, that marble would be in him. Does that make the man a marble? Perhaps the man has “lost his marbles,” but he is surely not a marble himself.

If we are not careful, we can very quickly begin to think that the spirit in man possesses conscious sensation, thought and awareness independent from the brain. This wholly is wrong! The spirit in man, of itself, cannot sense, cannot think, cannot reason, cannot know. The brain performs these tasks. But to engender the exquisite qualities which constitute the human mind, the spirit in man must be added.

How? What and where is the “interface” between the spirit in man and the human brain, that is, how does the non-physical spirit in man link up with the interact with the physical brain? This question of the interface or common boundary between the spirit in man and the human brain is most fundamental. But at present, we cannot even postulate –much less isolate – the specific mechanism by which the spirit in man imparts human mind power to cerebro-cortical nerve cells. But we can empirically evaluate the results of this union and then reason inductively. Perhaps an analogy will help.

We can liken the spirit in man to a blank recording tape and the human brain to a tape recorder, neither one able to generate the human mind without the other.

The tape recorder houses all the required machinery and wirings for its particular operation – which is sound reproduction. Likewise, the human brain contains all the necessary structures and circuits for its manifold responsibilities – which are sensation, memory, emotion, creativity, etc.

Now, just as the tape recorder produces nothing without the recording tape running through it, the human brain is severely limited without the spirit in man joined to it. The recording tape imparts the capacity of auditory reproduction to the tape recorder, while at the same time, the tape itself is recording and storing the magnetic stamp impress from the tape recorder. Analogously, the spirit in man imparts the capacity of creative intellect and self-conscious personality to the brain, while at the same time, the spirit in man itself is recording and storing the stamp impress from the brain.

At death, the spirit in man “tape” is complete – it contains, at that time, every nuance of life, thought, personality and character which made us just exactly the singular individual who we are. The “tape” can then be “filed” – until needed again for reactivation, an even call the “resurrection” in Biblical terminology. Solomon, whose writings decimate the immortal soul fantasy, alludes to this “filing”: Then (at death) shall the dust (the human being) return to the earth as it was, and the spirit (the spirit-in-man tape) shall return unto God who gave it” (Eccl. 12:7).

Again, don’t make the mistake of attributing consciousness to this filed-away “tape” – it is no more the former living individual than a boxed piece of magnetic recording tape is the peaceful third movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. In order to reconstitute those serene musical vibrations from the magnetic recording tape, the tape must be reinserted into a tape recorder. Similarly, in order to reconstitute the specific person’s conscious awareness from the “spirit- in- man tape,” the spirit in man must be reinserted into a brain. Therefore, a reorganized brain and body (whether spiritual or physical) are necessary adjuncts to the spirit-in-man-tape in order to reactive – or resurrect – the original individual.

We are no longer harassed by the dogma of materialism. And we are no longer harnessed by the doctrine of immortal souls. We are armed with the sure knowledge of the Biblical spirit in man. And it is in the arena of human survival that the spirit in man takes on monumental significance because the mere existence of a spiritual component in the human mind unveils the fundamental cause underlying all of mankind’s’ troubles.

Consider what the spirit in man signifies – that the human mind operates with a spiritual dimension. And that means spiritual problems. The spirit in man adds spiritual problems to the physical human brain!  (The human mind and its resultant spiritual problems are as directly related as are animal brain and its resultant animal instinct. And so while the animal brain maintains perfect harmony in nature, the human mind is about to utterly destroy the earth!)

That’s the crux of the matter – that’s why mankind is planning its own extinction. Human beings have spiritual problems. But only physical solutions! And physical solutions just will not solve spiritual problems, ever!

We can run the gamut from one extreme physical solution to the other – without changing the futility of using physical solutions to solve spiritual problems one whit. We can choose any variation from capitalism to socialism, conservatism to liberalism, isolationism to internationalism, monarchy to anarchy, self-help to government handout, tariffs to foreign aid, segregation to integration – and the end result will always be the same: miserable people and a humanity headed for self-destruction.

Physical solutions cannot solve spiritual problems. This is why the spirit in man must become the focal point of all human knowledge, because it enables us to understand – for the first time – that all man’s physical difficulties are caused by deep-seated spiritual complications. No matter-- how intricate or expensive – will ever improve the overall welfare and happiness of the human race. If we ever hope to solve our physical problems and have and abundantly happy world our spiritual problems must be solved first.

The spirit in man is the key to man. It suddenly reorients us. It points us in the proper direction. It tells us where we must look if we are ever to have a peaceful planet.

Spiritual solutions are needed to solve spiritual problems. If this one fundamental point were understood, man would be forced to realize that the structure of his entire society – from the government of nations to the behavior of children – must be radically revised before people can at last be joyfully busy with peace and progress.

We desperately need spiritual solutions for our spiritual problems. That’s what the existence of the spirit in man must teach us.

  1. The analogy breaks down a bit here. A tape recorder cannot produce sound at all without recording tape, while the human brain could function without the spirit in man.
  2. Again, this analogy breaks down a bit. Whereas only the magnetic recording tape records the sound impulses in our analogy, both the physical brain and the spirit in man could record the memory impulses in the human mind.
  3. In a second analogy, we can liken the spirit in man to a chemical catalyst and the physical human brain to chemical which can undergo a specific reaction. The catalyst is inert of itself – but when put into an environment with the appropriate chemical reactants, the catalyst will immediately accelerate whatever chemical reaction are presently occurring.

The analogy to the spirit in man is direct. The spirit in man greatly magnifies and accelerates the normal functions of the physical (animal) brain such as thinking, behavior, intelligence., consciousness, etc. In addition, the spirit in man generates and precipitate a whole variety of radically new mental functions.

 

Of course, this analogy is also incomplete. Whereas the chemical catalyst is not appreciably changed as it performs its duties in a test tube, the spirit in man is markedly altered as it performs its duties in the human mind – so much altered that the spirit in man becomes a complete template for resurrecting the entire human being, even after thousands of years.

 

Be watching for our next installment of Animal Brain vs. Human Mind.

 
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