Church of God, New World Ministries

Animal Brain Vs. Human Mind - Part 6

In our last article we explained the Biblical passages showing that there is, indeed, this nonphysical component – spirit – in man, and that man could not possess the knowledge humans possess, save by this spirit that is in man.

The key passage on this – as covered in the preceding articles – is found in the 2nd chapter of I Corinthians. The Apostle Paul was explaining that the natural mind of man cannot know or comprehend “the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (v. 9). Man, naturally, receives knowledge only through the five senses – sight, hearing, feeling, tasting, smelling. But this verse explained that “his eye has not seen, nor his ear heard these things. Neither can he know them (v. 14) because they are spiritually discerned.”

But verse 10, “God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit.” Then the real explanation comes in verse 11: “For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit in man which is in him? Even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God.”

There are two spirits mentioned here – the “spirit of man is in him” and “the Spirit of God” which may, on God’s conditions, come to be in man as God’s gift.

Just as the natural mind of man cannot know these spiritual truths of God without the addition within him of the Spirit of God – the Holy Spirit – so man could not know – could not have the knowledge – of the things that are human knowledge, without the spirit of man.

The cow, the dog, the chimp, the dolphin, or the elephant does not possess this knowledge common to humans, because there is no such spirit in animals. The animal brain is capable of a very limited amount of knowledge. It is capable of a certain limited amount of memory. But animal brain output is almost infinitesimal by comparison to human mind output.

Yet the human mind output is limited! It cannot come to spiritual knowledge until another Spirit is added – God’s Holy Spirit! It can know only that knowledge that, as is stated in I Cor. 2:9, eye has seen or ear has heard – that is, knowledge that enters the brain through the five senses.

And why?

Because spiritual things are invisible. One cannot see spirit. One cannot hear, touch or feel, smell or taste spirit.  The natural man, as humans are born, is limited to physical, material knowledge – that knowledge that can come through the five senses.

The spirit of man does not see. The human brain sees, through the eye. This spirit does not hear. The brain hears, through the ear. The spirit of man does not think – it imparts power to the brain to think.

Prove it! Very well – a man meets with an accident and loses his eye sight. He can no longer see. He can still think. He still has human mind. His spirit is still there, but it cannot see. The same is true of hearing and the other senses. His ability to receive knowledge is reduced, for he no longer receives knowledge through the sense of sight.

This spirit that is in man is merely something that is in him. It is not the man, any more than a tiny marble swallowed by a boy is the boy. It is merely something that is in him.

We have covered before the statement found in Genesis 2, verse 7: “The Eternal God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life: and man became a living soul.”

What became a soul? That which came from the dust of the ground – material substance. The breathing man, composed of matter, is a soul. The soul, then, is physical – not spirit. It is twice stated: “the soul that sins, it shall die” (Ezk. 18:4, 20). Adam became a soul, and God told him that if he ate the forbidden fruit he would surely die.

So this spirit of man, that is in him must not be confused with the idea of an “immortal soul” – something entirely foreign to Biblical revelation.

The Biblical revelation, then, makes the claim that man is made wholly of material substance, is mortal, and shall die. As stated in Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”

But after death – then what?  Is there hope in the Bible for life after death? The scripture quoted above says, “after this” – after death – “the judgment.”  That certainly implies life after death.

Then does the Biblical revelation give us hope for life after death? Emphatically it does! It is the Great Hope – that of the resurrection of the dead. It was for this Biblical hope that the Apostle Paul was on trial for his life (Acts 23:6).

Most of the Western world celebrates Easter once a year. Supposedly this is in honor of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Of course we don’t hear much about whether Christ remained alive, after His resurrection – or, if so, what He is doing today. Yet a whole book of the Bible is devoted to what the living Christ has been doing since His resurrection – and is doing today! That is the book of Hebrews.

The “resurrection chapter” of the Bible is the 15th chapter of I Corinthians. It plainly reveals that the resurrection is the sole hope of life after death. “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (v. 22). But there is an order in which resurrections occur – continuing the above quote: “But every man in his own order. Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then comes the end.”

Other passages reveal two more resurrections – Ezekiel 37 and Revelation 20:11-12-- a resurrection to physical life a thousand years after the first resurrection, and a final resurrection (the 13th verse of Revelation 20). But how will God accomplish this resurrection?

Prepare for some surprises. Will God, in some supernatural manner, cause all of the exact same matter that was in the body of the person that died to be brought back to life? Many have been cremated. In some cases, the ashes may have been scattered over wide distances by airplanes. Most of the cremated body went up in gaseous form into the air.

Did you ever wonder how God would bring all the gaseous and ash portions back together again, into a restored body?

Well first, notice what we learned in the 15th chapter of I Corinthians. The Corinthians must have wondered about that, because the Apostle Paul was inspired to give them the answer:

“But some man will say, how are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come? Thou fool (or foolish men, or foolish question), that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: and that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain, but God gives it a body as it hath pleased him and to every seed his own body: (I Cor. 15:35-38).

You plant a grain of wheat. Wheat stalks sprout up, with grains of wheat growing. The new grains are not the same particle of matter  as the grain planted – but wheat seeds sprout wheat, and not oats – every seed its own kind of body.

Likewise, the resurrected body will not be the same body, or the exact same matter that was buried – or that was cremated. Though not the same body, it will be identical. This passage continues to show that there are different kinds of flesh – of men, of beasts, of fishes, of birds. “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another: (v. 20).

Then the passage continues to show what the resurrected bodies of those who are Christ’s – those in whom is dwelling God’s Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9-11) – will be like? The language is clearer in the Moffatt translation:

“So with the resurrection of the dead: what is sown is mortal, what rises is immortal, sown inglorious, it rises in glory; sown in weakness, it rises in power; sown an animate (natural) body, it rises a spiritual body” (vs. 42-44).

Continue, in the Authorized Version:

“And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul, the last Adam (Christ) was made a quickening spirit” (Moffatt: “a life-giving Spirit”) “. . .  The first man is of the earth, earthy” – that is to say, the soul is of the earth, earthly - not spirit. “. . . . .  the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” Moffatt translates it: “Thus, as we have borne the likeness of material man.”

Those who are Christ’s (Rom. 8:9) will be resurrected, at the time of Christ’s return in power and glory to earth, immortal, composed of Spirit.

Those in the “Great White Throne” resurrection (Rev. 20:11-12 and Ezekiel 37:4-6, 11-13) will rise mortal, as they were before – human – of the earth – earthy. Then (Ezk. 37:13-14) God will give them His Holy Spirit, and they, too, shall receive God’s gift of eternal life.

Now, remember we covered (I Cor. 15:38) how that, when a grain of wheat is planted, the new plants that spring up are not the same grain that was planted, but they are exactly the same kind – they are wheat, not oats or some other grain.

The Biblical revelation makes plain the fact that, in the resurrection, we shall look exactly as we do in this life. The resurrected body will be identical in every way. For example, Christ said to the hypocritical Pharisees: “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out” (Luke 13:28). Those there will be recognized.

There is the old saying, “You can’t take it with you when you die.”  You may drive yourself relentlessly to pile up a financial fortune. But you’ll leave it all behind, when you die.

There is, however, something far more valuable in life – and you can take it with you, when you die. And that is a righteous spiritual character that God the Master Potter wants to fashion and shape and develop in us.

In the resurrection, you not only will look just like you do in this life, you will have the same knowledge you had in this life – and the same character, good or bad.

Now how is all that possible?

It seems quite simple, once you understand. A human body that once lived disintegrates, decomposes, or is cremated and scattered to the four winds, the spirit preserves its form, shape, memory, character. The resurrected body will be precisely like it, though composed of something different. In Philippians 3:20-21 it speaks of Christ’s coming in power and glory, “who shall change our vile (physical) body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious (spirit composed) body.”

This spirit in each individual, of necessity, does more than merely imparting the power of intellect to the physical brain. It becomes a spiritual “mold” of the entire person – even to preserving memory, knowledge and character. Thus the resurrected person, then composed of spirit instead of matter as in his human lifetime, will be immortal. He will have life inherent – within himself. He will not need to breathe air to sustain his existence, nor eat food nor drink water, - though Biblical revelation shows that we shall be able to enjoy eating and drinking.

Now comes the question – will we be, in every detail, exactly as we are in this human life? Will the cripple or maimed be so in the resurrection?

Biblical revelation presents the resurrected ones as having undergone a New Birth – even a New Creation! In this new birth, the repentant and believing human, as an analogy, compares to the ovum, and the Holy Spirit of God to the life-imparting divine “sperm.” The nucleus in the human with which the Spirit of God unites is the spirit of man. “We shall, then, be born of God. When we were born of human flesh, we inherited much from our human fathers – in form, shape, appearance, as well as mental and other characteristics. Then follows automatically that in the resurrection we shall inherit much from our heavenly Father. We shall inherit much of His character –His holiness – His perfection. But shall we not inherit even some of His specific features?

In looks, it is apparent we shall be recognized – as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the prophets shall be. But it would certainly seem, since Jesus is our God-Healer, and He healed even the crippled, that imperfections caused by accidents and or poor nutrition in this life would be healed – or missing limbs would be restored, sicknesses or disease would be healed and disappear.

Those resurrected to physical and mortal life in the judgment of the Great White Throne will be composed of flesh and blood – just as before, but it will not be the same body that died – the same flesh and blood. But new flesh and blood will form with this spirit “mold.”

In either resurrection, each person will know what he knew in this life. That means that his knowledge – his memory – is recorded and preserved in this spirit. When one dies, it is recorded in Ecclesiastes, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Eccl. 12:7).

We do not say that memory is not stamped in “the gray matter” of the human brain. Indeed, since animal brains do preserve a certain amount of memory, the indication is that memory may be stamped both in the physical brain and in the spirit of man. But this much is evident: whatever is stamped in the physical brain is corruptible and subject to decay. Only the spirit of man can preserve it.

Human consciousness resides in the physical brain. The spirit of man undoubtedly imparts a far more real consciousness than experienced in animal brain, yet this consciousness resides in the brain, not in the spirit.

Proof: Medical anesthesia operates on the physical brain, not on the spirit. But when one is completely “under,” his spirit is not engaged in conscious thinking. Yet nothing has happened to the spirit – it is indestructible and as active as ever.

This explains what the Bible reveals – that “. . .  the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing” (Eccl. 9:3). Assuredly the physical brain functions no longer, after one dies. And, although the person’s total fund of knowledge is preserved – stored up, as it were – in the spirit, that spirit is not consciously thinking, apart from the brain – or until united with the brain of the resurrected person. Further, this knowledge explains something else.

In the “resurrection chapter” – the 15th chapter of I Corinthians, it is written: “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (v. 20). It speaks of the dead as “those that slept.” In I Thessalonians 4:14 the dead are spoken of as those “who sleep in Jesus.”

Because the Bible speaks of death as a sleep, some have derisively ridiculed those who believe the scriptures above about the unconscious state of the dead as being “soul-sleepers.”

But the soul doesn’t sleep – it dies! And the spirit of man is unconscious, yet this spirit never dies.  It is the one ingredient that was in the man which lives, yet this spirit is unconscious – therefore the Bible speaks of the dead as sleeping.

There is another analogy that might help illustrate how the spirit of man preserves man’s form, shape, knowledge, character, personality – actually the whole person, intact until the resurrection.

That is the tape now used in recording of both sound and picture, in radio, television, or home-recording sets. In sound recording, a person’s voice in speech or singing, or the voices of chorus and/or orchestra, band, or instrument – whatever sound – is electrically recorded. Like the spirit, your naked eye can’t see anything recorded on the tape, yet it’s there. This sound is “resurrected,” or reproduced, when played on a tape machine. Until then, however, it makes no sound – it is “unconscious” so to speak. But when played on the tape machine, the whole sound “comes to life” precisely as it sounded when recorded through the microphone.

In the case of television tape, both video (picture) and audio (sound) are recorded. And, in the form of a picture, it comes back to life when put on the air, even in full color. We think of all this as something ordinary and simple today – we have come to “take it for granted,” as part of everyday life.

Then should it seem too difficult for the Creator, miracle-working God, to preserve our very person, and all that we are, by means of this spirit of man?

This, then, is the Biblical revelation. Perhaps a comparatively small minority of the earth’s human population believes the Biblical revelation.  Adam and Eve didn’t. Most of their descendants have not. We can only hope that the reader does – and state, further, that the time is soon coming when everybody will!

Let us say here that what is presented here is merely an overview. There may be many detailed aspects of this subject of the spirit of man that we do not as yet know. There are definitely some aspects of the subject not given to us in Biblical revelation.

Remember what is revealed in Deuteronomy 29:29: “The secret things belong unto the Eternal our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever.” To try to reason out details of this subject not revealed could be intruding where man has no right.  We do not wish to intrude on the privacy of our God. This subject, it is realized, could arouse endless questions, probably unimportant or useless.

It is important to know that it is definitely revealed that there is the promise of life after death – and that this life comes through the resurrection – not through the pagan myth of the immortality of the soul. It is important to know what man is, and why he is.

Now, with this revealed knowledge in mind, what, finally, is man?

Man is a creation of the living God. Formed, for this life, of material substance from the dust of the ground, man nevertheless was made in the image, likeness – form and shape of the Almighty God. He was made to need, and to have and enjoy if he will, a very special relationship with his Maker. He was given the wonderful power of mind, to make possible this relationship with his Maker. But the man and woman God created were not created complete – nor have their descendants been born complete. They were the significant part of the physical creation, that was the material with which their Maker might begin His spiritual creation.

Still, even as composed of physical matter, Adam was not complete. One very vital ingredient was missing – though God provided it for the taking, and offered it to Adam and Eve. That is the Holy Spirit. (Send for our FREE DVD “Diversity” for a full explanation of this subject).

The “tree of life” in the Garden of Eden was the symbol of God’s Holy Spirit, which might be called the “seed” or divine spiritual “sperm” imparting, or leading to, eternal life.

It has been explained in this article in what manner Adam’s creation was incomplete. The spirit of man imparts the power of intellect to the physical brain, but at the same time it limits the human mind to material knowledge.

The very presence of this spirit in man gives him a spiritual, mortal, and ethical nature – with spiritual, moral and ethical problems, but with understanding limited to the physical and material. Man was made to have a special relationship with his Maker, yet by his transgressions, and lack of the Spirit of God, he is cut off from his Maker.

Yet, even though our first parents rejected God’s knowledge and His way, our Maker has left the door open. He has bequeathed to us His revealed knowledge in the Bible.

When Adam and Eve disbelieved Him and disobeyed Him – made the wrong choice – God drove them out of the Garden of Eden, “lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever” (Gen. 3:22). So Adam was cut off from God. And, since then, “all have sinned” (except Jesus Christ), and cut themselves off from contact with God (Isa. 59:2).

But the Biblical revelation shows us that on repentance, and faith, through Jesus Christ, whose death paid our penalty in our stead, we may be reconciled to God and receive His Holy Spirit – God’s Spirit, added to our spirit.  So that His “Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Rom 8:16). We then become Christ’s (Rom. 8:9).

Now, “if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you” (Rom. 8:11).  And when we are instantaneously changed, if living at the time of Christ’s coming (I Cor. 15:51-54) or, resurrected to eternal life if we have died previous to that time, we shall enter the very Kingdom of God, composed of spirit. We shall then be higher than angels – we shall judge angels (I Cor. 6:2-3).

What is man? He is a human who has gone the wrong way, but who has the potential of turning around, repenting, believing, and becoming a son of God with eternal life in peace, happiness, joy, abundant well-being – glory, for ever and ever!

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