Let’s face this one basic fact: The hazardous condition of this world is a direct product of the human mind. It’s bickering governments, its sick societies, its pollution, and its wars have all come out of the human mind.
Frightening, isn’t it, when we consider that the same dynamite used in quarrying stones to build hospitals for the preservation of lives is used to blow human bodies to bits on the battle field! Both uses are governed by the same human mind. And today, the mind of man has crated weapons which are able to annihilate human life from the face of the earth.
At the close of World War II, just following the surrender of the Japanese on board the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay, General Douglas MacArthur put his finger on the leading problem of the human race – and gave the only possible solution:
“Men since the beginning of time,” he said, “have sought peace. Various methods through the ages have been attempted. Military alliances, balances of power, leagues of nations, all in turn failed, leaving the only path to be by way of the crucible of war. The utter destructiveness of war now blots out this alternative. We have had our last chance. If we will not devise some greater and more equitable system, Armageddon will be at the door.”
How can humanity devise a better system? Have not all possible ways been tried and found wanting?
MacArthur gave the answer, man’s only hope: “The problem basically involves the improvement of human character.” Human nature, the cause of our problems, needs to be changed?
Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in his inaugural address, utters these fateful words to the world enamored of science: “Science seems ready to confer upon us, as its final gift, the power to erase human life from this planet.”
Is it possible that science, which has given us the ability to destroy ourselves, can also show us how to change the human mind? Will science yet prove to be the material savior of the human race?
Centuries of philosophical thinking and religious dogma have failed to change human nature. It has remained the same awful nightmare for thousands of years. Is it possible that now, in this crisis hour, there might be through science a solution for the nature of man?
Listen to scientist Judith Groch’s penetrating analysis of the present world situation in her book “You and Your Brain,” for which she received the Thomas Alva Edison Award in the field of science. “Power so vast that it can swiftly devastate an entire planet obviously can no longer by managed by old-fashioned quantities of wisdom and restraint or by a morality which operates sometimes, and sometimes not. In a high-speed era where a second chance may not be offered and where we cannot afford fools in high places, it is risky to hope that the growth of wisdom, understanding, and cooperation are an inevitable genetic consequence and that it is nature’s intention to rescue us from our predicament.
“It is up to man to help himself,” she says. “Trusting less to chance and depending more on a growing understanding of the brain as a biological organ, man may eventually learn to use his brain more intelligently and therefore more profitable” (p. 209). The study of human nature, Groch suggests, is man’s only hope of survival.
How is man learning to use his brain to solve his problems? Nigel Calder probes this same dilemma in his BBC publication “The Mind of Man.” Our dilemma, he says, “requires the best possible understanding of human nature.”
But how far has science progressed in this fascinating field? What are the scientific hopes for the future? In recent years, through experiments in biological technology, modern science has been learning much faster than society realizes – to play God with human nature!
Only a few millimeters behind the human face is an electrochemical data processing machine millions of times more complex than the mightiest computers—the human brain.
The gray matter each human being carries in his head is the most intricate and complex of all the works of nature. Neurologists estimate that the brain, which weighs about three pounds, contains billions of nerve cells by which it keeps the body functioning, coordinates all its outposts, and gives us the ability to think.
Here are generated the thoughts, feelings, dreams and creative actions which are the essence of human life. It is in the scientific study of this vital organ, through which human nature functions, that scientist believe man’s hope of saving himself from the ultimate catastrophe lies.
Scientists are experimenting with the insertion into the brain of minute electrodes which can control both actions and emotions. The hostility of violent psychotics can be made to dissipate instantly, and even basic drives can be regulated. But what of the possibility of using electrical brain stimulation of a wider scale to regulate the warlike nature of man?
Jose Delgado, medical scientist at Yale University, has made extensive studies on the effect of electrodes in the brains of animals and humans and sees possibilities for the wider use of this technique. As the chief prophet of a better world built with brain electrodes, he sees this as an invaluable tool for helping the mentally sick and the criminally minded.
But, comments Nigel Calder, “Delgado’s hopes are other people’s fears. For them, Big Brother appears with a new technology for political control.”
However awesome the development of radio-controlled minds may be, its application on a wide scale will not be possible until scientists have learned how to insert electrodes in masses of humans. The enormous cost and the mammoth task of training sufficient surgeons to carry out such a project are additional obstacles. While a malevolent neurosurgeon could become a Dr. Frankenstein, it is doubtful he could ever control enough people to be Big Brother.
But scientists are developing other more workable means of controlling human nature.
The increasing technological complexity of modern life is producing a mounting crop of neurosis, anxiety, dissatisfaction and disillusionment. In the last 40 years, scientists have created a steady stream of drugs capable of affecting these moods.
A technological forecast by 40 international medical experts predicts most of us will be using synthetic mood modifiers, pacifiers and general comforters. Drugs to blunt curiosity and even initiative will be available. Look at the increase of drugs capable of affecting the mind today!
Barbiturates, tranquilizers and amphetamines have been with us for some time. They act in a general way – putting the brain to sleep, calming the minds of the agitated or helping ward off the black despair of mental patients-- but they do not act as true mood pills, controlling specific areas of the brain which affect limited aspects of behavior.
Now medical science is developing far more specific drugs which can deal with the problem emotions of human beings – anger, aggression, hatred or sex-obsession. Some scientists have even suggested that drugs could be used to curb violent tendencies in the population as a whole. “It is not inconceivable that specific antihostility agents can be placed in the water supply to make a peaceful population, “says Dr. K. E. Moyer.
As the drug spectrum widens, what assurance do we have that drugs will be used to control human behavior only for the common good? Dr. Samuel Eidusion, author of “The Human Brain,” cautions that some drugs could cause society as a whole to lack the ability or motivation to question social thought and standards of behavior.
What might transpire if mood pills are used on a wide scale is potentially frightening. But the field of genetic engineering is even more awesome in its long-range potential than mood pills.
While some regard major strides in the area of genetics as a long way off into the future, others assert that biological predictions are always too conservative. They believe that man must prepare himself for a revolution which will soon affect some of his most cherished institutions, including religion, marriage and the family.
In 1969 a team of scientists at Harvard University Medical School isolated the basic chemical unit of heredity, the gene. While many hailed this as a major breakthrough, some expressed grave fears for the future.
Commented London’s Daily Telegraph: “Control of human behavior by manipulation of the genes has long been a nightmare of some social thinkers, who have foreseen the specter of a rigidly controlled population, programmed from birth to be docile and to refrain instinctively from any individualistic enterprise.”
Most of the fears which scientists express concern the misuse of their discoveries by dictators or political or religious madmen. They reason that as long as we keep our balance and evaluate new techniques carefully, we shall very likely avoid nightmares such as those science fiction writers have pictured.
Most laymen say, “You can’t change human nature.” But many scientists are convinced that human nature can be altered because they believe it to be merely a physical machine.
Is human nature merely the product of a physical brain? Can the mind, in fact, be scientifically altered so that man’s nature would be improved? The answer is that man’s inherent nature can be changed! But, not in the way science dreams of.
The most up-to-date scientific research reveals that the human brain of itself cannot account for human mind. The abilities of our minds are out of all proportion to the capacity of the physical brain. Man can theorize, imagine, plan and design because his mind is not limited to the instinct of animal brain.
Some postulate that there is a nonphysical component which is added to the brain to produce this awesome mind power which so transcends the capabilities of animal brain. Among them is Sir John Eccles, one of the world’s most experienced brain explorers. With a worldwide reputation as a Nobel Prize winner and former president of Australia’s Academy of Science, his opinion deserves consideration. “I believe,” he stated, “that there is a fundamental mystery in my personal existence, transcending the biological account of the development of my body and my brain.”
Biblical philosophers had an understanding of what man’s mind actually is, and they wrote about it in the Bible. The philosopher Job wrote, ‘But there is a spirit in man” (Job 32:8). Notice that he didn’t say that man is a spirit. He merely states that within a human being there is a nonphysical component, which he terms spirit.
Another biblical philosopher and scholar, Paul of Tarsus, reveals that it is the “spirit” component that enables man to understand, to know and to have human self-consciousness (I Cor. 2:11).
Today, scientists classify human beings as homo sapiens – “wise men,” or “man of knowing.” More than anything else it is man’s ability to have self-consciousness that differentiates him from the world of animals. This spirit added to the human brain imparts the ability to reason and to produce thoughts. It gives intellect.
This “spirit” is not conscious of itself, for science has shown us that man’s feelings and emotions originate in the physical brain. It functions wholly through the brain, multiplying thousands of times the powers of the material brain so that humans are infinitely superior to animals with the same basic brain size.
However, it is possible for scientists, in a temporary way through electrodes and drugs, and perhaps more permanently through genetic engineering, to alter human behavior. But scientists are not actually changing inherent human nature. They are only controlling man’s reactions through the brain.
Even if genetic engineering could induce permanent changes to the brain, we must ask ourselves whether these would be good. Should a person be totally incapable of expressing emotions such as hate? Should he not hate injustice, inequity, and other evils? Would there not be a time when jealousy, rightly directed, could protect and preserve a family?
Who is going to determine which behavior patterns should be eliminated from man’s brain? Who is going to decide who should be allowed to play God with human nature? And what of all the warnings from scientists who are fearful of the permanent damage which might result from genetic engineering?
Science seeks to alter the physical brain so as to regulate human nature. But there is a better way. Man’s problems are basically spiritual. Science seeks to apply a physical solution, but you can’t solve spiritual problems in a physical manner!
The Bible shows how man can be changed in a way which does not restrict his ability to experience and express right emotions. This change will eventually cause men to direct the emotions the human brain is capable of in a way that is beneficial and peaceful!
One thing for sure: The world wants desperately to change! Peace conferences are an attempt to get nations to change. Governments try to change conditions within their nations – to bring people out of poverty into prosperity, and to eradicate social injustices and remove inequality.
At the individual level, man wants to change. Self-improvement courses by the score are offered to change the timid into fire-breathing, self-confident swashbucklers capable of facing any person or problem of life. People want to change their inferiorities and inadequacies.
People want to become confident, uninhibited, and happy. The truth is that few are happy with what they have, where they are, or even what they are.
It’s possible to change human nature from within – by choice – without impairing any of the capabilities of their marvelous brain God has endowed us with. The Bible is such an authority on human nature that it even predicts the future of man’s nature!
Here is how the change in human nature, individual and collective, will finally be effected: “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh: that they may walk in my statues, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God” (Ez. 11:19-20).
Science with all its good intentions cannot effect a lasting fool-proof, beneficial change in human nature. The change has to be of the spirit, and such is outside the realm and capacity of science.
This change can happen to humans now. It will happen to the whole earth when the Messiah returns. What is the result of such a change? In Biblical parlance it’s termed the “fruit of the spirit.” The apostle Paul wrote about it. He said that this is what can result: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Gal. 5:22-23).
Isn’t that, after all, what the whole world is seeking? Instead of science playing god with human nature, let’s let God be God, and let him change human nature!
If you would like to learn more about the nature of man, his incredible human potential, and how God can change man’s nature, enroll today in our FREE Bible study Course.