The Secrets of Your “Mind”? – Is the Human Mind Merely a Result of Physical Processes?
By Abdu Murray
A recent television program promised to unlock the “The Secrets of Your Mind” by delving into the structural, chemical,and electrical makeup of the human brain. In focusing purely on the physical, the program assumed that our mind is equivalent to our brain. The program took the position that we act in conformity with chemical and electrical reactions that take place in certain structures of our brains. Our emotional states, our impulses, and even our motivations are all bound by the physical. Although the program’s producers took this position, they never explored the profound theological and moral implications of such conclusions. Which is interesting because that particular program focused on whether certain people who had been convicted of serial murder and other violent behavior are physically “destined” to commit such crimes.
Theologically, the implications are huge. If our minds are nothing more than the result of mechanical processes and chemical reactions in our brains, then Christianity—and every religion that posits and immortal soul—are false. The Bible clearly teaches that we are not just physical beings and that our souls survives the deaths of our bodies (Matt. 10:28, 1 Cor. 15, Phi. 1:21-24). When Jesus returns, the souls of those who died believing in him will be joined with their bodies to be with Him forever, while those who died having rejected him will be resurrected to eternal damnation. Put simply, if our personalities and even our “personhood” are dependent on the survival of our brains, then Christianity’s teaching about the afterlife is just wrong.
But are our thoughts, feelings, actions, and motivations just the result of physical processes? Or does the human mind transcend the physical? The evidence points to transcendence. Research on Near Death Experiences (or NDEs) has uncovered remarkable evidence that human consciousness survives brain death. In their book Beyond Death: Exploring the Evidence for Immortality(Wipf & Stock, 2003), Dr. Gary Habermas and Dr. J.P. Moreland devote three chapters to evidence of people whose brains had died, but were able to recall remarkable details about conversations, events, and surroundings during death that they could not possibly otherwise know. If the mind survives brain death, it logically follows that the mind is not equivalent to the brain or at all dependent upon it…
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