There are several accounts in scripture which indicate that demons have possessed human bodies in biblical times. Perhaps these accounts can lend some further insight into the nature of the spirit/brain interface. Probably the least understood and rarely discussed demon possessions mentioned are those in the brief Old Testament reference in the pre-Flood account in Genesis:
2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Genesis 6)
The sons of God are angels. From this scripture, it is by no means clear whether these angels were provided with new large (albeit human) bodies or whether they possessed existing fleshly bodies. What is clear, however, is that these bodies were able to successfully procreate with human females, which means they were completely human. So these angels were able to exist successfully in human bodies which had human brains and have human offspring with human spirits. Again further proof that the spirits of angels are equivalent to those of mankind. Furthermore it is clear that these angels were in fact demons since they were not on the earth for God’s purposes but for their own fleshly gratification. This is clear evidence, if needed, that demons and angels are all sons of God who have equivalent spirits to those of mankind.
We are much more familiar with the accounts of demon possession in the New Testament and the tales of Christ and the Apostles exorcising them from their human victims:
15 So he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she got up and began ministering to him.
16 But after it became evening, people brought him many demon-possessed persons; and he expelled the spirits with a word, and he cured all who were faring badly; (Matthew 8)
There is an interesting differentiation between Christ’s healing of the sick compared with the expulsion of possessing spirits. As described previously, the power of Holy Spirit for healing purposes was via the physical touching of hands. Demons, however, could be exorcised by Christ’s word.
It also appears that different evil spirits brought specific sicknesses of spirit or particular spiritual ‘talents’ with their possession as if they were visiting their own spiritual sickness onto the possessed one. There are several examples in scripture of this specialisation:
32 Now when they were leaving, look! people brought him a dumb man possessed of a demon;
33 and after the demon had been expelled the dumb man spoke. Well, the crowds felt amazement and said: “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” (Matthew 9)
22 Then they brought him a demon-possessed man, blind and dumb; and he cured him, so that the dumb man spoke and saw. (Matthew 12)
16 And it happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a certain servant girl with a spirit, a demon of divination, met us. She used to furnish her masters with much gain by practicing the art of prediction.
17 This [girl] kept following Paul and us and crying out with the words: “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who are publishing to YOU the way of salvation.”
18 This she kept doing for many days. Finally Paul got tired of it and turned and said to the spirit: “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. (Acts 16)
Let us now consider the unusual case of Legion and their infamous multiple possession of one man:
2 And immediately after he got out of the boat a man under the power of an unclean spirit met him from among the memorial tombs.
3 He had his haunt among the tombs; and up to that time absolutely nobody was able to bind him fast even with a chain,
4 because he had oftentimes been bound with fetters and chains, but the chains were snapped apart by him and the fetters were actually smashed; and nobody had the strength to subdue him.
5 And continually, night and day, he was crying out in the tombs and in the mountains and slashing himself with stones.
6 But on catching sight of Jesus from a distance he ran and did obeisance to him,
7 and, when he had cried out with a loud voice, he said: “What have I to do with you, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I put you under oath by God not to torment me.”
8 For he had been telling it: “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit.”
9 But he began to ask him: “What is your name?” And he said to him: “My name is Legion, because there are many of us.”
10 And he entreated him many times not to send the spirits out of the country.
11 Now a great herd of swine was there at the mountain feeding.
12 So they entreated him, saying: “Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.”
13 And he permitted them. With that the unclean spirits came out and entered into the swine; and the herd rushed over the precipice into the sea, about two thousand of them, and they drowned one after another in the sea.
14 But the herders of them fled and reported it in the city and in the countryside; and people came to see what it was that had happened.
15 So they came to Jesus, and they beheld the demon-possessed [man] sitting clothed and in his sound mind, this [man] that had had the legion; and they grew fearful.
16 Also, those who had seen it related to them how this had happened to the demon-possessed [man] and about the swine. (Mark 5)
There is much that can be learned from this strange account. Firstly it appears that only one of the unclean spirits was acting as spokesman for the rest. As an absolute minimum this spiritual spokesman had control over the parts of the brain that handled the communication functions of the mouth and ears. It is by no means obvious whether the other spirits were dormant and awaiting their turn at the helm or whether they were all conscious and vying for control at the same time. This latter could no doubt explain the victim’s wild behaviour prior to Christ’s intervention. This can be likened to running a multi-user OS on a computer. It does not change the physical properties of the brain or body but does enable more than one mind/spirit to make use of the computing power available albeit by contending for the available resources. There is the possibility of multi-processing where there is the constant contention for resources versus time-sharing where each user/spirit gets a time-slice in which to carry out its own functions or perhaps each spirit may have had its own span of control of a (necessarily small) portion of brain/body function?
It is interesting to compare this account with today’s accounts of Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). Again as a complete novice in the field I have now done a little reading around the subject. Whilst the scriptural example was clearly a case of multiple spirits inhabiting the human body, since they were dispersed into a herd of pigs, my own view on today’s MPD symptoms is that the majority of cases represent a single sick human spirit. It appears through case history that the bulk of such sickness may have been caused by abuse to the individual during childhood. The sick spirit invents a self-protection mechanism to protect itself from the pain of the abuse by creating a new personality, or alter ego, that is capable of mentally dealing with the trauma associated with the abuse. Many such personalities can exist within the one spirit each with its own memories and, in some cases, with knowledge of the other ‘alters’. This is not such a strange notion since any one normal individual fulfils many different roles during the course of a day, e.g. a hard-nosed business man during the working day and a loving father and husband during the evening. This mix of roles is considered to be perfectly normal, the difference from MPD being that the spirit is whole with the same memories shared between the different roles without the need to hide any of its experiences.
Whilst some commentators would be prepared to believe that some cases may represent some form of spiritual possession, my scriptural training would suggest that this has not been the case since the first century AD. God would not allow demon possession, except in circumstances where exorcism through the power of Holy Spirit, were also enabled. The current understandings of the Lords’ Witnesses would suggest the latter is not the case in the modern age.
Next we must consider what actually happens to the host spirit upon demonic possession. The account of the ultimate example of demonic possession, the satanic possession of Judas Iscariot, provides us with the best clue:
3 Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. (Luke 22)
21 But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. (Luke 22)
3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.
5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. (Matthew 27)
In this account it would appear that Satan possessed the body of Judas Iscariot from the point in time just prior to the last supper until his death by suicide. Since we are not told that Satan exited Judas’ body prior to death it is reasonable for us to believe that it was in fact Satan’s spirit that actually committed suicide in Judas’ body. If that is the case then it seems likely that the host human spirit of Judas was transferred to a temporary angelic body upon possession where, I expect, he resides to this day until his prospective resurrection. So, on this basis, it would seem that a dispossessed human host spirit is transferred to a temporary angelic body for the duration of the demonic possession of its human body and is transferred back into the latter upon the exit of the demonic spirit(s). All these transfers would presumably need to take place via the matrix described at http://jewishlordswitness.com/id6.html. This matrix must clearly have broadband capacity!
In comparing demonic possession with the angelic possessions considered earlier, it is less clear that there is complete compatibility between the possessing spirit and the possessed human brain in these cases. This could explain why the behaviour of at least some of the possessing demons described in the New testament is somewhat other than normal. It may be that God and his holy hosts are less prone to fully assist the activities of the demons than they are for their heavenly brethren who possess humans in keeping with God's purposes. Therefore it is possible that no re-configuring program precedes the downloaded spirit. Indeed how would a brain be configured with multiple logical partitions to accommodate Legion? I think we must assume that the demons have to fend for themselves upon human possession and need to make the best of a poor fit. It is a bit like demons having to make do with an 'off the peg' suit whereas the heavenly angels get a bespoke tailoring fit.
Those readers, who are especially intrigued by the topic of demonic possession, may be interested in my later paper which looks at the subject from a slightly different perspective: Demonic Possession.
How Does The Holy Spirit Co-exist with The Host Spirits of Men and Angels?
Not all of the non-Adamic angelically possessed bodies have performed superhuman feats. Michael in Jesus clearly did, but Gabriel in John the Baptist did not. Is this latter because Gabriel could not or did not? But then of course we discover that mere Adamic men can be given the power of the spirit; the apostles after Jesus’ death were such:
13 Simon himself also became a believer, and, after being baptized, he was in constant attendance upon Philip; and he was amazed at beholding signs and great powerful works taking place……
17 Then they went laying their hands upon them, and they began to receive Holy Spirit.
18 Now when Simon saw that through the laying on of the hands of the apostles the spirit was given, he offered them money,
19 saying: “Give me also this authority, that anyone upon whom I lay my hands may receive Holy Spirit.” (Acts 8)
So the apostles were capable of performing signs and great powerful works through the power of the Holy Spirit. There is no reason to believe that the mechanism by which they gained these powers was any different to that of the angels or Jesus Christ. Christ himself gave the Holy Spirit to his disciples in the same way that his father had given it to him:
21 Jesus, therefore, said to them again: “May YOU have peace. Just as the Father has sent me forth, I also am sending YOU.”
22 And after he said this he blew upon them and said to them: “Receive Holy Spirit (John 20)
As far as we are aware the apostles were mere mortal men with Adamic bodies; they were not non-Adamic, so they were just like you and I. So through the ability to carry out miracles by both angels and men via the Holy Spirit we see even more that the spirits of men and angels are equivalent. Somehow the Holy Spirit is presumably able to access the physical brain and body via the matrix to impart its power into the spiritual heart interface of the man or angelically possessed human. The power of the Holy Spirit then somehow ‘flows’ from the physical human body into the item or person being miraculously altered in some way.
Let us look to scripture to provide us with further insight into this process. Firstly how is the Holy Spirit provided to prospective miracle workers? These scriptures give several different methods:
2 and suddenly there occurred from heaven a noise just like that of a rushing stiff breeze, and it filled the whole house in which they were sitting.
3 And tongues as if of fire became visible to them and were distributed about, and one sat upon each one of them,
4 and they all became filled with Holy Spirit and started to speak with different tongues, just as the spirit was granting them to make utterance. (Acts 2)
21 Jesus, therefore, said to them again: “May YOU have peace. Just as the Father has sent me forth, I also am sending YOU.” 22 And after he said this he blew upon them and said to them: “Receive holy spirit. (John 20)
17 So An·a·ni'as went off and entered into the house, and he laid his hands upon him and said: “Saul, brother, the Lord, the Jesus that appeared to you on the road over which you were coming, has sent me forth, in order that you may recover sight and be filled with holy spirit.” (Acts 9)
6 And when Paul laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. (Acts 19)
So there appear to be three distinct mechanisms by which miracle workers may be imbued with the necessary Holy Spirit: (1) Its appearance directly from heaven and visibly settling onto the recipients; (2) Its being breathed by a holy one onto the recipient (perhaps in like manner to God’s breathing life into Adam); and (3) by humans through the physical laying on of hands. Also from the above scriptures, it seems that the miracle worker’s very soul becomes ‘filled’ with Holy Spirit. The following scriptures throw further light on what this might actually mean:
16 What! Do YOU not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body? For, “The two,” says he, “will be one flesh.”
17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.
18 Flee from fornication. Every other sin that a man may commit is outside his body, but he that practices fornication is sinning against his own body.
19 What! Do YOU not know that the body of YOU people is [the] temple of the holy spirit within YOU, which YOU have from God? Also, YOU do not belong to yourselves, (1 Corinthians 6)
8 but YOU will receive power when the holy spirit arrives upon YOU, and YOU will be witnesses of me both in Jerusalem and in all Ju·de'a and Sa·mar'i·a and to the most distant part of the earth.” (Acts 1)
We have talked elsewhere of the Holy Spirit having access to a man’s spiritual heart via the heavenly matrix. As far as discussions in previous papers went, this was solely for the purpose of a two-way communication with that man’s spirit. It appears from the above scripture that the miracle workers under consideration in this paper have a much closer tie into the Holy Spirit. What we appear to have here is a partial and willing possession by Holy Spirit of that man’s very soul. Presumably the Holy Spirit is somehow able to download its presence and power across the matrix to the recipient human soul. The concept of one flesh is something that mankind can understand; it describes a relationship in which there are two individual beings which are drawn intimately close together to form a bond which is greater than the sum of the two parts, whilst each part still retains its own individuality. It would seem that the Holy Spirit forms such a relationship with the spirits of faithful mankind. However I find it hard to accept that Holy Spirit itself fills the human soul; rather its power does so. The nature of that power however would no doubt create an intimate bond with its recipient.
Let us now consider how the Holy Spirit can operate within a man’s soul. We established above that Holy Spirit was transferred from one human recipient to the next by the laying on of hands. It is worthy of note that scripture symbolises God’s provision of Holy Spirit to be also from his hands:
20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. (Luke 11)
29 And now, Jehovah, give attention to their threats, and grant your slaves to keep speaking your word with all boldness,
30 while you stretch out your hand for healing and while signs and portents occur through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” (Acts 4)
11 Well, then, look! Jehovah’s hand is upon you, and you will be blind, not seeing the sunlight for a period of time.” Instantly a thick mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went around seeking men to lead him by the hand. (Acts 13)
I practise tai chi and am therefore aware of the sensations surrounding chi energy. I have myself experienced the warming sensation one gets in the palms of the hands whilst practising and, whilst I would not necessarily subscribe to some of the wilder claims of today’s so called healers, there is no doubt in my mind that this could well be the mechanism, using the body’s meridians as channels, through which Holy Spirit may have been able to exercise its power in the first century apostles. Indeed perhaps the power is in the human’s own body but needing to be fully energised by Holy Spirit. Actually this latter notion appeals to me greatly since it demonstrates that the human body was specifically designed to be inhabited by the Holy Spirit’s power. A further thought is that deep breathing is an important factor in tai chi; a good breathing technique helps to stimulate the chi energy in one’s body. In this context it strikes me as more than a little interesting that the definition of the word soul is ‘nephesh’ in Old Testament Hebrew and ‘psuche’ in New Testament Greek; both words are literally translated into the English word ‘breather’. Clearly the concept of breathing is literally of vital importance to our God.
The potential in all this was made very clear to me in one chi kung class that I attended when I was asked to pass my hands over a lady’s body. (Before the reader jumps to the obvious schoolboy conclusions I should like to point out that she was seriously middle-aged, unattractive, fully clothed and my hands hovered at least an inch above her personage!). All was well until I passed my right hand over her upper left arm. Through my hand I sensed a disruption in her chi energy field. Given that this was my first attempt at such an exercise and was performed by me with little knowledge of what I was really doing, it turned out that I had correctly discovered that this lady had broken her upper arm more than ten years previously and it had not knitted back well. I would not want to make too much of this but it did indicate to me the possibilities. With Holy Spirit it would appear that such a mechanism as chi energy can provide the power to heal or damage and not just monitor the state of the recipient as it seems that mere mortals can achieve even today.
On a very personal note I feel that the Holy Spirit has been in communion with me since an infant. The first time I had the sensation of its power within me was when a girl in my class at first school (I seem to remember her name was Ruth) was showing me some work she had prepared. I did not know what it was but I felt a physically cooling sensation coursing through my body and a sense of well-being mentally. Despite the fact that I shivered and got goose bumps all over my body I found it a very pleasant and comforting sensation. This has happened to me on numerous occasions subsequently when I have had a sense of well-being when sharing something with another individual. I believe that the physical sensation is similar to the feeling that many people express as ‘someone just walked over my grave’ but it is a rather more gentle purely internal sensation coming in waves over a period of time not in a single physical shivering event. I used to put it down to a purely physical response to the enjoyment of sharing something that was important to another human being rather than myself. I suppose one might describe it in a small way as a selfless feeling of love for, or a real contact with, another human being. Perhaps this was not too far from the reality but, since I have been baptised as a Lords’ Witness, I now know that feeling is the power of the Holy Spirit working within me, suffusing my whole being. I now get that shivering sensation on a very frequent basis when some spiritual emotion enters my consciousness and usually no longer when I am with another human being.
The Compatibility of the Associated Angelic Brain
In a previous section we identified how the nascent human spirit tailored its brain to its own ‘program’. We now need to consider the implications of this for mankind’s death and eventual resurrection. As mentioned in the previous section mankind is provided with an associated angel when he is born again. Upon being born again it would now be essential that an ‘image’ of the spirit-configured human brain is involuntarily uploaded to the associated angelic brain. This would presumably occur via the matrix and would need to ensure full compatibility between the two brains so that the future occupation by the human spirit in the angelic brain would be a perfect ‘fit’. This process would be a key component of being born again and it would be this that marks out that associated angel as the human spirit’s very own individual angel.
At the point of the human’s death his spirit would then involuntarily be uploaded via the matrix to his associated angel that would already be tailored and ready for its new owner. Upon any resurrection presumably the reverse process would be effected. It should be noted that this process assumes fully formed angelic and human resurrected brains that enable the ‘configuring’ process to occur rapidly in the same way as God’s original ‘blowing in Adam’s nostrils’, rather than the more convoluted foetal build. A swift process for possession would certainly be necessary to enable the possessing spirit to immediately interface fully with the recipient brain. A spirit only has to grow up once I would expect; this same being true of the angelic sons of God when first created.
However we also need to consider the untimely death of a human prior to its spirit being born again. Since none is lost by our divine shepherd it looks likely that a ‘temporary’ angel is provided for all of mankind from birth which is stamped with the individual’s characteristics as is its human counterpart. At death the human spirit would transfer to this temporary angel as above and would be used as a vehicle for resurrection. This temporary angel would be retained until such time as its status is changed to a more ‘permanent’ associated angel upon the human spirit eventually being born again.
Angelic possession would also require a similar mechanism. The key example, of Michael’s possession of the body of Jesus, would of necessity have effected the transfer of the spirit of Immanuel into his associated angel at the point of Jesus’ baptism by John. We also need to consider the level of 'tailoring' that takes place between Michael's spirit and Immanuel's brain upon his angelic possession of Christ's body. My guess is that the spiritual 'download' comes complete with its pre-requisite set-up program which re-configures the brain swiftly and immediately prior to its occupation by the possessing angelic spirit. This would enable full and perfect control to be exercised by the angelic spirit upon the human body. Demonic possession is likely to be a rather different process and I cover that later in this paper.
A definition of the point at which death occurs is worth considering before we close on this section. At what point does the spirit evacuate from the brain? Well a probable cause would likely be the death of that brain. Whilst there is much discussion in medical circles about brain death I think that, for our purposes, a simple and straight forward definition can be found at the following web-site: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Brain-death/Pages/Introduction.aspx. I see no reason to doubt that, when the conditions defined here for the death of the brain stem are met, the spirit literally ‘gives up the ghost’ and gets transported into its new home. Under these conditions of brain stem death, the spiritual attributes previously defined could theoretically function in the upper brain areas; however, the cessation of the automatic bodily functions would equally apply to other physical causes of death that would cause blood to be denied to the brain stem. So the cause of death through heart failure, for example, would also cause loss of blood to the brain stem as well as to the upper brain functions.
The Spirits of Men and Angels
The Lords’ Witnesses have determined from their biblical understandings that when men are born again in the spirit they are provided with an associated angelic body reserved for them in heaven for the time when they will eventually take residence in that estate of God: http://www.biblecodeintro.com/intro12.html (How is One Born Again without Dying?)
This tells us that men’s spirits can reside in the body of angels and presumably can work those bodies through the interface of the equivalent of an angelic brain. If this is the case then the spirits of angels are the same as those of men and it is only through the angelic body and brain, not the spirit, that angelic superhuman powers are effected.
To confirm this equivalence of spirit, there are several accounts, in the bible, of angels possessing human form. The two angels that visited with Lot being one example:
1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;
5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.
11 And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door. (Genesis 19)
These three verses from that account tell us a number of things. Clearly the angels came in human form since they were recognised as such by the Sodomites but perhaps were perceived in some way as special or beautiful to them. So angel spirits seem to be able to function in human bodies and therefore are able to interface with human brains. However we are not told how the angels came to be in human form. Did they possess existing humans temporarily or were they made temporary bodies by God for the purpose of their visitation to Lot?
A further clue is that the angels clearly had some superhuman abilities in that they were able to strike the Sodomites with blindness. So clearly they had more abilities than your average human being. These additional abilities could only come from the spirit or the body (encompassing the brain) or the combination of the two or by drawing on the power of the Holy Spirit in some manner.
Now the Lords’ Witnesses have determined from scripture that there have been several angelic possessions of existing human beings during the course of biblical history:http://www.truebiblecode.com/understanding506.html (The 5/6 earthly identities of Michael, Gabriel and Melchizedek). These particular possessions have been made into ‘non-Adamic’, i.e. perfect, human bodies. However, what we know of these bodies would be via some quite small variations in the DNA sequencing which are unlikely to have resulted in any large scale change in physical make-up. Indeed if that had not been the case I am quite sure that Christ’s mother Mary might have noticed something physically unusual in her infant child. So let us work on the basis that perfect non-Adamic brains and the Adamic brains of imperfect men are structured and function in the same way. If this is a correct assumption then we can also assume that there is no difference between the spirit of an angel and the spirit of a fleshly man. Genesis comes to mind even more markedly than it has previously:
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Genesis 1)
In making man in ‘our image’ then it must refer at least to the spirit of man being in the image of that of the angels. Consequently verse 27 goes on further to liken the spirit of man to God’s own spirit. Christ, after his death in the form of the angelic spirit Michael, then went on to resurrection into a divine body. This provides further evidence that Adamic man, angels and God all have essentially the same spiritual makeup albeit with more knowledge and experience as they have existed longer through that sequence and likewise with more capable bodies and brains to inhabit.
So it would appear that the angelic spirit application software can run on the human brain operating software and hardware as well as its native angelic brain operating software and hardware. The equivalent statement can also be said of the human spirit application software.
It is interesting for this beginner in the field to read some of the erudite and expert opinions surrounding the causation of mental illnesses such as depression and to have found out, much to his genuine surprise that neuroscientists generally do not seem to have any really clear and substantiated views about the relationship between mind and brain. As a result many of them would deny the existence of mind separate from brain (duality). To this writer this demonstrates the wonderfully intricate and intimate integration that exists between the spirit and the brain which prevents mankind’s finest from determining the exact nature of the relationship between the two.
Before my retirement I was involved with the provision of operational computing services to commercial customers. It is worth drawing a comparison between computer problems and mental health problems. With the increasing complexity of computing systems, when we experience technical problems with these systems it is often very difficult to determine the root cause. Sometimes it is software, sometimes it is hardware and sometimes it is the communications. The most intractable problems are usually those that involve combinations of different individual problems with more than one element of the total system. So it would not be surprising to learn that problems with the spirit, brain or nervous system were also difficult to understand and diagnose. Without doubt the mind/brain combination is far more complex than any existing computing facility built by man so it is equally unsurprising that we appear not to understand its nature particularly well. If we have difficulty understanding the faults that develop in systems that we have designed ourselves what chance do we really have to understand the faults that develop in even more complex structures that we have had no hand in building?
What is clear in all this is that it is not currently possible for science to disprove my thoughts on the spirit’s relegating the brain to a relatively low level (but wonderfully intricate) processing machine. A wonderful machine the brain may be but it is not who we are but a tool that our spirits use to help us express who we are through what we physically do and say. The following web-site provides some interesting views and further links on clinical depression and related topics for the interested reader. Even a cursory reading of this material demonstrates the confusion and lack of consensus for the causation of mental illness and the consequent thinking of the mind/brain structure: http://www.mindhacks.com/blog/2005/05/is_depression_a_brai.html
Whilst physical brain damage can cause manifold forms of mental and physical illnesses, scripture also indicates that anything less than a clean heart in a spirit can cause a sickness of that spirit and its whole soul as the wise King Solomon attests:
22 A cheerful heart makes good healing, but a stricken spirit dries the bone. (Proverbs 17 GLT)
Let us be clear to start off; God has control over who will be smitten with mental problems as can be seen from His warning to His people Israel:
28 The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart: (Deuteronomy 28 KJV)
And His action against Saul:
14 And the Spirit of Jehovah departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from Jehovah terrified him. (1 Samuel 16 GLT)
The many accounts of demon possession in the New Testament would indicate that a variety of mental illnesses can result from evil spirits. There is little doubt in my mind that many so called psychosomatic illnesses, that we recognise today, are similarly caused by a sickness of the spirit rather than a physical impairment of the brain:
24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. (Matthew 4)
32 As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil.
33 And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. (Matthew 9)
22 Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. (Matthew 12)
The common mental condition of anxiety is one that is recognised by our God. Our faith in His Grace and our prayers will help to calm our spiritual hearts and minds. As far as I am personally concerned, this certainly works for me. Whenever I become troubled by the happenings in my physical life, God always comes to my rescue when I ask Him for help in bringing me back to a state of tranquility:
10 Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. (Isaiah 41 KJV)
33 I have spoken these things to you that you may have peace in Me. You have distress in the world; but be encouraged, I have overcome the world. (John 16 GLT)
6 Be anxious about nothing, but in everything by prayer and by petition with thanksgivings, let your requests be made known to God;
7 and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4 GLT)
David was also very aware of his own mental frailties that he looked to God to help him with:
8 I am faint and sore bruised: I have groaned by reason of the disquietness of my heart. (Psalms 38 ASV)
Let us consider mental illness in a little more depth in terms of its implications for the spirit. It would appear that physical damage to the brain or biochemical imbalances within it appear to cause effects in any one or all of the domains of the spirit:
* Heart – How we feel, who we really are;
* Mind – How we think;
* Conscience – How we behave;
* Memory – How well we remember and act upon our recollections.
It is clear from the above that the physical impacts on the brain can have direct implications for the human spirit. The computer analogy gets a little stretched at this juncture since I cannot think of many hardware problems that would cause an application program to adopt different behaviour other than just stop running with an abnormal error code. The human brain/spirit combination is much more resilient than this; it will continue to operate as best it can albeit producing undesirable results in many cases further increasing mankind’s distress with the current Adamic system of things.
A simple example of how a biochemical reaction in the brain can cause different behaviour from the norm in any individual is in the everyday occurrence of alcohol induced drunkenness. Most of us have experienced, at first hand, the feeling of inebriation at some time or other in our lives. My own personal (but very occasional!!) drunken state has caused me to think and behave in ways that represent a suppression of my normal inhibitions, as dictated by my conscience, but hopefully without too disastrous a set of consequences. Once the drunkenness has passed, usually via an unpleasant hangover, we return to our normal personalities. So I can readily comprehend how the First New Covenant (1NC) saints can judge us from the normal state of our (non-alcoholic) spirits. However I can also think of other examples of mental impairment which do not so easily render the spirit to be judged or to be saved intact.
I recently watched the UK television production ‘Mo’, a biopic on the now deceased British Secretary of State Mo Mowlem, whose claim to fame was the successful brokering of the famous Good Friday Agreement, which paved the way for peace in the troubled province of Northern Ireland. The programme rightly made much of Mo’s malignant frontal lobe tumour and enacted a meeting between Mo and her physician Doctor Glaser some years after she left politics and had become very ill. This meeting was confirmed by Glaser during the programme’s creation: ‘Then they get to talking about her condition, and Glaser mentions the idea that she might have had the tumour years, even decades, before it was diagnosed. Mowlam looks at him and, through the fog, suddenly understands what this means. "[So] good old Mo, larger than life Mo... it could all be because of the tumour? [But] which part's the real me?"’ This last point I find extremely difficult to contemplate. Here we had a senior member of the British government successfully operating in an extremely hostile political environment wondering, after the event, if it was the tumour that had altered her personality both before and during her time in office! Even she did not know who the real Mo Mowlem was! Which will be the real Mo Mowlem whose spirit gets resurrected, the one with or the one without the tumour? I wonder how Mo will like her real spirit upon her resurrection!
I can only trust that the 1NC Saints are so much smarter than we mere mortals to the extent that they know us better than we know ourselves. Needless to say scripture, as always, comes to the rescue and confirms to us that such judgment will certainly exceed our own poor abilities:
12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4)
Interestingly this scripture only makes specific reference to that element of the spirit represented by the heart. I think this is intended to indicate to us that the real core of our spirits are represented by our spiritual hearts and it is this which is the sole arbiter in our being judged for the next system. I suspect that it is this one element of our personalities which is the one that may remain untouched by the physical mental maladies under discussion.
One category of mental impairment, worthy of separate discussion, is represented by short and/or long term memory loss. The spiritual problem I have with this is that the memory is a fundamental part of who we are and is the main reason for our living in the current imperfect system of things. Our memory is in place to ensure that we learn from our mistakes, as well as those of others, by having to live through their often awful consequences. The parable of the rich man in Hades makes this very clear:
25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. (Luke 16)
And, unsurprisingly, it was expected by the faithful evildoer, on the cross next to Jesus, that our Lord’s spirit would retain His memory after His physical death:
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. (Luke 23)
Clearly, in the case of serious and permanent memory loss, this purpose would be entirely lost on us. At this point I can only consider how a computer system, properly designed, would deal with such a problem: remote storage and backup. I can only imagine that our memories are somehow stored remotely via the matrix even though they may be lost forever from our imperfect and mortal brains. Upon resurrection our spirits would be repaired with the backed up memories stored remotely throughout our lives. I can think of no other remedy to this problem unless our spirits are actually capable of storing all our memories independent of brain function and that memory loss is merely the inability of the physical brain to access those memories.
As is no doubt evident to the reader, I have found the explanation of our spiritual salvation in the face of all manner of mental illnesses to be a rather challenging subject. Once again we need to remain faithful that our Holy Father has made more than adequate provision in this regard for his mentally impaired human children. Amen.
The State of the Mind/Brain (Pseudo) Sciences
Having first spent a little time looking at the relatively incontrovertible scientific facts associated with brain structure and function (albeit with a little spiritual ingredient added for good measure!) I thought it best to next spend my time reviewing some of the existing wisdom relating the science of the brain to that of the mind. A very different and, to this uninitiated student, surprising picture emerges.
Most authors in this subject area seem to consider the mind as the product of the brain. This is no doubt due to their being mostly secular atheistic thinkers who take as a given that the development of the brain has been via evolution rather than an intelligent design. No wonder they cannot make sense of how the mind/brain combination really works. If they started to consider that the brain is actually a product of the mind (of God’s Mind actually) they might start to understand the flaws in their theories.
Whilst I have whole-heartedly grasped the analogy of the computer model of the brain for my dissertation of the spirit, it seems to me that cognitive scientists try too hard to liken the mind/brain combination to the software/hardware computer model. They discuss artificial intelligence but are not able to consider the far more important topic of defining a sentient and innovative being rather than a purely intelligent one. So their ‘software’ is rather more limited than mine. Also because they only talk of intelligence they are rather more rigidly attached to the computer model, the so called Turing Machine, which is defined to slavishly follow a set procedure based on a fixed starting state and a response from a further input whilst in that state. Quite a correct description for a piece of man-made computing equipment but they forget that humans are full of surprises; we do not always react to a situation as others might expect or indeed we may react to the same set of circumstances in different ways at different times. Computers, on the other hand, do not surprise except when they are programmed incorrectly with error –prone software. This latter condition could arguably mirror mental health problems perhaps?
Let us consider so called artificial intelligence a little further. A very powerful computer coupled with some clever software, capable of following the logical rules of chess and learning what works and what does not work to win a game, can beat a human chess master. So what does that prove? The machine has no intelligence. It is programmed to learn how to win by its human programmer but the chess master, even though beaten, wanted to win and was presumably upset that he lost. That is the intelligence. What was the state of mind of the computer (Deep Blue). I do not think it had one. Anyway the chess master could have pulled the plug out of Deep Blue and settled the matter for good; I do not think that the computer could be so devious. So clearly it does not have a sense of good or evil either. Two more necessities to define true intelligence I would have thought. And list goes on…
This author’s view of the spirit/brain model is purely conceptual in that the driving force behind the brain’s, and therefore the body’s, activities is the spirit. We should not forget that in my earlier understandings the spirit is also the seat of the heart as well as the mind. I would not attempt to define exactly how the science of the mind works in my understanding since I am not sure that science can be applied to the human spirit. I find this by no means an embarrassing admission to make since, from what I have seen in the field so far, there appears to be a complete void of knowledgeable science in that area. In my humble and naïve opinion, no-one else has a real clue of mind science either despite some deep philosophising and the coining of some rather long pseudo-scientific terminology. The mechanism by which the spirit drives the brain is certain to be far more complex than any computer theorist or psychologist could likely imagine.
A computer software programme says more about the programmer that wrote it than the computer upon which it is running. The programmer can be very inventive as to how he achieves any particular computing objective. The only real restrictions he faces are those introduced by the computer hardware, e.g. one cannot write a tape backup system for a computer that has no tapes attached. In the same way, whilst a man’s spirit says a lot about his Creator, it also says a lot about itself through its uniqueness and its free will. No programmer ever wrote a program that was designed to do its own thing in the computer into which it was read. Our spirits are created in the image of our creator and therefore have his characteristics. A software program is not so created; it is written to perform a specific task and that only.
This following paper reflects my criticisms perfectly: http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/philo/faculty/block/papers/msb.html. Whilst written in the mid-1990s, I have found this paper by Ned Block of New York University to be particularly informative and educational for my naïve understanding of the brain/mind sciences; hopefully the uninitiated reader will also. Bear in mind, however, that he very clearly dismisses my spiritual proposition out of hand. Once again unfortunately, in unerring and monotonous unison with the genre, the author descends to the ‘evolution and learning’ rationale between mind/brain interaction rather than the ‘creation by design’ view proposed by my own paper. I comment further on this later in this paper.
In analysing the Turing Test specifications, one could reasonably expect that a young child might fail due to his or her poor grasp of human language. Does that make the child unintelligent? Additionally the author correctly argues that the Turing Machine’s intelligence is only derived from that of the programmer that produced the software to run it. I think that again proves the point. The more I look at it, the Turing Test argument is naïve and fatally flawed and the writer of the above paper clearly agrees. Moreover he realises that there is more to the computer model than just raw intelligence in that he recognises ‘intentionality’ which is his term which roughly correlates to my thought of desire or motivation.
Interestingly he seems to be proposing that the mind thinks in symbols. This fits very well with scripture and the Bible Code, from which we know that pretty much everything is represented symbolically, such as the well known dreams of Pharaoh as interpreted by Joseph. A further example is the story in the bible surrounding Abraham’s wives which is explicitly identified as an allegory or symbolic narration in scripture:
24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. (Galatians 4)
For the interested reader the full analysis of this symbolic representation can be found at: http://www.truebiblecode.com/understanding210.html
Now that I think about it, I find myself wondering how much of this physical life is actually real compared with the spiritual life that we will all eventually inherit if we need to be spoon fed with symbols rather than the apparent physical reality. Presumably we would not be able to comprehend spiritual reality at this early stage in our spiritual development making this physical existence nothing more than a symbolic stepping stone towards that end. I think most bible scholars would agree that Scripture certainly seems to paint that picture (how’s that for a symbolic statement!). To further support this view the writer asks the reader to consider how much symbolism he uses and he hears in his everyday affairs. It is truly amazing how little of our day to day conversations contain no symbolism; it is the way we think and the way we see things in this life.
It seems to me that the so called cognitive sciences try far harder than any other field of scientific endeavour that I have come across to reject the concept of the human spirit and creation theory out of hand. Given that there is nothing on the physical earth more God-like than the human mind and brain, these pseudo scientists go to extraordinary lengths to mystify their trade with unbelievably contorted and fallacious argumentation that simply ignores the plain and simple truth. (Actually this behaviour parodies that of a mainstream church as much as anything overtly secular.) Since their's is the ‘science’ of the brain and human thought this seems to me a clear case of ‘the lady protesting too much’. It is almost as if they are panicking at the prospect that there might actually be a God. The more I have studied this topic in my naïve (but not stupid) way the more confirmed have I become in my faith. I thank you guys for your obviously unintended assistance in this! The following essay is quite definitive in explaining how the brain sciences have rejected the concept of spirit entirely out of hand and with little more than a ‘religious’ pretext in their quest for a ‘scientific’ explanation of the mind/brain organism (check out bullet 3): http://www.massline.org/Philosophy/ScottH/mindsoft.htm.
The essayist goes so far as to describe the Christian God as a ‘chimera’. In so doing he has completely rejected his own humanity without even realising it. If the writer of that paper is to be believed then he clearly thinks of himself as a robot . Well I’m NOT!!!!! Interesting that the writer denies the existence of God and in the very next sentence accepts that evil exists. What a very strange thing to do; presumably he does not want to appear to the casual reader to be an immoral atheist? Needless to say he does not bother to define what evil actually is! Oh, and by the way, just how our atheistic friends believe that the purely random process of evolution would build a conscience in the human mind on the basis of survival of the fittest is completely beyond me. I hope one of you will contact me with the explanation; it should make interesting reading!
At least the writer strenuously defends the computer hardware/software analogy of the mind/brain combination although his ‘physicalisation’ of software goes a step too far for my spiritual argumentation. He does not appear to address the concept of original human thought in his software analogy; where does he imagine this comes from in his physical model of software? In the computer model of the brain, it seems that scientists only consider the mechanics of the computer itself; they do not appear to include what goes on outside the computer. After all someone wrote the software and designed the hardware. The bigger picture needs paralleling here not just the computer science. How can the mechanics alone arrive at a concept of a computer being self-aware and asking questions and having emotions and desires and a conscience? Only a spiritual view can provide cogent answers. This point of conscience is a particularly powerful one in that a computer can only act on the basis of the software running on it and the inputs that it is given thus making the outcome totally predictable. Not so with the human mind. A computer will always follow its ‘conscience’ since that is what it is programmed to do. A human's mind may (and often does) knowingly go against his conscience and therefore not do what he is programmed to do. This is what free will is all about. We have an in-built program that we often ignore or deliberately disobey. The human mind can make a free and conscious decision to do right or wrong given any one set of circumstances at any one particular time. So whilst the mind’s relationship to the physical brain is analogous as software is to the computer hardware, it is also different in that it is able (and does frequently) make decisions that would be recognised as running outside the normal operational parameters of computer software in this respect. This surely is how ‘evil’ is defined. So how the writer can mention evil in his context in which it is not allowed to exist needs some considerable explanation (and no doubt some very long pseudo-scientific words). I apologise to the reader for my cynicism in this but I have really despaired at what I have been reading over the last few weeks in this field of so called human endeavour.
So I conclude this iconoclastic section by re-stating the main assertion of this paper that the human spirit contains more functionality compared with its analogous software and helps to demonstrate further that the brain is relegated to much more of a purely physical entity than many writers on the subject would allow. The spirit provides the consciousness; the brain merely the tool by which the spirit drives its body. Certainly there are the reflex body functions such as temperature control. These are akin to the firmware in a computer and therefore are under the automatic control of the brain since no conscious decision-making is required for these from the human spirit possessing the body. This in no way compromises the overall argumentation but helps to expand upon the similarities between the mind/brain and software/hardware analogues in a somewhat broader sense.
It is probably appropriate to start by looking at the functions of the brain at a high level to determine what capability science and pseudo-science has thus far attributed to the various elements of the brain structure. Since the writer is a complete novice in this topic area I would not attempt to disprove any of the accumulated knowledge from the past century or so but intend to examine how these functions stem from the spirit’s use of the brain over which it is able to exercise control, i.e. in the same way that a software programme exercises control over the various elements of the computer’s hardware.
Established thinking considers that Evolution was responsible for building the human brain in three stages: reptilian, mammalian and human. Since the writer clearly believes in divine creation rather than evolution these descriptions would certainly apply to how the human brain is constructed rather than how it developed. I would have to concede, however, that God may have wanted to go through the various design phases in building up the total capability of the human brain. However this latter concession would be a specific intelligent, directed and discrete engineering design process rather than the continuous development over time of a purely random process. Actually the more the writer thinks about this doesn’t the theory of evolution sound frankly daft and merely a subterfuge by those who wish to deny their creator? Their time will come God help them!
The oldest and most primitive part is the reptile brain, the brain stem: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_stem. It controls behaviour related to our survival such as sexual desire, the search for food and the aggression responses of “fight-or-flight”. It is instinctive and automatic. Territory is acquired by force and defended. Might is right. There are no emotions. This is a cold-blooded essence of reptile brains, which forms this innermost part of our brain. This may well be an area of the brain that does not need any direct higher level control from the spirit since it seems merely to manage basic body functions. Perhaps it contains its own computer firmware or operating system which contains the same elements of automatic control from one person’s brain to the next regardless of the nature of the spirit inhabiting the soul. The spirit through the conscience may only control the extent to which the brain stem function vies against the higher level moral functions delivered via the other higher level elements of the brain. Mammals added a new outer shell to the reptile brain called the limbic system: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limbic_system.
The limbic system enables:
Mammals are more consciously aware of themselves in relation to the environment and less rigidly controlled by instincts than their reptilian counterparts. This part of the brain caters for the human spirit’s desires and emotions in terms of how these get translated into our behavioural patterns under varied circumstances. This could perhaps be where the spiritual heart resides which also suggests that mammalian species, lower than mankind, have the heart component of the spirit. We will discuss animal spirits later in this paper.
The mammalian brain ‘became’ the human brain by adding the massive grey matter or neocortex (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neocortex) which covers most of the older brain and amounts to about 85 per cent of the human brain mass. This massive addition consists mostly of two hemispheres and became an effective thinking and learning machine, which could also deal with complex social emotions like morality, trust and behavioural control via the prefrontal cortex - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prefrontal_cortex. This grey matter allows us to think, speak and perceive via the cerebral cortex - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerebral_cortex. The cerebral cortex sounds like the brain part occupied by the spiritual mind. The frontal lobe provides the executive functions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frontal_lobe which also make us socially responsible and keep us from doing inappropriate things; otherwise, we would not work, respect other people and obey company policies. This sounds like the processing area required by our spiritual conscience, which appears to work in conjunction with our spiritual hearts resident in the mammalian limbic system. So our higher function human conscience works with our lower function mammalian heart. These three structures are highly interconnected and cause complex human behaviour to be manifest from the instructions provided by the spiritual heart/mind/conscience (software) to the brain (processor) into the manifold physical input/output devices which are represented by our bodily actions, emotional responses and communications with our fellow beings.
The brain is also divided into the Left and Right Hemispheres which appear to provide two differing processor platforms inside the brain. Whilst we should take some care in differentiating the functions of the two hemispheres (since a damaged cortex can switch function between the two) it generally appears that the right and left halves of the human brain (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerebral_hemispheres) are different in how they communicate with the spirit. The left hemisphere communicates by using words, has highly developed verbal abilities (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broca%27s_area), is logical and analytical and therefore, arguably, is driven directly by the spiritual mind. The right hemisphere communicates using images, is holistic, intuitive and imaginative, concerned with emotions and feelings and therefore, by the same token, could be argued to be driven directly by the spiritual heart. So it would appear that the brain is split into a dual processor configuration which caters for the two spiritual software programmes of heart and mind. The writer finds that to be an interesting coincidence if it was not actually part of God’s design in enabling the human spirit to successfully reside in the human body. Well perhaps it is no coincidence since God gives us a clue in the Old Testament Hebrew. The Hebrew word for heart is 'labe' (lamed beth) whilst the Hebrew word for mind is 'bal' (beth lamed). Both words contain only two Hebrew consonents and those two letters are reversed between the two main spiritual elements. Is this God confirming what this paper has already conjectured, that the two elements sit on opposite sides of the brain each in its own of the two hemispheres? Well, needless to say this has subsequently proven to be an over-simplification. Having carried out further research on the subject, it now appears that the mind/heart combination is somewhat spread over the two hemispheres. This view is now covered in the later paper on this site: The Right Hand of God.
Another noteworthy fact within the Old Testament Hebrew is that whilst the heart (labe) is used frequently within the Old Testament, the word for mind (bal) only appears once throughout the whole of the Old Testament in Daniel:
14 Consequently the king, as soon as he heard the word, it was very displeasing to him, and toward Daniel he set [his] mind (bal) in order to rescue him; and till the setting of the sun he kept on striving to deliver him. (Daniel 6)
So this very verse that is the only Old Testament verse to contain the Hebrew word for 'mind' is telling us that the king was emotionally effected by his displeasure (in his heart) and it was his heart that set his mind to logically plan Daniel's rescue. This graphically demonstrates the relationship between heart and mind. It is the heart that takes precedence over the mind and sets the goals for the mind to achieve through logical thought and consequent action. So perhaps the comparative frequency of the Hebrew word for 'heart' over 'mind' in the Old Testament scriptures is God's way of telling us that the heart transcends the mind. Also as we saw above the spiritual heart would appear to be on the right hand side of the brain; numerous biblical scriptures dictate that the right side of God takes precedence over the left:
19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. (Mark 16)
69 Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God. (Luke 22)
31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. (Acts 5)
Also the majority of human beings are right-handed are they not? I wonder why that would be? Could this be another example of man's being created in God's image? [As a complete aside, in the early years of my IT career as a computer programmer, one of the computer languages that I used extensively was IBM 360/370 Basic Assembler Language. Yes you got it, BAL (Old Testament Hebrew for 'mind'). Is this yet another cryptic clue from our God that our computer analogy of the brain/spirit model presented in this paper has his blessing?]
The right hemisphere (spiritual heart) links the older mammalian brain using the images, which in turn is linked to the primitive reptilian brain. Human emotional responses depend on this link and can be more powerful than any attempts at action by our cerebral self control. The two hemispheres process the same data differently - left brain processes in a linear, or sequential manner, the right brain processes data simultaneously, or in parallel. The right brain (spiritual heart) does not provide explanations to our conscious (spiritual) mind. We have to use the left brain (spiritual mind) for the interpretation of our beliefs, decisions and the provision of cogent explanations for what comes forth from our spiritual heart. I often find myself providing excellent post factum reasoning for my decisions and actions without any understanding of the real cause of them except that it felt right at the time. Clearly a case of my (spiritual) heart ruling my (spiritual) mind which I believe is God’s way. Whilst we are logical creatures, love should rule our every action.
Another factor to consider is how effective is our verbal communication with other people. This relies on the left brain (spiritual mind) to exchange knowledge and experience. Is this a reason for popular believe that words account only for 7% of communication (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Mehrabian)? It would appear that the right brain (spiritual heart) may contribute more through non-verbal communication. Given that it is the spiritual heart that appears to be the main communications device through which the heavenly host keep in accurate touch with mankind, it does not seem inconceivable that this is also the part of man’s spirit that, albeit via a relatively intangible mechanism, is more attuned to communication with our own kind than we can at first perceive.
Let us now consider controlled versus automatic behaviour which would equate to a single threaded software program and the brain's operating software. We have two process systems in the mind – controlled and automatic. Most mental processes happen automatically, without need for conscious attention or control – breathing, digesting, the heart pumping blood around the body. These are likely to equate to the firmware in our physical brains since it is a requirement of the body not of the spirit. We can liken this firmware to the standard operating software of the computer hardware component whereas it is the components of the spirit that provide the application software. The operating software enables the computer/body to maintain its necessary core physical/bodily functions whereas the application (spirit) instructs the hardware/body as to what higher level tasks it is to carry out.
Where Does the Spirit Reside in the Human Body and When and How does it Get There?
Our model of the soul does not yet explicitly locate the spirit within the human body. To the writer’s mind it seems that one’s very being is actually in the head since it is the head that contains the brain and the means of communication with the outside world and controls the rest of the body via the central nervous system. So it would seem reasonable to conclude that the spirit is actually somehow contained within the brain itself. In terms of the computer model this is reasonable since computer software, whilst originating from an external source to the computer hardware, does indeed reside within the memory of the computer hardware once operational to make it accessible to the computer’s central processing unit.
The rest of our bodies other than the head ‘merely’ enable us to move around our four dimensional world, carry out physical tasks within it and provides a means by which we can physically maintain our brains and bodies by taking on board the necessary nutrients for life. If we think of the spirit as being the driver, of the vehicle that is our human body, then we arrive at the analogy that the brain is akin to the vehicle’s cockpit or driving seat with direct access (via the central nervous system) to all the controls to steer the vehicle.
As an aside, this raises a thought in my mind that I have never really considered before; something I am sure that most of us take for granted. The exploits of the likes of Uri Geller raise the question as to whether the mind can move matter. Whilst I am not qualified to comment on Mr Geller’s work, the mind does have real power over matter. I merely have think that I want to throw a ball and I can throw that ball merely by willing my arm to do so. This is a little like Newton discovering gravity by watching a falling apple. The world’s population took falling to earth for granted little knowing that Newton’s reflecting upon it would lead to one of the greatest discoveries of mankind. Perhaps our ability to will our bodies to take physical action should similarly not be so taken for granted and we should all reflect a little further on the implications? From consideration of this ability of a man's mind's control over his body and his physical environment, it then becomes easier to comprehend the plausibility of God's spirit being capable of creating His own body and, indeed, the whole of physical creation.
To return to the main theme, a further consideration is that we can lose any number of limbs and yet retain our souls. Serious damage to any of the key organs in our trunks may cause death but today many of these may be replaced by man-made functional replicas and will keep our souls intact. A serious injury to the head, however, is unlikely to retain a viable soul. This adds further weight to the notion that the spirit is actually located in the brain.
To conclude that the spirit is in the brain could lead us to consider that the spirit is a physical entity so let us go find one in a live human subject! However I think the computer analogy has even more to teach us about the nature of the spirit. The software resident in a computer is not three dimensional of itself but nonetheless does exist in the magnetic settings of the appropriate region of the computer’s memory store. So by suggesting that the spirit is in the brain we really mean that the spirit has effected the main operational settings of the brain and will thereon dictate the detailed conscious workings of the brain. A ‘hunt for the spirit’ will therefore likely prove quite fruitless unless we are able to predict its ‘magnetic signature’ in a similar manner to antivirus software seeking out its prey. Thinking about it, one could argue that antivirus software would equate to another (detective) spirit if one were to take the computer analogy to its full conclusion! So one would set a spirit to catch a spirit. I do not think that God has given us that capability since we would be sure to abuse it.
In consideration of when the spirit of a man gets into his brain it is worth revisiting how God created Adam:
7 And Jehovah God proceeded to form the man out of dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to be a living soul. (Genesis 2)
In keeping with the above scripture, the current Lords’ Witnesses’ (LW) understanding is that God’s breath of life enters the Adamic human foetus and becomes active at twenty weeks after conception when the two sides of the brain are connected to enable a viable soul to exist: http://www.truebiblecode.com/joining.html#J13.
After 3.5 weeks the brain has been initially formed in the foetus but will continue development right through pregnancy until after birth: http://www.hon.ch/Dossier/MotherChild/postnatal/brain_dev.html
From this it is quite reasonable to accept that the LW understanding of the spirit entering the foetus at twenty weeks is correct since the brain may well be in a state of readiness to accept the nascent spirit into its early build condition. In considering the computer model further one can think of the analogy of the configuration software used to build the fully operational computing platform. The configuring software is only invoked at the operational build stage of the computer. Thereafter it becomes redundant in favour of the application software running on the fully configured operational computer. In this analogy the nascent spirit provides the configuring capability tailoring the brain’s connections according to its own innate specifications, i.e. the spirit ensures a bespoke interface to the brain of its own predilections. This activity would likely be a semi or fully sub-conscious process on the part of the spirit prior to its being mature enough to start taking on the full spectrum of human conscious activity. Typically the average human being cannot consciously recall memories much prior to the age of three or thereabouts so this profile of early spiritual influence over its host brain does seem to fit.
As to how the spirit enters the human brain in the first place we need to return to our old friend the spiritual matrix concept that was developed in my previous ‘Mind, Heart and Spirit' understanding: http://jewishlordswitness.com/id6.html. Now in that paper we developed the notion that the spiritual heart is man’s interface into the spiritual matrix. However if we are now arguing that the spirit does not enter the human brain until twenty weeks after conception then what is the mechanism by which the spirit can enter the brain? Clearly the spiritual heart is not yet in place to fulfil a connection to the matrix. So again we consider the computer model to provide a further analogy. In the same way that the nascent spirit can fulfil the purpose of configuring the brain as a one-time activity, so it would seem not unreasonable that some form of hard-wired spiritual bootstrap program is physically in-built into the partially developed brain. This would provide the initial interface to enable the human spirit to be downloaded from the matrix into the foetal brain. This would be an involuntary act on the part of the foetus’ brain which would take a passive role in the process thus equating the download to ‘blowing into the nostrils’. From that point on the spiritual heart is in place to provide the more permanent and mature link into the matrix thereby making the bootstrap redundant.
A Quick Reprise of the Key Elements of the MHS Paper
It is worth reminding ourselves of the relevant points from my earlier paper:
1. The heart is the seat of emotions and desire.
2. The mind facilitates logical thought processes.
3. The spirit comprises heart and mind.
4. The heart is the interface through which spirit creatures can communicate with man
5. Scripture identifies all the important emotions and desires of man as defined through the heart condition.
6. Memory is contained within the heart and is accessed by the mind.
7. The conscience is a further component of the heart which marks the spirit for judgement.
So from this we are now proposing that since the spirit (a.k.a. software of the brain) provides the logic, memory, conscience, emotions and desires of its owner, it therefore controls the way the brain (and therefore ultimately the whole soul comprising spirit and body) interacts with its environment, its fellow beings and the circumstances in which it finds itself. It provides the driving force behind acting out the soul’s plan for life.
Brain is Hardware; Mind is Software
If my ‘Mind, Heart, Spirit’ paper is even half-correct then it effectively relegates the physical human brain to little more than an (admittedly complex) automated control centre managed by the human spirit inhabiting it. There are numerous well-documented attempts on record to try to liken the brain to computer hardware and the mind to computer software which effectively gives instructions to the hardware as to what actions to take. This provides an initially attractive idea to the writer by switching the total concept of the spirit (comprising heart and conscience as well as mind) into the role of the software.
I enter this arena with some trepidation since I claim zero knowledge in the brain/mind sciences although my Masters degree in computer science should enable me to carry through the computer analogy with some confidence. Also it is likely that this will be my first theologically based paper that contains relatively few biblical references, whilst relying heavily on those scriptures already identified in the ‘Mind, Heart, Spirit’ paper http://jewishlordswitness.com/id6.html. This is clearly yet another significant voyage of discovery for the writer. I pray that the Holy Spirit, as always, will come to my rescue to ensure yet more of the true nature of God’s creation is revealed to us to help us prepare our way to his Kingdom.
This paper is in its original form as presented as an offering to the Lords' Witnesses. Some elements of it have been incorporated into a confirmed doctrinal understanding on the official web-site of the Lords' Witnesses at: http://www.truebiblecode.com/understanding257.html.
The Brain's Capability Compared with that of the Spirit
Jewish Lords' Witness
Web-sites of General Interest in the Mind/Brain Subject Area:
Despite the author’s insistence that biological systems have been built by evolution, this is an interesting paper mapping out a future long-term project for building robots based on knowledge of how natural intelligence and motivation operate. It is to be hoped that this project will, in itself, demonstrate the foolishness of evolutionary theory:
High Level Structure of the Human Brain
1. The proposition is that if the power of the Spiritual Mind and Heart is as scripture indicates then the Spirit effectively delegates the physical human brain to little more than an automated control centre.
2. The spirit is located in the brain and is downloaded from the matrix at an early age.
3. The high level structure of the human brain is described together with how it may interface with the human spirit at a functional level.
4. The state of the brain/mind pseudo sciences is far from convincing.
5. The extensive literature available on the topic of mental illness again appears to be driven into a parlous state of mind/brain thinking and knowledge. It certainly cannot disprove the spirit/brain proposition of this paper and arguably all its internal disagreements and paradoxes may be addressed if the spiritual model were to be adopted as the true reality.
6. Human and angelic spirits are identical; it is their brains that are different albeit fully compatible.
7. How a man’s soul may co-exist with Holy Spirit.
8. The nature of demonic possession and its implications for the host soul.
9. Animals also have spirits
Image: Bible Pictuire Gallery
Daniel in the Lions Den by Peter Paul Rubens c1615
Let us examine further the multiple possessions of Legion but now from the point of view of the unfortunate herd of swine. There is little doubt that this one account is intended to provide us with much insight into the nature of spirits:
12 So they entreated him, saying: “Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.”
13 And he permitted them. With that the unclean spirits came out and entered into the swine; and the herd rushed over the precipice into the sea, about two thousand of them, and they drowned one after another in the sea. (Mark 5)
Now a Roman legion was typically made up of around 5,000 soldiers in the early decades of the first century AD. It is therefore reasonable to assume that the spokesman for the possessing spirits called himself Legion to denote that was the number of the spirits possessing the man and subsequently the pigs. Given that the size of the herd of swine was 2,000 then we can further assume that each pig was possessed by two or three spirits each.
The LW understanding as to why the pigs then threw themselves over the cliff was to indicate that, while the sharing of the human brain between their full complement was preferable to returning to Tartarus, the demons’ prison, the sharing of a pig’s brain between a mere two or three of their number turned out to be far more restrictive than their spiritual jail. They committed suicide as a result so that they could escape from the pigs and return to Tartarus.
What else can we learn from this rather ‘interesting’ behaviour? While it clearly was not very pleasant for them, the demons’ spirits could certainly exist and function to a limited extent in the brain of pigs. They were able to decide on the course of suicide and were able to work the pigs’ bodies to jump over the cliff. This demonstrates a certain compatibility between the spirits of the demons and the pigs’ brains. Since demons are the fallen sons of God, their spirits are the same as those of angels and, therefore, of men. So this tells us men’s spirits could reside in the brains of pigs. When we looked earlier at how the brain had ‘developed’ from lower order animals to humans it appeared that the same basic structure was being built upon. So, although the higher order functions of the human brain are not available in the animalistic brains, a certain spiritual compatibility is nonetheless evident.
Taking this one step further it then becomes clear that animals, not just pigs, also have spirits that reside in their lower function brains. This would appear to be confirmed explicitly in Ecclesiastes:
19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth? (Ecclesiastes 3)
Whilst the writer is not aware of any other scriptural accounts that are clear examples of animal possession, there are numerous examples of animals being directed by angelic spirits. Balaam’s speaking ass is one such:
28 And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? (Numbers 22)
As is the example of God closing lions’ mouths:
22 My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. (Daniel 6)
These and other examples (Elijah’s ravens, Elisha’s bears, Jonah’s whale) are a clear demonstration that a variety of animals also have spirits which, whilst of a lower order than that of mankind, nevertheless have an interface into the spiritual realms and, therefore, a likely communication via the same spiritual matrix as previously proposed. Furthermore, if animalistic spirits can exist on earth then why not in heaven? It would seem that the angels also have lower life forms to give them pleasure in heaven as we have pets and our earth’s natural wildlife to enjoy. God’s creation knows no bounds in heaven or on earth!