Interesting how you can hear of the Higgs-Boson particle (yeah, I know what?). The so-called God particle from a year ago, published all over until reporters and editors found out what it really meant, then not so much yada-yada.
But when genuine scientific findings are made confirming over and over how, not only are we designed, but how the entire universe is designed, well that doesn’t get any newspaper ink.
Case in point, the recent “Leadership Journal” (Summer 2014) which goes into detail as to how our brains can be or are wired to be receptive to God.
Leadership Journal develops this rather extensively and it goes into some heavy detail, which I will attempt to lighten. I’m going to do a few blogs on this so that I can digest it betterand hopefully spew it out to you somewhat intelligentyl . I would like to add that if you are in ministry or any kind of lay leadership you really should get Leadership Journal it’s just an outstanding publication.
John Ortberg points out that our brains are wired so that “mostly our behavior does not consist of a series of conscious choices. Mostly, our behavior is governed by habit.” (p 21)
We usually think in terms of “bad habits”, which we all have much too much of. Ortberg points out: “Habits are enormously freeing. They are what allows my body to be driving my car while my mind is planning next week’s sermon.” Yea, right, texting on my phone, shaving, applying makeup, eating a big sloppy burger (not my imagination, I’ve seen each in real life). Point is, there is so much we do in life that doesn’t require us having to make a deliberate action, much of what we do is habit and happens because of conditioning.
“But sin gets into our habits. “…what Paul meant when he talked about sin being ‘in our members.’ He was talking about human beings as embodied creatures – sin is in the habitual patterns that govern what our hands reach to and where our eyes look and words our mouths say. Habits are in our neural pathways. And sin gets in our habits. So sin gets in our neurons.” (p 21)
Quoting St Paul “…there is nothing good in our sinful nature.” Ya, I know a little harsh, but let’s face it, we have developed a lot of bad habits. “Paul is a brilliant student of human life who knows that evil, deceit, arrogance, greed, envy and racism have become ‘second nature’ to us all.” Harsh? Ya, but true. Even our best qualities when you hold them up to the perfection of our God, then ya, our “bad” habits are much more obvious and our good habits, at best, ho hum.
Ortberg notes that our willpower is just not going to cut it. Let’s face it, we try to do it alone and usually we are back to the races. “…acquiring new habits through which we can receive power from God to do what to do what willpower never could.”
Ortberg’s next line is compelling because there has been a long standing belief that the physical really doesn’t affect the spiritual. The physical is certainly about the mind. Is there really any doubt that when we abuse our body it affects our mind. I doubt that anyone would seriously question that physical abuse, bad diet, drugs, lack of exercise, affects the mind, certainly affects the chemical composition of the mind. Couldn’t the physical/mental attributes of the mind, if they are abused, affect our spiritual outlook? Trying to separate the physical/mental/spiritual is just a false paradigm. As Ortberg notes: ” Neuroscience has helped to show the error of any spirituality that divorces our spiritual life from our bodies.”
I say AMEN! There are many belief systems that try to make it just about the spirit, that the body is just a husk. POPPYCOCK. Gnosticism, an heretical Christian belief tries to make the material evil, the spiritual, as it were, good. That when the spiritual separates from the physical then it will be hunky-dorey. That attitude has infused itself through orthodox Christianity. the image of spirit beings sitting on clouds in heaven. Certainly physical beings can’t sit on clouds, but the question is; is heaven the end? Eastern religions believe that once we get it right, we leave the evil of the bodily and the material world and then (yippee, skippee), we become some sort of ethereal being and then drop into the ocean of all ethereal beings where our ethereality (no I doubt seriously that’s a real word) merges us with the universe. Again, yippee, skippee.
Why the gratuitous sarcasm? God created the material and He pronounced it good. This also includes our body which He intended to be perfect, incorruptible and eternal. Where else could it have come from? Unless the rapture happens tomorrow, our body will give out and we will, in the spiritual, be in the presence of the Lord. But again, is that the end? No! Not by a long shot. At the final judgment we will all be restored to physical bodies, those who are in Christ, the “Lamb’s Book of Life” will proceed from the judgment to the New Jerusalem. The New Jerusalem will be the world as God had intended. No doubt, it will be much like the world that we left, but it will be restored to perfection, it will be familiar but it will be restored to a perfection that we can’t imagine. Certainly we will be restored to our physical bodies, again, the way they were intended to be before we messed them up with our sin. These bodies will be strong, healthy, immune to injury or damage. We were made by God to be both physical/mental/spiritual and we will be restored to eternity perfectly in all aspects of our being.
In the meantime we will continue to discuss how the physical/mental changes our spiritual outlook as we continue to affect the mental by our habits old and bad or new and good. OK, at least hopefully.