Wednesday, May 30, 2007
REFLECTIONS ON the SCIENCE OF PENTECOST
"When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. "
"Suppose we discovered that God 'lived' in a particular part of the brain, and that religion was a biological function which had evolved to help us through difficult times. It's not impossible." Nancy Rothwell, neuroscientist at Manchester University.
In our so called modern age, societal sensibilities tend to look upon what appear to be "supernatural" events in the Bible as a parent might look to a child describing their imaginary friends. Nowadays there is a push to view these writings as metaphor rather than literal event. I find this a limiting exercise. Rather like trying to shrink God and the Universe to fit into a palatable definition that will suit our finite human comprehension.
I much prefer to try to compare what modern science has unraveled lately and see if it fits with what scripture literally describes as event. Just for grins.
To that end I have come to a theory that, for me, fits both. Current discoveries in brain scanning have literally mapped areas in people of faith that do not exist in those without faith. That's a really simplistic way of putting it, but this is a blog and I want to be as concise as I can. This discovery has caused atheists to celebrate this as "proof" religion is merely a dysfunction of the brain, as it's discovery came from mapping epileptics. I see it as the opposite.
20/20 did a recent piece on Faith In the Brain
Could it be that inherent in every human being is a latency in the brain that becomes expressed when we accept God. And becomes even further expressed when we accept Jesus as our savior? That each of us has this possibility that will never bloom until there is such acceptance and surrender. I can see this happening at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was introduced. The "rush of the violent wind" entering into each person and flipping the latent dna switch that then was further expressed as each gift.
Physicist David Gross wrote: "The secret of nature is symmetry, but much of the texture of the world is due to mechanisms of symmetry breaking."
K.C. Cole, L.A. Times Science Columnist, took this further in "The Universe and the Teacup", "Life's innate asymmetry leads to a startling speculation about the origin of life. If life had coiled into existence at many locations at once, then one would expect those early molecules to spiral to the left and right in equal numbers--just as the silicon and oxygen atoms in quartz crystals spiral both ways. But if life originated in a single rare event, then a single molecule would have passed down its right-handed twist as a legacy to all living things to come."
DNA and proteins spiral in only one direction. To the right. Not at all symmetrical.
We learn more and more about our biology all the time. The recent discoveries, for me, confirm what was written in scripture back then in the only terms they had for description. That nature is symmetrical, yet we are not, appearing as a result of some intervention I find fascinating. And now the evidence of brain mapping in people of faith and people without faith, I believe, is just providing further evidence of what the apostles knew on faith alone.
It's fascinating for sure. But it's also sad that we need more convincing than our predecessors.