Poking At The Dominant Theory
What can we say about the view that reduces a person entirely to the workings of their brain? The following questions are helpful:
First, is it internally coherent? Is this a watertight position, or are there internal inconsistencies? If we were to dig deeper, we would see that this view deeply undermines human rationality and even our ability to practice science.
Second, does it have explanatory power? Does it make sense of the world we live in or merely add to the confusion? This view fails to explain the inner me. A large part of who I am comes from an unseen inner life consisting of thoughts, memories, emotions, and decisions, none of which are captured by cell voltages, neurotransmitters and blood-flow changes.
Third, can it be lived? Francis Schaeffer , was convinced that true beliefs line up with our experience of life. And what is our experience? We live as though we do the thinking, not our brains. Neurons do not think: people think. Mindfulness, self-help, counselling, autobiographies, child-abuse scandals, or indeed anything that requires introspection, all assume that the first-person vantage-point is real. We live as if there is far more to us than simply our brain.
We have a mind because God has a mind. We think because he thinks. We are conscious because he is conscious.
The Trinitythe Source Of Our Emotions
Where do these amazing things called emotions come from? Feelings are the bane and blessing of our existence: a blessing, for example, as they create a profound joy within us as we look upon our children or a bane as we experience times of grief and loss. At those various times our emotions match the delights and disasters of life. The source of emotions is a surprising place. This ability to feel comes from our being made in the image of God.
A short while back I had a frighteningly interesting experience of having an ophthalmologist operate on my eye. The procedure was complicated so the operation was at a hospital in an operating room. Stretched out on a gurney I was waiting outside the operating room. Then, an anesthesiologist came over to check on me. We ended up in a conversation. I told him that having a series of eye problems had led me to appreciate how wonderfully our two eyes work together to create the sense of depth. I did not want to lose that, I said.
Then he replied, Isnt evolution fantastic because a million years ago we had one eye in the middle of our heads, and then it migrated down to our face, and on the way it split in half. Gesturing he placed two hands together on his head and then he slid each hand down to each eye. Thats how we got two eyes, he stated.
Please understand I had been in pain for several weeks and had experienced high levels of stress. I am not as unsubtle as I will now appear.
Think About Positive Things
Do you think you cant control your thoughts? If so, you are not alone. Many people think thoughts are like raintheres not much we can do about them. But thats not true.
You can discipline your mind and decide what to think about. Make it a habit to think about things that are pure and true.
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirableif anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things.
Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.
Pray to choose wholesome thoughts.
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As You Think So You Are
What’s On Your Mind? is an uncomplicated little book by Merlin Carothers which discusses in detail the very real battle of the thought-life. Anyone trying to overcome a persistent, habitual sin would benefit from reading it. Carothers writes:
“Inevitably, we have to face the reality that God has given us the responsibility of cleansing the thoughts of our hearts. The Holy Spirit and God’s Word are available to help us, but each person must decide for himself what he will think, and what he will imagine. Being created in God’s image requires that we be responsible for our thoughts.”
Easier Said Than Done
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
This is a classic case of easier said than done for many, but controlling our thoughts is not impossible. While we may have temptations and our flesh to deal with, setting our minds on things above is a daily decision we have to make. tells us to think about whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. says we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. By choosing to fill our minds with the good things, there is much less room for the bad.
Television, phones, books, music, and many other things in todays world provide all kinds of opportunity for us to fill our minds with evil. For those who are not careful about what they look at and listen too, having many sinful thoughts and the inability to control them should not come as a surprise.
Your Thoughts Will Betray You
I am a thinker. I ponder, muse, speculate, evaluate, and explore everything. In truth, I overthink. If it were possible, I could think things to death.
I consider things I should have said and should have done. I relive discussions and circumstances Ive had. I dwell on mistakes and analyze them in great detail. I recall the sorrows and heartaches of my past like a broken record. I think thoughts like if only, what if, or I should have.
Unfortunately, the more I think, the more I despair.
Reasons Manifestation And Law Of Attraction Is Not Godly
I. It ignores the sovereignty of God.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. Proverbs 3:5
When we engage in manifestation, we are placing more faith in our own thoughts instead of seeking Gods Will for our situation. Yet, we know from Proverbs 3:5 that we should place our trust in God above our own understanding. He loves us and wants the best for us so we should place our plans and desires in His hands and ask His help in achieving them.
II. The manifester becomes their own god
You shall have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:3
Manifesting fools us into believing that we are creators and the masters of our own destiny. God is the only true creator. He spoke and the world into being. All things come from His generous abundance. If we desire something and take all the steps to make them come true without first filtering it through the guidance of God then we are taking a risk of what we will receive. God tells us in Exodus 20:3 that we should have no other gods before me.
III. It robs you of the gift of waiting
IV. God gets zero praise when we get what we want
V. We create idols of the things we are desiring
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Look To The East: What Do Directions Mean In The Bible
When I first started this blog I wanted it to explore some of the more obscure bits of the Bible, to kick around some less familiar ideas. Well, todays post may well come across as obscure and playing with some odd ideas. Feel free to correct me in the comments.
See, the Bible has a weird relationship with the East.
Not a specific country or political entity, just the direction.
For instance, the Tabernacle and the Temple both faced to the east
The wise men saw a star in the east and travelled from the east to find the infant Jesus.
The Messiah, when he arrived, was meant to come from the east specifically the Mount of Olives .
The east is the source of blessings and divine salvation. Which is cool.
But wait people who travelled to the east found themselves either in trouble or causing trouble:
When Abraham and Lot decided to go their separate ways, Lot went east and ended up in Sodom and Gomorrah.
The Israelites were exiled to Babylon, in the east.
Theres a tension here, almost a paradox: good things come from the east, but if you travel to the east you end up in A Bad Place. Whats going on here?!
Well, this is where things get a little complicated. Because maybe this tension isnt about geography as such, but about time and movement.
Heres what I mean: write down, in a line and in order, the following years: 1945, 1066, 1914, 1966 and 1666.
Its a theory anyway.
So look to the east. You never know what youll see.
God Cares About Our Thought Life
Why can I say with confidence that God is concerned about our thought life? His word is packed with reminders, recommendations, and rebukes on how and what we think. Consider these scriptural examples.
Romans 12:2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Philippians 4:8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ
Matthew 22:37And he said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
Colossians 3:2Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
You see, God cares about whats inside our head and our hearts just as much, as our actions and reactions.
Each of us is created with a unique intellect, with a mind that is capable of so much if we harness it and use it the way God designed us to.
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Our Heart Is The Gateway Of Our Being
Besides being the center of our relationship with God, our heart is also the gateway, or doorway, of our whole being.
Our relationship with the Lord is always begun and maintained by the heart. Of course, to contact the Lord is a matter of the spirit, but this must be initiated and maintained by the heart, for our heart is the gateway of our whole being.
For our heart to be the gateway of our entire being means what we allow in and out is determined by our heart. For example, we can close our heart to certain people and open it to others.
Continuing on page 75, Lee says:
In other words, the heart becomes both the entrance and the exit of our being. Whatever enters into us must enter through the heart. Whatever comes out from us must proceed through the heart.
When we consider our experience of salvation, this point becomes clear to us. As we heard how the Lord Jesus died on the cross for our sins, we were convicted of our sinfulness at the same time, we began to appreciate Jesus and what He did for us. We sensed the depth and sweetness of His love for us. So we opened the doors of our heart to believe in Him and accept Him as our Savior. At that time, we received Him in our spirit and were born again with His divine life. But it was our heart that was first touched and opened to let Him in.
Where Do Our Thoughts Come From
An early childhood memory of mine is of sitting by a window on a rainy day, watching the drops splash against the pane. Like all normal children, I spent most of my life racing around. But at this particular moment, I was still, and my mind had time to drift. I remember a series of questions popping into my head:
Why can I think?Why do I exist?Why am I a living, breathing, conscious person who experiences life?
I dont really remember where the questions came from. Neither do I remember my exact age. They were just there. Unprompted.
I know I am not the first to have this kind of moment. When we sit still for long enough, all kinds of things bubble to the surface of our consciousness. But where exactly do our thoughts come from? Some of the loudest voices to answer this question come from neuroscience. They respond, Your thoughts are merely the firing of neurons. End of story. In other words, You are your brain.
Looking at the body, mind and soul to answer the question: What exactly is a human being?
What To Do Instead
So what do we do when we want to set our mind on achieving or acquiring something? There are steps we can take today that are biblically sound.
A key part of manifesting is relying on the universe to bring us what we desire. I take heart in knowing that my God created the universe. He is bigger than the universe and He is limitless! What more can He give us!
Machine Muscle Or More
Sir Colin Blakemore, Emeritus Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Oxford, said in 1976:
The human brain is a machine which alone accounts for all our actions, our most private thoughts, our beliefs. All our actions are the products of the activity of our brains.
If true, this view has implications for ethics, AI, and religious belief and experience.
But surely the mind is also important in this conversation? Surely, we dont think with our brains but with our minds? But what exactly is the mind, and how does it relate to the brain? Herein lies the rub. The relationship of mind to brain has been disputed for centuries, because, as Marilynne Robinson, has pointed out,
Whoever controls the definition of the mind controls the definition of humankind itself.
The view of Blakemore and others, is that the mind is the brain. Mind and brain are identical. In other words, there isnt really such a thing as the mind, but only the activity of the brain.
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What Does The Bible Say Our Heart Is
The Bible defines our heart across many verses, not just in one single verse. It can be easy to miss.
In a previous post we discussed how God created us with three parts: spirit, soul, and body. So where does our heart fit in?
The Word of God shows us that our heart isnt a fourth, separate part of our being. Instead, our heart is a composition of all three components of our soulour mind, emotion,and willplus the most important part of our spiritour conscience. Lets take a look at some key verses that reveal this.
We Love With Our Heart
Jesus said in Mark 12:30:
And you shall love the Lord your God from your whole heart.
If we didnt have a heart, we couldnt sense love or love in return. God created us with a heart so we could have a loving relationship with Him. So in a very real sense, our heart is at the center of our relationship with God.
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Who Controls Our Thoughts And Emotions According To The Bible
I was thinking about what a friend had wrote to me. He wrote: “I’ve had an epiphany: the reason there are so many “gray areas” in life is because we’ve reached our conclusions through applications of “gray matter” instead of applications of God’s Word. Do you agree?
In a way, yes. In my experience and observation, “gray areas” only come up when we are operating from a position of weakness based upon either 1) past mistakes that put us into difficult circumstances that were not God’s first-best will for us, or 2) kinks in our hearts wherein through a lack of complete trust or willingness however large or small we allow ourselves to be pressured into rationalizing what in our heart of hearts we know to be the real truth about what we should do or not do, or 3) deficiencies in our spiritual growth .
The more carefully we hew to the course of spiritual growth, learning about the Word of God and applying it more and more consistently day by day, the more we will find that not only do all of the “gray areas”begin to disappear, but that we also are more willing and more able to walk the path that the Lord is beckoning us to walk exactly as He would have us walk it.
The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.Proverbs 4:18 NIV
In our Lord Jesus,
In the eager search for ever more light from Him who is the Light of world.
In His Love,