I'm so glad you are here! Currently I am doing a series talking about some pretty amazing stuff God created and pointing to what it shows us about Him. I hope you like it! I'm kinda thinkin you will. ;)
Today I have Laurie from Saved By Grace Bible Study as my guest. She has a background in nurology and I am excited for what she has to share about how the Lord has revealed Himself through His creation.
Hard-Wired for God
Not only did God create us in His image (Genesis 1:26), He designed us to know Him!
God is a three-part Being: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and we reflect that Trinity in our mind (soul), body, and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23). As amazing as it seems, the all-powerful, all-knowing, self-sufficient Creator designed us for His pleasure (Revelation 4:11), so that His children could have fellowship with Him (Acts 17: 24-28).
About a decade ago, evidence from the field of neuroscience began to reflect these Biblical truths, showing that brain function changes and intensifies during spiritual experiences. It is as if God hard-wired us to communicate with Him! The research used a specialized type of brain scan known as SPECT (single photon emission computerized tomography), in which injection of a radioactive tracer into a vein allows it to travel to brain cells, showing areas of increased and decreased neuronal activity and blood flow within the brain during a specific experience. The photo above shows a “slice” from front to back through the brain using a similar technology, with red indicating areas of most intense activity and blue indicating areas of reduced activity.
Dr. Andrew Newberg and colleagues (1) analyzed SPECT images of Franciscan nuns at the peak moment of their spiritual experience as they entered into deep meditation and prayer, which they later described as “a tangible sense of the closeness of God and a mingling with Him.” Dr. Newberg, who is considered a pioneer in this field of neurotheology, noted the similarities of their description to that of 13th-century Franciscan nun Angela of Folino: “How great is the mercy of the One Who realized this union…I possessed God so fully that I was no longer in my previous customary state but was led to find a peace in which I was united with God and was content with everything.”
To me, these descriptions echo Isaiah 26:3: Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
So what did the SPECT scans show at this moment of perfect peace through communion with God? There was an intense burst of activity in the attention association area (prefrontal cortex), the area of the brain associated with attention and concentration, near the front of the brain beneath the forehead. At the same time, activity fell sharply in the orientation association area (posterior superior parietal lobe), the area associated with awareness of time and orientation of the body in space, located in the top rear portion of the brain. One of the main functions of the parietal lobe is to draw the boundary between the physical body and the surrounding external world. The SPECT scan data therefore suggest to me that the mind is highly focused and concentrated on God, while the sense of self practically disappears.
At the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit indwells every believer, making us His temple and dwelling place (Acts 17: 24). If we seek Him with all our heart and soul through meditating on His Word and through prayer, we will find Him (Deuteronomy 4:29), “for in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17: 28). How awesome that He designed our brain with the circuitry to experience being “in Christ” and complete in Him! (Colossians 2: 6-9).
What a privilege to have Laurie share how she has seen the Lord reveal Himself through her expertise!