Although handsomely arranged, the trillions of cells in my body aren’t special. The 3.2 billion base pairs that encode my genome are similar to your DNA. I think what makes me—and you—singular is a conscious self, which I equate with the spirit/soul.
We are all aware of our “self” but we explain its existence differently. Atheists and materialists think it’s the product of electrochemical processes in the brain. Christians and other people of faith believe it is breathed into us by God.
Neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander went from the former position to the latter as a result of a near death experience in 2008. He’d operated on hundreds of human brains and knew their intricacies like few others, but now he realized there was more to us than dendrites, axons and neurotransmitters.
But we have—in part by the brain itself—been so trained to associate our brains with what we think and who we are that we have lost the ability to realize that we are at all times much more than the physical brains and bodies that do—or should do—our bidding.”
The neocortex may be the seat of the self but it is not the source. It is necessary but not sufficient to explain self-consciousness. And when the brain dies—as it inevitably will—the soul survives.
My experience showed me that the death of the body and the brain are not the end of consciousness, that human experience continues beyond the grave. More important, it continues under the gaze of a God who loves and cares about each one of us and about where the universe itself and all the beings within it are ultimately going.
You already knew that. But has it quickened your pulse lately?
(Science may be catching up to religion: Details in my next post on the Quantum Soul.)