I am a student at the University of Georgia and I am taking Human Anatomy
and Physiology. My question is this: I learned the other day in our text
that basically all thoughts and emotions stem from our nervous system,
specifically nerve cells, as well as hormones, etc. When I die, these
processes, chemicals, cells, etc. die with me. If my thoughts are dead and
my feelings are dead and my memories are dead, what is left of me and who
I am? I guess the bottom line, what is my soul/ spirit according to the

You ask one of the most fundamental and important questions one can ask.
What is the nature of human beings? What is consciousness? What is soul
and spirit, and how are they connected with the physical body we are
contained in while alive?

You should be aware that there are those in the scientific community who
take a wholly mechanistic/deterministic view of things. These people are
philosophically tied into the presupposition that there is no such thing
as a soul, a spirit, or anything else one might consider a non-physical
reality. You should also be aware that within the past fifteen years or
so, knowledge in the area of neuroscience has exploded, possibly more than
in any other area of current research. I predict that with the techniques
of MRI and PET, as well as with other technologies one may assume will
come on board, scientists will be able to trace particular functions of
the brain in minute detail. Where in the brain is fear produced? Where in
the brain are religious experiences processed? What is the path inside the
brain from sense-input to processing of information to emotional response?
In the end, the neuroscientists will have a chemical/physical explanation
of phenomena such as anger, bitterness, consciousness of other’s feelings,
and even spiritual sensitivities. These atheistic scientists will find an
“explanation” for why some of us are religious and some are not! They will
“prove” that whether one is open to Christianity is hard-wired into your
brain by genetics and your early childhood experiences, independent of any
spiritual influence (which they, of course, assume do not even exist

This new scientific data will surely be a challenge to believers. We will
be presented with scientific “proof” that all this spiritual stuff is just
a bunch of chemicals moving around in pre-arranged brain pathways which
were created by an evolutionary need for survival under some sort of

Having given the warning, let me present another view of the same
informaton. I personally believe in God, I believe that Jesus is the Son
of God, and that he was raised from the dead on the third day. I believe
that Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies of the Messiah in the Old
Testament in a way that anyone whose mind is open even one nanometer will
have to admit proves that the Bible is inspired by God. Much of the
evidence for this is found at this web site as well as in my book Reasons
for Belief: A Handbook of Christian Evidence. If this is true, then the
claims in the Bible that people were made in the image of God and that
human beings have a soul and a spirit are also true. How is one to work
out the scientific evidence with the sure knowledge found in the Bible?
That is the question.

I believe the answer is this. Yes, it is true that God made us in his
image. He also designed our brains and bodies so that we could come to
know him. God created a brain which was capable of prayer. God created a
brain which was capable of experiencing the emotion of love, especially of
love toward God. God made us capable of feeling a guilty conscience, of
experiencing empathy, of knowing Him. Because God made us this way, it
should not surprise us that when scientists look, they will find the
actual chemicals which move around in our brain when we feel a
consciousness of God. Scientists will ultimately find out where in the
brain feelings of guilt, of love and of empathy are processed. God made us
to have a physical brain which is able to turn our spiritual urgings into
physical sensations. God created a vessel which is absolutely perfectly
arranged so that a soul and a spirit can be connected to a physical world.
Is this not exactly what one would expect? For every spiritual reality
that goes on inside our non-physical selves, God has created a physical
equivalent place and even specific chemicals which allow us as physical
human beings to experience these things on our own physical level. Isn’t
this an amazing thing which God has done? Truly God has created us,
despite being bound by this physical reality, into a being in his own

So do not be intimidated by the atheistic, materialistic, and most likely
unspiritual and ungodly professors who are trying to undermine your faith.
The exact same information which they try to use to prove that there is no
God, in fact shows the exact opposite. The only reason they do not see
things correctly it is that they make a philosophical pre-assumption about
the nature of reality. Anyone who assumes before even looking at the facts
that everything has a non-spiritual, mechanistic explanation is bound to
reach the conclusion that they made before even looking at the data. God
created us as both physical and spiritual beings. He created a brain which
is uniquely fitted to be the intermediary between our physical senses and
our spiritual selves. Let us marvel once more as neuroscientists prove
once again that we are truly fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)
by God.

John Oakes, PhD

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