25) Life vs Death

The definition of life has long been a challenge for scientists and philosophers, with many varied definitions put forward. This is partially because life is a process, not a substance [emphasis added].

The theory of evolution…neither provides, nor requires, an explanation for the origin of life…Evolution…studies the pathways and mechanisms of organic change following the origin of life

However, there can be no mechanisms of organic change without life.

Living organisms are composed of lifeless molecules.When these molecules are isolated and examined individually, they conform to all the physical and chemical laws that describe the behavior of inanimate matter. Yet living organisms possess extraordinary attributes not shown by any random collection of molecules….

What distinguishes all living organisms from all inanimate objects?

First, they are structurally complicated and highly organized. They possess intricate internal structures and contain many kinds of complex molecules. By contrast, the inanimate matter in our environment-clay, sand, rocks, seawater-usually consists of mixtures of relatively simple chemical compounds.

Second, living organisms extract, transform, and use energy from their environment usually in the form of either chemical nutrients or the radiant energy of sunlight. This energy enables living organisms to build and maintain their own intricate structures and to do mechanical, chemical, osmotic, and other types of work. By contrast, inanimate matter does not use energy in a systematic way to maintain structure or to do work. Inanimate matter tends to decay toward a more disordered state, to come to equilibrium with its surroundings.

So without “The vital principle or animating force within living beings” there can be no purely materialistic evolution.

That only leaves the option of a living being transferring the life energy into a lifeless form.

Creation.

“The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” (Job 33:4)

“And the LORD God

  1. formed man of the dust of the ground – material body
  2. and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life – energized the body
  3. and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7)

The soul is the aggregate memories, emotions and cognition developed into a personality in response to environmental and social experiences. These are created by active neurochemical processes in the neurons throughout the entire body, and stored in neuronal pathways and parts of the brain to be potentially activated in response to environmental triggers. We can essentially consider the soul a form of chemical energy that, when stimulating the muscles to respond, converts to mechanical energy.

The material body is the least important aspect of a human being, tearing itself down and reconstructing itself daily throughout life, and being absorbed back into the elements of the earth at death.“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was:

  1. and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes12:7)

Hmmm. Anyone else notice that the Bible documents the return to the origination of the body and spirit, but not the soul?

Where did the soul come from, and what happens to it at death?

The following biblical passage on fetal development confirms the first reference to the soul’s origination with the body, expanding on the soul’s connection to the physical nervous system with its use of the elements of the earth.

human-embryo-inside-body-d-illustration-mother-92285289“thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well…when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.(Psalm 139:13-15)

Building a baby: The first two weeks – YouTube

Reins, literal fibers, like a horse’s reins, are the nerves originating in the brain penetrating throughout the entire body in order to control the members of the body,

acc-0454-2

1280-480406339-neuronsAlmost all nerve cells, or neurons, are generated during prenatal life, and in most cases they are not replaced by new neurons thereafter. Morphologically, the nervous system first appears about 18 days after conception…

In order to produce the estimated 1 trillion neurons present in the mature brain, an average of 2.5 million neurons must be generated per minute during the entire prenatal life. This includes the formation of neuronal circuits comprising 100 trillion synapses, as each potential neuron is ultimately connected with either a selected set of other neurons or specific targets such as sensory endings. Moreover, synaptic connections with other neurons are made at precise locations on the cell membranes of target neurons.

Prenatal Brain Development – YouTube

When humans and primates are first developing, their brains are built from what are known as neural progenitor cells. These are stalk-like cells that multiply over and over again, and they eventually form neurons. The equation is simple since more progenitor cells mean more neurons down the road, and it turns out that human progenitor cells behave differently than the progenitor cells of apes and chimps.

When observing the multiplying behavior of progenitor cells in the primates, the researchers found that the cells continued multiplying at a high rate for roughly five days before maturing and slowing down. That’s a lot longer than in mice, where the cells have been shown to mature within hours. This extended timeframe means that primates have increased brain power and larger brain organs, but human progenitor cells take it to the next level.

The research revealed that humans progenitor cells continue multiplying for up to a full week before transitioning. Because the multiplication of cells is an exponential affair, the extra two days of multiplication means a great deal more cells and eventually neurons in humans.

Sidebar here – how can anyone accept both this kind of complexity and rapidity of development from a single cell organism to a complete human being and Evolution’s fundamental process of genetic mutation over “billions of years”?

The conclusion that extensive changes have occurred over time is based

  • partially on inferences
  • and an interpretation of data
  • evidence to support the idea that evolutionary development and common descent are both biologically and logically possible.” 

In contrast to the word play on the inferences, interpretation, support, possibility of evolutionary processes, we have the facts uncovered by the scientific study of anatomy and physiology.

The evidence of the amazingly controlled physiological generation of 2.5 million neurons per minute for nine months including 100 trillion synapses to create an informatics transportation system throughout the entire body with each neuron precisely connected to a selected set of other neurons on specific end points at precise locations on the cell membranes of target neurons should put any thinking person in a state of awe at the understated biblical statement “I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” (Psalm 139:14)

Further confounding evolution’s reliance on material genetics, the pre-existing social environment in which a fetus is formed has a great impact on the development of personality and behavior – i.e. the soul.

The totality of these events is not thought to be the exclusive product of the genetic code, for there are simply not enough genes to account for such complexity….External environmental factors include nutrition, sensory experience, social interaction, and even learning. All of these are essential for the proper differentiation of individual neurons and for fine-tuning the details of synaptic connections…

So we don’t have a nature vs nurture debate, we have physiology plus social interaction forms the person. Or to put it another way, the chicken and the egg came into being at the same time.

Researchers, psychologists and social scientists have agreed that genes, as well as one’s environment, engage in a complex interplay when shaping personality. Understanding the cause of an individual’s personality, behavior and cognition is an area of interest in various fields.

The soul is the aggregate memories, emotions and cognition developed into a personality in response to environmental and social experiences. These are created by active neurochemical processes in the neurons throughout the entire body, and stored in neuronal pathways and parts of the brain to be potentially activated in response to environmental triggers. We can essentially consider the soul a form of chemical energy that, when stimulating the muscles to respond, converts to mechanical energy.

The soul – personality, thoughts, memories and emotions – comes into existence and can be modified through the chemo-electrical activity of the nervous system.

effects-of-psychoactive-substances-on-neural-communication1-nthe nervous system requires continuous stimulation over an entire lifetime in order to sustain functional activity.

So when the senses of the body stop feeding stimulation to the nervous system, the nervous system stops functioning. Obviously, the soul stops interacting with its body in terms of behaviors, and with its environment in terms of socializing or learning.

But does it stop existing when the nerve fibers crumble back into the elements of the earth from which it is composed? In a completely material model, yes.

Yet we know that the nervous system is not just physical fibers. The fibers by themselves do nothing. They are simply the means of generating neurological electrical activity, which is not material but energy.

The electrical ACTIVITY of the brain is what composes and allows expression of memories, emotions, intentions, directive of behavior and personality.

xueyllInterestingly, the Bible describes in picturesque terms appropriate to a non-scientific reader the same images now being provided by highly advanced scientific technology.

“Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth…because man goeth to his long home [the grave], and the mourners go about the streets:

cec3b3277213bafff7f9d2242ae252855cfb4f596568fe0dd33956f95c355bfc_1Then shall the dust [of the clay casing for the electrical battery] return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:1-7)

And where does the soul go? There is a lot of speculation, because this is beyond scientific study.

According to the Bible, unless God intervenes, it follows the body into the ground.

“God speaketh…He keepeth back his [man’s] soul from the pit….his soul draweth near unto the gravehe is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pitHe will deliver his soul from going into the pitbring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light [energy, spirit] of the living.” (Job 33:14-30)

According to this and other statements in the Bible, the soul remains intact despite the disintegration of the material nervous system, and can be recalled back to the living.

This is validated by other spiritual sources.

many western religions, as well as south Asian and African ones, believe in some form of life after death. Its origins span from the ancient world and classical antiquity until today. Most often, the world of the afterlife is associated with Greek mythology, where it is called the underworld, or Hades.

According to the ancient Greeks, at the time of death, the soul separates from the body and is transported to the underworld, where it is accepted into the realm by the governing god Hades, who is known to reside at the edges of the ocean and under the deepest depths of the Earth.

Hades’ realm, as opposed to the kingdom of Mount Olympus, is virtually all gloom and darkness, solely inhabited by the dead. In Homer’s Odyssey, even the great warrior spirit Achilles in the nether world tells Odysseus that he would rather be subjugated as a landless slave than be the king of the underworld due to the dreary existence in the land of the dead.

Nonetheless, Greek mythology stresses respect for the dead due to the belief in the continued existence of the fallen after their spirit has passed on.

Is this just mythology passed around ancient campfires and current day tele-evangelist programs to alleviate anxiety about the unknown, or a believable statement of fact?

We know from experience that a human’s soul remains intact during a coma or other physically altered state of consciousness to resurface with the awakening of the body’s functional neurological system. So the Bible’s claim that human souls do not dissipate into the universal energy field when the body dissipates into dust, but remain intact in some guarded holding place, at least bears consideration and study in advance of death. This is a state of being that can’t be altered by the time it happens.

Can science prove the continued existence of the soul after the body dies?

And science admits a lack of consensus, ergo lack of knowledge, regarding the connection between brain activity and the end of personhood.

the President’s Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Research in 1980...concluded that this approach [cessation of brain activity] to defining death sufficed in reaching a uniform definition nationwide. A multitude of reasons were presented to support this definition including: uniformity of standards in law for establishing death; consumption of a family’s fiscal resources for artificial life support; and legal establishment for equating brain death with death in order to proceed with organ donation.

Note, the determination was based on practical considerations, not on scientifically determined facts of life.

Aside from the issue of support of or dispute against brain death, there is another inherent problem in this categorical definition: the variability of its application in medical practice [emphasis added here and below]. In 1995, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), established a set of criteria that became the medical standard for diagnosing neurologic death…This set of criteria was then updated again most recently in 2010, but substantial discrepancies still remain across hospitals and medical specialties

A great deal of controversy has surrounded the definition of death… [emphasis added]

So we’ll need to move beyond the applied science of medicine to the purely theoretical sciences.

Energy is the ability to do work…In the case of electrical energy, the force is electrical attraction or repulsion between charged particles. Electrical energy may be either potential energy or kinetic energy, but it’s usually encountered as potential energy, which is energy stored due to the relative positions of charged particles or electric fields[Emphasis added.] The movement of charged particles through a wire or other medium is called current or electricity…

Biological systems also use electrical energy. For example, hydrogen ions, electrons, or metal ions may be more concentrated on one side of a membrane than the other, setting up an electrical potential that can be used to transmit nerve impulses, move muscles, and transport materials.

And energy, even in biological systems, cannot be destroyed.

quote-energy-cannot-be-created-or-destroyed-it-can-only-be-changed-from-one-form-to-another-albert-einstein-34-47-15

So, scientifically, whatever part of the soul that is composed of neurological chemo-electrical activity continues to exist after the shutdown of operations of the material body. All the active chemo-electrical energy converts to potential, i.e. inactive energy, with the ability to be reactivated.

The hybrid car electrical system provides a parallel example.

Hybrids…create their own power for battery recharging through a process known as regenerative braking (regen mode)…capturing the vehicle’s momentum (kinetic energy) and turning it into [stored or potential energy]…the onboard battery…this charged battery…in turn powers the vehicle’s electric traction motor…

From this we can induce a corollary biological regenerative system in which the electrical energy of the brain is likewise conserved as potential energy when the body shuts down, on hand and available to resume function in the neurological system when restarted in the future.

So what is the state of the soul when conserved as potential energy?

We known that inability to interact with others or the environment does not define death, but medical unconsciousness in a spectrum from being asleep to being in a coma to being on life support. Note, that in every condition it continues to be. Through logic, we must conclude that, scientifically:

  • if we accept that the personality, emotions, thoughts and memories comprising the soul are formed by electrochemical energy,
  • and that energy is never destroyed,
  • then the dematerialized soul at death continues to exist in an unconscious state.

Unconscious is not Un-aware.

The unconscious is the vast sum of operations of the mind that take place below the level of conscious awareness. The conscious mind contains all the thoughts, feelings, cognitions, and memories we acknowledge, while the unconscious consists of deeper mental processes not readily available to the conscious mind.

Much learning, especially recognition of complex patterns, takes place outside of conscious awareness. Similarly, many of the elements that go into judgments and decision-making are processed outside of awareness. Intuition, too, is a product of unconscious mental operations, a set of assumptions swiftly assembled from cumulative knowledge and experience. Much of human motivation and interpersonal attraction also take shape beyond conscious awareness…

People use a range of defense mechanisms (such as repression) to avoid knowing what their unconscious motives and feelings are.

Freud (1915) emphasized the importance of the unconscious mind, and a primary assumption of Freudian theory is that the unconscious mind governs behavior to a greater degree than people suspect. Indeed, the goal of psychoanalysis is to reveal the use of such defense mechanisms and thus make the unconscious conscious.

Although Freud often spoke of the soul, nearly all of his many references to the soul, and to matters pertaining to the soul, have been excised in the English translation... the word “die seele,” which means “the soul,” is consistently translated as “the mind…” By soul Freud meant the psyche…(commonly translated as the Ego, the Id, and the Super-Ego).

In medicine especially in psychoanalysis, we talk a lot about the unconscious mind and the influences it exerts on our lives. As you may already know, our minds can be divided into the conscious and unconscious mind…

“I would say probably 99 percent of our lives is lived without immediate reflection upon a life principle. Rather, we just act…spontaneously…from being a kind of person…

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Jesus Christ.

The heart as Jesus uses it…is not limited to the conscious mind alone but actually mostly the unconscious mind…It means “…the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavors.”

Linking the soul with the unconscious aspect of the mind – and unresponsive dead body – results in an elegant (scientifically concise and simple) explanation for how the soul

  • requires connection to the body through chemo-electric neurological activity for self-expression and interaction,
  • continues in an unconscious – but not necessarily insensate – state when the body ceases to function,
  • and through resurrection of the body with neurons is able to live again, i.e. resume self expression and interaction with a social milieu and the environment.

This understanding also leads to the logical conclusion that animals’ expression of self – as pet owners can assure you – is a manifestation of their souls, which after death must also continue to exist in suspended animation.

homeless-dogs-and-owners-fb

And that is exactly what the Bible states.

the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God…Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the…redemption of our body…we with patience wait for it.” (Romans 8:19-25)

Death is minimally defined as “the cessation of the connection between our mind and our body” but we can readily expand beyond that to recognize that death, like life, is a process. The disconnection of the spirit from the body and the soul is only one experience of death.

In fact, a French term for orgasm is le petit mort – the little death.

Philosophers have suggested that this saying speaks to the “psychological loss” one undergoes after sex. The idea goes that climaxing doesn’t just trigger a physical release but a spiritual one, too…Of course, the cultural link between death and sex existed well before “la petite mort” entered the French lexicon…

Throughout history, from medieval times to the Victorian era, doctors feared that one’s life force could be “used up” by having sex…we can distill these concerns down to a simple concept: Something that feels this good must come at a price.

In certain cases, certainly, like Looking For Mr. Goodbar, when we apply the fundamental definition of death.

Death is the inability to access the positive forces needed to override the forces of destruction.

This can be caused by organisms that invade the cells of the body, overtaxing physical capabilities of the organs of the body in slow (diet) or rapid (gunshot) trauma, natural wear and tear from the cellular to organ level in the genetically-based aging process, etc.

The point to grasp is that death is defined as disconnection from essential resources. We can logically conclude that the Adam’s original condition was to be connected body, soul and spirit in perfect agreement, in unity – with God.

With this definition, we can understand the biblical statement that the death of the Adams “in the day that” they incorporated knowledge of evil, was that they experienced a disconnect between their corporate being of body, soul and spirit and their eternal source of life energy – God.

“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying…of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:15

This is the natural condition which they passed down to all their descendants.

 “by man came death…in Adam all die” (I Corinthians 15:21-22)

“For I know that in me

  1. (that is, in my flesh [body],) dwelt no good thing:
  2. for to will [soul] is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. [Think about all the New Year’s resolutions you’ve ever made. Try to lose just 2 pounds…] For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do…
  3. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man [spirit which comes from God]

But I see another law

  1. in my members [physical drives for sex, food, pleasure], warring against
  2. the law of my mind [soul’s rational desire to abstain from damaging actions],

and bringing me into captivity to the law [inevitable effect from cause] of sin [destruction, death] which is in my members.

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

Logically, the only answer is a force more powerful than death, i.e. the same force that imposed structure on chaotic energy. And that is exactly what the Bible states.

“I thank God – through his Anointed Savior our Lord.” (Romans 7)

So how does a human restore connection with Life?

We can logically conclude this requires embracing what restores while resisting what destroys. This is the definition of life everlasting.

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?…

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” (Romans 6:16-22)

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle [temporary dwelling, mortal body] were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands [immortal body], eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven…(II Corinthians 5:1-8)

Servants! Obey God? Isn’t salvation a free gift?!  Taken out of concept. Not a biblical concept.

Salvation is connection. It’s a relationship. People who want to take from others without giving anything back are sociopaths.

So what if you don’t reconnect to the source of life and maintenance of order? The only other possibility is to remain disconnected – in a state of continuous disorder.

Psychiatrically this is known as hell.

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