Tuesday, August 21, 2007

the Mind/the Soul


I read a fascinating article in the January 29 edition of TIME magazine. A doctor wrote about a patient who had cancer. The cancer had begun in his lungs and spread to his brain, and the doctor watched as the patient slowly deteriorated. His wife and three children were at his bedside every night, even when his brain was overtaken by the cancer.

"His brain had already been destroyed," Dr. Scott Haig wrote. "Tumor metastases don't simply occupy space and press on things, leaving a whole brain. The metastases actually replace tissue. Where that gray stuff grows, the brain is just not there."

During the cancer's final stage, everyone knew death was imminent. The patient had slipped into a coma and didn't speak, move, or interact in any way. But on Friday night, with his wife and children around him, the patient "woke up, recognized them, and said his final goodbyes."

Dr. Haig writes: "What woke my patient that Friday was simply his mind, forcing its way through a broken brain, a father's final act to comfort his family. The brain is a uniquely personal domain of thought, dreams, and countless other things like the will, faith, and hope. These fine things are as real as rocks and water but, like the mind, weightless and invisible, maybe even timeless. Material science shies from these things, calling them epiphenomena, programs running on a computer . . . "

I think what Dr. Haig saw evidenced was the soul. God created man with two parts--a soul and a body, and each is incomplete without the other. I know that in the intermediate heaven our souls will wait for resurrection with our bodies, but we will have supernatural bodies in heaven, REAL bodies that do not age, sicken, or die.

I also learned a new word this week--Hylomorphism. It is the belief that soul animates body, and says that mind and body are a holistic unity. Scripture supports this view (Genesis 2:7, Psalm 16:10, etc.)

I could go on and on, but this has given me a lot of food for thought. Hope it has for you, too.

P.S. Happy Birthday to my son!

~~Angie

4 comments:

oh amanda said...

Wow. Very interesting. I believe it!

Susan said...

Food for thought indeed.

Accidentally susan

CrownLaidDown said...

And yet I think that the brain and it's interworkings indeed had no place in this incident...a Lazarus moment erected by God's Hand, a gift. Does that make sense? I feel like perhaps this man's body, like Abraham's was as good as dead, and God saw fit to give this family a gift--a reminder of His great love and care for them.

He is able to do the impossible.
Thanks for making this tired Mom's head think tonight, angie.
Blessings,
Holly

Pam Meyers said...

Four years ago this past July a very dear friend died of ovarian cancer. During her last earthly night in the wee hours of the morning when she was almost in a coma she suddenly became very alert and sat up in bed. She was in a hospital bed in the living room. Her sister and a friend who lived with her were there. She became very animated and laughed and joked. She and her sister got to talking about when they went to summer camp years ago and she started singing old camp songs, including The Itsy Bitsy Spider with the motions. After all of this she finally laid back down and waved at the two women from her bed as if to say she was off to eternity with the Lord. Right after that she went into a coma and died around 4:30 or 5:00 later that afternoon. I've often heard the hearing is the last thing to go and like Angie said the soul remains intact. That morning I spoke into her ear and told her goodbye and thanked her for being my faithful friend for so many years. I have no doubt she heard and understood every word I said.