God Said Man Said

Changing Your Brain

“Neuroplasticity is the ability of the human brain to structurally rearrange itself in response to a wide variety of positive and negative events.” In the Bible, God calls it “the renewing of the mind. ”
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Changing Your Brain

Article#: 1158

We have plenty of negative things to think about.  Turning those things completely positive is a Biblical miracle that only the redeemed can do.  Romans 8:28:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

All things work together for our good, but being able to see the light in the darkness is central to this reality.  I recall the lyrics of a Christian song that basically said that all those who broke my heart were just northern stars pointing me to Christ.

Walking in Christ, a believer will be consistently confronted with negative circumstances that appear to contradict God’s promises.  A believer must understand that in the ugliness of trouble is found the beauty.  To one who is striving after Godliness, reversals of one form or another are not only standard fare, but in fact are promised to the saints.  Mark 10:29-30:

29  And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's,

30  But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

As a believer steps out in faith and perseveres through life’s troubles, God’s promise meets him and he is strengthened by his experience.  James 1:2-4:

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Step out in faith.  Jesus said in Mark 11:22-26:

22  ...Have faith in God.

23  For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

24  Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

25  And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

26  But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

In the opposition is found the beauty.  Turning negative to positive is the business of God. 

Dear visitor, are you born-again?  Have you been set free from the vanity of this life?  Are you ready to see God’s Light in your darkness?  Click onto “Further With Jesus” for childlike instructions and instant entry into the Kingdom of God.  NOW FOR TODAY’S SUBJECT.

GOD SAID, Romans 12:2:

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

GOD SAID, Ephesians 4:22-24:

22  That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

23  And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24  And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

MAN SAID: Famed German rationalist Nietzsche made the line “God is dead” famous.  Nietzsche died in an insane asylum.

Now THE RECORD.  Because the world has refused to retain God in its knowledge, God has turned it over to a reprobate mind.  Romans 1:28-32:

28  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

29  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31  Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

32  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Reprobate is defined in several ways in Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language.  Example: “Abandoned to error, or in apostasy.”  [End of quote]  Because men refuse the Word of God, they will readily embrace the lie and pursue this world’s hurtful lusts.  Jesus framed the issue well in John 3:19-21:

19  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

20  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

21  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

GodSaidManSaid is a proof text.  This is feature article #460.  These features prove the inerrant veracity of God’s Holy Word.  On this site, the features are archived in text and streaming audio, and they grow by one (God willing) every Thursday eve.  Welcome to GodSaidManSaid.  We’re so glad you’ve come.

In past features, we have addressed the issue of neuroplasticity and how God changes the human brain, a concept known to the blood-bought as putting on the mind of Christ.  What neuroscience is just beginning to comprehend has been common knowledge among the redeemed since the principle was defined numerous times in God’s Word thousands of years ago.  This feature will be just one more proof of the supernatural origin of the Bible and of the God who authored it.

New research published in 2009 in Newberg and Waldman’s book, How God Changes Your Brain, sheds additional light on the subject of neuroplasticity.  Dr. Newberg is the director of the Center for Spirituality and the Mind at the University of Pennsylvania and one of the founders of a new field of interdisciplinary study called neurotheology.  Co-author Mark Waldman is a therapist and author and co-author of ten books.  He lectures throughout the country.  Keep in mind that in the Word of God, today’s neuroplasticity is called “renewing the mind.”  The following excerpts are from Newberg and Waldman’s book:

Contemplating God will change your brain, but I want to point out that meditating on other grand themes will also change your brain.  If you contemplate the Big Bang, or immerse yourself in the study of evolution—or choose to play a musical instrument, for that matter—you’ll change the neural circuitry in ways that enhance your cognitive health.  But religious and spiritual contemplation changes your brain in a profoundly different way because it strengthens a unique neural circuit that specifically enhances social awareness and empathy while subduing destructive feelings and emotions.  This is precisely the kind of neural change we need to make if we want to solve the conflicts that currently afflict our world.  And the underlying mechanism that allows these changes to occur relates to a unique quality known as neuroplasticity: the ability of the human brain to structurally rearrange itself in response to a wide variety of positive and negative events.

If we combine all of the research on neuroplasticity, we must conclude that neurons do not have fixed properties or positions.  Instead, they are changing all the time, triggered by competition, environmental changes, and education.

So what does neuroplasticity have to do with God?  Everything, for if you contemplate something as complex or mysterious as God, you’re going to have incredible bursts of neural activity firing in different parts of your brain.  New dendrites will rapidly grow and old associations will disconnect as new imaginative perspectives emerge.  [End of quote]

Newberg and Waldman discuss in some detail the effects of God on the brain and the benefits of meditation.  They review the progress of a research subject named Gus who was practicing meditation therapy to improve memory.  The following paragraphs are from their book:

Next, we asked Gus to perform his meditation in our lab.  We again injected him with the tracer, as we had eight weeks before, and we took another scan.  We wanted to see if his brain responded differently to the meditation than when he first tried it, and we discovered that toward the end of the twelve-minute practice there was decreased activity in the parietal lobe, a part of the cortex involved with constructing our sense of self.

In our brain-scan studies of nuns and Buddhists, we also found decreased activity in the parietal lobe.  When this happens, one’s sense of self begins to dissolve, allowing the person to feel unified with the object of contemplation or intention.  For the nuns, their goal was to come closer to God.  For the Buddhists, it was to experience pure consciousness and awareness.  But for Gus, he became unified with his goal of improving memory.  We don’t fully understand the reason for it, but it appears that a loss of self-consciousness enhances one’s intention to reach specific goals.  A loss of one’s sense of self also appears to improve one’s ability to perform a variety of tasks, with greater pleasure.  In sports it’s called being “in the zone,” and in psychology, this state of optimal experience is called “flow.”

Gus’s scans showed that it takes less than two months to alter the overall neural functioning of the brain.  This is amazing because it demonstrates that we have the power to consciously change our brains, and improve our neural functioning, in far less time than scientists used to think.  [End of quote]

God is a Spirit and He created all that you see out of that which is invisible.  Spirit always precedes flesh and dictates the overall makeup of all things, and so it is with the development and renewing of the mind.  Again from How God Changes Your Brain:

In nearly all of our subjects who had meditated for over ten years, we found asymmetric activity between the left and right half of the thalamus when they were not engaged in any contemplative activity.  In other words, one side was more active than the other side.  In the general population, both sides are typically equal in activity, especially when you are at rest.

We would argue that the more you meditate on a specific object—be it God, or peace, or financial success—the more active your thalamus becomes, until it reaches a point of stimulation where it perceives thoughts in the same way that other sensations are perceived.  And if you exercise an idea over and over, your brain will begin to respond as though the idea was a real object in the world.  This, we believe, is what may cause thalamic asymmetry in advanced meditators.  Thus, the more you focus on God, the more God will be sensed as real.  But it will not be a “symmetrical” reality.  Instead, it will be perceived “asymmetrically,” meaning that the reality will appear different from one’s normal perception of the world.  For advanced meditators, the asymmetrical reality becomes their normal state of awareness.  God, tranquility, and unity become an integral part of their lives, no longer a thought but a palpable experience, as real as the book you are holding in your hand.  [End of quote]

Putting on the mind of Christ literally changes the formation of the brain.  Let’s read Romans 12:2 again:

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Neuroscientists know this as neuroplasticity.  Transformed simply means to change form.  God’s renewing of the mind process will change all aspects of a person’s life and it begins as a result of direct intervention of God’s Spirit in the believer’s mind.  This process of Godly mind transformation begins with a miracle and proceeds through a continual series of miracles:

Miracle #1: Born-again.

Miracle #2: The chain-breaking power of the open confession of Jesus Christ with the mouth.

Miracle #3: A public water baptism by immersion.

Miracle #4: The supernatural baptism of the Holy Ghost as received on the day of Pentecost.

Miracle #5: The daily study of the Word of God which continues the process of mind renewal.

The born-again experience is not turning over a new leaf.  It’s a new (all new) life.  II Corinthians 5:17:

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Neuroscience begins to understand neuroplasticity, but God is already there.

GOD SAID, Romans 12:2:

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

GOD SAID, Ephesians 4:22-24:

22  That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

23  And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24  And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

MAN SAID: famed German rationalist Nietzsche made the line “God is dead” famous.  Nietzsche died in an insane asylum.

Now you have THE RECORD.

 

 

 

 

References:

 

Authorized King James Version

Newberg, A., M.D., and M. Waldman, How God Changes Your Brain, Ballantine Books, 2009, pp14,16,29,54,55

 

 

 

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