Materialists believe that the mind emerges from the brain and that the mind (soul) is an artifact of the brain. Like the Sadducees of Jesus’ time, they only believe what they can see, feel and touch (Matthew 22:23-31, Acts 23:8). This has been the prevailing paradigm in the western scientific world since Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution became the dominant scientific dogma. Recently, however, there has been growing dissent in the area of neuroscience, psychology and psychiatry because the result of adherence to the materialists’ philosophy in the lives of patients, where the rubber meets the road, has been devastating . Interestingly the discovery of the baffling area of quantum physics at the beginning of the last century  marked the beginning the crumbling of materialist philosophy. Denial of the power of the mind, and by extension the spirit, in the treatment of patients with mental and even physical disorders, has led to poor treatment outcomes in many cases. The materialist position, therefore, is becoming increasing untenable.
Alternatively the Bible presents the view of the spirit, soul and the body as separate, but intimately integrated entities (Genesis 2:7, Matthew 26:41, 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Hebrews 4:12). Each of us is a spirit, having a soul (mind) and living in a body. Life is actually a spiritual force. The mind has the power of intellect, emotions and free will , and, if enabled by the spirit and, empowered by the Holy Spirit, can make good choices that can positively change the body, which includes the brain. The materialist view, however, in denying the existence of the spirit and soul, has held to the pre-eminence of the body. This mindset contributed to the view that the brain could not really be changed once we reached adolescence and that all we could hope for in many psychiatric and neurological conditions was compensation and reliance on medication rather than a total cure. This was the prevailing view in the 1980s when Dr. Caroline Leaf started in research and clinical practice as a communication pathologist treating patients with various mental and neurological conditions in clinical and educational settings and research settings. Because of her belief in the biblical view, she set out to help patients, who the medical community had given up on, with remarkable results . She also was able help transform destitute students in deprived schools even to international notice . At the time clinicians and educationalists like her, who believed in the power of the mind to change the brain, were scoffed at. However, as the Sanhedrin discovered, when faced with the walking man who was once crippled (Act 4:14), it was difficult to deny her results.
Fortunately certain discoveries have led credence to the biblical view, Dr Leaf’s research included. It was discovered that the brain continually changes in response to mental and sensory signals throughout the human life span . This process has now been termed ‘neuroplasticity’. It was once thought that, as adults, we had the full complement of nerve cells (neurons) and that we basically lost neurons until we died. Now we know scientifically that we continue to produce neurons in certain areas of the brain constantly, a process known as neurogenesis . The growing medical specialties of psychoneuroimmunology and psychoneuroendocrinology  are bringing to light the intimate relationship between the mind, the brain and the immune and endocrine s. Remarkably the eye-opening science of epigenetics is showing how our choices can profoundly influence, not just our own genes and those that we are in relationship with, but the genes of multiple generations of our descendants . There is thankfully now a growing opposition to the materialist view even among mainstream scientists. In response to the growing evidence of the mind being able to change the brain, materialist have held the view that it is the brain that changes the brain - this is akin to a computer reprogramming and redesigning itself.
Thankfully, in the face of growing recent evidence, the materialist view is losing some of its pre-eminence. There is growing dissent among a populace that is seeking answers to gnawing questions and cures to intractable mental and physical disorders . Surveys show that the majority of lay people globally do not see themselves as biological automata, but as thinking human beings with the ability to think and choose making biological change . Furthermore, the crisis in the education, over-labeling and over-medication of our children is crying out for a change of direction. It is time to return to what the Creator says about the nature of man in the Bible- He knows what we are made of and how we are made (Psalm 103:14). The Mind definitely changes the Brain.
This article was reposted with permission by Dr. Caroline Leaf.
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