U.S. President Barack Obama last year announced the BRAIN Initiative*—an ambitious research effort to better understand the human brain. “As humans,” the president declared, “we can identify galaxies light-years away . . . but we still haven’t unlocked the mystery of the three pounds of matter that sits between our ears.”**
One mystery is how matter becomes conscious. It’s not just a question for philosophers anymore; the hope is that scientific study of our 100 billion brain cells may shed some light on this issue. But science is still limited in the things it can solve. When it comes to the soul and consciousness, the only sure starting point for discerning the truth is God’s infallible Word.
The research is an easy sell because learning how the brain functions may assist in solving many vexing brain disorders, such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and autism. So even creationists could support this kind of research, which is an example of fulfilling the creation mandate to exercise dominion over the earth.
In addition to its potential for reducing human suffering through medical advances, it is worthwhile for another reason. The brain is mind-bogglingly complicated—far more complicated than the most complex computer ever built. As scientists delve into its complexities, the telltale signs of a Master Designer will become increasingly clear. Perhaps confronting such overwhelming evidence on a daily basis will force them to recognize their rebellion and their need to acknowledge the Creator and accept His rule in their lives.
One day those who finally acknowledge Him as Lord may credit the BRAIN initiative as the tool God used to get their attention. Those who do not will only underscore the teaching of Romans 1:20 that they are “without excuse.”
*Short for Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies; http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/04/02/brain-initiative-challenges-researchers-unlock-mysteries-human-mind
**A video of the president’s comments can be viewed at: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2013/04/obama-reveals-new-brain-mapping-project.html