A Paradoxical Creation

Dennis McClendon, May 22, 2011

Mind

Amy Nutt, who has written about the human brain, said that the thing she was most impressed by with regard to the human brain, was the paradox that this organ, which at six weeks gestation has a level of complexity comparable to a shrimp is, by puberty, the most complex object in the universe. With enough blood vessels to stretch from Philadelphia to Portland, Maine, and enough nerve fibers to circle the earth 4 times, these nerve fibers communicate with each other through about a quadrillion connections. This amazing matrix of command, control, and communication infrastructure consists of a mere 3 pounds of tissue. Furthermore, the human brain, the organ most responsible for conceiving, designing and developing the great works of literature, art, architecture, engineering and science, runs on about 20 watts of power.

You may know that a character of information, say for example the letter “j”, uses a byte of information on a standard computer. A thousand of these bytes is a kilobyte, the standard memory measurement of the early 1970s. By the 1980s we were commonly using the term “megabyte”, 1000 kilobytes. In the 1990s gigabytes became popular… 1000 megabytes. Now the term “terabyte” is popular. A terabyte is 1000 gigabytes, or 1 trillion bytes. What next? Ever heard of a petabyte? Me neither. Until I started researching this subject, I didn’t know it, but when one discusses the data capacity of the human brain, one speaks in terms of petabytes. A petabyte is, you may have guessed it… 1000 terabytes. At any given moment, the human brain can manage some 2.5 petabytes of memory. That is 2,500 terabytes, or 2 1/2 quadrillion bytes. For the sake of comparison, Google processes about 24 petabytes of data per day. The Internet Archive contains about 3 petabytes of data. The global communication behemoth, AT&T, has about 19 petabytes of data transferred through their worldwide networks each day. So, each 3 pound, 20 watt human brain present here today, has memory capacity equivalent to some of the largest data networks in the world.

What an amazing, awe inspiring, stupefying, act of creation we see embodied in this one organ of the human body! All of this memory and processing power supports the learning and teaching ability, the capacity to make decisions, to conceptualize and imagine things, to invent, to discover, to hypothesize and theorize, to exercise free will and develop a purpose, and to possess consciousness. In short, the brain supports one aspect of God’s image… the mind.

A paradox is basically a truth that doesn’t seem to make sense. People who don’t like the idea of faith in the Bible call them contradictions. A contradiction makes no sense. A paradox does make sense – just not on the surface. Creation is full of these paradoxes and so is the Bible. Why? Isaiah 55:9“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Think about it:

  • Love is paradoxical. It protects and at the same time allows the beloved to choose destruction.
  • God is light 1 John 1:5 but His creation started in darkness.
  • God is good and His creation is good, yet evil exists in His creation.
  • God stands alone in majesty, yet He made us in his image.

He wants us to inherit a blessing yet we often maintain a curse.

These are just a few such contradictions. In my experience, they are only contradictions until you dig deep enough, pray enough, and eventually discover, or are led to the revelation of the truth. Then what looked like a contradiction becomes a paradox
It is a paradox that we possess – each of us – this profound ability to think, understand, and envision wonderful complexities of creation and even profound secrets of the Kingdom of God, but at the same time we often demonstrate stunning forgetfulness and pitiful ineptitude. We often forget where we put our keys. We foul up our finances. We fail to communicate effectively with people whom we have known intimately for decades. And we lost touch with the very person who is our source of life… our Creator. We so often disuse our minds and misuse them by permitting ourselves to be governed by poor attitudes and distractions. This misunderstanding, this miscommunication, this state of being astray is, of course, the definition of sin. So many of the human race choose the broad road to destruction.
Thankfully, our Creator, Father, Abba, by the blood of Yeshua (Jesus), has lit a path back to Him, giving us abundant life through His Holy Spirit. Still, we, His people, the redeemed of the Lord, must be ever diligent to hold each thought captive to the obedience of Christ, in communion with the Holy Spirit, if we are to see this abundance in our daily walk, minute to minute.
God stands alone in majesty, yet He made us in his image. Mind, body, and spirit. What is the greatest commandment? Deuteronomy 6:4-5 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. In other words love Him with the fullness of your being. Psalm 139:14 says that we were made in God’s own secret place. That we are fearfully and wonderfully made. That our days were ordained and written in His book before the first one of them came to be. We considered the mind. What of the body?

Body

It is a paradox these bodies of ours are made in God’s image, but they malfunction. Our bodies consist of some 100 trillion cells, working together in an astoundingly complex symphony of organically fueled, electrically charged, biochemistry, so that we can walk, talk, see, hear, smell, touch, taste. It is amazing enough that our brains grew, but a brain is so much more handy when it has a body to work with! We all started with two single half-cells, if you will, one from your mother, one from your father. DNA, a long molecule which is made up mostly of sugar and phosphates, half from your mother, half from your father. Throw in a bunch of proteins and amino acids, next thing you know, you have a new genes, chromosomes, a new cell, it divides, more new cells, the genes orchestrating the purpose of each cell, next thing you know you have a brain, nerves, muscles, bones, blood, and organs bada-bing, bada-bam, bada-boom – human! All made up of 100 trillion self-replicating, self-healing cells, with identical DNA. All uniquely you! And, 98% of these cells are replaced every 6-9 months, mostly from material in the food we eat, so every year there is a new you! So, we are what we eat! Add to this the fact that we are all carrying with us, right now, over 1000 species of microorganisms that actually outnumber the cells in out bodies, so in that sense, we are not ourselves! When this amazingly complex balancing act slips out of balance we experience sickness. Yet we often choose to throw it out of balance by how we choose to do things, what we eat or drink and how much, what we expose ourselves to in our natural environment, and which attitudes and influences we allow into our spiritual walk.

Thankfully, our Creator, Father, Abba, by the blood of Yeshua (Jesus), has lit a path back to Him, giving us abundant life through His Holy Spirit. His life blood given as a perfect sacrifice for all of us and his body given that we might be healed (Isaiah 53:5). Still, we, His people, the redeemed of the Lord, must be ever diligent to hold each thought captive to the obedience of Christ, in communion with the Holy Spirit, if we are to see this abundance in our daily walk, minute to minute.

Spirit

It is a paradox that we are the only thing that God breathed His Spirit into, yet we find it so difficult to maintain the communion with Him that bears spiritual fruit. Why do we do this?! Scripture give two primary examples: the first, shame, that’s what Adam and Eve felt when they ate the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of good and evil and realized the were “naked”. In other words, “We’ve done wrong, it has affected us profoundly, we can’t let God see us like this!”, and the second, fear, is what caused the Hebrews to shun God’s invitation to have a direct audience with Him at Mount Sinai. In effect, they said, “Whoa! You’re too big, You’re too powerful, You’re too noisy… and, basically, we’re too afraid. We want to keep our distance. Talk to Moses and let him tell us what you said. Almost 200 passages in scripture deal with fear and being afraid. Many of them instruct us to fear God. About half of them are either God telling us not to be afraid… of Him, or of things and people around us. A contradiction? No! A paradox? Yes. To fear or not to fear. That is the question. The answer? Yes! Fear God when we try to go it alone. Do not fear to commune with God, for only in this communion do we hear… can we obey.

2 Timothy 1:7

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Thankfully, our Creator, Father, Abba, by the blood of Yeshua (Jesus), has lit a path back to Him, giving us abundant life through His Holy Spirit. His life blood given as a perfect sacrifice for all of us and his body given that we might be healed (Isaiah 53:5). Still, we, His people, the redeemed of the Lord, must be ever diligent to hold each thought captive to the obedience of Christ, in communion with the Holy Spirit, if we are to see this abundance in our daily walk, minute to minute.
God stands alone in majesty, yet He made us in his image.
He wants us to inherit a blessing yet we often maintain a curse He wants us to inherit a blessing (1 Peter 3:9). He wants us to worship Him with all of that wonderful image. What is the greatest commandment? Deuteronomy 6:4-5 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.[a] 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 1 Corinthians 1:9 and 2 Corinthians 13:14 say that we are made for fellowship with Him.
He wants us to return to the image of Him that we are created to be.
God is love. A crucial component of love is the freedom to turn away. Free will. We have no reason to turn away from God, but he had to give us that choice. If our love for Him was to be real, we had to choose Him.

In Body (service vs. entertainment/pleasure)

Many of us are far too caught up in the pursuit of pleasure and entertainment. Certainly, there is a place for this, but it must be in proper proportion, and it must edify the body, personally or corporately. This balance can only be found through communion with God.

Romans 12:1-2

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

In Mind (wisdom of God vs. wisdom of the world)

In Genesis 3:6, Eve saw that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was desirable for gaining wisdom. However, the wisdom she gained was not the wisdom of God. God’s wisdom cannot be gained through disobedience. No. This was worldly wisdom. This wisdom was never meant for us to have.

James 3:17

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere

 

1 Corinthians 2:14-16

14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

In Spirit (boldness/victorious/loving vs. fearful/defeated/loathing)

 

2 Timothy 1:7

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

We are made to bear spiritual fruit (John 15:8, 16; Prov. 8:19): love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control, yet we are too often spiritually barren.
We are made to extend the power of God through His spiritual gifts: message of wisdom, message of knowledge, faith, miraculous powers, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, speaking in different kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues. Yet, all to often, we exhibit spiritual weakness. Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 2:17-18: “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”

 

1 Corinthians 2:2-5

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

 

Romans 8:15

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

 

1 Corinthians 2:11-13

11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.

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