The world’s religions all inform us that we are more than our physical bodies. This extra part of our living reality is usually called the soul. Because the soul resides within a spiritual realm beyond space and time it is immune to thermodynamic laws and allows us to live after the death of the physical body.
But eternal life is meaningless unless we can take our unique personalities into this non-physical realm and continue to live as ourselves. Human subjective experience or personal self-awareness is made, not born. It is evident that one’s personality and individual consciousness is formed during his or her life on earth.
This self-awareness is one’s spirit, consisting of affection and intellect. “Spirit” and “mind” are synonymous. What is unknown to many theologians and scientists is that it is the function of the human soul to build one’s consciousness and mind throughout a person’s life in the body.
To be more precise, God works through the soul (top-down causation) to develop the human intellect. The manner in which this is accomplished is that the Lord inseminates knowledge according to an individual’s quality of love or affection.
Some neuroscientists are beginning to suspect that human cognitive processes are multi-leveled and involve emotion. That is, emotion (or some derivative of love) shapes our attention and organizes the data in our memory within various levels of our cognitive architecture into coherent systems (spiritual bio-complexity).
Translated back into theological language, God, by means of the soul, creates a person’s mind according to that person’s disposition. A person’s disposition or ruling love provides the planes on which various cognitive functions emerge.
As young children we have curiosity and the affection for learning. This original affection (love) becomes the plane of our memory. As we get older we move on to the affection of understanding what we know. And hopefully, our affection evolves into a love of finding truth.
In each “jump” to a higher cognitive level or plane, the soul builds the mind according to one’s personal experience and preference. Since one’s mind and spirit are the same thing, this process allows the soul to fashion one’s personality into a coherent non-physical form and structure which can survive physical death.
The downside of this is that the soul will provide the same immunity of death to individuals who have chosen selfish principles and an evil life. If the soul did not respond in such a manner humans would be robbed of free will and the soul’s flux of living energy into the human heart and mind would only wreak havoc and tear apart the very fabric of one’s being.
So God created religion as a lawful strategy to help humans appropriate noble affections that would allow the soul to fashion a person’s heart and mind for a life in heaven. Those who reject God and His precepts of mutual love force the soul to fashion the fabric of one’s inner being in a corresponding manner – one that is not properly adapted for a heavenly kingdom.
Religion and science have a unified future! Stay tuned.