Neuroscience is bumping into religion

Neuroscientists cannot avoid addressing the human mind and its consciousness. To create a complete theory and model of human brain structure and its cognitive functions will ultimately challenge brain researchers to move towards a broader person-level framework that includes subjective (first person) experience.

For a scientist to deny the existence of “person-level” realities is to deny something that everyone experiences firsthand. To accept it is a further cause for headaches.

The problem for brain scientists is the mind/brain connection. How do you integrate physical brain processes with more intimate and personal human experience? This challenge is further complicated by the fact that the human mind may well operate beyond time and space. Natural science comes to a dead end if it cannot find solutions within a materialistic ideology and framework.

If the human mind operates outside of spacetime constraints, you run smack dab into religion, which supports the idea of personal existence beyond the physical earth. Therefore, scientists will have to come to grips with the possibility that human bio-complexity can be extended to include non-physical structure!

The human mind (volition and discernment) definitely has structure. This is easily verified by the fact that human memory is not just a random collection of data. This data is arranged into a coherent system, which becomes a person’s worldview and belief system. A person’s level of understanding is based on how well one’s thoughts are arranged and organized. This arrangement of mental ideas into coherent structure is not unlike the process we see in nature to self-organize and grow structure spontaneously (like galaxies).

The mind, however, is alive and therefore its structure is organic!

According to scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, the human mind and human spirit is the same thing. Therefore, the organic arrangement of a person’s ideas becomes the non-physical bio-complexity (spiritual body) of the soul.

Swedenborg had discovered that the causal link between body and spirit was through correspondence. The mind could do everything the body could do but from a higher reality. The mind can grasp ideas in a similar way that a hand can grasp physical objects and digest information in the same way the body digests terrestrial food. This is why all parts of the physical body have reference to some part of the brain and every part of the brain has reference to some volition and thought of the non-material mind. (By the way, human volition and thought are finite images and likenesses of God’s Infinite Love and Wisdom.)

Since the physical body has a corresponding representation in the human brain, and the human brain has a corresponding representation in various human feelings and thoughts, the mind or spirit has a perfect human form (otherwise there would be no top-down symmetry and communication between these distinct levels of existence).

Swedenborg was the first scientist to formulate a neuron theory (brain cell with its connections). Even more impressive, he developed a multi-level cognitive theory, which included deeper levels of structure in the brain cell (neuron) itself to account for the higher functions of human thought and abstraction. And he put it all into a person-level framework because it included our life-choices and values.

Modern neuroscience has only recently begun to think of brain structure beyond the substrate of neural synaptic connections. Emanuel Swedenborg extended the idea of neural substrates within the human cognitive architecture to the non-physical bio-complexity of the human soul in the spiritual world 250 years ago!

My upcoming book Proving God will go into this important topic in much greater detail. It will be available to the public this March. For more information please visit


About thegodguy

EDWARD F. SYLVIA, M.T.S. Philosopher/Theologian Edward F. Sylvia attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and received his Master of Theological Studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and a Certificate of Swedenborgian Studies from the Swedenborgian House of Studies. He is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (C.T.N.S.) and the Swedenborg Scientific Association (S.S.A.). Award-winning author of "Sermon From the Compost Pile: Seven Steps Toward Creating An Inner Garden" and "Proving God," which fulfills a continuing vision that God’s fingerprints of love can be found everywhere in the manifest universe. His most recent book, "Swedenborg & Gurdjieff: The Missing Links" is an edgy collection of anti-intuitive essays for personal transformation that challenges and inspires. He has been a student of the ideas of both Emanuel Swedenborg and George I. Gurdjieff for over thirty years. Read more about TheGodGuy, his books and his ideas at
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4 Responses to Neuroscience is bumping into religion

  1. I’m going to assume that because you accept the science behind neuroscience, you also accept the science behind evolution. That said I wonder how you can justify a spontaneous human “soul” or did you just not speak of the souls that our evolutionary ancestors had? The nature of consciousness is not so different from any other biological process that person-level experiences, emotions, thoughts, deductive ability, or any other slogan you might want to slab on humans as “special” can be used to justify that there’s some extraordinary supernatural process going on (supernatural literally being outside of spacetime). We’ve got no reason to believe in spirits or souls or auras outside of their existence in fiction; using them to try to prove real natural phenomena is not productive.

    Good luck with your book, I wish you tons of success!

  2. thegodguy says:

    Dear SDNDD,

    Thanks for wishing me well on my upcoming book “Proving God.”

    However, I do NOT accept the current science behind evolution (neo-Darwinian synthesis). I believe evolution is spiritually driven and spend some time on this important topic in my new book.

    I would like to point out that as regards to human consciousness there is no rigorous empirical basis for believing it is the outcome of inert matter (epiphenomenon).

    Furthermore, if you believe in the Big Bang Singularity then the universe could not have had a physical cause (without spacetime). Also, a quantum mechanical beginning leads us to “tendencies to exist” that act like non-material waves within a prenatal void. Scientists have no clue as to what principles might be behind action devoid of time and space. Physicist John Wheeler surmised that spacetime might have emerged out of a “pregeometry” state.

    My book tackles the challenge of formulating a theory of causal processes not just out of a void (seeming nothingness) but from non-physical and theological first principles!

    Spiritually yours,

  3. As I said in my last comment to your previous post (still to be moderated), you rely essentially on official, doctrinaire science results, which are indeed strongly deficient (as now increasingly acknowledged by many professionals of that science, even though they are not inclined at all to that kind of truth). What you use as “current science behind evolution”, theory of consciousness and Big Bang cosmological dogma can be replaced by much more consistent understanding of these and other layers of reality already today (details available), if only the happy few world champions of good, love and truth could apply relatively very small efforts in that direction. This doesn’t mean that all your current conclusions will fail together with those wrong scientific concepts. However, their essential details (which is your original contribution) will certainly change towards much greater good, love, beatitude and truth. Unless you consider that the latter element is unnecessary in the row…

  4. thegodguy says:

    Dear Andrei,

    I did respond to your latest statements on the other blog post “What Is God doing about Haiti?” Please refer to it.

    As to your above response my book “Proving God” challenges the current assumptions of both modern science (materialistic ideology) and traditional theological doctrines. Neither current science nor current religious doctrines are adequate for a rational approach to their unification.

    My book even provides an answer to QUANTUM GRAVITY (which eludes today’s brightest scientific minds) based on my insights of the dynamical (non-material) magnitudes of Love and God’s Divine Nature.

    We both seek positive change in the world. We are spiritual brothers!

    Spiritually yours,

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