Science can explain you and me from a biological point of view but it does not know what to make of first-person, phenomenal experience. In other words, that which is most intimately real and present to us – our consciousness and personhood—cannot be confirmed through scientific methodology.
This is called the “hard problem” in neuroscience. Brain scientists do not understand the relationship between our individual thoughts and feelings and brain activity. And many reject the idea of mental causation—that a non-material human mind activates the brain—and prefer the idea that the physical brain produces thought from numerous microscopic electro-chemical processes.
The problem with that theory is that if you cut up a brain into ever-smaller parts and bits, you still can’t get to the “you” or “me.” A purely materialistic ideology offers no help in this legitimate and important area of research.
We do not possess a science of the person. So scientifically speaking, we do not exist (which is laughable).
Theology, however, offers us the closest thing to the science of the person. God understands who we are and offers guidance for helping us to become a better person in both heart and mind. Unfortunately, theology and religion does not put its model of personhood within a scientifically plausible theory.
Enter scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg.
Through his vast array of scientific and theological publications, he formulated a comprehensive model of the human cognitive architecture that included the broader person-level framework and the human soul. Swedenborg was not only the father of the neuron theory (brain cell and its connective processes) he also anticipated deeper structures within the brain cell responsible for the higher cognitive functions of human reasoning and abstract thought. Modern science is only beginning to look at such a possibility of a hierarchical design within neural structure.
These deeper layers of neural structure take on non-classical forms by the lawful removal of geometrical constraints until mental activity ultimately abstracted itself from its usual relationships with time and space. The deepest cognitive substrate of the human mind has its form and existence in the spiritual world.
In fact, Swedenborg claimed that God’s Holy Word is similarly structured—whereby as human cognition ascended to the deeper operations of its inner structures, it could distill deeper levels of meaning within the sacred narratives!
I explore Swedenborg’s unique holistic science and theology in my new book Proving God and translate it within a plausible scientific theory. The book offers new insights to understanding both the laws of the universe and the laws of salvation.