Patricia Hofer

Mind vs. Brain

Because we are God’s children, created in His “image and likeness,” we know our thoughts and intentions. That’s how we make our moral choices. We can sometimes decide to be kind, for example, when we are tempted with anger. As one neuroscience researcher wrote, “We consider that our minds generate the fundamental choice of action that the circuitry of our brains carries out” (Beauregard and O’Leary 29).

The challenge for all of us is that the brain’s “circuitry,” the natural impulses and patterns that have evolved over millennia, resists higher moral choices. We certainly all have experienced this. As Paul wrote, “I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it” (NRSV Rom. 7:18). And yet Paul writes a little further on that he delights “in the law of God in my inmost self” and “with the law of my mind” (22-23). And we understand that as well. Clearly, the “law of my mind” and “another” more selfish “law” are at work in every human being. And this is what that looks like:

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