Designed for Fellowship

Designed for Fellowship

Sometimes evidence of God’s design in our lives shows up in unusual places. A recent example of that is a study by neuroscientist Livia Tomova and her associates at MIT that showed we were designed for fellowship.

The study involved 40 people who were required to fast for 10 hours. Then the researchers showed them pictures of pizza and chocolate cake and recorded the brain waves from the midbrain of the subjects. Several days later, they took the same 40 people and did not allow them to have any contact with other people for 10 hours. That meant no friends, no Facebook, no Instagram, no social contact. Then the researchers showed them pictures of people chatting or playing team sports. The brain waves showed the same response as they had for food deprivation.

The area of the brain the researchers studied plays an essential role in human desire for food, friends, drugs, or gambling. The research indicates that humans are designed for fellowship. The effects on people who are socially isolated by COVID-19 are significant. It may explain some behavior issues that researchers have noted. Social isolation puts both mental and physical health at stake. It can even leave people craving for more food, drugs, or gambling.

Genesis 2:18 tells us that when God created Adam, He recognized “It is not good that the man should be alone…” Humans are designed to be social in our base nature. We may think that we like to be alone, but the reality is that eventually, we all need contact with other humans.

After a period of isolation, all of us need to be with other people. The biblical model of the Church is that “when two or three are gathered together” in the name of Jesus, He is there also (Matthew 18:20). One of the frustrations associated with the pandemic is not being able to be with other people who share our convictions and values. We are designed for fellowship with others. That is the way God created us.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

Reference: Science News January 16, 2021, page 5.

When Is Someone Dead?

When Is Someone Dead?

Yale researchers have restored cellular activity to pig brains hours after the animals had been killed at a slaughterhouse. A new technique for treating heart attacks is to cool the body, but that causes brain function to disappear completely. Certain drugs also cause brain function to cease. The question becomes, “When is someone dead?”

The current medical definition of death is when a person has no eye movement, no pain response or gag responses, and does not attempt to breathe independently. The “World Brain Death Project” reported on these facts and definitions in the August 3, 2020, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Their report carried suggested recommendations for doctors to follow.

Dr. Paul Graham Fisher at Stanford said, “This is only a first step. Complex cultural, religious, and even legal forces thwart a simple and universally accepted definition of brain death.” In 2013 a girl named Jahi McGrath was brain dead after a tonsillectomy. Her parents refused to accept that fact and, with support from religious and civil-rights groups, moved her to New Jersey. That state allows religious objections to any diagnosis. There she spent more than four years on a ventilator, finally dying of liver failure in June of 2018.

We have gotten to the point in medicine where it is not easy to answer the question, “When is someone dead?” From a biblical standpoint, death is when the soul leaves the body and returns to God, but how do you determine that?

When there is no quality of life and no hope of physical recovery, a Christian may desire no heroic medical attempts for resuscitation. If you do not believe in God and the soul, then clinging to life is all you have. The question of when is someone dead becomes much more of a concern. Either way, for those left behind, letting go of a loved one is always hard. But for Christians, accepting death is much easier.

— John N. Clayton © 2020

Reference: Science News, September 12, 2020, pages 2, 8, & 9.