As human scientific knowledge continues to advance, we are gaining knowledge of the human body that we could not have imagined only a few years ago. Consider the advances in pharmaceuticals. Many conditions that had to be treated with invasive surgical procedures in years past can now be treated with drugs. While I do acknowledge that there is a certain aspect of our dependence on drugs that is disturbing, in the majority of cases, pharmaceuticals have improved the quality and duration of human life.
One area where our knowledge is still limited is the study of the human brain. Certainly our knowledge of this subject has improved over time, but the main body of our knowledge continues to be an understanding of what part of the brain controls what human activities. This knowledge is not known to us in very much detail and there is very little scientific evidence about HOW the brain actually does what it does. The most basic function of the brain, self-consciousness, remains a mystery to us.
From a philosophical standpoint it can be asked whether the brain is complex enough to understand itself. Put another way, the brain must be simple enough to be understood, but complex enough to understand itself. This line of thinking can easily lead us into a paradox.
When consulting the Bible there is little about the human brain. In Job 38:36 God claims credit for putting wisdom and understanding in our mind. This is consistent with other passages, such as Exodus 36:2 and 1Kings 3:12, where God places understanding into the mind of a man. Other than these few examples, the Bible is more focused on the depravity and changeability of the human mind, along with a need to transform the mind to become a spiritual person.
People can’t seem to understand the human brain, but God does. In fact, he has intentionally placed limits on human knowledge in order to create mystery and doubt where human beings want certainty. The very existence of God is one such example. If God is all powerful, isn’t he able to show himself to exist without a shadow of a doubt? Yet in our world there are examples all around us of the existence of God without the presence of that undeniable proof that will stand up in a court of law. Rest assured that God has done this by design. He shows us the way to Himself through creation and through the lives and works of other people. However, He requires our faith to make the final connection to Him. Why? Because God does not primarily want our minds, which are unloving and easily changed with circumstances. He wants our hearts, which are capable of love for Him, fellowship with Him, and loyalty to Him.
God has withheld from us certain wisdom and understanding so we are required to live by faith in this world. Because of God’s goodness towards us and His desire for fellowship with us in eternity, I have to believe that upon our arrival in heaven we will be gifted with a more complete understanding of everything. God will fill in the gaps with knowledge that were spanned before with faith. Keep in mind that at this point I will not be interested in knowledge about quantum physics, (which I may get anyway), but knowledge about life and existence. My mind today can comprehend the idea of infinity, but my mind in heaven will be able to have a complete understanding.
This supposition is certainly an extrapolation outside the limits of scripture and could be disputed by any number of arguments. However, I take comfort in contemplating these possibilities as a way to take a break from the difficulties of this life. The gift of knowledge could be one more of a plethora of comforts that my next life in heaven could provide, thanks to God.