The following is an essay I wrote that is published in the Spring, 2016 issue of The Youth Messenger, a publication of the Free Reformed Churches of North America. Reprinted here with permission.
Is It Such A Big Deal?
A comment on smoking in the Youth Messenger on the topic of health is not that surprising. It is common knowledge that smoking is bad for your health. A good message is to avoid it, but it is not that simple. Many of you have friends who smoke. There are still a number of people in our churches who smoke. So is it important to know something about it?
In the posting titled Personhood – Which Comes First Death of the Body or Departure of the Soul/ I grappled with the question of the mind. Science can show that activities of the mind and physical activities in the brain are connected but science does not prove that the mind is simply a function of physical brain activity. Clearly, for others to know that thoughts are occurring in a person’s mind the person must have a functioning brain to express the thoughts through. Actually, more than just a functioning brain is usually required. Except when there is some kind of real time brain scanner, such as a functional MRI scan, assessing the brain, we can only know that the mind is active when the brain uses the physical attributes of the body to express the activity of the mind, such as the movement of the lungs, vocal cords and mouth, etc. This does not necessarily mean that a person’s brain must be functioning in order to think. There are examples of people who because of brain malfunction have temporarily lost the ability to move or speak, who were later able to reveal that during the time of lost function that their minds were active. The question before us is this. Is there some area of the brain that is the mind, or is the mind other than the brain and only, in a sense, making use of the brain? I accept that the center of the mind in our bodies is the brain but is the brain the mind?
Worldview and Ethical Issues from a Biblical Perspective