If you believe that everyone has a soul and that God created your soul and then arranged for your soul to occupy the particular body and mind that you have; then you must also wonder what your soul is and what it could be made of, if anything. What comprises our consciousness and a feeling of a spiritual presence is unknown, yet archaeological evidence from burial sites of early humans suggests there was a belief in an after-life (a spirit) very early in our evolutionary history. Modern humans have shown and developed this belief in a spiritual connection for many thousands of years. Aboriginal people around the world share a common belief in a life-spirit that occupies all living things and that we are all connected with it. Humans seem to have this innate “feeling” that there is a supreme being or spirits involved in our existence.
On the other hand, perhaps we are simply reacting to an emotion. This feeling comes from the left and right posterior parietal regions in the brain (spirituality). As our brains evolved and our curiosity grew, it is postulated that this feeling may have evolved with it to help explain the world around us and to overcome our fear of the unknown, especially death. Since this behaviour/thought process originates from a general location in the brain, then perhaps it is associated with our genetics and is, therefore, an evolutionary, genetic, behavioural trait. (the God Gene).
Neurotheology and neurology, however, have not proven a genetic connection to spirituality nor has a specific location been identified in the brain where the formulation of spirituality actually occurs (the God Spot) . There is much scientific debate about the brain function, spirituality and the genes involved, if any, and the research and debate continues.
There is no doubt, however that this feeling exists and that it originates in our brain. In his book Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul, 1995 ,Francis Crick (co-discoverer of the DNA double helix) stated “…the soul is biochemical”. He concluded that our thoughts and spirituality are simply biochemical reactions in our brain that leads us to feel there is a transcendence beyond ourselves.
In his book “Grand Design”, Stephen Hawing concluded that God is not required to create the universe. Based on the science of quantum mechanics and the never-ending possibilities taken over an infinite amount of time, Hawking and others argue that everything that makes up the universe, our galaxy, solar system, earth and ultimately us was inevitable, no matter how small the odds, and will be repeated. In fact many cosmologists now believe there are parallel universes in a froth of multi-universe bubbles. (Brian Greene – parallel universe / multiverse). It seems that the Hindus may have it right – we can be reincarnated. We will get another chance to relive our lives. Deja vu, ground-hog day, or the feeling that you have a connection with some past event or person. Were you created or are you just a chance formation and arrangement of atoms that can actually think? That is what Greene, Hawking, Crick and others are postulating.
In summary, research has shown that there is a general area in brain where this spiritual feeling originates and that it is biochemical. This thing we call spirituality, or our soul, may actually be a figment of our imaginations. But consider this: because we are a living, biochemical reaction, perhaps God needed a way to connect with us and developed a gene or made that area of our brain to act like an antennae to connect with Him. Maybe that is how He intended it to work. This could be how our biochemical world connects with the spirit world. The signal is there, we have a choice whether to receive it. Science, science fiction or just plain faith?
Time marches on,
The universe is expanding,
Atoms made into matter,
Inanimate matter arranged into life,
Diversity of life abounds,
There must be a guiding hand,