More to life than the physical
I believe that the physical universe–the things we can see and touch is not all there is to reality. I believe there is a spiritual world that is just as real (maybe more real) than the one we can see. I have an unshakable intuition that I have a soul–that there is more to my consciousness than neural software. I can’t shake the belief that I’m more than a sophisticated, intelligent, bio-machine. (I teach Computer Science, so I know a little bit about machines that appear to think.)
Can I offer any empirical evidence for these convictions? Not really. Can I use the scientific method to confirm the reality of a world of the spirit? I don’t think so. Of course we have all heard the stories (maybe even read the books or watched the movies) about life after death experiences. Or about encounters with supernatural forces (angels, demons, ghosts). Did these things really happen? Maybe. Probably. Some of them must be true. But they are hard to prove. And that isn’t really why I believe anyway.
When I watch the sun set over the ocean, or look at the stars on a clear night, I feel a sense of wonder and awe. Machines don’t feel wonder–they don’t feel at all. When I walk through a forest, I can’t escape the feeling that such a place of grandeur is part of some beautiful design–a masterpiece of a creator’s art. And I feel in my heart that I am a part of that creative masterpiece. Every time I dive a little deeper into understanding the natural world, whether it be physics, cosmology, or neuro-cognitive science, I am amazed by the incredible complexity and harmony of everything in our universe and it reinforces my belief that there must be a brilliant mind behind it all. And I am a part of that all and meant to be connected with that brilliant mind.
Another reason I believe that I’m more than a machine is that I can love. I’m talking about love that goes beyond physical attraction, warmth, or mutual benefit–love that puts the interests of others above my own, like the love I have for my wife and daughter, a love that is full of feeling and emotion, but that goes beyond that–I would give up my life for them. This kind of love enables me to transcend mere survival and existence. And when I read about a creator who loves like this even more than I ever could, I am humbled, amazed, and delighted–some more experiences that I don’t think a machine will ever be capable of.
Finally, the experience that convinces me of the reality of the spirit, of the soul, is that I have known both the emptiness and the filling of my own soul. I have had a craving for something that wasn’t satisfied by anything I could find in this world, but that was satisfied when I gave myself to God–when I put my faith in his son Jesus Christ. As he said, “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14).
“Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.” –Jesus
Does all of this matter? Does it affect my life? Of course! Since I believe that there is a spiritual world; that I and everyone else in this physical world have a soul; and that there is a creator who is spirit–then nurturing my soul and the souls of others and worshiping my God have become my highest priorities.
This blog will be one way that I hope to nurture some souls—yours and mine! And I pray that what I write will bring glory and praise to the awesome creator of our universe!