Thoughts on Consciousness

“I think therefore I am” is a famous saying. It would have been better, I think, to say, “I am therefore I think.” The reason for this is that I am going to consider two levels of consciousness. I will begin with a very basic definition that applies to everything that has sentient life. All these forms of life have the ability to react to their internal functions and external environments and then act appropriately. As animal life forms became more complex their consciousness increased to match their growing ability to perform various functions. Up until the creation of humans all consciousness was a biochemical-electromagnetic phenomena.

We are told of the coming of a different level of consciousness in Genesis 1:27 where we are told that God created humans in his own image. There is a difficulty here. What is meant by image? It cannot be anything physical about humans. At the time of human creation God had not taken on any physical characteristics. The three persons of the Trinity were pure spirits and people he created were formed from the dust of the earth. How could we and God share any common image? It must be that God added to the biochemical-electromagnetic consciousness that all animals have. This addition must have been portions of his infinite consciousness.

For these two levels to work together God’s consciousness must be compatible with that of humans. I think I can show they seamlessly fit together by pointing you to the person of Jesus Christ. He had a human consciousness and a fully divine consciousness but there no evident separation when he performed miracles. He would be talking to people, do a supernatural act, and then continue to talk as if nothing spectacular had happened. When he did pray before a miracle it was not that he needed to but that he needed to show people he was one with his Father.

Our two levels of consciousness make it possible for us to think and experience on both physical and spiritual levels. Since neither science nor theology have complete understandings of either level, I think we should just be thankful for what we have and be glad that God shared enough from his infinite consciousness so that we could come to know him and believe in his Son.

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Let Us Give Thanks

I think we should first give thanks to the people at Automattic who give us the means to blog, and thus be in contact with many interesting people with intriguing ideas. Then we should thank the people that created and maintain the World Wide Web. Next in our thoughts should be all the inventors, designers, builders, and operators of all the electronic gear we have access to that, in general, enriches our lives.

We might have ideas but to express them we need to have had an education. So next our thanks should go to the people who gave us our education, and beyond that we should be thankful for the people who gave our teachers the resources they used. In addition to those who taught us, we should be thankful for all the people who have been good influences in our lives. Hopefully, these will include the people who raised us and took care of us when we could not do it ourselves. This brings us to think of the healthcare people, and there are a vast number of them, who have perhaps preserved our lives, or at least made them more comfortable.

Let us be thankful for weather-tight dwellings and the utilities, electricity, water, sewage, and gas that provide light (power for electronics), heating and cooling, and hot and cold water. There are thousands, if not millions, of people we have to thank for all these things. We can be thankful also for the people who have provided us with the transportation we use, additional millions.

Clothing we have available in almost overwhelming abundance. For what we have to put on our bodies, we should be thankful.

Most Americans will have food to be thankful for at a Thanksgiving meal. This food did not just appear at a supermarket or restaurant, although sometimes it seems so. Even if it did, we would have thousands of people to thank for the last link in providing our meals. Needless to say, the additional people we should thank go back all the way to the first farmers and livestock raisers.

We should be thankful for the governments that provide us the peace and safety we need to enjoy our Thanksgiving. Let us remember the people who founded this country, and those since who worked, and sometimes gave their lives, for the good of our nation.

We should also thank our Creator, who both gave us life and the means to enjoy it. May all of us be truly thankful for the immense gifts we have been given.