Sunday, March 22, 2009

Letting My Mind Wander--resurrection

some ideas i've been pondering about all these resurrection/eternal life posts...

Here's a tangent which is either completely wacky or brilliant. Consider the fact that we can find and match the DNA of ancient Egyptian mummies, even though they've been dead for thousands of years.  We can do it with so much precision that mummies can be grouped into families and relationships established and proven.  

Now imagine that we had the ability to encode that DNA into living tissue, a la Jurassic Park. We don't have that ability, but we can imagine it can't we?  In the realm of sci-fi we wouldn't think such a proposition too outlandish, because we know that each person's DNA is unique in its combination and in its genetic expression. Being able to use that information to clone a human is something that might be conceivable in a century or so....not that I think we should clone people. 

Another idea--Our DNA is shaped by the choices we make in life. Certain genes can be turned on or off depending on our environment and the things we do with our bodies.  In the same way, our minds are not static entities.  Our experiences and our choices can make physical changes in our brains, strengthening certain pathways, even creating new ones in the event that part of our brain becomes damaged.  

It's conceivable that, given enough time and knowledge, we would be able to catalogue, not only a person's DNA, but the way in which it has been altered or shaped as a result of the life that individual has lived.  This would, in essence, be like photographing a person's "soul" or life. 

It gets a little messy here because it comes back to attempting to explain what consciousness is--something which is an awfully slippery concept. 

If, as humans, we have the ability to catalogue and record the uniqueness of a particular individual's DNA, how much more could an omniscient God be able to know such a thing?  I'm not proposing anything radical to people of faith, but simply trying to cast it in a new light. Speaking about people being magically, molecularly reconstituted at some point in the future seems rather hocus pocus and untenable for many. 

However, if we imagine a store of information somewhere...in some superior laboratory...with an ultimately superior mind... might it be so far-fetched to envision this scientist reanimating life from his data? In present day imagery, we might imagine he would have a powerful computer with an infinitely large data base filled with information for him to use and extrapolate.  

In the past, an analogous image would be....ta da... : The Book of Life.  

It's funny to think of things that way.  I mean, do we really believe that God needs to have a book lying around to remind him who has eternal life? He's omniscient.  He should just know.

Yet, the image is useful.  It communicates a vast storage of knowledge.  It communicates the official-ness of the findings.  It's been recorded and written down, so it must be true and irrevocable and the last word. It's not too different from the God-as-a-scientist-in-a-laboratory-with-a-powerful-computer image. 

I have to record these things on my blog, because if I wandered about spouting them in everyday life, I'd have to put up with the eye-rolls of people who couldn't care less. Here I only have to put up with the lack of comments.

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