It’s the brain chemistry

wood 2I am awed by some of the newer brain research that has been coming out in recent years, particularly as regards the developing child/adolescent brain.  Here are a few factoids of interest:

  • The brain develops from back to front; that is, from critical life-sustaining functions in the brain stem (like breathing) to the more complex, problem-solving matters in the frontal lobe (perhaps calculus…personally, I never got there, but you get the point.)
  • The limbic area (further back in the brain) is the home for our fight/flight/freeze response when we are afraid or angry—again, part of the life-protecting response to some perceived danger, I suppose.
  • The frontal lobe (housed right behind the forehead) is also for decisions involving the word should, (as in, “no, I definitely should NOT take calculus”), and involves moral and ethical capabilities.
  • And here’s the kicker—the frontal lobe does not fully develop in the human brain until the early to mid-twenties.

 Explains a lot, don’t it?

So when I read this from John’s Revelation, it adds a bit of new meaning: 

“Then I [John] saw the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him were 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.”

To begin with, the forehead is one of the first places on the face I’m going to see when I meet someone—you might not think of it that way, but you might also be surprised at how inventive women can be to hide blemishes or scars in that area, especially on school picture day.  (Hair bangs do wonders.)  So to have this Name written on the forehead represents to me something so significant that anyone who looks at the person will immediately and unmistakably know to whom the person belongs; that is, it speaks of my identity.

But the other very important component (that I had missed until now) is that being written on the forehead—where our frontal lobe is encased—could also indicate choice, my decision.

Which together underscores what the Bible says beginning in Genesis and now wrapping up in this last book: my identity with God is my decision.  In fact, He’s already made His, decision that is, the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world and then manifested on the old rugged cross two thousand years ago.  The next step is mine—will I fight, flight or freeze?

Or will I act on the “should”?  (It’s not nearly as complicated as calculus.)

question-mark-460868_1920Revelation 14:1  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Author: dawnlizjones

Tends toward TMI, so here's the short list: guitar and banjo (both of which have been much neglected as of late), bicycling (ibid), dogs, very black tea, and contemplating and commenting on deep philosophical thoughts about which I have had no academic or professional training. Oh, also reading, writing, but I shy away from arithmetic.

13 thoughts on “It’s the brain chemistry”

  1. Great insights…explains the urgency to give that solid foundation early on in life. Also explains the entitlement generation–they were fed a load of crap that they deserved a trophy for just showing up… By the way, isn’t the frontal lobe the location of that “thing” that is supposed to filter our words before they come out? Well, sometimes mine malfunctions…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Um… I’m not sure I would connect the forehead to the frontal lobe of the brain. There’s a bone between the two–sometimes a rather thick bone.
    I take the name written on the forehead to signify that other people see our identity better than we see it ourselves. I can think of many examples–people who were recognized as saintly by others but who knew their own secret sins and did not think of themselves as saints. God knows his own–he has already marked us with his name. Our doubts come from the problem that he put his mark of ownership in a place we cannot view. J.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of the best comments ever! “I take the name written on the forehead to signify that other people see our identity better than we see it ourselves…God knows his own–he has already marked us with his name. Our doubts come from the problem that he put his mark of ownership in a place we cannot view.” This has been a serious struggle in my relationship with Him, one that He has taken upon Himself to help me come to grips with. (As He will with all of us!)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Curious post. You might be interested in the case study of Phineas Gage. This man suffered a terrible brain injury into his frontal lobes when a metal rod sprung from the ground and pierced his head, leaving through a hole on the top of his skull. (Rods springing from the ground is not so common, be he was working with gunpowder)
    He actually survived and remained conscious the entire time. What is fascinating is that his acquaintances, later on, reported that his personality changed. Gage wasn’t Gage anymore, his identity change.
    Great post, though brain doesn’t develop from back to front but rather from the bottom up. The back of your brain contains the place which manages vision. Your brain stem is the first one to pop up and that is at the bottom. Although that is just being pernickety.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the clarification. I’ve read of Mr. Gage’s tragic event!! The brain fascinates me, and as much as science plumbs the depths of its mystery, I don’t think we’ll ever understand it all.


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