Many readers got excited last week about the increasing recognition of the supremacy of God by scientists. But I am not really a pastor as some people called me – just appreciating the goodness of God and the truth of His word. We all don’t have to be pulpit pastors or alfas.
It was noted last week that: “the great scientific book, Cosmos, Bios, Theos,which means Universe, Life, and Godwas written by about 60 notable scientists, including twenty-four Nobel Prize winners. And one of the contributing authors, Yale physicist Professor Henry Margenau, says of the “only one convincing answer” for the intricate laws that exist in nature. “Creation is by an omnipotent, omniscient God.”
There is more! Secular science is proposing that we are wired for God, and the medical field of psychoneuroimmunolgy is recognizing the central role of worship in the prevention and cure of diseases.
Specific scientific cases of science’s affirmation of the truth of God’s Word include the following from various sources:
Most holy books urge people to thank God and sing His praise always. For example the Bible tells us the heavens, mountains, and forests are commanded to “sing.” That the “depths of the earth” are to “shout.”
Recent scientific discoveries have proven that mountains are known to emit sounds. Researchers in Italy have already created a concerto from the underground movements of Mount Etna on Sicily. They are now creating melodies from Ecuador’s recently erupted Tungurahua. And the low-frequency “rumblings of volcanoes are being transformed into delicate musical scores.”
Scientists studying these characteristics are being attuned to sounds the human ear cannot detect. According to Professor Roberto Barbera, “It’s like a musician playing a piano. You would never imagine it was a volcano playing the music.”
These scientific discoveries give us previously unimagined insights into creation and our understanding of God. How amazing to realize that creation produces sounds that are musical!
When some observers told Jesus to “rebuke Your disciples” for praising Him, He told them that “if these were silent, the very stones would cry out” (Luke 19:37-40). Science now is telling us that creation indeed sings His praises.
Worship isn’t a religious ritual. It’s joining with the forests, mountains, and heavens to sing and shout praises to God!
How prayer affects the brain
Dr Caroline Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist with a PhD in Communication Pathology specializing in Neuropsychology and a preacher, notesthat 12 minutes of daily focused prayer over an 8 week period can change the brain to such an extent that it can be measured on a brain scan. This type of prayer seems to increase activity in brain areas associated with social interaction compassion and sensitivity to others. It also increases frontal lobe activity as focus and intentionality increase. As well as changing the brain, another study implies that intentional prayer can even change physical matter. Researchers found that intentional thought for 30 seconds affected laser light.
Therefore, as previously considered, even though toxic thought can cause brain damage, prayer can reverse that damage and cause the brain and body to thrive. There is growing interest in the power of prayer to change our brain and even matter itself. Even though as Christians we are cognizant of this by reading the Bible and from experience, it is nice to know science is now bearing this out.
Also, Dr. Andrew Newberg of Thomas Jefferson Hospital has been studying the effect of prayer on the human brain for more than 20 years, injecting radioactive dye into subjects and watching what changes inside their heads when they pray.
“You can see it’s all red when the person is just at rest,” said Newberg, pointing at a computer screen showing brain activity, “but you see it turns into these yellow colors when she’s actually doing prayer.”
These changes, says Newberg, are signs of the power of prayer to heal. Said Newberg, “We see not only changes in the activity levels, but in different neurotransmitters, the chemicals in our brain.”
Because the brain basic body functions like heart rate, blood pressure, and the immune system, he said, “there’s evidence to show that by doing these practices, you can cause a lot of different changes all the way throughout the body, which could have a healing effect.”
Newberg, who directs the Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Jefferson, thinks medicine and prayer should work hand in hand.
“As far as we know, it is not a cure for cancer,” said Newberg. “It is not going to cure somebody of heart disease. We can’t tell people to pray in order to get better — that doesn’t really make sense. The reason that it works is because it is part of the person’s belief system.”
He said it was particularly “fun” to watch what happened inside the brains of a group of Franciscan nuns when they joined together in a meditative prayer. The area of the brain associated with the sense of self began to “shut down,” according to Newberg.
“You become connected to God. You become connected to the world,” he said. “Yourself sort of goes away.”
Healing benefits of prayers
Brigid Waldron-Perrine of Wayne State University in Michigan and his team have found that “Feeling connected to a higher power positively impacted not only their feelings, but their functional outcomes, what they were able to do.” The findings confirm decades of existing proof of prayer’s healing benefits. One of the most frequently cited studies on the subject comes from San Francisco General Hospital’s Coronary Care Unit.
Between August of 1982 and May of 1983, 393 patients in the Coronary Care Unit participated in a double-blind trial assessing the effects of prayer. Through random selection by computer, half the patients were designated to receive prayer and half were not. None of the patients had any way of knowing which group they’d been assigned to, or whether they would receive prayer or not.
At the conclusion of the study, patients who had received prayer were healthier than those who had not. Compared to the control group, the prayed-for patients had less need for CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), mechanical ventilators, diuretics, and antibiotics
Most importantly, the patients who were prayed for had fewer occurrences of a serious condition called pulmonary edema (which often leads to heart failure) and fewer deaths.
According to the doctors at San Francisco General, the positive outcomes for those patients could only be attributed to the power effects of prayer.
Not only can effects of prayer be an important curative tool in times of crisis, but it can also promote a sustained state of well-being.
A study conducted by researchers from the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond analyzed the lives of 1,902 sets of twins. And it turned out that twins committed to spiritual lives tended to have lower rates of depression, addiction and divorce.
The Richmond study indicated that active involvement in a spiritual community is strongly linked to overall stability and health.