As I listened to the radio, the talk show host introduced her show by reciting her views on happiness. She went on and on about the importance of being happy and how can her listeners attain the state of being happy. She explained that research has shown that happiness comes from the brain. The lady went on to say, experts believe that there are three brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, and these are responsible for both brain and bodily functions. These so-called neurotransmitters are noradrenaline (norepinephrine), serotonin, and dopamine. We are told that these chemicals are found in the human body and they are mainly produced in the brain, bowels and blood platelets. They are called neurotransmitters because they are believed to transmit impulses between nerve cells.
Researchers believe that depression and bipolar disorder are as a result of abnormal functioning of brain circuits that involve noradrenaline and serotonin.
The brain chemical serotonin is thought to be especially active in contributing to wellbeing and happiness. It is also regarded by some researchers as a chemical that is responsible for maintaining mood balance and many body functions such as sleep, wakefulness, eating, sexual activity, impulsivity, learning, and memory. Dopamine is another which is commonly linked with the pleasure system of the brain. Disruption to the dopamine system is connected to psychosis and schizophrenia, a severe mental disorder characterized by distortions in reality and illogical thought patterns and behaviours.
According to the talk show host and the majority of people, the brain is basically responsible for all what a person is. For them thinking is the secretion of chemicals by the brain and happiness is the state or feeling one gets when Serotonin is secreted into the body by the brain. Similarly pleasure is the secretion of the chemical Dopamine into the body.
As I digested and assimilated the views she propagated, I became increasingly disturbed by how such beliefs and views stand in contradiction of what the Word of God teach. Even more shocking is how such doctrines have found their way and established themselves in the hearts of those who profess faith in Jesus Christ.
The prevailing thought of this fallen generation we live in, is that the brain is a thinking organ and we use it to generate thoughts or ideas. This is a clear denial of Biblical truths and an all out attack on the existence of souls and spirits. We are told man is the body, nothing more and nothing less. Since souls and spirits can’t be verified by observation they don’t exist, so say empiricists. The doctrine of our time states that seeing is believing. Brains we can see, touch, experiment on them, so on and so forth. Souls and spirits we can’t. How a Christian can subscribe to such thoughts, boggles my mind.
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:…”
Scripture does not say as a man thinks in his brain, but says his heart.
“And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?”
These scribes were thinking evil in their hearts.
The Greek equivalent of the word heart is καρδία translated “kardia” meaning among other things the mind or soul.
Christ Jesus did not say “why do you think evil in your brains?” but asked “why do you think evil in your minds or souls?”
“Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought:”
The Lord says the evil thought will be produced in the mind.
“But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
Ananias’s heart was deceived by Satan, not his brain.
(Acts 8: 20-22)
“But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.”
Simon had no part in God’s work for his heart was not right in the sight of God, because the thoughts of his heart were not right. Peter told him to repent which is “metanoeō” in Greek and it means, to change one’s mind or to think differently or to reconsider.
According to the teaching of the Scriptures thinking is the function of the mind or soul. It is not the brain which thinks, infect the brain can’t think at all or control any bodily functions. If brains could think or feel anything, then corpses (with brains) would be able to think and feel, they can not do that because the person, the soul or the mind has departed or left the body.
(2 Peter 2: 13-14)
“Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.”
Peter referred to his body as a tent which he inhabits. We are not our bodies, as a man is not the tent which he slays in, similarly that is how we relate to our bodies.
(2 Corinthians 5: 1-4)
“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.”
Paul also referred to our bodies as “earthly house of this tabernacle” we are clothed in. We are in the body and we are not the body.
“And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
We know that Christ Jesus and thief died that day and their bodies were buried here on earth, then how come Christ Jesus and the thief were in paradise that same day? If we were our bodies then Christ would have lied.
“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.”
If the brain is an organ that controls thinking, sleep, happiness, pleasure, pain, memory, etc., then how could Abraham, Lazarus and the rich man communicate? how could Abraham say to the rich man “remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things”? To remember one would require memory and if memory is controlled by the brain, then the rich man could not remember. Abraham and the rich man had no brains because their bodies were buried somewhere here on earth.
Someone may contend that in verse 24, the rich man is tormented and cries that he desires water to cool his tongue. They may say this is proof that the bodies were there, but I will reply and say the phrase cool my tongue is a metaphor for quenching my thirst. The other question is how could the rich man be tormented and be thirsty if thirst is an impulse given by the brain telling the body that it needs to drink water?
The view that is propagated about the brain being the organ that controls all bodily functions including thinking, is entirely false. As Christians we must only believe what the Scriptures teach. Since the brain can’t think, happiness can’t come from Serotonin levels in the brain or body nor can pleasure come from Dopamine levels in the body.
“Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputes not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.”
The word “blessed” is a synonym of “happy”. Those who are justified by the Lord and whose Sins are forgiven are the ones who are happy.
“Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!”
Happiness comes from seeking, keeping and obeying the word of God and not from chemicals released by your brain.
Author Pastor Tshepo Laka (GGCF)