Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Divine Spark

Most people have heard the idea that we have a 'divine spark' within us that was put there by our creator.  Essentially this means that we are the product of matter (flesh, bones, blood, skin etc) and the 'spark' that set it in motion.

Sometimes people take this in the direction of being divine.  The idea of a 'divine spark' doesn't say that we are divine, just that we are products of the divine.  In the same way that your MP3 player isn't music, it just plays music.  We are not divine, we are conduits of the divine.

Now of course there are those that would say that there is nothing divine . . . anywhere.  This point of view says that we are all animals - some more advanced than others.  Humans are no exception.  We are just animals with a bigger brain case that allows for the abstraction of ideas to encompass things like hopes, fears, imagination and logic.  The only reason that humans can pray and dogs can't is because of the processor speed of the brain.

This is where we examine the Sphex.  Yes, today is animal planet at this blog . . . we are looking at a pretty wicked little bee called the Sphex:

There was an interesting little tidbit that I heard about the Sphex - it is actually Daniel Dennet's idea that is used for explaining how animals do not have the same kinds of reasoning skills that we do as humans. You see, the Sphex burrows in the dirt and sets a trap for its prey.  Once the prey is caught, the Sphex comes out to inspect the victim.  Researchers found that when they move the prey, the Sphex will go find it but quickly return to the nest only to set it up all over again.  Once it goes back inside to tidy up it returns to find the prey moved by the researcher.

The Sphex does this over and over with no sense of exasperation.  It is merely executing its program.

Humans?  I am sure some nasty words would fly at some point and perhaps a hopelessness would settle in . . . but that is because as humans we are different.  The Bible says that everything else was created but humans have a special 'breath' of God within us.  Perhaps this is the divine spark - whatever it is it makes us human and different.  So I don't know whether it is a literal breath or if it is figurative . . . but that is beside the point.

The point is that God made us different . . . for a purpose.

1 comment:

  1. Since you pick intellectual fights with Dennett and Dawkins both on your blog and in your book, have you thought about sending them a gratis copy of your book with a sticky note on it introducing yourself, or sending them a tweet, or google stalking their email (both alive and parked in universities) to get a real dialogue going? Maybe set-up a real debate a la: http://richarddawkins.net/videos/1942-daniel-dennett-debates-dinesh-d-39-souza