Paul’s concept of human weakness and our need for God

Estimated read time 4 min read

As a neuroscientist and neurosurgeon the writings of Paul on human weakness in particular drew me closer to appreciating God. How man’s brain worked and evolved showed me Paul was right that human weakness becomes our greatest strength when we are with God’s plan. How God made human’s weakness the greatest human asset brings many things together for me. I do see an intelligent design in the process of human evolution and development in God’s creation.

Jesus arrives when the Levant was seeing a congruence of thought between “pagan” wisdom and the Hebrew experience. The Greeks described there was truth, alētheia, known to the heart and mind that could not be measured by human senses. The Hebrew tradition mostly relied upon the strength of tradition, what worked in the past will work in the future by trusting God. The Greeks defined truth as existing in two ways, the physical and that which is not measured by the senses. The human mind could find truth by applying reason. We learn these two types of truth’s synchronously.

We know that human evolution is uniquely tied to increasing brain size and capability over other potential evolutionary rewards such as muscle strength, agility, pursuit or escape speed, size, and others. Our relatively large brains and weak bodies meant we had to live in groups and be interdependent. The small female pelvis dictated that humans had to be delivered in the earliest stage of human development and would be dependent on committing to parenting and a supportive community for many years. Primitive humans had to learn to make fire to cook meats which supplied the necessary nutrients for developing brains. Sharing food becomes the most important form of social interaction because it is dependent on mutual trust in sharing a scarce vital resource. This concept of love coming through our Creator is most clearly evolved in the most straightforward way in Jesus’ message to love God (the Creator) and love they neighbor. The ability to transmit this concept of trust and love in the functioning of the human brain into local social units and transmit it universally becomes evangelism to spread the word of God.

We hear a lot about genetics but genetics is only one part of what one generation passes on to another. The human experience is not unique in passing on learned skills and experience but certainly it is the supreme example. In fact one can easily argue that our genetics were driven to maximize our ability to transmit knowledge and wisdom (wisdom for me means the application of knowledge) generation to generation. First the oral word and then the written word evolved to facilitate the journey we have taken over many millennia to discover God’s message.

Our brains devote a significant expertise in developing relationships that lead to personal and community well being. To put it more simply we look for reliable trust and mutual benefit. We must be efficient in finding trust but also in demonstrating trust to function in the community. Believing in something beyond ourselves and our community creates a stable foundation for community growth.

Paul notes that all men have the ability to recognize natural laws. The most primitive human brain even those before modern man developed concepts beyond material interaction. They realized that there were truth’s acting in their world that could not sensed by normal human senses but through spiritual perception. They could sense it themselves and had to teach this to their offspring as it was vital to their survival. Recently scientists have realized that Neanderthals cared for the elderly and the disabled beyond a time when they could physically contribute. They even may have eaten the flesh of their deceased elderly trying to acquire their good qualities exhibited in their life within the family or tribal unit.

In spite of our physical shortcomings, Paul saw this need for interdependence as man’s greatest strength. We cannot thrive and be joyful short of recognizing the role of God in our lives. This is reflected in our Articles of Faith where we say faith is the source of good acts. This was the most important part of man’s evolution to reach the state of being in the presence of God, our Creator and source of ultimate wisdom.

Professor Tony Magana

Dr. Tony Magana is Professor Emeritus in Neurosurgery who spent many years doing international teaching and research including 10 years in Ethiopia. Over the past 15 years he concomitantly intensified his Christian faith through study and worship through the Episcopal Church. He grew up in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. Attended Texas A&M University, Harvard Medical School, and trained at the University of Miami. Additionally he took the University of South Education for Ministry as well as attending the Southeast Florida Episcopal Diocesan School for Christian Studies.
Professor Tony Magana, a seasoned neurosurgeon, has not only dedicated his life to medical practice but also embarked on a profound spiritual journey. Over the past 15 years, he has deepened his Christian faith through study and worship within the Episcopal Church. His experiences span international teaching, research, and a decade of service in Ethiopia
Dr. Tony Magana’s writings blend faith, compassion, and wisdom, inviting readers to explore the intersection of spirituality and the human experience. His journey serves as an inspiration for those seeking deeper connections with faith and humanity.

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