Christian Research Institute

Is the Mind Identical to the Brain?

Did God create us as body-soul unities, or are we merely material beings living in a material world in which reason is reduced to a conditioned reflex?

First, logically, we recognize the mind and the brain to be different in that they have dissimilar properties. A moment’s reflection is sufficient to convince a thinking person that the experience of color is more than a wavelength of light. Were we merely material, such subjective characteristics of consciousness could not be experienced.

Furthermore, from a legal perspective, merely material beings could not be held accountable for a crime committed last year because physical identity changes over time. Every day we lose multiplied millions of microscopic particles such that in seven years’ time virtually every part of our material anatomy changes.

Finally, in a merely material world, libertarian freedom (freedom of the will) does not exist. In such a world, everything would be fatalistically relegated to mere mechanistic material processes.

In short, logically, we recognize nonphysical aspects of humanity, such as ego; legally, we recognize a sameness of soul, which establishes personal identity over time; and libertarian freedom presupposes we are more than mere material robots.


Source (and for further study), see Gary R. Habermas and J. P. Moreland, Beyond Death: Exploring the Evidence for Immortality (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2004).