18. The Language of God

Can we teach animals to speak? Indeed, from bees to primates, animals have sophisticated methods of communicating (von Frisch, 1973). But can we teach them OUR language? All attempts have mostly failed whether that language be spoken, signed, or makes use of lexigrams. Animals seem only able to communicate in the present tense, oblivious of anything outside the here-and-now. They are further constrained to a limited number of topics. Memorizing words to get rewards rather than to express new thoughts. If communication is ever possible, it must be in their terms not ours (Kako, 1997).

How then shall God communicate with man? For as high as the Heavens are above the earth, so are His thoughts above our thoughts. How shall He describe a world which our eyes have never seen, our ears never heard, nor entered into our imagination? Sometimes the best way to reach a group of people, is to send others who belong to that group of people; and the best way to teach them what they cannot understand, is to compare it to the things they can. For this reason we cannot take the humanity out of the Bible, nor would we want to. To reach people through people, through prophets and apostles, teachers and evangelists. This is God’s method. To speak the words of God through the words of men.

Consider Washoe, a chimp raised as a child in an attempt to teach her sign language. Yet as difficult as it was to teach her a handful of words, it was her adopted son, Loulis, who better learned and acquired the sign language by learning it from Washoe. Being taught by his own kind, by his own mother, he began to learn and acquire our language (Fouts, 1989).

Similarly, Christ not only stands as the Mediator between God and man, but as the Translator. We can only understand God through Him. The intangible divinity made manifest in the tangible humanity. In the simplicity of Earthly metaphors, Christ makes known Heavenly truths. He explains how the Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed, a net cast into the ocean, or a pearl of great price. He communicates to us by our terms and limits; and we learn and acquire the language of God through the humanity of Christ, our own kind. (John 1:14, NKJV).

~John Bryan



References: (Fouts, 1989) (von Frisch, 1973) (Kako, 1997)

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Book Update

Thank you to those of you who pre-ordered my book. The Kindle version is now live, and I was able to create a Paperback version for those of you who prefer something more tangible.

Watch the trailer, and see if its something you’d be interested in getting.

Enjoy

Purchase Here: Faith & Theories by John Bryan



Guess What??

Yup, so I’m officially an author!

If anyone enjoys my blog posts, I think you will enjoy this book. It’s not too long only three chapters. The kindle version is up for sale, the paperback version is coming in a week or so, and I hope to produce my own audiobook version as well.

Check it out below, and I hope you enjoy:

Faith & Theories by John Bryan

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17. Water

Where there is water there is life. Our own planet has about 70% of its surface covered by oceans, rivers, lakes and ponds (Pearlman, 2016). Even our bodies are made of about 60% water, distributed throughout the various tissues and vessels of our anatomy (Helmenstine, 2017). To say we don’t need water is to inevitably suggest we don’t need 3/5 of our body. Water has many important functions in our bodies, from temperature regulation to waste transport. Even our brains need to reflect this percentage, for proper functioning. Losing even a small amount of that percentage, as begins to occur in dehydration, will have grave physiological and medical implications.

God has ordained our need and dependence on water, and has used it to symbolize His Salvation. We’ve drifted along this saltwater sea of sin and hate, from which we drink only to thirst the more intensely. But He offers us fresh and living water, which our souls have been deprived of. Even baptism speaks eloquently on behalf of God’s grace. He could have required long pilgrimage on our knees, or to climb the tallest mountains, as a symbol of our Salvation. But rather, He says only be baptized. With a world covered in about 70% water, and most living people making their home no more than a few miles from a body of water, it is clear that God intended to save the entire world.

Where there is water, there is life. So let the one who is thirsty come (Rev 22:17).

~John Bryan



References: (Pearlman, 2016) (Helmenstine, 2017)

Messages to Young People

A friend and I are working on producing an audiobook for Messages to Young People. I won’t be posting any of the videos on my blog. If you are interested, please follow this page: Messages to Young People

Enjoy


 

 


 

Thoughts for a Friend

Be confident, because the way you are is the way that the person who will love you will want you. Love is better than pity, so why do you seek pity over love? Sooner do we grasp the wind, than someone’s love that is meant for another. Jealousy is the most confusing and pervasive of human emotions. The catalyst that turns love to hate. It makes us look with intensity but not with accuracy. What is and what could have been, are so quickly pierced in that moment. A feeling lost at sea, due to an un-anchored love.

I cannot say I understand what a girl goes through in choosing the right guy. But I know God often claims for himself men whom the world would not. A man’s heart, a man’s sincerity, and a man’s godliness cannot be seen by you. There is a thief hanging on a cross that God has chosen for himself, and a young rich ruler whom He has denied.

I’m sure God can take two people, who will respect each other and keep their eyes on Him, and make them happy together. But there is still such a thing as the right and wrong person, even among Christians. Like the wooden yoke that pulls the plow, we who pull it must be equally matched. The person we choose to love can bring us and the families we create to the gates of Heaven, or away from it. So we must be careful. For not everyone who says “Lord, lord,” ought to have the keys to our hearts.

The arrogance of success, is thinking that what you have done yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow. For manna must be gathered daily.

Yet our capacity for guilt is so great that we can always find ways to blame ourselves. We are not good enough, in our own eyes. Those eyes which see the sun rising but not its light. Those eyes surrounded by love, yet seeing only the loneliness.  The song of birds ushers the morning, while the music of crickets welcomes the night. Yet no one realizes that we’ve all felt the same. We are a broken people, and they will know us by our love. Jn.13.35.

How To Overcome Worry

A book about overcoming worry, should not go against its purpose by inciting worry in its reader. Dr. Winfred Neely does a good job of that. The brevity of this book, with its short chapters, and short subsections, and relatable narrative, makes it easily digestible and appetizing. The author is speaking to you, as opposed to lecturing you, a style of writing well suited for the subject matter.

This book is meant to be spiritual as opposed to psychological. By that I mean you are getting Scriptural guidance as understood through the experience of the author. This point of view is much appreciated by someone like me, whose had to study anxiety, stress and worry from the scientific perspective.

Anxiety tends to be a perspective-driven emotion. Meaning that the way you are looking at the world is linked to the anxiety you are feeling. Change your perspective, and you’ll change your anxiety. This book provides just that, a change in perspective through the practical approaches found in Philippians 4:6-7.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in a Scriptural approach to anxiety.


*All books purchased through this website generate a 4-8 percent return through my Amazon Affiliates account (at no extra cost to you).
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this
review.

 Pre-order. This item will be released on April 4, 2017.

How to Overcome Worry

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

Early in 2011 I was wandering around my college library, apprehensive about going to class. I already had an interest in the field of psychology and neuroscience, but I didn’t know much about it. I found this book out of curiosity. I had already heard about Dr. Oliver Sacks too, after having watched his biopic Awakenings, but I didn’t know he had written books. The name stood out to me as I was looking through the book titles.

Anyone who has heard or read any of Oliver Sacks books, knows there is much to be admired about the man and his craft. Back when I first began reading this book, I remember having an almost otherworldly sense of neurological disorders. These were people beautifully lost in the world of disease. Though at the time I knew nothing else about these disorders. The almost artistic aspects of each malady is contained in the title of each chapter, “The Lost Mariner,” “The Disembodied Lady,” “The Dog Beneath the Skin.”

Looking back from where I am now, I find new admiration for the book. I no longer approach it as a curious individual fascinated by the mystery. I come as one knowing the mysteries, having learned and dissected the topics in many of my classes. The Lost Mariner to me now is a person suffering anterograde amnesia due Korsakoff’s Syndrome. The Disembodied Lady is a woman suffering from a loss of proprioception. Though I may have gained more technical knowledge about each of these problems, books like this one still keep the awe and mystery awake in me.

I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in my blogs.


The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales

*Bryan Rivera is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

16. Gold

What details would you notice if someone changed them?

Counterfeit money is a problem for many countries despite real money being drowned in security features that are intended to be both irreplaceable and noticeable by anyone; from watermarks, to color-changing ink, even metallic strips, and other special features. Yet many fake bills could have passed unnoticed through our hands, for the simple reason that we are unobservant, we’ve become so accustomed to handling bills that we no longer pay attention to them. It is said that the devil is in the details, and details often pass unscrutinized if they fit the general theme of our assumptions. (Eagleman, 2017).

Inattentional blindness as it’s called, is when you miss something that is in plain view. Psychological Research has demonstrated that not only are you blinded to things that are outside your peripheral field of view, but that not paying attention can cause us to miss the things you are looking directly at (Goldstein, 2014).

The Church of Laodicea thought that they were rich, and had become wealthy, when in reality they had no wealth, and were in poverty (Revelation 3:17). The only way a person can be convinced they are rich, while they are in fact poor, is if they think themselves in possession of authentic money, when it is infact false and counterfeit gold; holding no value, and no worth.

Pay attention to the gold you buy, and where it comes from. For it is written, “I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich.” (Revelation 3:18, KJV). What Gentle and Loving irony, that the poor man, in his poverty, can buy wealth. That we may buy what we can’t afford, to receive more than we’ve invested. Yet that Heavenly gold once bought, makes us far richer than we are.

Be observant, lest you buy counterfeit gold.

~John Bryan

Further Reading: Incognito by David Eagleman

Reference: (Eagleman, 2017) (Goldstein, 2014)

15. Influences

Perceptions have an intriguing way of being altered by our circumstances; and our circumstances have a beguiling way of being altered by our perceptions. Have you ever felt as if your feelings were in harmony with the weather? (Edward, 1993). Metaphors such as “gloomy” are often used to describe the clouds as well as our own emotions. Bright is the day, and bright is my life. It is not uncommon to see wide smiles on your friends faces with the first rays of sunlight after a long week of rain. But why did you feel so sad during gloomy days? Your feelings were more easily hurt, you were more prone to giving up, you felt lonelier and unmotivated. Yet in the morning, as your eyes received the first glimpses of sunlight, you seem to have forgotten all your sorrows. You wept over everything, and now seemingly over nothing. You just experienced—the Priming Effect. (Bargh, 1996).

Everything you behold and encounter, has an effect on your personality, your thoughts, and your emotions. We are not independent and isolated beings, but rather merge within the fibers of a net, like the threads of a tapestry. We walk from day to day, unaware of the thousand things happening in our brains that do not reach consciousness; things perceived but not attended. We seldom consider that things can have an effect without our conscious volition, but they most certainly do. By beholding we become changed. By beholding we behave different.

Thus it is written. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2)

~John Bryan

Further Reading – Thinking Fast & Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Reference: (Edwards, 1993) (Bargh, 1996)