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chapter seven

Death AND THEN WHAT?

 

A

IN DYING YOU SHALL DIE

Genesis 2:17: “ ‘But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die

Genesis 2:17

The part translated as “you shall surely die” in Hebrew is  mmeno mowt t'mowt, which literally translated is “in dying you shall die.”

The same phrase occurs in Numbers 26:65  God told the Israelites shortly after they came out of Egypt to go into the land of Canaan and take possession of it They refused to take possession being afraid of the Anakims.  God says that because the adult Jews (20 years and older) refused to trust and obey God and go into the Promise Land they will all die and none (except the two believing) will enter the Promise land.  So, dying they did all die over a period of 40 years. 

This would indicate that dying is to be a process.  The process of death started from that very day as a result of the cursing of the ground. Actually Adam lived 930 years. (2 Peter 3: 8 With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day." Thus Adam died within "a Day" in that sense.)

All living dies as a process.  Death is not an instantaneous event. Each individual cells within the body have a finite life span.   When they die off they are replaced with new cells by the life force. There are over 50 trillion cells in the human body.


The regeneration process, unfortunately, doesn't continue forever and is influenced by our lifestyle habits and behaviors. 

Each kind of tissue has its own lifecycle, depending in part on the workload endured by its cells. For example,

·        adult humans produce their body weight in red blood cells, white cells, and platelets every seven years" (M.C. Mackey, "Cell Kinetic Status of Haematopoietic Stem Cells," Cell Proliferation, Vol 34 Issue 2 p71, April 2001),

·        The surface layer of the skin, known as the epidermis, is recycled every two weeks

·        The cells lining the stomach last only five days,

·        it takes only two years for all of the cells of the liver to be replaced by new ones (Nicholas Wade, "Your Body Is Younger than You Think," The New York Times 2005,).

·        The skeletal system takes ten years to renew as bone-dissolving and bone-rebuilding cells work together to remodel it (Kirsty L. Spalding, Ratan D. Bhardwaj, Bruce A. Bucholz, Henrik Druid, and Jonas Frisen. Department of Cell and Molecular Biology Medical Nobel Institute. Department of Forensic Medicine Karolinska Institute, Stockholm Sweden. Cell, Vol 122, 133-143, July 15, 2005.).

·        Fat cells are replaced at the rate of about 10%  per year in adults. So you could say that on average, human beings replace all their fat cells about every ten years.

Interestingly and significantly there are three exception to this decay process:

·        Neurons in the cerebral cortex are never replaced. There are no neurons added to your cerebral cortex after birth. Any cerebral cortex neurons that die are not replaced. (Jonas Frisen, "Neocortical Nerve Cells Are Not Renewed New Method Shows," Medline News Today, August 15, 2006).

·        Cardiomyocyte heart cells are replaced at a reducing rate as we age. At age 25, about 1% of cells are replaced every year. Replacement slows gradually to about 0.5% at age 70. Even in people who have lived a very long life, less than half of the cardiomyocyte cells have been replaced. Those that aren’t replaced have been there since birth.

·         cells in the inner portion of the crystalline lens of our eyes. Lens cells are like skin cells in structure, but are totally unlike skin in lifespan. The skin renews itself daily; whereas the lens never loses cells. The lens does add more cells to the outside of the lens, but the oldest ones inside have been there since before birth.

As a physicist I see three possibilities for the material world which made up the body of  Adam and Eve.

1. All process of the material realm was iso-entropic. Adam and Eve remained youthful as they were created.  It does not mean they never would have had children, not that there would not be any changes or events in the world they lived. This I believe was the situation before the fall.

2. All process will follow the entropic increase with every process.  This will eventually lead to death and dissolution of body.  This evidently is the intention of God as he cursed the earth (material world) in order to relieve man of eternal suffering because of selfishness that was sown in the human community and in every living.  My contention is that it was this that introduced the law that pervades the whole material realm.

3.  The final possibility was everything goes from order to higher order - from glory unto glory.   The third possibility of growing into maturity and growing into fullness as a Son of God was God wanted the Adamic race to attain. 

The eating of the Tree of knowledge (to live by his own reasoning and science and technology) as a definite choice by both Adam and Eve in disobedience to God's commandment as a The eating of the fruit of the tree of life after the fall would have made the eternal hell life for all humanity.  In order to avoid this God threw them out of the garden of Eden and put a watch over the tree. And then God imposed the entropy increase law so that Man will die as a result of slow decay.  All living will rest from their toil until God is able to reverse this law leading to the appearance of the Sons of God and making of all things as new.

Encyclopedia Britannica, defines death as "the separation of the soul and the body,"  Medical advances and technology have only made it tougher to determine when a person is, in fact, dead. In many cases apparently dead could be revived through CPR and electric shocks.  Two major signs have been breathing and heart beat.

There are three different definitions of "death" which have been used by the modern medical community: Heart-Lung Failur,  Whole-Brain Death, and Higher-Brain Death.

Ernest Fraenkel, Ph.D.

"Aging, and eventually dying, is a consequence of the accumulation of damage to an organism over time. There is wear and tear on DNA, from chemicals in the environment, or radiation, or copying errors. Cells may not divide correctly, and proteins can misfold, leading to gradual deterioration of tissues, or catastrophic disease and system shutdown. Yet this sorry progression,  has a logic: “The strategy that nature seems to use over and over is to let cells and organisms that have accumulated all this damage die off—and give their progeny a fresh start to go on and conquer the world.”

“There is no theoretical reason why organisms couldn’t have evolved to be immortal.” 

Ernest Fraenkel, Professor of Biological Engineering at MIT.

But no life form has evolved that is immortal.

But there is a practical reason why sin has produced death.  One of the fundamental principle on which the Darwinian Evolution proponents stand is the idea that humans and all other organisms are merely ‘survival machines’, designed by our genes as a means for their own perpetuation. Soon after the fall, the genes developed self centered organisms as survival machines- which mean that each life form is programmed to take advantage of every situation to furthers its own personal needs. They fought for whatever is necessary for their glory and survival. Fast reproduction and sexual reproduction were indeed necessary for the survival of the species as an extension of this personal selfishness.  This competition within the species requires death of older and the weak to give way to new generation in new environment.  So, if the old does not die, the young will kill the old, and as an extension it goes into all wider domains of existence.  The dominant tribe will annihilate the other tribes if possible.  The dominant nation will annihilate or make other nations their slaves and so on.  This is reflected in the tribal history all around the world.  This is stated clearly as a Darwinian principle- principle of the self centered organisms of the fallen world.  

http://heightstechnology.edublogs.org/files/2011/05/Temperate-Forest-Food-Chain-2a4qqyj.jpg

Every organism needs to obtain energy in order to live. For example, plants get energy from the sun, some animals eat plants, and some animals eat other animals.

A food chain is the sequence of who eats whom in a biological community (an ecosystem) to obtain nutrition. A food chain starts with the primary energy source, usually the sun or boiling-hot deep sea vents. The next link in the chain is an organism, that make its own food from the primary energy source -- an example is photosynthetic plants that make their own food from sunlight (using a process called photosynthesis) and chemosynthetic bacteria that make their food energy from chemicals in hydrothermal vents. These are called autotrophs or primary producers.

Next come organisms that eat the autotrophs; these organisms are called herbivores or primary consumers -- an example is a rabbit that eats grass.

The next link in the chain is animals that eat herbivores - these are called secondary consumers -- an example is a snake, that eat rabbits.

In turn, these animals are eaten by larger predators -- an example is an owl that eats snakes.

The tertiary consumers are eaten by quaternary consumers -- an example is a hawk that eats owls. Each food chain end with a top predator, and animal with no natural enemies (like an alligator, hawk, or polar bear and man).

“Death is really a great blessing for humanity without it there could be no real progress. People who lived for ever would not any hamper and discourage the young, but they would themselves lack sufficient Stimulus to be creative.”

 Alfred Adler 
(Austrian psychiatrist whose influential system of individual psychology introduced the term inferiority feeling, later widely and often inaccurately called inferiority complex, 1870-1937)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


B

Plants are for healing

“Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.”

 

 

 

 

Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose

Indian scientist Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose, from Bengal, began to conduct experiments on plants in the year 1900. He suggested that every plant and every part of a plant appeared to have a sensitive nervous system and responded to shock by a spasm just as an animal muscle does. In addition Bose found that plants grew more quickly amidst pleasant music and more slowly amidst loud noise or harsh sounds. He also claimed that plants can "feel pain, understand affection etc.," from the analysis of the nature of variation of the cell membrane potential of plants under different circumstances. According to him, a plant treated with care and affection gives out a different vibration compared to a plant subjected to torture. Plant perception or bio-communication is the idea that plants are sentient, that they respond to humans in a manner that amounts to ESP and that they experience pain and fear.

Recent research has shown that plants can respond to electrical impulses, but their lack of a central nervous system and nociceptive A delta fibers implies that plants have no feeling of pain.  The theory is dismissed by scientists because plants lack a nervous system.  The notion that plants are capable of feeling emotions was first recorded in 1848, when Dr. Gustav Theodor Fechner, a German experimental psychologist, suggested that plants are capable of emotions and that one could promote healthy growth with talk, attention, attitude, and affection.

MythBusters title screen.jpg

The mythbusters TV series broadcasted experiments in Season 4, Episode 18, 2006 which also came to the same conclusion that plants have no feeling of pain using polygraphs and other devises.

The idea fits in with the classification of Jainism where even within the vegetatbles there is a hierarchy indicating existence of several lower dimensions which we are not aware of. In Jewish tradition the hierarchy divides all life form upto seven levels.   Vegetative life thus falls just above non-living and is the gateway of life form in the material world.  According to biblical verses they were created to repair deficiencies of the living and prolong life.

 

At the command of God "the earth brought forth green (דּשׁא), seed yielding herb (עשׂב(breh)), and fruit-bearing fruit-trees (פּרי עץ)."

These three classes embrace all the productions of the vegetable kingdom.

·        דּשׁא, lit., the young, tender green, which shoots up after rain and covers the meadows and downs (2 Samuel 23:4; Job 38:27; Joel 2:22; Psalm 23:2), is a generic name for all grasses and cryptogamous plants.

·         עשׂב, with the epithet זרע מזריע, yielding or forming seed, is used as a generic term for all herbaceous plants, corn, vegetables, and other plants by which seed-pods are formed.

·        פרי עץ: not only fruit-trees, but all trees and shrubs, bearing fruit in which there is a seed according to its kind, i.e., fruit with kernels. הארץ על (upon the earth) is not to be joined to "fruit-tree," as though indicating the superior size of the trees which bear seed above the earth, in distinction from vegetables which propagate their species upon or in the ground; for even the latter bear their seed above the earth.

This will explain why until the flood the food prescribed for man and beast were vegetables.

 

Basic word for death in Hebrew is  ( מוּת  mwt) and it is used manily for man (Genesis 25:8) and animals (Genesis 33:13; Leviticus 11:39).   The only mention of ( מוּת /mwt) referring to a plant is in Job 14:8 were the stump of a tree is said to die. This is a common objection to the argument that plants don’t die. However, a closer look at the context of Job 14:8 shows that the tree is not really dead but only appears so (Job 14:7–9) because it continues to spring forth even after that with water. Thus in general the Old Testament the permanent cessation of breathing ls the end of life on earth (Job 34:14–15; Psalm 104:29; 146:4).

 

Death in its final analysis according to the Old Testament is the permanent cessation of breathing and the end of life (Job 34:14–15; Psalm 104:29; 146:4).

 

Jainism which is strictly vegetarian and non-killing religion in the world has identified plants as two types

  1. Vanaspatikäya or Plant Bodied Jiva:

It is well known that plants grow, reproduce, etc., and they are accepted as living beings. Trees, plants, branches, flowers, leaves, seeds, etc. are some examples of plant life. The Sanskrit term for plant is vanaspati and therefore such jivas are called vanaspatikäya jiva.

A plant life can have one or more souls in a single body and, depending upon this, plant life is further divided into the following two sub-categories:

Pratyek Vanaspatikäya Jiva:

Pratyek means special one. Such plant life have one soul in one body. Therefore, they are called pratyek vanaspatikäya.

Trees, plants, bushes, stem, branches, leaves, and seeds, etc., are all examples of pratyek vanaspatikäya jiva.

Sädhäran Vanaspatikäya Jiva:

Sädhäran means common. In such plant life many souls occupy the same body making this type of plant life multi-organic. Therefore, such plant life is called sädhäran vanaspatikäya jiva. This kind of plants life have an infinite number of souls in one body are called "Anantkäya". Roots such as potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, beats, etc., belong to this category.

Andrew Nimmo of  Centre for Thomistic Studies, Australia gives the following description regarding souls of vegetables and animals 

(http://www.cts.org.au/2000/soulsandspirits.htm) 

Vegetative Soul

The vegetative soul is that which gives life to a plant. It is the lowest soul but not the lowest substantial form. The lowest substantial forms, which are not souls, are those of non-living things. The distance between vegetative life and non-living creation is infinite because it is the difference between be and be-not (and there is no middle between these). The vegetative soul is therefore infinitely superior to the substantial forms of inanimate things (e.g. water, gold, nitrogen). The vegetative soul is the root or radical principle of the plant's powers and acts: nutrition, growth and generation. The vegetative soul is formally one i.e. is one soul and virtually one i.e. has the power of one soul. The vegetative soul is intrinsically dependent on matter and returns to the potency of matter when the body fails.

Sensitive Soul

The sensitive soul is that which gives life to a brute (animal). The sensitive soul is infinitely superior to the vegetative soul because it confers on the animal the ability to know and desire. Animals are knowers and plants are non-knowers - this is the difference between be and be-not, an infinite gulf.

 

The sensitive soul is the root or radical principle of the animal's powers and acts: vegetative functions, senses and sensations, sense appetites and passions. The sensitive soul is formally one i.e. is one soul and virtually two i.e. has the power of two souls - vegetative and sensitive. For the animal has the perfection of the plant and more. The sensitive soul is intrinsically dependent on matter and returns to the potency of matter when the body of the animal fails.

Human Soul

The human soul is that which gives life to a man. The human soul is both a soul and a spirit, but it is not two things - it is one spiritual soul. Because it is spiritual the human soul is created immediately by God in the body prepared by the parents - it is not educed from the potency of matter. The human soul being spiritual is also immortal and so it lives on after the body dies. The human soul is not only a principle of life, it is also a thing in itself - as a spirit - and can thus exist without the body.

 

The human soul is infinitely superior to the souls of animals and plants because it is spiritual and immortal and has the properties of intellect and free will. The human soul united with its body is the root or radical principle of all man's acts, habits and powers. Because man is both corporeal and spiritual certain of his powers are organic i.e. belonging to body and soul, and others are inorganic i.e. belonging to the soul alone. The organic powers e.g. nutrition, sight, imagination, irascible appetite etc have organs in the body and fail when the body dies. They are said to remain radically in the separated soul. The inorganic powers, i.e. intellect and will, are spiritual and so have no organ in the body, but continue to exist and operate in the soul when it is separated from the body at death.

 

The human soul is formally one i.e. is one soul and virtually three i.e. has the power of three, vegetative, sensitive and intellective.

 


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