In past posts, I’ve asked readers to consider the hum of life that buzzes inside them. I’ve asked people to sit long enough to hear to it. I’ve asked us to recall times when it spoke loud and clear, when we seemed to intuit a truth, when something sprang from a well of reality not located in the brain, the consciousness, but elsewhere. I’ve asked that we explore what it’s called and how it works. Let’s dive in.
I’ve mentioned quantum entanglement and pointed out how particles separated by great distances, if they were once connected, continue to act as though they were connected. Both will react to stimuli placed on only one. Something – what’s it called? – exists that binds those physical particles together, something that isn’t physically detectable. I believe the human family is sometimes subject to the same phenomenon. The purpose of this blog is to explore the unnamed force binding things together. Binding people together.
What are some some possible names for this force? “Spirit” is one possibility. A metaphysical word, Spirit refers to what is not physical. “Energy” is another possibility. Science tells us energy can convert into matter, and matter broken down into energy, so, this word, too, refers to what is not physical matter. Energy is potential matter. This makes it somewhat different than Spirit.
Or does it?
The Bible is replete with images of Spirit creating matter. Genesis 1:2 says that God’s Spirit (Hebrew: Ruach) moved over the face of the void to create light and all that followed. My tradition is one in which the Bible is taken in conversation with, and not in opposition to, modern science. Modern Catholic scholars would be hard pressed to find an objection to suggesting the Hebrew Ruach is a more ancient, poetic way of describing the more modern category of energy. And, they would be hard pressed to find an objection to suggesting that the energy that created the big bang and hence the light and matter that began the world is anything other than what is described in Genesis as the Spirit whose words created light and all that followed.
Biblical uses of the word Spirit tend to come in two fashions: Spirit that pertains to God (the “Holy Spirit,” or the “Spirit of God” that created the world in Genesis), as well as Spirit that pertains to us (our “soul” or “life force,” for example, when Jesus died, he gave up his Spirit (Greek: Pneuma) in Matthew 27:50). Soul or life force can easily be equated with energy; we literally need energy to live.
Perhaps there are other words appropriate to this “thing” that resides deep inside, binding us together, but today, let’s stick with Spirit, Soul, and Energy.
If we are satisfied – at least for today – with one of those words, we now have a question to answer: how is it passed on? Does it mirror the physical, since it creates the physical and animates it? Or is it different? Is there a “Soul DNA?”
We know we inherit traits from our biological parents through DNA. We are made in their image insofar as everything we are comes from their DNA. Our hair and eye color, our hand dominance, our athleticism or musicality – some of it is nurture, but a lot of it is nature. And more than just our parents, our DNA is inherited from their parents, and theirs before them. If we trace it back enough, we find that humanity is literally linked together by a series of proteins guarding genetic information that makes us us. If we each hold a different piece to the puzzle, we can literally see how these pieces fit together in a scientific way by looking at the varying ways genes express themselves and at how genes serve the ongoing complexity (not entropy, as we might expect) of the human family. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin‘s work has helped us see that.
Yet, we are more than physical beings. The premise of this blog is to explore what’s underneath – the Spirit, Soul, or Energy, for today. The question, then, is: Just as our physical bodies have a genetic origin, do our spirits have an origin? In what ways are our spirits made in the image of our spiritual parents? Is there spiritual DNA?
If the answer is yes, what information would it contain? Physical DNA contains information about physical and mental traits, safeguarded by proteins. These traits are sometimes expressed and sometimes held latent and recessive until a future generation. What information would soul DNA hold? DNA is a roadmap to diseases and talents and colors. To what would our Soul DNA be a roadmap?
The premise of this blog is that we fit together. We belong together. Our world divides us, but there is a force pulling us together. If our souls (more than our bodies) are created in God’s image, it seems to me that it follows that our Soul DNA would contain the roadmap to the wholeness and perfection of God’s original creation. He did not create mortal, imperfect beings. We ended up that way. If physical DNA, however, contains the roadmap to heal cuts and bruises and broken bones by providing a blueprint for the original, unbroken version, is it possible our souls contain the DNA to come back together? To ourselves? To each other? To God? If God’s original creation was whole and perfect, do our spirits have such a state imprinted on them, ready to grow in healing if only we would get out of the way?
We belong healed, whole, together. Is it possible that somewhere in there, we remember the way to each other?
As a Christian, I’m automatically pointed to the person of Jesus, asking for corroboration. If we have healing, wholeness, and salvation imprinted on our very souls, perhaps his life, death, and resurrection take on a new meaning: if one follows perfectly, as only he did, the blueprint of the soul, the results are very real. Not even physical death can undo it. Healing becomes unavoidable, if only we can tap into it.