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  • Rick LoPresti

Automatic emergency responses

"I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well (Psalm 139:14)." God is our creator. We did not evolve from a rock which had its ingredients washed into the water, which despite the impossible odds all combined in exactly the right way randomly to form the first living thing, which unexplainably jumped from non-living to living and then unexplainably morphed into more and more complex forms with no new DNA being added or being added by some unknown means, all of which unexplainably originated from an explosion, the materials and energy of which there is no explanation for. God made us in His image and likeness. The most important aspect of our being is the spiritual one, but God is even reflected in our anatomy. "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:20)." Even though sin has marred the original creation, our bodies are still amazingly complex and well designed by God. The more science learns about the body, the more we can see the genius of the Creator and His great care for us. Our bodies have built in automatic mechanisms that we do not have to worry about consciously controlling or maintaining. Most of what our bodies are doing is happening only because God made them to do it automatically. God in His wisdom even put in healing capabilities and automatic emergency responses although in the beginning they were not necessary.

When we are in a life threatening situation, our bodies automatically do things to help us survive. They release adrenaline which plays an important role in the fight-or-flight response by increasing blood flow to muscles, output of the heart, pupil dilation, and blood sugar. Our bodies automatically direct their resources away from non-essential functions to what we need to get through. We get tunnel vision to focus only on the immediate threat. The blood gets directed to the muscles we will need the most. Our senses become heightened. Our awareness of pain is blocked. Our perception of time is altered. We automatically crouch and make ourselves a smaller target. Our hands will go up to block incoming threats. The part of our brains that controls memory functions differently. This all happens without us consciously making decisions to do these things. We are created to live and not die, and when something threatens our life, we have responses that we cannot operate in the moment, so God made them automatic.

We are not created for spiritual death in sin. We are created to live in righteousness. Sin is not only what violates the morality of God. It is what disconnects us from Him who is life itself (Jn 14:3, Jn 11:25, Col 3:4). If God took such care for our bodies which will turn back to dust, don't you think He also took care for our eternal souls? Our time on earth in this life is limited, but eternity is limitless. This is no less than a life and death issue, but forever. Just as our bodies communicate with us about our health and about danger, our souls cry out to us to pay attention. When we become aware of the situation we are in spiritually, certain responses should automatically happen. Our hearts will direct our "blood" away from non-essential things to that which really matters (Prov 4:23). Our vision will block out everything we do not need to focus on and direct us to God (Mt 6:22-23). Jesus even said it is better to cut off your hand or pluck out your eye and live than to go to hell with all your parts. You can live without one eye or one hand (Mt 5:27-30). There once was a man who was trapped under a piece of farm equipment and alone. He cut off his leg and dragged himself to where help was in order to live. How strong is our desire to live forever with the Lord? Do we perceive time the way God does? Do we understand how short this life is compared to eternity? Do we use the armor of God to block the threats the enemy throws at us (Eph 6:10-18)? Military and law enforcement people go through training which helps them to respond in life and death situations. They develop muscle memory for the techniques they are taught so they don't have to go through them consciously during an emergency. We can also be spiritually trained to get better at detecting threats and responding quickly and effectively (2Cor 2:11, Heb 5:12-14). Our eternity is at stake. Prayer, studying the Bible, going to church, being under spiritual leadership, and developing a pattern of making wise, Biblical decisions are things we can do to developing our spiritual muscle memory so we can live and not die.

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