I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. Psalms 139:14,15
And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Ephesians 5:1-2
I love science and I love theology. What I really love is when I read stories of science and faith climbing a mountain of questions, only to find the same answers and an immense plateau of common ground at the top. It was Albert Einstein who said, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” Good science should always be open to God’s signature in creation just as good faith should not be afraid to look at good science when it demystifies life and glorifies God and His creation.
In recent years neuroscience and cognitive psychologists have discovered neurons in our brains that are called mirror neurons. Mirror neurons are one of the most important discoveries of the last decade when it comes to understanding how our brain stores information. A variety of these visuospatial neurons help our cognitive development at a fundamental level; teaching us about complex social interactions and our unique ability for differentiation. These neurons in our brains train us to imitate and learn from what we see around us. They are responsible for a myriad of sophisticated human behavior and cognitive processes. Mirror neurons are God’s wiring helping us “catch” actions and behavior in the context of the everyday. It is the way life is “caught” and thus “taught.” I saw this so vividly over the Christmas week with my grandson. He would watch us do something and immediately imitate it, with his own little twist of course!
Our creator has wired our brains to imitate what we see in the actions and behaviors of others. This new understanding in biology confirms what the Bible has declared for millennia, and confirms for parents and followers of Christ how important our daily actions are in passing on faith and Godly practice. It is precisely why the Apostle Paul said to the Corinthian believers to “imitate me, as I imitate Christ.”
Mirror neurons could really be called discipleship neurons. They help us pass on virtues like gratefulness, kindness, Godly perspective, wisdom, and a Godly understanding as we observe those qualities being lived out in others. It is God’s signature in our cells to assist both parents and Christ’s disciples to multiply His kingdom to those around us.
Our gracious Father has given us the biology for discipling the next generation through our everyday love for Christ. Maybe that is why Deuteronomy 6:4-8 says, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.”
May our words and actions Glorify God and may any Godly trait that is found in us, by God’s grace be mirrored in those around us, that together we might be trained in Godliness and Christ might be revealed in us! Amen!