Thank you for your thoughtful response to our questions. We both found this information rather fascinating. Upon discussing your info on the preprogrammed “maps” of the nor-epinephrine cortex with my friend, we were both interested in how these “maps” are programmed. Are they inherited at conception through DNA (which I am interested in yet do not understand) or are they developed during childhood and thus, as in both of our cases, imperfected through emotional abuse? In other words, are these “maps” affected by nature or nurture?
As usual the answer to either/or questions is, “yes”. God says that the “iniquity” of the fathers travels down three or four generations. This is not a change in DNA. The effect is passed through epigenetic paraDNA programming. In father rats who are trained to fear a certain object of noise or to enjoy and locate certain food sources; when the parent is sacrificed before the baby is born, the babies have strong reactions both positive and negative to these triggers, much stronger than other baby rats whos fathers were not programmed. So it is inherited but not through DNA and we can reprogram our own epigenetic programming in order to not pass it on. The Bible also says that we can pass on a tendency towards loving and seeking godly things also. Next, we often downplay the environmental effects of prebirth experiences. Dumping adrenaline and cortisol into the preborn causes them to be born with “hyper” nervous systems. I have an adopted boy who’s mother was addicted to horror movies. When he was three we were listening to a tape of Jonah and during the storm the tape played organ music similar to horror movie music. The poor boy went ape. He remains hyper emotional to this day. Then there are basic tasks and needs of each stage in life. If the parents do not meet the needs of the child, they may spend their entire life expecting other humans to meet the void that their mother or father should have met. They must learn that only God can meet these needs. For example a newborn needs to be shown that they are loved and that their needs for food and clothing and attention will be met even though they are a pain in the neck, pooping all over and yelling in the middle of the night. When this need is not met, they try to get other people to love and care for them while being helpless and frankly a pain in the neck. We are born with certain design bents which must be affirmed and balanced. Many parents do not value the differences God has designed into the child. The child then spends years denying their abilities and trying to be strong in areas God intended them to depend on others for. We also have sin bents towards works, judging and addictions. Parents need to help the child let go of these. I had another son who was a perfectionist and I had to tell him that I did not care what he thought, I thought that he was a wonderful boy no matter how imperfectly he did a task and my opinion was the one that counted! Rest assured that God longs to bring healing to all these areas and show us how cool we are and what a good job he has done and how even our scarring from living in a sin filled world makes us useful to him and others. We bring him great joy when we let him heal and do his work through our imperfect selves.
The Bible says “Don’t you realize that to whom you yield your body parts slaves to obey, that you will become the slave of those people as your body parts get programmed to keep obeying.” The part of the brain that registers and activity as pleasant or repugnant gets larger. It spends more time and energy watching for the situation and urging you to run away or to the thing that programmed you. After a short while of about 3 months it is almost impossible to not react in the preprogrammed way. Part of the programming is for the norepinephrine cortex to create a picture or map of the event and to hold that picture primed and ready to pick up on incoming signals that are similar and run away from what you see as danger and run towards what was fun.
Then there is the Dopamine reward system. A fascinating finding is that if we overindulge in a pleasure, we will burn out the dopamine system and it will no longer give as much pleasure; yet the drive to do it again does not diminish with the diminished reward! ( I think that the brain is puzzled as to the decreased reward and does the activity even more to try to make sense out of the change.) For example we know that children who are punished sporadically will actually increase the punished behavior to try to figure out why they are punished sometimes and not others. Making sense out of patterns is more important to our brains than the reward or punishment is.
Praise the Lord, we can find grace to yield our body members slaves to doing things his way and by predicting and yielding we can cause the bad programming to shrink and the new programming to hypertrophy. (This takes about 3 months of consistent obedience)