God is believed to be the supreme being, creator of life and principal object of most faiths. Many have long argued over whether God is real and what the almighty might look like. However, thanks to an experiment carried out by Philadelphia-based neuroscientist Andy Newberg, we may be one step closer to knowing the answer.
Dr Newberg is a Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and he wants to know whether people can have a real connection with God.
He revealed during Morgan Freeman’s “Story of God” how he is using what he called “Neurotheology” in a bid to prove God is real.
He said in 2017: “As we look at the brain, we can see very substantial differences when people are religious or spiritual.
“We can see what’s going on in us as we think about God, experience God and pray to God.
The MRI scanned revealed what happened to the brain
Morgan Freeman met with Andy Newberg
As we look at the brain, we can see very substantial differences when people are religious or spiritual
“We are looking for physical manifestations of God.”
Mr Freeman then became a human guinea pig for the experiment, which saw him pray for around 12 minutes and then have his brain scanned by an MRI machine.
Using a radioactive dye, the team could observe which parts of the brain Mr Freeman used when thinking about God.
Analysing the results, Dr Newberg said: “These are your two scans, side-by-side, you can see the frontal lobes here (rest scan) it’s mostly yellow, with just a little bit of red.
“Whereas during the meditation, the whole frontal lobe has kind of blossomed.
Morgan Freeman allowed the team to experiment on him
Morgan Freeman was placed in an MRI scan
“So if you are concentrating on something – saying a prayer or trying to connect with God, you tend to increase the activity in the frontal lobes.”
Mr Newberg then compared the results with that of an atheist.
He said: “We asked him to concentrate on God and he wasn’t able to activate his frontal lobes very much.
“So, in fact, if anything, as you can see, it actually went down a bit.
“Even though they said they were concentrating on God, they were not able to do a very good job, because they did not believe it.
The pair looked at Mr Freeman’s results
“What that tells me is the key is, do you believe it?”
The find comes after archaeologists believed they may have found the Garden of Eden discussed in the Book of Genesis.
The biblical text describes it as being located in southern Mesopotamia, now known as Iraq.
It references the rivers of Tigris and Euphrates, suggesting the head of the Persian Gulf could be a likely location.
Mr Freeman said during the same series: “It’s an 11,000-year-old site that lies between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
“The biblical location of Eden – but it’s called Gobekli Tepe.”
Mr Freeman then spoke to Lee Clare, an archaeologist from the University of Cologne who leads the team trying to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Dr Clare said: “We are now in enclosure D, the best preserved that we have here.
“So we’ve had radiocarbon data and they’ve come back as 9,400 BC.
“There are two central pillars that stand in the middle of a round oval building and on the wall surrounding it, at regular intervals, we see smaller ’T’ pillars.”
The results showed believers had different brain activity
Dr Clare revealed the statues may be significant.
He added: “They could be men or they could be gods.
“The ‘T’ is the head, and then we have on the side an arm coming down, you can see a belt buckle.
“They could be the first Gods that people worshipped.”