Memory Loss

No. 85 - 22nd June 2018

One of the disadvantages of growing old, is that you start to lose your memory. I went out the other day with a list of things to do, and the first thing I did was to forget that I had a list. Having finished at the dentist, I forgot to collect a product that my wife had asked for. Never mind, I thought, I’ll get it on the way home. I then started to work my way down the list until I had nearly finished, and then I stopped looking. So, I forgot the last item on the list. Needless to say, I got home and realised that I’d also forgotten to call back at the dentist. Fortunately, my wife is very patient, although she’d probably forgotten what she asked for anyway.

Memory is an amazing thing – when you’ve got it. I remember once reading about an experiment where the researcher attached some electrodes to a patient’s head and passed a tiny electric current through the brain. The patient immediately started to remember an incident where someone was playing a piano. The memory came in real time, complete with their emotional reaction to the music. When the electric current was switched off, the memory stopped. And when the current was switched back on again, the memory continued from where it left off. I was fascinated by this, because the researcher’s conclusion was that the brain stores a memory of every significant event in our lives. Our problem comes in trying to retrieve that information. But the information itself is always there. To be fair, I should say that not everyone agrees with this theory.

This all got me thinking about the record of our lives. Every action, every thought, every motive, all stored away somewhere in our brains. The book of Revelation talks about the day when all this information will be brought to light. The apostle John was writing about a vision he had seen. “I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the Book of Life; and the dead were judged according to what they had done as written in the books.” The record is there whether it’s in my mind or in the books. Nothing is lost. Scary isn’t it? The Book of life in that quote, contains the names of those who fear God, whose sins have already been acknowledged by them and forgiven by God. As the Psalmist puts it, “As far as the east is from the west, that’s how far he has removed our transgressions from us.” I guess you could say God has forgotten about them. Well, I know which book I want to be in.

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