Stress, Life and the Heart

The beatless heart: Texas husband lives for five weeks without a pulse after doctors invent new artificial heart

This is the headline of an article about an artificial heart that is basically a pump. I read this article with great interest. Then I wondered about the implications of such a feat. Would an artificial heart of this kind be a good or a bad thing?

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After doing some research of my own I’m not so sure it is a good thing. Here is what I’ve found from both a scientific viewpoint and  from using a bible concordance to look up connotations for the word heart. In the bible we are told “guard you heart” Proverbs 4:23 so with that in mind lets begin with scientific discovery.

“An early editorial on the relationships between stress and the heart accepted the proposition that in about half of patients, strong emotional upsets precipitated heart failure. Unspecified negative emotional arousal, often described as stress, distress or upset, has been associated with a variety of pathological conditions, including hypertension,[26, 27] silent myocardial ischemia,[28] sudden cardiac death,[29] coronary disease,[30-32] cardiac arrhythmia,[33] sleep disorders,[34] metabolic syndrome,[35]diabetes,[36, 37] neurodegenerative diseases,[38] fatigue[39, 40] and many other disorders.[41] Stress and negative emotions have been shown to increase disease severity and worsen prognosis for individuals suffering from a number of different pathologies.[42, 43] On the other hand, positive emotions and effective emotion self-regulation skills have been shown to prolong health and significantly reduce premature mortality.[44-49] From a psychophysiological perspective, emotions are central to the experience of stress. It is the feelings of anxiety, irritation, frustration, lack of control, and hopelessness that are actually what we experience when we describe ourselves as stressed. Whether it’s a minor inconvenience or a major life change, situations are experienced as stressful to the extent that they trigger emotions such as annoyance, irritation, anxiety and overwhelm.[50]

According to the book Science of the Heart from the HeartMath Institute the heart has its own  intrinsic cardiac nervous system (heart-brain), which has more influence on us than our brain does if my understanding is correct. This can be positive or negative according to our experiences. It seems to be saying our emotions come from our heart and affect our decision making process.

There is a long list of references in my bible for the word ‘heart’ so I decided to take the first three:

Genesis 43:4 tells us that Joseph’s heart yearned for his brother, Benjamin, his mother’s only other son. He wept in private.  Joseph was experiencing sorrow and longing for this brother, where?  In his heart.

Exodus 28: 30 tells us that Aaron as priest bore the names of sons of Israel in his breastplate of judgement in the Holy place before God. The amplified bible defines judgement as the rights and the judicial decisions for the people.

I thought about holding something against or for another. Where do we hold it? In our hearts. Although Aaron’s breastplate was symbolic I believe it represents where these things come from, not our heads but our hearts.

The last scripture I looked at was Exodus 35:5 which talks of having a willing and generous heart to offer God our material wealth for His purposes and our obedience to Him. Where do these things come from? This verse tells us they come from our heart.

To my mind just these three scriptures alone confirm what scientists are discovering about the heart. In conclusion it seems to be that our hearts which we often refer to as the seat of our emotions is are very literally  just that.

In Galatians 5:22 we are told that the fruit of God’s Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith. God’s promises His Spirit will fill us as believer’s in Jesus Christ and change us as we seek Him to bear this fruit in our lives. It may take time but surely this offers the hope and deliverance we need from the symptoms of stress in our lives.

In answer to my own question as to whether an artificial heart is a good or a bad thing, my thinking is that in removing a human heart and replacing it with just a pump surely we would be deprived of a vital part of our humanity. How could we be fully human with no emotional input to guide our decisions and judgement, good or bad?


You may like to read the whole of chapter’s 1 & 2 to see where my ideas and information came from for yourself to see if you agree or disagree with my opinion. Scriptures are taken from The Aplified Bible. I hope you enjoy the article!


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