Thursday, September 25, 2008

The greatest heart transplant

Some time ago, I watched a documentary on heart transplants. The documentary was on the human organs having a memory much like the brain.

Pearsall, Schwartz and Russek, conducted a study, published in the Spring 2002 issue of the Journal of Near-Death Studies, entitled, "Changes in Heart Transplant Recipients That Parallel the Personalities of Their Donors." The study consisted of open-ended interviews with 10 heart or heart-lung transplant recipients, their families or friends and the donor's families or friends. The researchers reported striking parallels in each of the cases. The following is a sampling of some these. (

A 47-year-old Caucasian male received a heart from a 17-year-old African-American male. The recipient was surprised by his new-found love of classical music. What he discovered later was that the donor loved classical music and played the violin.

Another possible incidence of memory transfer occurred when a young man came out of his transplant surgery and said to his mother, "everything is copasetic." His mother said that he had never used that word before, but now used it all the time. It was later discovered that the word had been a signal, used by the donor and his wife, particularly after an argument, so that when they made up they knew everything was okay.

There are stories of meat lovers becoming vegetarians, healthy eaters starting to crave beer and snickers bars.. what they like and what they dislike changes when they get the new heart.

There is some scientific debate on this - there are some sceptics. However the concept of a heart transplant leading to a personality change made me sit up and take notice. This was of particular interest to me because of the following verse:

In Ezekial 36:26, God says to his people, "I will give you a new heart and a put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws"

When God gives us His heart, albeit not a physical transplantation, there has to be a change in personality. This new heart means we love what God loves, we hate what God hates. It's not instant, but as the 'memory' in this new Heart infiltrates our life, our personalities must change.

David Grabbe adds this commentary, "The Old Covenant that God made with Israel was a good agreement as far as it went, because all of God's works are good. The problem was not with its terms, but with the people who made it (Hebrews 8:7-8, 10). They lacked the right heart that would have allowed them to follow God truly and obey His laws. God, though, will give a new heart—a new spirit—to repentant Israelites, along with any others who desire to covenant with Him." (my emphasis added) (

In ourselves, we lack the ability to diligently and obediently follow God, to hate sin, and to love others as ourselves. But when give ourselves over to God, He gives us a new heart, and the Holy Spirit lives in us and we have a supernatural ability to do all that God asks of us.

A final point to note. With all heart transplants, the donor has to lose his life to give life to another. This gift of life is impossible without a death. Jesus was the one to die to enable us to have this new life.

The greatest heart transplant.

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