One of the great delights of sharing life with my wife is her voracious reading appetite. She tells me about some books, she summarizes others and occasionally recommends one for me to read. This she did recently with Frankenstein written by Mary Shelley in the early 19th century.
In her introduction, Shelley contemplates the ‘nature of the principle of life’ and suggests that ‘galvanism’ might reanimate a corpse. About 30 years before Frankenstein was published, Luigi Galvani had discovered that electricity stimulated a muscle to contract. In chapter five, Frankenstein, “…collected the instruments of life…” so that he might infuse “…a spark of being into the lifeless thing…” In Boris Karloff’s 1931 movie classic, a bolt of lightning animated the creature.
While the Torah conceals the nature of the ‘breath of life’ that God breathed into Adam (Genesis 2:7), today we understand that our bodies function by means of electrical currents traveling through cellular protein ion channels. The beating of our hearts; the warm sunlight we feel upon our arms; our ability to see; all this and everything else functions because of tiny electrical currents coursing through our bodies.