We saw in our previous post that babies brains are pre-wired to see faces and in particular their initial focus of their eyes is designed to see only those who hold them close, such as the mother who feeds them. This is a shadow of the spiritual reality that we are designed to seek our Father’s face who gives us our daily bread and the affirmation of His love for us.
Unlike other objects our brains process faces in a different part of the brain (the fusiform face area) which is dedicated to recognising faces. Furthermore this part of the brain is given priority over the other image processing areas in the brain, which is why we often see faces in things (called facial pareidolia):
Hence advertisers use faces in their images as it is an effective way of getting a viewer’s attention. Using eye tracking software you can see below how we focus on faces and their eye gaze:
Hence the text gets more attention from viewers when the baby’s eye gaze was in that direction.
Now the world will say that this must have developed as a survival technique – so we can spot the faces of a predator in the brush. However, we know that we are made in the image of God:
“As the Father, Son and Spirit have always know fellowship with each other, so we in the image of God are made for fellowship” Michael Reeves
We look into another’s face to see the meaning behind their words and discover their true self – their nature and character. For, as we know, the eyes are the windows of the soul. Faces are needed if there is to be any intimacy.
Unlike animals*, we make love face-to-face this speaks of the fact that sex is meant to be an expression of intimacy† and it is no surprise that the Hebrew word for sexual intimacy, יָדַע (yada’), is literally translated as “Adam knew Eve” (Gen 4:1). And in its pure form there is “no shame” as there was complete openness, acceptance and intimacy.
Interestingly, research shows that those who have religious or paranormal beliefs are more prone to see faces in things than sceptics or unbelievers. This is a shadow of the fact that despite the intimacy of another no human can ever meet our need to be fully known.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. (1 Cor 13:12 emphasis mine)
Jesus is “the Desire of all nations” (Hag 2:7 NKJV). Jesus is the face that we are wired to seek.
*After extensive research I can only find two documented cases of animals having sex face-to-face. Both were gorillas and in both cases it was commented on that this behaviour was extremely unusual.
† It is no surprise that since the sexual revolution and the rise of pornography, where sex is seen to be just biological and devoid of meaning, there has been a corresponding rise in sex in positions that are not face-to-face. It is not about intimacy or connecting but satisfying our own urges and getting pleasure.