god and psychology

The real point here is that whether or not God exists, whether or not God has a purpose for us, and whether or not there is an afterlife, we should strive to give meaning to our lives. Traits or characteristic patterns of behavior are basic in the development of every individual's unique personality. Only as the Christian follows the truth of God in His Word is he able to live a normal Christian life. Dr. Maya Angelou defined God as “All” and that the soul yearns for the All. De Groat's book is a reminder to be honest in our own self-evaluation. To free himself of this control it is often suggested that he should go about and "live it up." Jakes delineates between people having experience of God yet the inability of the human mind to explain God. The Unconscious God (German: Der Unbewußte Gott) is a book by Viktor E. Frankl, the Viennese psychiatrist and founder of Logotherapy.The book was the subject of his dissertation for a Ph.D. in philosophy in 1948. This answers the problem of identification with the resultant proper organization. A note of caution should be sounded at this point and that is, that experience and meaning are beneficial when based on Biblical truth and not experience alone. Psychology is unable to discern the nature of God or the magnitude of man's immortal soul. It doesn't take God a great amount of space to show human beings the entrance of sin, and the problems that go along with it, and that all of mankind are sinners, nor does it take Him long to show to us what Christ had done for us. The reason the Bible is not specific in the "gray" are is twofold: 1) certain actions are not always right or wrong, but must be considered in a contextual light of times, manners, customs, culture, and; 2) God wishes His children to become spiritually mature and able to make mature judgments based on the principles of His Word, as the person allows the Holy Spirit to guide him into all the truth (John 16:13). Or, maybe those people had a certain sense of hostility, anger, or fear when it came to receiving the Apostle Paul himself, as well as his ministry. Today, we live in a world dominated by the philosophies of philosophical existentialism (i.e. We have these burdens that one constantly needs to "unroll" or to "get off his chest." Thank you, Caleb. And the words "holy" and "sanctify" are synonymous terms in Scripture, which mean "to set apart from evil and to be set apart unto God. This is why the Apostle Paul was able to say "I can do all things"---that is, all responsibilities and the area of influences that I have and which God has given to me. The third emotion that needs to be fulfilled is that of Appreciation. Yet in a paradoxical way, because we are human beings, we are caught up many times with the very same problems that the world faces. He was the incarnation of God Himself in human manifestation. Biblical counseling seeks to minister the love of the true and living God, a love that deals with sin and produces obedience. is crucified in Christ, nevertheless I live, but it is not 'I', but Christ who lives in the through me, and the life 'I' now live in the flesh, is by the grace of God who loves me and gave His Son for me.". Death is inevitable, and when and how death enters into our experience largely determines the emotional impact. John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. It dissolves the hard protective coating around the germ so that the white corpuscles are able to kill the germ. In brief, they can be pointed out as follows: The first emotional need that we have to be fulfilled is that of affection---to love and to be loved. However, when God forgives He also forgets, and one doesn't have to worry about the failures of yesterday when he ahs confessed them before God. The third set of emotions that we are plagued with is that of the depression-guilt-psychic pain syndrome. But, when one looks at these three aspects quantitatively, in the Bible, the first two ways---that is of sin and salvation---take up very little of the Bible. God both shows us His will through His Spirit, and at the same time gives to us the enablement to carry out His will through the talents that He has entrusted to us. This answers the problem of Personal Disposition---how one's life is accepted. This comes through submission to the direction of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. A Christian desires to avoid inconsistencies and disorder, to be creative and useful and hopefully reduce tension caused by inner conflicts. This shows the simple trust of the Christian in Christ as an organizing principle in life. This results because of an attempt to create an order in one's life. This is another form of fear; "I am myself, I have an ego, and I have desire to have it built up to a certain degree. Should Christians Call out Sin in Others. This reduces tension, and if the trait chosen is not a selfish one, as seen in the illustration in Philippians, then the solution is a good one. The Bible is to the Christian what the automobile manufacturer's handbook is to the car. God does not measure these abilities. Serving God must be compatible with His love for us. Since our mind controls our behavior and our behavior influences and is influenced in many ways, it becomes a challenging study. In the psychological realm of human nature, we can explore and research the various mental disorders that impact millions around the world. I don’t want to dismiss science and psychology in favour of pure faith. Our forebearers of the truth stood fast in the midst of persecution so that we might have the gospel, and the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. For example, losing your 3-year-old child to leukemia is a much different experience than having your 85-year-old grandma die of cancer. We need to feel accepted by other people. In I Corinthians 4:1, 2, the same Apostle Paul tells us that as Christians we are stewards of the grace of God, and then he notes, "That is it required in stewards that one be found faithful." Closing the Gap between Psychology and God A Harvard psychologist is developing evidence-based treatments for the devout By Sarah Estes Graham , Jesse Graham on October 25, 2011 When every aspect of one's personality is truly centered in Christ, these inner conflicts can be eliminated and thus the Christian can become a mentally healthy individual. Saying the words “I love you” may have been less likely or frequent than showing “I love you” through cooking and other acts of kindness. The primary object of the science of psychology is human nature and how it is expressed in thoughts, actions, and feelings. This “fight or flight response” was first described by physiologist Walter Cannon in the 1920s. He noted that he had been able to forget those things which were behind, and to keep his eye single before the Lord and to look to those things which were ahead. Just because the majority of people do a certain in one way or the other does not constitute that which is normal. Hence, the need for day-by-day Bible study and prayer, committal of that day into God's hand, and asking for God's grace for each day, that one may walk in the path of God's righteousness. However, in the context there is much stated in the Bible on human behavior, and where the Bible speaks on the subject of psychology it speaks with final authority. (In one sense, existentialism does have meaning for the Christian when on is faced with the experience of real meaning in life. This assumes that the "super-ego" is determined by environment (parents, church, other Christians' super-imposed external standards, etc.) The issue of dementia cuts across the biological, psychological, and social realms. Paul certainly set forth the conflict quite clearly in Romans 7:11-25 wherein he noted "the good which I would I do not, but the evil which I would not, that I do." Theology is concerned with how we should talk about God, and to God, especially in times of trial and pain. In my Dutch heritage, a common means of expressing love and appreciation is shown through preparing and sharing food with family and friends. We are to use today for doing good as Paul tells it in Hebrews 3:13. Ever since John the apocalyptist experienced for the first time (perhaps unconsciously) that conflict into which Christianity inevitably leads, mankind has groaned under this burden: God wanted to become man, and still wants to. The ego then becomes more insensitive and the individual less anxious. The abundant life includes mature mental health, but it includes much more. God created us and thereby He knows what is normal. God, who is our Creator, has an answer for all these problems. The most serious problem that plagues Christians is that of the "old" and "new" natures. This is part of our community of being together. Man is essentially free; he is conscious of himself as a being, and he can think and question his own existence. The word “psychology” comes from the Greek word “psycho”, which is a derivative of the Greek word “psyche” meaning “soul.” Psychology looks no deeper than the soul of man for answers. An illustration may serve to help underscore this principle. Close. In verse 13 he states, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." astrology, etc. and that he must become "free" to act as he will. In order to overcome the emotions that plague a person and fulfill the emotions that one needs, God has provided the answer in the book of Philippians. The term "the unconscious God" refers to a "hidden relationship with the hidden God". Even though modern psychology often does not and will not acknowledge our sinful state, psychology has been busy studying human nature through the lens of positivism and naturalism. Your email address will not be published. The more this happens the greater the potential for increased tension and eventually a blow-up of some sort. In the world, people many times are able to forgive but so many times they are unable to forget. This is why Paul said, "For to me to live is Christ.". When we know that God looks at it this way, that gives to one a sense of security or assurance of well being, and this is the Power of the normal Christian life. ), and the desire to know the future and the things of the non-physical world. One can easily visualize that as the Apostle Paul went to preach to the Christians at various places, that there were probably people in his congregation to whom he was ministering who may have been, many years before, in prison under his hand, when he was Saul, or had friends, relatives, or neighbors who had been in prison. In 3:13, he says, "Brethren I don't believe I've arrived---I'm not perfect---but there is this one thing I've learned to do, forgetting those which are behind and reaching for those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." What is really needed is a treatment of the real problem of freedom in Christ, through an understanding of the Word of God and a pattern of life consistent with the Bible. He loved us, gave Himself for us, and even Christ came to serve and to give His life a ransom for many. As far as God is concerned, it makes no difference whether one is the president of the corporation or the janitor in the factory. Mark Christians is Professor of Psychology at Dordt University. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. And whether people accept the principles of God's Word and agree with them or not, all are subject to the principles found in the Bible. The two are diametrically opposed to each other, and every Christian has the two within himself. The key to this problem of identification is in Philippians 1:21, "For to me to live is Christ and to dies is gain." This gives the Christian confidence, just as a growing child gains confidence in judgment as his parents increase his allowance to make the judgments. This then is the message of Philippians, which gives to us what God considers the normal Christian life. Sin has a grip on all areas of creation and humanity, especially in the way in which we view our own ethnicity as well as how we think about and treat those of a different race. Sometimes the trait of altruism (the unselfish concern for the welfare of othersbecomes the center and the results seem better. In Philippians 2:12 and 13, the Apostle Paul admonishes the child of God to work out the salvation that he has with awe and respect for God, and then he notes, "For it is God who worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure." It then calls for a constant and consistent application to daily living of the integration of the traits of life to the center, which is Christ. There are four sets of emotions common to all---whether we accept by faith the principles in God's Word or reject them---that plague us, and unless we get relief from them they will ultimately destroy us. Achievement gives to a person a certain sense of Security, and this feeling of well being is what every individual needs. Some of the areas of inquiry in psychology and human nature that would reflect this kingdom work lie in the biological, psychological, and social realms. But the problem here is this tends to be an end in itself, and the individual's ultimate fulfillment is limited by human nature. The second set of emotions that bothers us is the anger-hostility-hated syndrome, since basically we are afraid. The Unconscious God is an examination of the relation of psychology and religion.. Key ideas. Sometimes people will spend their lives pursuing a goal and then find in the end that it was not worth-while. Because of this, God has given to mankind these understandings in His Word, and though throughout the Bible there are expressions that minister to one's senses, there is one book, that of Philippians, that has as its objective to combine spiritual health with mental health for the Christian. We give medals, letters of commendation, watches, appreciation banquets---we pass out awards and rewards, and various sorts of things. Psychology of God: Do Christians Believe God Has Emotions? Bishop T.D. Loss is a common theme and experience in human development and living before the face of God. The world cares nothing for the individual who is only a number, and though each individual is a unique person there is really no help for that person. Christian Psychology's War on God's Word, ''The presuppositions and counseling methods of psychology have become so integrated into evangelical thinking at every level that to venture criticism is to invite wrath and censure. Our perception of the stressor as being a threat or a challenge begins the process. This is somewhat like the man who climbed the ladder of success, only to find that when he got to the top that the had the ladder leaning against the wrong wall. One of the greatest psychological hang-ups that Christians have today is that they allow Satan to conjure up the failures of the past in their lives, and hang those things over them like a "cement cloud." Another area that gets much attention in psychology is racial diversity and awareness. This encourages one to break away from tradition and old patterns in order to find a better and more fulfilling experience in life. Despite the seemingly positive progression in racial awareness, citizens of our culture and many other cultures around the world continue to exhibit prejudice in their attitudes and behaviors, which lead to greater separation, rather than reconciliation, among races. This feature distinguishes us from all other creatures, for not even angels were created in the image of God. Each problem raised by life and psychology has its answer in the Word of God. Each of these paradigms is based on a distinct view of human nature that often excludes God and his sovereignty. It changed him from being an employee of the Roman government, on the Damascus Turnpike committing people to prison under the name of Saul, and it transformed him so that now he was the Apostle Paul, preaching the claims of Christ. Human nature has been described and defined by psychologists since the late 19th century, beginning with a focus on sensory perception; moving toward a view that saw all behavior resulting from external stimuli; then into a more mental or cognitive view of behaving and learning; and more recently an emphasis on the humanistic view of humankind. God does not measure these abilities on a vertical plain as the world does, like a person who achieves a certain plateau or status in life as he climbs the ladder of success. Good psychology is not the same as good theology. Another example of a biological inquiry would be dementia and its direct impact on the person with dementia as well as the impact on family members and caregivers. For the Christian, problems arise in the area of faith and belief. In the world in which we live today, every person is caught in a myriad of many things, with many avenues of opportunity to control us and spend our time. Should it be sublimated or ignored hoping that it will go away and become a problem? Since man is constantly trying to explore the mind in human behavior, it seems logical to the Christian that his source of knowledge can best come through an understanding of the One who created the mind of mankind, as well as looking at the textbook He has written on the mind and human behavior. In the biological realm of human nature, psychology can and does explore brain activity and specifically neurotransmitters that affect mood, memory, learning, sleep, and many other human functions. This has to do with Affection. See: Genesis 1:26-27, 2:15-20. Attachment theory and psychology of religion research explores the ways that a belief in God can fulfill the criteria of an attachment figure and examines how individual differences in attachment lead to correspondence or compensation pathways. A pattern is a series of tissue papers that are cut in certain ways to give dimensions. Foreword Peacocke (1993) suggested that science and theology may be regarded as non-interacting perspectives of reality, which are described in different languages and … Because we have been accepted by God into His family, and our lives are molded by His Word and the Holy Spirit who indwells us, it helps us with the problem of the disposition of life; how one disposes of the time and talent that he has in life. When this happens disillusionment may set in at a time when the personality is least able to cope with it. man exists as an individual in a purposeless world, and that he must oppose the hostile environment by the exercise of his free will) and pragmatism (i.e. In a similar fashion, psychology can provide the tools used by God to penetrate more efficiently, and dissolve the defensive shell that people use to insulate themselves from Biblical truths, and from their fellowmen. This problem of organization resolves itself into finding a proper center for the personality into which all human traits may be channeled, and which are at the same time beyond the human element. Learn how your comment data is processed. In the disposition of life, the Christian is accepted in the beloved---a child and heir. These answers should be sought and found, and when they are, along with personal application, the normal spiritual life that God has for each of us will become evident. The biographical sketches that one sees in God's Word in the Old Testament, as well as in the New Testament, are given to show out of the lives of men, women, boys, and girls, who have had similar problems as ours, who have had their heights and depths, their "cloud-nine" and their "Monday mornings," how God's children ought to live today. Adam and Eve forfeited God’s perfect human creation by giving in to Satan’s temptations. Theology and Scripture, on the other hand, present the truth about God, man, sin, grace, heaven, hell, salvation, angels, demons, miracles, the Messiah and the immortality of man's soul. This reality will only increase in importance and value in the de…, Contexts shape *How to Do Nothing* as Odell’s nimble thoughts wander in many directions, exploring ecology, technol…. Paul was identified with the Lord Jesus Christ in every aspect of his life. . (Batavia, IL: Christian Association for Psychological Studies, 2007) 45. God loves us sacrificially, yet He created us to serve Him. The sulfa drug does not kill the germ. One of the problems of human experience is what should be done with the unconscious element. Each individual is just one of billions of other people. Psychology and Religion [Carl Jung "God wanted to become Man, and still wants to."] Mankind lives in a day and age which is fraught with many fears and problems, and to a certain degree, as Christians, we have become insulated from these fears and problems. Yes, it is true, we watch the news on television, we read the newspapers, we understand in a measure what is going on in the world, we hear much about the problems that the youth of today experience, the drugs, and all that goes with it. What does this look like in psychology today? A good example of this is seen in Philippians 1:21 "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." For the Christian there should be a day-by-day problem dealing, in confession of sin, eliminating the conflict, and allowing the Holy spirit to resolve the problems by guiding the individual in the truth of God's Word. “Concepts of God and Therapeutic Alliance Among People with Severe Mental Disorders” explores the transferential aspects of God representation among severely mentally ill adults. The needs for self-esteem, love and acceptance, and significance tend to dominate. The answer is, no one knows what is normal. When this reorganization of the self life is begun, the power that formally had been expended in solving inner conflicts becomes available for constructive purposes. The Bible is given to mold or fashion us after Christ's likeness, and this is sanctification or holy living. Persons who are depressed often feel distant from God or even feel judged by God for their depressive symptoms. Christ, the Lord of psychology. 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