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. There are three reasons for which the Bible was written. Within the last few decades, when the fields of positive psychology and neuroscience (some have termed this union positive neuroscience) started truly gauging with empirical data peopleâs SWB (subjective well-being), the findings have reinforced how happy Godâs commands can make us if we truly obey them with a full and willing heart. It totally ignores the spirit realm: our spirits, Godâs Holy Spirit, and demonic spirits. For example, if a person chooses a certain place to go and is not appreciated by the group of people with whom he associates, or does not appreciate what he has anticipated he would, so that he does not receive a good feeling out of it, he may then become frustrated. One of the problems of human experience is what should be done with the unconscious element. This results because of an attempt to create an order in one's life. But when it comes to the matter of sanctification that becomes an entire lifetime of living. It also answers the problem of Personal Security. We give medals, letters of commendation, watches, appreciation banquets---we pass out awards and rewards, and various sorts of things. Adam and Eve forfeited Godâs perfect human creation by giving in to Satanâs temptations. This shows the simple trust of the Christian in Christ as an organizing principle in life. Each problem raised by life and psychology has its answer in the Word of God. When this happens disillusionment may set in at a time when the personality is least able to cope with it. the don't's of the Ten Commandments) or the "white" are of life (i.e. In concluding this section, it may be suggested there are five ways by which each Christian may live a more satisfying personal life, as well as be a better steward of the grace of God. "Shock" therapy, many times, drives the problems deeper into the unconscious and keeps them there. It is interesting to note that the majority of people that occupy hospital beds are there not because of physical illness, but because of emotional, mental and psychological problems. 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. . Because of the multiplicity of involvements, and the choices that constantly need to be made in relation to one's priorities is that which causes much frustration in the lives of people. Every individual has certain responsibilities before God, and God has given every individual the talents and abilities to carry out the responsibilities that he has entrusted to him. Since our mind controls our behavior and our behavior influences and is influenced in many ways, it becomes a challenging study. 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. He has the mental, moral, and spiritual capacity for fellowship with God. The Unconscious God is an examination of the relation of psychology and religion.. Key ideas. They rather create greater tensions harder to cope with, because the origins are hidden and forgotten. The sulfa drug does not kill the germ. Each of these paradigms is based on a distinct view of human nature that often excludes God and his sovereignty. He was affected by what Christ had done for him; it affected his whole life. He loved us, gave Himself for us, and even Christ came to serve and to give His life a ransom for many. 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. These four emotions are basic to every individual, and in order to overcome the emotions that constantly plague us, as well as to counter balance that, in having the emotions fulfilled that one needs, God has provided the answer in the book of Philippians. He serves us in our desire for protection, for love, for punishment, for restriction of our desires, for exoneration, for perfection and power (while in each person these specific factors may play out somewhat differently). As with philosophy, in psychology there is not much current work focused directly on trust in God, but there has been significant and fruitful recent investigation in related subjects ranging from interpersonal trust to religious attachment and religious struggle. Not even the psychologists who are searching for normalcy know, because none of them are normal. As far as God is concerned, it makes no difference whether one is the president of the corporation or the janitor in the factory. and that he must become "free" to act as he will. If behavior is completely determined by these factors, as some think, then freedom is an illusion. 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. God, Psychology, and Christian Care of the Soul Resource with John Piper. In this way one may lose control over part of his personality and the solution is worse than the problem itself; or, 2) another way to solve the problem is to make one trait an organizing principle and then subordinating all other traits to it. Then we determine if we have the resources (past experience or current knowledge) to cope with the stressor. In verse 13 he states, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." The issue of dementia cuts across the biological, psychological, and social realms. Eric Johnson gives a helpful reminder about our work as Christians when he says, “Psychology, then, in the Christian framework, is not an independent activity that operates apart from God; it is dependent upon God’s mercy to illuminate human understanding and reveal things about human nature through human reflection, research, and creative insight.”1 May our reflection, research, and insight lead us to a greater knowledge of God. A pattern is a series of tissue papers that are cut in certain ways to give dimensions. Just as he was at one time all out as an employee of the Roman government, now he was all out ---his whole life was dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ. This “fight or flight response” was first described by physiologist Walter Cannon in the 1920s. Learn how your comment data is processed. The second set of emotions that bothers us is the anger-hostility-hated syndrome, since basically we are afraid. Whether we like it or whether we don't, we are sensitive people, and there are certain emotions and affections that we have that need to be satisfied in one direction or another. The study of psychology as a scientific field poses problems for the Christian, yet when integrated with the psychological principles as demonstrated in God's Word, it offers the opportunity of opining new insights regarding Christian experiences and understanding of the Biblical truths. The issue of dementia cuts across the biological, psychological, and social realms. The Bible is given to mold or fashion us after Christ's likeness, and this is sanctification or holy living. Thus, the attempt to organize one's life may take on of two forms: 1) by consciously or unconsciously isolating the traits that are causing his conflicts into logic-tight compartments that do not allow for any problem solving or communication. Johnson, E. L. (2007). 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." 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. Again, for the Christian this poses a real problem in that this philosophy accepts no authority other than experience. The study of psychology as a scientific field poses problems for the Christian, yet when integrated with the psychological principles as demonstrated in God's Word, it offers the opportunity of opining new insights regarding Christian experiences and understanding of the Biblical truths. This encourages one to break away from tradition and old patterns in order to find a better and more fulfilling experience in life. Close. This is why Christ stated in John 10:10, "I am come that ye might have life and that ye might have it more abundantly.". More than half of Americans say religion is âvery importantâ to them, and more than 90 percent profess a belief in a higher power. The term "the unconscious God" refers to a "hidden relationship with the hidden God". 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. God’s true essence of love and grace doesn’t change, but our feelings can lead us to a distorted perception of God and his presence in our lives. We live in an amoral world that is hostile to the individual. 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 is a cover up, and thus we exhibit our fears which come out through anger, hostility, and hatred. Psychology continues to explore the complexity of human nature. 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. Mark Christians is Professor of Psychology at Dordt University. God created humans to think, act, and feel and to be in relationship with other humans. He has the capacity for obedience by choice to follow the will of God. God, who is our Creator, has created our psyche or our senses, and by and large we are conditioned by those senses. 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. See: Genesis 1:26-27, 2:15-20. This is why God gave to us mothers, to breast-feed babies, not only for the benefit of the mother's milk that the baby receives, but for that sense of security that the baby gets as it is held in it's mother's arms. What we can experience empirically as underlying this image is the individuation process, which gives us clear intimations of a greater âManâ than our ego. The world is caught up in this to a great degree because it says, "There is no help for mankind---this is a meaningless universe." Nouthetic counseling , or biblical counseling, is a form of counseling that relies solely on Scripture and the power of the Holy Spirit to achieve results. And finally, we make a decision to positively respond to the stressor or choose to avoid the stressor. For the non-Christian, it is an unconsciousness sense of guilt, though that person may not acknowledge or recognize it. Death is inevitable, and when and how death enters into our experience largely determines the emotional impact. Four things provide for God's children the standard for the normal Christian life: 1) that we live worthy of the gospel, 2) that we stand fast in the faith, 3) that we not be terrified by what is coming, and 4) that we might be willing to suffer for the Lord Jesus Christ---"For me to live is Christ and to die is gain." This is where the principles of God's Word are highly focused in the book of Philippians. This is also what Paul was talking about in Galatians 2:20, the "ego" or "I", ". The inspiration for this post is the fear of death experienced by many Christians. Jakes delineates between people having experience of God yet the inability of the human mind to explain God. The world is constantly searching for this and constantly failing, and this is why the psychologists get rich, because people go to a psychologist to have a cathartic expression---that is to get off their mind what bothers them, and the psychologist does very little, but after one has "unloaded," he feels better. Since God created us with "psyche" or a "sense," He certainly ought to know best how a person should operate in life. Islamic Psychology â Mankind and the Image of God The biblical message is that we are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26â27) and that despite the Fall we continue to bear that image (James 3:9). Why? Chapter 2 answers the second emotional need to be fulfilled and that is Acceptance. God turned him around and Saul became converted, and because of this became the Apostle Paul, now ministering the Word of God in behalf of the Lord Jesus Christ, whom he loved and whom he served. In other words, in the depths of our mind God becomes an idea, a construct, associated with different parts of our selves and our internal parental figures. ", When one looks at the Word of God, these three ideas: sin, salvation, sanctification, qualitatively are provided to the individual in this order; for first of all a person needs to know that one is a sinner and needs a Savior; secondly, that God had provided salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ for that person's sins and that once a person becomes a child of God, it is anticipated that thirdly one leads a sanctified life. If an individual's faith in Christ does not result in more in a more satisfying personal life, regardless of the problems or obstacles, there is either something wrong in one's life, or with the application of Biblical principles to that person's daily living. I can do all to the glory of God as God gives me the strength to accomplish them. Psychology can inform us in regards to how prejudice can be influenced by in-group bias, out-group bias, family socialization, and many other social and cognitive factors. 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. God has a good catharsis for the Christian in this regard. Sometimes people will spend their lives pursuing a goal and then find in the end that it was not worth-while. That's achievement. In the disposition of life, the Christian is accepted in the beloved---a child and heir. Today, we live in a world dominated by the philosophies of philosophical existentialism (i.e. In chapter 4 Paul answers the fourth need that every individual has and that is the need of Achievement. This comes through submission to the direction of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. 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 most authoritative textbook on the subject of human behavior is the Bible. Biblical counseling seeks to minister the love of the true and living God, a love that deals with sin and produces obedience. 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 God complex is a psychological illusion, and is exactly what the name suggestsâa personality flaw in human beings, especially those with great power, who perceive themselves to be omniscient and omnipotent, and treat others as mere mortals. It is easy to see how he could have had a great amount of guilt feelings, or a sense of depression or sadness at what he had done. This answers the problem of the personal disposition of a person's life, which gives to the Christian the Pattern for the normal Christian life. A Christian desires to avoid inconsistencies and disorder, to be creative and useful and hopefully reduce tension caused by inner conflicts. 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. As Christians, we can enter into this exploration with an eye toward discovering the wonder and awe of God’s created order. The most serious problem that plagues Christians is that of the "old" and "new" natures. God appreciates His children when they respond to Him in this fashion. The fourth emotion that all need is that of achievement---not only a sense of satisfaction or accomplishment, but also that which is praiseworthy, so when we achieve a certain goal there comes a certain amount of appreciation for that achievement, and it makes us feel good, so we desire it. Yet he could say he was able to forget "those things which are behind.". God's Psychology integrates biblical truth and psychological insights to clear away the obstacles that keep us stuck in feeling, thinking, and behaving in destructive ways. It is an abiding sorrow that bothers every individual. (Batavia, IL: Christian Association for Psychological Studies, 2007) 45. The pattern is placed on the cloth and then the cloth is cut according to the patter, then the cloth is sewn together which becomes the dress. In the psychological realm of human nature, we can explore and research the various mental disorders that impact millions around the world. He found that within a year the majority of them died. Then in verse 20 he notes, "For our manner of life is in heaven from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." The more this happens the greater the potential for increased tension and eventually a blow-up of some sort. Evidence seems to point in the direction that unresolved conflicts of the conscience that are pushed into the unconscious do not remain dormant. Psychology and Religion [Carl Jung "God wanted to become Man, and still wants to."] As regards the Incarnation, the idea of Godâs descent into human nature is a true mythologem. This is part of our community of being together. The "old nature" interferes with this desire as seen in Ephesians 4:22-24. Psychology is unable to discern the nature of God or the magnitude of man's immortal soul. This is the way that God wants us to live. God wants us to keep a clean slate before Him day by day, and this is why He constantly impresses upon us the fact that every day we need to pray, to read His Word, and to fellowship with Him. But I also think science and psychology make up an equally important role in my intellectual life. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Paramahansa Yogananda describes God as Love, Consciousness, Absolute Existence and Ever New Joy. âConcepts of God and Therapeutic Alliance Among People with Severe Mental Disordersâ explores the transferential aspects of God representation among severely mentally ill adults. God, Psychology, and Christian Care of the Soul, Part 3 â David Powlison Desiring God 2001 Conference for Pastors. This differs materially from philosophical existentialism which is anti-God and posits a hopeless future.). That is something that no bottle will ever accomplish, and every human being needs this affection not only as babies, but for the rest of one's life. For this the Apostle Paul has a satisfying answer in chapter 3, as to how God appreciates His children, and how this helps answer the problem of personal priorities. This is considered in chapter 3 and the key is found in verses 13, 14, and 20 which answers the problem of Personal Priorities in life. In this analogy, Christ is our pattern, and as Christians we are to cut our life, as it were, after that of the Lord Jesus Christ. This then is the message of Philippians, which gives to us what God considers the normal Christian life. Psychology of God: Do Christians Believe God Has Emotions? Achievement gives to a person a certain sense of Security, and this feeling of well being is what every individual needs. One may ask from a psychological point of view: what is normal? To a degree the world may be different, and the problems to us may not be as great or dramatic, and not have as much of a traumatic effect upon us as they do on various people in the world---but basically, we all have the same common nature, and all have the same common problems. 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. America is a deeply spiritual country. This causes depression, anxieties, and fears which may result in guilt feelings, and there are many negative reactions and reinforcers that constantly pick up speed, so that the person gets caught up in the frustrations of the world from which there seemingly is no escape. Modern psychology has a serious God problem. For the Christian who lives in the world today, his problem is heightened by the idea of some, that religious beliefs become unrealistic bondage to his "super-ego" (which is thought of as somewhat similar to one's "moral conscience"). When we cast all our cares upon Him, He does care for us (I Peter 5:7). 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. The God of Jesus Christ does not take the place of Aesculapius. Man: Man has been created in the image and likeness of God. (In one sense, existentialism does have meaning for the Christian when on is faced with the experience of real meaning in life. Then the psychologist tells him, "I'll see you nest week" and the person thinks the psychologist has done a lot for him. 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. Therefore, it behooves us to consider seriously what god has to say on this matter of Biblical psychology. It dissolves the hard protective coating around the germ so that the white corpuscles are able to kill the germ. This is the principle of life which constitutes that which is normal for the child of God. God gave it first to show the entrance and problem of Sin; second, to show mankind the need for and the provision of Salvation; and third to provide for the Christian the right way to Sanctification of life. Point in the end that it will go away and become a problem must compatible. 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