Christian Psychology & the Doctrine of Human Being Part 1 of 2

Posted: April 17, 2010 in Uncategorized

When we come to the doctrine of human beings, which typically is known in theological circles as anthropology, we de facto also enter into the world of Christian and secular psychology. Great tension exists both between these two field, as well as between differing views and opinions within each field, respectively.

As Christians, it is an important mental note to make that the Bible has no single theological psychology nor doctrine on human nature. Hence, these normally are philosophical generalizations. Herein is the need to know one’s Christian history and differing philosophies so that one can come to differentiate between modern secular views and understanding of mankind and the historical Christian understanding.

Even though the Bible is not a philosophical book, it nevertheless has key texts which do embody philosophical concepts which were prominent at the time of their writing.

When speaking of theological or Christian psychology there exists an ever deepening gap between the Christian understanding of mankind over and against a secular view. Why is this important? Those you work with, converse with, and meet on a typical day more than likely adhere to one if not many of the secular views of mankind, lest they be a Christian. As Christians, have we not an obligation to at least know what we believe regarding such a biblical theme such as the topic at hand, so that we may both give a response, explicate it to others, as well as perhaps even let our lost friends and neighbors know there is a correct view which has the authority of the Bible as its basis?

Beginning with Christian psychology, it differs from secular psychology mainly in that it “posits and undeniable and indestructible link between God and humanity” (Charry). Hence, for the Christian, humanity can never be separated from his or her Creator. One ideal and hallmark of so called post modern thought today is autonomy. This is latent with secular though undergirding it, for at its core, it comes back to an understanding of humanity. Thus, secular psychology will say humanity has a right to be autonomous, whereas as Christianity says this is impossible. Proverbs 15:3 heralds that the “eyes of God are in every place.” For the Christian, this guides our morality, how we live and breathe. Secular psychology bucks this and yields freedom to the autonomous individual to make up and create their own morality.

Could you imagine every individual creating their own morality? Having total freedom to judge that which they believe is right and wrong? This is the state of modern man. Understanding this and having an understanding of the Christian view of man will aid us the furtherance of the Gospel. For, in knowing these differences, we will live and breathe differently which in turn may reflect Christ.

We are left with a need for direction which we will turn to next. We will look at two prominent historical figures in all of Christendom who’s views are generally discussed in the realm of Christian psychology and its view of humanity: Gregory of Nyssa and Augustine of Hippo.

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