Sunday, August 2, 2015

Does Psychology Contradict the Bible?

Proverbs 23:7New King James Version (NKJV)

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

“Eat and drink!” he says to you,

But his heart is not with you.

Cognitive Behavioral theorists teach us that our thoughts and perceptions generate our emotions, and our emotions generate our actions. They discovered what our Creator knew all along.

Some people believe that modern psychology contradicts biblical teaching so that the two cannot be used in conjunction to address life’s problems.  I am here to say that God is neither offended nor intimidated by an honest, scientific approach to psychology, and I’ll explain why.

God created the Earth and everything in it. He is the One who set up its properties, such as time, mass, gravity, physics, and such. He created the rules, laws, and principles that govern how everything works. I don’t know much about these physical sciences, but there are scientists who work non-stop to learn the laws and principles that govern these properties so that we can harness them for our benefit. As God said in Genesis 1:28, “fill the earth and subdue it.” Since that time, Man has been in the business of researching, discovering, and utilizing the elements of creation. Scientists don’t have to believe in God to study and discover the Truths that exist in God’s creation. The laws and principles (such as gravity) work the same for those who believe in God as they do for those who don’t.

For example, Benjamin Franklin did not invent electricity; he merely discovered the principles that already existed in God’s creation so that these attributes of creation could be put to use for Man’s benefit.  Later, Thomas Edison discovered how to use the principles of electricity to invent the light bulb. Now, we just take for granted that we can walk up, flip a light switch, and have light in the room. We don’t say, “I’m a Christian. I don’t believe in that science mumbo jumbo. If I want light, I’ll go directly to the source. If I want light, I’ll just walk in the room and pray for light. As a child of God, I’ll just command light to be! I don’t know about that other source of light, it might be from the Devil.” No, we just enjoy the blessing that many scientists worked hard to make available to us.

We know that scientists have discovered much about how God created the human body as well as effective ways to intervene when it does not function as it should.  Most of us have no qualms about seeking medical attention when we have an illness or injury.  Just as God created the body to function in specific ways that can be studied and discovered, He created the brain, the emotion center, and the human psyche in specific ways that can be researched, studied, and discovered.  Just as humankind has discovered principles in God’s creation to for making the electricity work and the body healthy, humankind has also discovered many of God’s principles for making the human mind and emotions healthy.

Just as we do not have misgivings about using science to walk in a room to flip a light switch or receive medical treatment, we should not fear using the science of psychology in a responsible manner to help us with our emotions and behaviors. We are careful not to use a light switch that has a short in it because it could start a fire and cause damage. You would be leery of a doctor who did not go to medical school. In the same way that we are responsible to use electricity wisely and carefully, or to seek a qualified medical practitioner, we must be responsible in how we choose a therapist, self-help book, or support group. We need to make sure our core values are supported even if the therapist, author, or support group leader is not Christian.  God is always with you on this journey and will guide you into all truth. Throughout my blogs, I will show you how God’s principles for a healthy life were formed at creation, expressed in His Word, and only later confirmed by scientific discovery.

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