Just in case anyone was still in suspense, Metal/Mexican Monday was re-instituted; actually effective last week, which although I failed to mention here, was quite an amazingly refreshing day despite the rain (or maybe it was due to the rain and cold).
Anyway, if you are to new to this, next Monday just remember to eat something Mexican (not a Mexican) and listen to something metal (preferably not from the late 80’s; also nu-metal does not count). I would recommend Chipotle juxtaposed against some August Burns Red, but again, you can do whatever you see fit.
Moving on to something a little more relevant (although metal is still relevant) I have been doing a lot of thinking a lately, maybe even a lot for me. I’ve been somewhat assimilating a lot of the reading that I have done over the last several months (and since I first started studying theology four years ago) and have been thinking about synthesizing a lot of it into something that could become a thesis. Ideally, it should be something highly theoretical in nature, but that is laden with numerous practical implications. All this thinking has gradually been leading into one direction.
To preface what follows, when I was first studying psychology (circa summer 2006) I found little satisfaction with many of the personality theories I read about and determined that one day I would write my own, but with an explanation of man that was firmly grounded in the Bible. This is phase one.
Phase two involves my readings in Arthur Custance, who is an anthropologist by degree (and in addition to his doctorate in that, he also had an M.A. in Oriental Languages, specifically Hebrew and Greek) but who had built his theology by reading the Bible through 8 times in one winter (yes, you read correctly, that’s 8 times in one long Canadian winter, how many of us have even read the Bible straight through 8 times period?) Anyway, long story short, the philosophical, scientific, theological writings he has produced in his 9 volume doorway papers series are some of the most fascinating thoughts I have ever read concerning theology. He is particularly interested in the biological ramifications of many of the stories in the Bible we give little thought to, particularly the fall of man (only genes can be inherited from one generation to the next, so in order to effectively inherit a sin nature from Adam, it has to be passed on genetically) and the virgin birth (a woman in theory can conceive on her own, but would necessarily be a female child; for a male child to be born in that way is nothing short of miraculous, but it was also absolutely necessary for Christ in order that he avoid inheriting that genetic abnormality known as a sin nature, which comes from the man’s corrupted seed) just to give two examples that become inexorably linked when one considers the biology. The point of phase two being that my thinking on theological topics after receiving a firm basis in two years at Word of Life was suddenly being stretched in different directions for a more profound understanding of what man is, what he has become, who God is, and what He has done for man to make provision for his redemption and restoration of the fellowship he was created for in the first place.
Phrase three then necessarily becomes synthesis of previous gleanings into a cohesive whole. I suppose this means I need to write my own multi-volume systematic theology, but rather than jump straight to that, I should probably focus on a more attainable goal in the next couple of years with the expectation that it would become part of a much larger body of writing in the future.
This is where you come in.
Given the background of my thought development, one thing that caught my attention was the heart. We are aware that our usage of the word in English can mean both the organ that pumps blood throughout our body, as well as a reference to our inner selves, which is also the case we find in Greek. What I am wondering is just how much of an overlap there is in the term. That is, could many of the Bible’s teachings referring to the heart be taken both in a figurative way that we usually take it in, but also in a non-figurative physiological way?
For example, Proverbs 12:25 states:
Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.
Now the interesting thing about this is that we are tempted to make heart simply stand for the spirit of man, which is what it may very well mean. However, so far as we know, the spirit is not localized in a specific part of the body (which I may debate against later) however the heart obviously is. It would be hard for anxiety to be stored in your spirit, but it could be stored in your heart physiologically speaking and if so would have certain ramifications. That in fact, is what medical science is finding (see Suls J; Bunde J (2005). Anger, anxiety, and depression as risk factors for cardiovascular disease: The problems and implications of overlapping affective dispositions. Psychological Bulletin. 131(2), 260-300, as well as Jiang W, Krishnan RR, & O’Connor CM. (2002). Depression and heart disease: evidence of a link, and its therapeutic implications. CNS Drugs, 16 (2), 111-127) namely that anxiety when internalized, localizes in the heart physically and not only then causes heart disease, but also then leads to depression in the individual who is allowing negative emotions to fester.
The verse, and my subsequent research paper on depression was the first link in a chain of studies concerning the psychology of man, as well as the cardiology of man and how that might have spiritual implications.
My question to you is, what do you think of all this?
- Is it possible that many of the passages in the Bible concerning the heart could have physiological implications?
- Could that be where your spirit is localized within your body?
- If your spirit is localized in your heart, would that help explain the sudden changes in individual’s personalities after heart transplants? (More on that next time)
- It is possible for the heart to rupture from extreme sadness or extreme joy, when this happens, if one were to be say, pierced in the side, blood and water would inevitably flow out, could it be that Jesus himself died of a broken heart over our sin? (Granted He did give up His own spirit, but he could have done so after it had lost the part of the body it was localized in)
- When we are saved could there be a little more to the idea of Jesus coming into our heart? That is, could our physical body qualitatively change just slightly upon salvation by the implantation of something new in our heart? (In a sense that you become a new creation by virtue of a change in the fundamental part of your body that stores your spirit?
These are just a few questions, some I have an answer for, others I am still researching and prayerful considering, but at any rate, I would appreciate outside thoughts and concerns as I work towards a synthesis and better understanding of these ideas.