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The Importance of the Christian Mind - Man was Created to Think

July 23, 2012 by Eddie Bhawanie 0 comments

Posted in: On Christian Living

     The Genesis account declares: God created man, and placed His divine thumb-print on Man—made in the image of God, in the Image Deo. One of the greatest and noblest features of man is his capacity to think. Man, endowed with the ability to think and respond to his Maker, is distinct from plants, birds, four-footed beasts, and creeping things. God made man different from the rest of the universe.
     The Genesis account in chapters 2 and 3, holds out for us how the Creator, the infinite-personal God, communicated with man in a way that He does not communicate with plants, birds, four-footed beasts, and creeping things. He communicated with Adam and Eve, with true knowledge, although not exhaustive knowledge. He communicated with Man by way of language in understandable commands and words.
     Language itself is a creation of God. Language and creation are the two modes through which God reveals Himself. These two modes, since: "In the beginning" (Gen. 1:1), have been inextricably linked. The existence of language is evidence of the fact that men and women are connected; first to the living God, and then to His created world. Reality is not essentially linguistic; reality is essentially created by the infinite-living God, which includes, the language of man; and man expresses life’s reality, and meaning by way of language. This Genesis account of creation gives reference to "the objective, historic existence of Adam and Eve, and the objective existence of God Himself."1
     In this Genesis account, Man is invited by our Creator to name the animals. Naming the animals, required intelligent thought, selection, classification, and creativity. This we see Adam doing, symbolizing man’s distinction from animals, and his dominion and ruler-ship over the animal kingdom. In being different from animals, man is called upon to think and act differently: "Be not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee" (Psalm 32:9). The prohibition here is clear, man is called on not to behave like animals. Why? Because animals have a rudimentary brain, and they lack intelligence and understanding, and they operate on instincts.
     John Stott, wisely commented on the behavior of man and animals: "Consequently, man is mocked and rebuked both when his behavior is more bestial than human, ("I was stupid and ignorant, I was like the beast toward thee") and when the behavior of animals is more human that that of some human beings. Ants are more industrious and more prudent than the human sluggard. Oxen and donkeys tend to give their masters a more obedient recognition than God’s people. And migratory birds are better at repentance, for when they go away on migration they always return, whereas some back-sliders go and fail to come back."2 (Proverbs 6:6-11; Isaiah 1:3; Jeremiah 8:7).
     The Genesis account records the Historic Fall of Man, and that account is short Genesis 3:6). Sin began in the thought-world of man and flowed outward. The sin was, therefore, committed in that moment Eve believed the virulent, alien, serpent, the Devil, instead of God. She believed the devil-Satan, then she ate, and then she gave the fruit to her husband--Adam.
     The result of the Fall is marked by the entrance of sin, shame, and guilt into the human race. In the Historic Fall, both the will and the intellect , fell, and man became, (or so he thought) autonomous from his God. Man became depraved, both in thought and behavior. The Bible is like a sledge hammer here, driving home the fact that evil entered into the world of man, and all men are now sinners (Gen. 6:5; Jer.17:9; Rom. 3:23 and 6:23).
     The New Testament describes the depravity of the human mind and intellect as: "darkened, futile, senseless, alienated and enemies in your mind, the mind is darkened in the understanding, darkened in the mind, in thinking, the mind of the flesh" (Eph. 2:1-3; 4:18; Col. 1:21; Rom. 1:18-23; 8:5-8). Sin, shame, and guilt have affected the faculties of: the feelings, and the thinking. In spite of man’s depravity, God said: "Come now, let’s reason . . .(Isa. 1:18). When a crime is first reported by the news media, it is often added that, "no motive has yet been discovered." It is assumed, you see, that even criminal behavior has a motivation of some kind.

The Renewal of the Mind
     We now move to the doctrine of redemption which the living God has fully achieved through the merits of Christ’s work on the cross. The Gospel of Christ is addressed in words to the mind. Paul makes a distinction between the wisdom of God and the wisdom of man: "For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe" (I Cor. 1:21). Here the apostle contrasts human wisdom and "revelation--a rational revelation" of the truth of the Gospel of Christ. He declared: ‘what we preach,’ is the crucified and risen Christ. Nevertheless, the Gospel is still addressed to the mind of man, a divinely ordered means of opening the mind and heart and saving the soul of man.
     Man’s redemption in Christ, carries with it the renewal of the divine image in man which was fallen and corrupted in the Eden Paradise (Gen. 3). This renewal includes the mind. The New Testament addresses redeemed-fallen man as: "being renewed in the spirit of the mind" (Eph. 4:23). Through the redemption, the redeemed man is encouraged to, think the thoughts of God by, "thinking on these; whatever things are lovely . . ." (Phil. 4:8). Christians are, therefore, encouraged to: "not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of the mind. . ." (Rom.12:2), and to; "put on the mind of Christ" (Phil. 2:5), because, in reality, the Christian man has "the mind of Christ" (I Cor. 2:15-16). In the redemption we can now use the mind to love God, to obey God, to receive God, to glorify God, to love our neighbor, to love self, and to love our enemies" (Matt: 22:37-40), which previously we could not do. Only the Christian faith places importance on the human mind. Among all world religions, only Christianity places heavy importance on the human mind.
     The Christian mind is a mind that is trained and disciplined perhaps in five areas: (i) to understand the intellectual content of Scripture, (ii) to understand the substance of Scripture, (iii) to understand the thought-forms of his generation, (iv) to construct the Christian worldview and propositions; the ability to know, to obey, and live out (by demonstration) his faith in Christ, and (v) to give a ready defense of the Gospel of Christ.

Summary:
     In Western contemporary thought today, there is a drift of the Christian mind’s away from the truth-claims of the Christian faith – to secularism. The modern Christian church in her mindset has succumbed to the secular drift with much weakness. With this drift there is a lack of substance, and a lack of Biblical content in her thought-forms. John Piper, describes our modern culture by saying: ". . .our media-intoxicated culture is neither given to thinking, nor to straining Godward, . . ."3 He is very accurate in his description of today’s culture. The church has not escaped the influences of the thought-forms of modern culture upon her decision-making and living.
     There is still a Christian ethic, a Christian practice, and a Christian spirituality in our culture today. But the thinking is quite secular it’s humanistic at its center—man is the measure of all things. There is, therefore, the need and the challenge to get back to Biblical-Christian thinking, and the important use of the human mind with the Bible!

1 Francis A. Schaeffer, Genesis In Space And Time, Inter Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1972, p. 43.
2 John R. W. Stott, Your Mind Matters, Inter Varsity Press, 1972, p.15
3 John Piper, God’s Passion For His Glory, Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1998, p. 30.

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