In the last chapter, we discussed the problem of the thought-life. Now we are going to consider the Christian life in relation to psychological problems. This is the problem of man’s separation from himself, and in relationship to himself in the world of thought. Now as God is a person who thinks, acts, and feels, so I am a person who thinks, acts, and feels. But ‘I’, a person, am a unit. I can think of my parts in various ways: as body and spirit, or as my physical part and my spiritual part. I can quite correctly think of a division of myself of intellect, will, and emotions and it is right that I should thinks so, because these things are open to observation. But we miss the biblical concept if we miss its emphasis that man is not just the parts, but he is a unit. Our thinking should start there. There is a ‘you’ who is neither just a collection of isolated parts, nor yet just a flow of consciousness. Anything that hurts that unity is destructive of the very basic thing that man is and what man needs to be.
Once I begin to understand and feel this, I begin to see something far, far beyond our usual restriction of the concept of sin merely to a forensic element. The forensic element is there very strongly, because God is holy, and must declare me guilty, but sin is not just a legal matter. It is something more.
The truth is not just an abstract truth; there is a truth of what I am. Now we could think of two basic areas in considering the question of man. The first is Being, or the question of his existence. This is the dilemma of all men, regardless of what their philosophy is. It is the basic thing which no man can escape, that he does exist. Endless problems are thrown up to the non-Christian man as to the question of his existence, of his being. No matter who he is, no matter what his philosophy is, he exists and there he is. He cannot ever escape this dilemma, even by dying, because in dying he may think that he can cease to be. But even in his own thought forms, dying does not erase the fact hat he has been. So we think first of all of the problem of Being.
The second area relates to what man is in the circle of his existence. In other words, I am, but what am I in comparison with what God is? I exist, and God exists: what is the difference between the circle of my existence and the circle of his existence? And on the other side, what is the difference between my existence and the existence of the animals, plants, and unconscious materials? Because they also exist. So now we have bare existence, and then differentiations of myself from God on one side and the animals, plants, and machines on the other side. (tomorrow we continue with ‘being’)
Thoughts developed or used directly from the work of Schaeffer, Francis. True Spirituality . Tyndale House Publishers, Inc