Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, Woefully and Tragically Fallen | Steve Cornell

Evangelicals have a significant stake in the decision-making nature of human beings. Terms like belief and unbelief, obedience and disobedience, are part of a biblical grammar of responsibility. Accountability and culpability are essential concepts in relation to the bad news about sin, the good news of the divine gift of salvation, and the expectation of final judgment. Typically, only extreme cases of mental disability find exemption from this understanding of willful human agency and accountability. With this longstanding view of human responsibility, it should not be too surprising that evangelicals—-particularly in the fields of counseling—-have been reticent to accept the relatively recent findings of medical research that attribute moods and behaviors to neuro-physiological conditions. As neuro-chemical deficiencies became an established social narrative for explaining a host of personal problems ranging from depression and anxiety to learning deficiencies, suspicion of these findings has grown. Some evangelical leaders worry that the findings of neuroscience assault biblically based theological conclusions about humanity, sin, and even salvation. But counselors should acknowledge that sometimes life is not easily reduced to choosing. If we treat people only as volitional beings, we fail to relate to them based on the full theological narrative of the imago Dei and the fall from grace. We must consider matters related to nurture and nature when addressing complex issues of life in this world. [Read More]