Title

Understanding Psychosis from A Biblical Perspective

Date of Award

12-1-2003

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Theology (Th.M)

Department

Practical Theology

Abstract

This paper addresses the issue of psychosis and how it can best be understood from a biblical perspective. Historical approaches to psychosis are examined, as well as current secular theories relating to psychosis. This includes biological and nonbiologically- based, theories, and biblical analysis of their validity. Because psychosis is a problem that is broader than a simple diagnosis of schizophrenia, specific diagnostic categories are addressed and the symptoms that define them. These definitions are juxtaposed against biblical definitions from the Old and New Testaments that relate to psychosis. The differences between regenerate and unregenerate men are explored, and the counseling implications inherent to each type.

Significant attention is given to the biblically-based heart issues that are common to all people and their relationship to psychosis. This includes such areas as pride, mysticism, fear, anger, rebellion, escapism, self-reliance, guilt, self control, and double mindedness. These areas are explored with relation to how each can develop into a pattern of thinking that is not only unstable and unbiblical, but also poorly rooted in reality. Several case studies on a few of the most common types of psychosis are given as an illustration of how these problems can be manifested. Brief suggestions with relation to biblical counsel are provided after each section.

The main conclusion of this paper can be well encapsulated in the understanding that all thinking that is not based on the Word and principles of God, is going to be inherently flawed. Because of these inherent flaws, a person will become progressively distanced from truth, increasingly blinded to the realities of life that can only be found in biblical truth, and thus irrational in his thinking. In a very real sense, then, anyone who rejects scriptural truth will be perpetually engaging in behavior that from a biblical perspective is nothing less than insane. Believers are not immune to unstable behaviors if they, too, choose to disobey the truth of Christ in relation to given areas of their lives. In summary, those individuals who continue in sin and the futility of their thinking will be at high risk for psychotic types of behavior that are noticeable even to those who are not believers.