Question: Why is the Bible silent about mental illness except for speaking of demon-possessed persons? |

TBC Staff

Question: Why is the Bible silent about mental illness except for speaking of demon-possessed persons? Could you address this subject?

Response: The Bible does deal with madness, or insanity (Deuteronomy:28:34; 1 Samuel:21:13-15; Acts:12:15; 1 Corinthians:14:23), but insanity is not a mental illness. Either the Holy Spirit was ignorant of a class of mental sickness that has only lately, through godless humanists, been uncovered, or what we are being told today by Christian psychologists isn’t true. Unfortunately, much sin is being redefined as sickness and thus excused.

If Christian psychology has something vital to offer, then we are confronted with some crucial questions. How did Christians get along without psychology for 1,900 years? Why would God leave His people in such desperate ignorance, and why would He use godless people such as Freud, Jung, et al., as the channels of this “new truth”? And why would the Bible claim that it offers all we need [emphasis added] “for life and godliness” (2 Peter:1:3-4) and to be “perfect” (i.e., all that God wants us to be) and to be fully prepared for every good work (2 Timothy:3:16-17) if that weren’t true? Did God lie to us? And since Christ lives in our hearts (Ephesians:3:17) and “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians:2:13-16) and are crucified with Him so that it is not ourselves anymore but Christ living through us (Galatians:2:20) and we “can do all things through Christ” (Philippians:4:13), does Christ, who is our very life (Colossians:3:4), need psychological help? If He is our “counselor” (Isaiah:9:6), why do we need psychological counsel? And how did Abraham, Joseph, Daniel, the martyrs in Acts, and the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11, etc., triumph without psychology?

These are serious questions. If we have any confidence in God and His Word, then the answers are obvious. A distinction must be made between the brain (a physical organ, which could have a chemical imbalance, nutritional deficiency, or some structural damage), and the spirit (a nonphysical part of man). We must distinguish between medical problems involving the physical brain (for which the Bible doesn’t claim to be a handbook) and spiritual problems involving the spirit, soul, mind, and will (for which the Bible claims to have given us all the guidance we need). The physical brain can be sick, but the nonphysical spirit cannot. Thus “mental illness” is a misnomer. 

Demon possession is something else entirely. The problem is either physical (medical) or spiritual (moral). The latter may involve sin, such as disobedience or a lack of trust in God to fulfill what He has promised in His Word, all of which rob us of joy and peace. (From our TBC archives)