Saturday, April 13, 2013

Some thoughts on Mental Illness and Regeneration

Rick Warren has been heavily criticized over his son’s suicide.  I agree that only jerks would use this tragedy as a chance to attack the Warrens, but I would also like to address the reasons why the complaints are invalid, not just rude.  One specific complaint I would like to address is the idea that since Christians are supposed to be different, how can this happen in a Christian home?

When God regenerates a sinner, he does change their lives resulting in great moral reform.  So how is it that a regenerate person can suffer from chronic mental illness?  Science tells us that those with mental disorders have differences in their brains:

Regeneration takes place in the person’s soul, not their body or brain.  Sure, Christ healed the sick in the past and he could heal a person’s brain.  But just as regeneration does not normally result in removing physical blindness, so also it does not normally resolve mental disorders.  So when a person with mental disorder dies, their disorder brain will remain in the grave while their soul lives on. 

To be sure, when God created Adam from the ground and breathed life into him, Adam couldn’t have had a mental disorder.  What God created was very good.  Likewise, in the resurrection, none will have mental disorders.  But because of the fall and until Christ makes all things new, mental illness exists.

Now I am sure that God has a stunning array of good reasons for not healing all mental disorders, but I would like to explore one.  The suffering mental disorders causes can be a suffering for Christ.  1 Peter 2:20 says But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.  Even if your struggle is with your own mental illness, if you are fighting to live the Christian life and suffering for it, God will reward you.