Monday, November 12, 2012

The Holistic Nature of Truth



I have enjoyed much of Entwistle’s views expressed in his text: Integrative Approaches to Psychology and Christianity; I think we share a relatively similar worldview that sees all truth as an intrinsic integrated reality whole.  However, his “Allies As Subjects of One Sovereign” model—the best and most accurate of all the models he proposes in his book—does not quite capture the degree to which I believe everything is interrelated, integrated, and ultimately altogether consubstantiated.   In practice and definition, psychology and theology are different, and as such, can be classified no closer than allies within the human mind; nevertheless, reality and God are greater than what the human mind can comprehend and articulate, and insufficient practice and ill-defined schools of thought even go so far as to make psychology and theology antagonistic towards each other.  In my opinion, the premise that leads no closer than an allies relationship between the disciplines, and promotes the idea that they might also be foes, is the actual problem.  Psychology (the study of the soul) and theology (the study of God and the destiny of the soul) are more alike in practice and definition than they are different.
I further understand Entwistle’s use of the two books idea to conceptualize and define his views about the two different ways in which God reveals truth to people (the Bible and Creation), but I think it is also a fundamentally flawed and artificial distinction that separates holistic truth from its constituent parts and therefore clouds instead of clarifies.   He said: “If we are to be faithful readers of the two books of God, and if we are to seek to understand them in a holistic fashion, we must then develop some guidelines about how we should proceed” (Entwistle, 2004, p. 252).  Nevertheless, he shackles himself from the outset by seeking guidelines for an already faulty premise; his presumption that God wrote truth out in two books destroys the holistic nature of truth before it is even defined.   Truth cannot be confined by two books (but it is confined in one—the Bible) and any honest believer and seeker of truth will know how to proceed; God has interwoven himself through his Holy Spirit within the soul of the believer and is leading this soul into all truth.  There is no special or general revelation; the carnal mind has been replaced by the mind of Christ, and any truth, whether gleaned directly from the Scriptures or by observing his created works, is special and will automatically be measured by any thinking man, whether directly or under the auspices of any specific discipline to test its validity.  The embodiment of all truth is Jesus Christ; Christ in the soul (mind, will, and emotional seat) is the only true enlightenment.  A true Christian (a mature one) knows all things, but is unknown (misunderstood) by others.
The key to all the “ologies,” and specifically epistemology, cosmology, and philosophical anthropology is a Biblical understanding of an Almighty God who lives in and outside the Christian in a way that he does not live in the unbeliever.  Because the fall of mankind so mangled his image and distorted his true nature, philosophical anthropology cannot but yield a false characterization of just what man is; Watchmen Nee believed (and I do too) that man—before the fall—used his entire brain, had an aura force emanating from his being, and was capable of doing things that would seem supernatural (but was nothing more than the natural expression of an unfallen soul exercising powers beyond our comprehension).  So different is man today—so fallen from his original design—that some theologians even came to believe that mankind could never accept the free gift of eternal life except they be supernaturally overwhelmed by an irresistible grace; this theological construction became necessary because of a previous yet erroneous theological construction erected earlier about mankind’s condition which they termed: total depravity.  Mankind, according to this five-point Calvinistic and extreme view, was entirely unable to receive healing by accepting (by one’s freewill) the gift of life contained within the gospel message.  Others, of course, have erred in the other direction, and have thought mankind more capable than he actually is; mankind’s depravity and mangled state of being are impervious to his strength and ingenuity but not to his desperate call to God for help.   
Man was never to be known apart from God; made in the image of God, made married to God (designed attached to him)—never an entity without God.  When man sinned he divorced God and separated himself from his lifeline; in Christ, man’s spirit remarries God and is reattached to this lifeline and re-imprinted with the image of God.  This new creation is inserted within an old creation shell in seed form and made to grow and ultimately mature.  How impossible is the study of the human soul without this theological understanding?  Redemption is a material transaction that biologically redefines humankind.   A study of the soul (psychology) cannot be properly studied without understanding this revelation first; the Queen of the Sciences needs to retake her place and once again inform psychology (and many other disciplines as well) if a proper, proportionate, standard and universal truth—an objective truth—is to reorient and clarify this disoriented and clouded generation.
The very idea of integration could only have been the fractured and broken—altogether disfigured and splintered—brainchild of this superficial era.  More is known about a lot less deeply than ever before, and the splintered knowledge that they are attempting to integrate has never been separated except in their ignorant heads.  A whole generation of ADHD people has projected their fractured understanding of many things upon all of learning, yet their subjective reality is delusional and as dysfunctional as their souls.   Truth is intrinsically holistic; it does not need our help or explanation to become more so.  It stands sentry through all the ages in the person of Christ; he is the glass through which every strand of truth resolutely clarifies itself in juxtaposition to him.  The illimited outline of God alone must define every creature’s domain because all our scientific and mathematical genius has been unable to count the promised sand and stars; but Christ has embodied and subsumed it—been measured—and found to be the definition of a new kind of mankind.   “Until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts” (1 Peter 1:19, partial, NASB) may you and I remain humble enough to draw from him alone, “and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2: 2-3, partial, NASB) let us be content and assured we have figured it all out (or rather we have all been figured out by him).
References
Entwistle, D. N.  (2004).  Integrative Approaches to Psychology and Christianity.
  Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers.