Matthew 22:37 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and all your mind.”
One of the many arguments for the existence of God appeals to the unique capacity that people have over animals – the existence of a moral conscience. It goes like this:
Premise #1 = Freedom to make moral choices cannot be explained by natural laws.
This first premise is sound and irrefutable.
Once we agree to Premise #1, we are ready for
Premise #2 = Each person has the capacity to make conscious moral choices.
Again, we should all agree with this second premise. This then logically leads to our conclusion of the argument for God’s existence: “Therefore, moral consciousness was caused by something else, and this cause was God.” Since natural law has been eliminated as a source for our moral consciousness, the most rational explanation is there is a Source outside of us who gave it to us.
Dr. Michael Ruse, Professor and Director of the History and Philosophy of Science Program at Florida State University and a strong proponent of evolutionary biology, was asked by Lee Strobel in his book ‘The Case for Christ’ if there is a scientific explanation for human consciousness and the soul.
In his usual candor, Dr. Ruse explained that science cannot answer that question: “Why should a bunch of atoms have thinking ability? Why should I, even as I write now, be able to reflect on what I am doing and why should you, even as you read now, be able to ponder my points, agreeing or disagreeing, deciding to refute me or deciding that I am just not worth the effort? No one, certainly not the Darwinian as such, seems to have an answer for this… the point is that there is no scientific answer.”
The point Dr. Ruse is making is an obvious one we often don’t stop to consider. Science, which we’ll define as “the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the natural world through observation and experimentation”, cannot provide any explanation for the immaterial reality of thought, feelings, emotions, our inner will and our inherent ability to process our thoughts differently between each of us.
Dr. J.P. Moreland, Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology at Biola University in La Mirada, California, gave this answer to Lee Strobel on the same question asked to Dr. Ruse:
How do you get something totally different – conscious, living, thinking, feeling, believing creatures – from matter that doesn’t have that? That’s the point – you can’t get something from nothing! You either have ‘In the beginning were particles,’ or ‘In the beginning was the Logos’. If you start with particles, and the history of the universe is about particles rearranging, you may end up with a more complicated arrangement of particles, but you still end up with particles. You’re not going to have minds or consciousness.
However, it makes sense that if you begin with an infinite mind, then you can explain how finite minds could come into existence. What doesn’t make sense – and which many evolutionists are conceding – is the idea of getting a mind to squirt into existence by starting with brute, dead, mindless matter. That’s why some of them are trying to get rid of consciousness by saying it’s not real and that we’re just computers.
The Christian worldview begins with thought and feeling and belief and desire and choice. That is, God is conscious. God has thoughts. He has beliefs, desire and awareness, He’s alive, He acts with purpose. And because we start with the mind of God, we don’t have a problem explaining the origin of our mind.
In our verse this week, Jesus Christ explains how we are to approach God – in the same way He also explained this in the Old Testament – by loving Him not with our actions but with our motives. It is our internal, immaterial being that is our true self that then dictates our outward actions. As Jesus also said in Matthew 15:18-19, “What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.”
The word for “heart” in our verse means our inner feelings and thoughts, and “mind” means “intelligence” and/or “conscience”. The word for “soul” means “our immaterial dimension that contains our conscience and animates our physical bodies”. To understand who a person really is, I must study what drives their actions and behavior, and not focus on the behavior itself. This is why we are discussing “soul control”.
We’ve shown that increased government control over our lives won’t solve our problems. Nor will increased gun control stop mass murders. Since we are immaterial souls with the freedom to make moral choices, we need “soul control.” Next week, we’ll examine why only the Bible has the answer for “soul control”.