Can Christians experience Psychological ill-health?


The Bible informs us that sin led to the fall and ushered in death (spiritual-relational death instantly and physical death eventually). The moment Adam and Eve sinned, they died spiritually-relationally, their bond with their Maker was severed. And as if this were not enough, their bond with their self, their bond with each other, their bond with the animal world and plant world and the whole of creation, so to speak, was severed at multiple levels (Genesis 3). 

The ‘Death’, that human Sin ushered in (Gen. 2:17, Rom. 6:23), is generally limited to instant Spiritual and eventual Physical death. But what most of us fail to bring to this narrative is – the Biblical idea of human personhood, in its entirety. Human Personhood, is not just limited to the body (physical) and spirit (spiritual). There is a whole lot more, that we are missing, that’s submerged here. 

Biblical Personhood
We get a sense of the full-person perspective in Mark 12:30, where Jesus instructs us to love him with our heart (seat of emotions), soul (seat of the will), mind (seat of thoughts) and strength (seat of our physicality). A whole-person perspective, helps us understand the whole breadth and depth of the impact of sin on our entire personhood – heart, soul, mind, body and ‘whatever else’ personhood entails. 

Therefore, the effects of the fall are not only to be applied to the body (physical ill-health), but also to the mind (psychological), heart (emotional) and come full-circle, to include soul-spirit aspects of the person in a holistic way. 

GuiltShame, Fear and Blame are the immediate first reactions/symptoms of Adam and Eve to their sin as recorded in Genesis 3:10-. This clearly illustrates spiritual, psychological and the emotional ramifications of the fall. While we do read (distant) physical ramifications of the fall into the narrative and rightly so, drawing from the whole counsel of God, we seem to be conveniently gloss over and neglect the immediately obvious, right-under-the-nose, psychological and emotional outcomes.  

The Devil and his minions, have been given limited power/authority by God for a time on this earth, before they are finally judged forever. A Child of God, is often secure under God’s mighty wings and there are numerous Scriptures that validate it and encourage those that trust in the Lord (Psalm 34:7-9, 2 Thess. 3;3-5, Isaiah 54:17, Psalm 23:1-7, Eph. 6:10-15, 2 Tim.4:18, Prov.18:10, Psalm 121:7-8, Nahum 1:7, Psalm 3:3-5, Isaiah 43:2 etc.)

Charles Spurgeon once said, “The mind can descend far lower than the body, for in it there are bottomless pits. The flesh can bear only a certain number of wounds and no more, but the soul can bleed in ten thousand ways, and die over and over again each hour.”

Yes, true disciples of Jesus (Christians) can experience psychological ill-health, just as they do experience tooth-aches, headaches and flu (physical ailments), not to mention the numerous cell-deaths that keep happening at a micro-level on a daily basis (ageing).

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