Biblical Anthropology and its Impact on Addiction Care.

Biblical Anthropology and its Impact on Addiction Care.
Presented by Associate Professor Alan Gijsbers at the ISCAST Vic Intensive 2010


Alan, MBBS, FRACP, FAChAM, DTM&H, PGDip Epi., is a specialist physician in Addiction Medicine, and an honorary clinical associate at the University of Melbourne,Royal Melbourne Hospital Clinical School. He is the first Medical Director of the Addiction Medicine Service at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Medical Director of the Substance Withdrawal Unit at the Melbourne Clinic Richmond. He is a foundation fellow in the chapter of Addiction Medicine of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. He is past chairman of the Victorian Addiction Inter-hospital Liaison Association (VAILA). 


The question of how neuroscience affected clinical practice can only be solved by answering the prior question of what constitutes neuroscience.  That in turn rests on the metaphysical assumptions of what is a human being.  If a human being is nothing but a series of biochemical reactions then neuroscience is simply the story of neurons and synapses.  However if we accept the concepts of emergent complexity our understanding of neuroscience is enriched.  

Biblical anthropology has been distorted through the monist/dualist/tripartite lens. This is not the dominant model by which the Bible understands humans.  On the other hand the flesh/spirit divide [not to be confused with the physical/mental divide] is used in John’s Gospel to address the question of epistemology (John 3) and in Pauline writings to describe a new divine power for daily living (Romans  7-8 and Galatians 5).  This is not very popular in modern psychology and even modern science which tends to deal with problems naturalistically, and the thought of a divine power suggests a God of the gaps.  However there are resonances especially in the 12-step program and in other forms of spirituality addressing addiction.  We see through a glass darkly.  




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