The Importance of the Mind in the Spiritual Life of a Christian
In his book entitled Love the Lord Your God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul, J.P. Moreland explains the importance of the mind in the spiritual life of a Christian. To begin, Moreland explains how the current evangelical church has lost the Christian mind through anti-intellectualism. Citing Christ’s command that Christians must love the Lord their God with all their minds, Moreland argues that the church must recover the mind and regain the ability to reason and think logically. Throughout the rest of this book, Moreland lays out how this can be accomplished. First of all, he provides a Biblically based argument for the value of the mind in the life of a Christian and explains the mind’s role in one’s spiritual transformation. To achieve this spiritual transformation, Moreland argues that Christians must first overcome the empty self, let go of the fear of losing control, and commit to truth and reason. Furthermore, Moreland lays out five sets of virtues that Christians should take to heart as they cultivate their mind, virtues such as wisdom, faith, and open-mindedness. Since logic is a critical part of using one’s mind, Moreland also provides a brief overview of logic, addressing concepts such as syllogisms and common fallacies. After addressing the many ways a Christian can cultivate their mind and develop their reasoning, Moreland uses his next section to analyze aspects of a mature Christian mind. Such aspects of a mature Christian mind include effectively evangelizing through the use of apologetics, providing philosophical arguments for the existence of God, and analyzing the evidence of Jesus. As Moreland concludes his book, he provides a few practical ways in which Christians can recapture the intellectual life in the church.
Although the concepts addressed in this book were very complex, Moreland explained them thoroughly and in a very understandable manner. Furthermore, the organization of his topics was very easy to follow and bolstered his arguments exponentially. Furthermore, Moreland included excellent philosophical content as he delved into each of his topics. Perhaps this was most evident when he provides answers to a few of the most important questions concerning the existence of God. In arguing the existence of God, Moreland provides the following three premises: (1) The universe has a beginning, (2) The beginning of the universe was caused, and (3) The cause of the beginning of the universe was personal. In regard to the first premise, Moreland provides the philosophical argument that it is impossible to cross an actual infinite number of events to trace back to the beginning of the universe. Some might argue that the universe is beginningless, but as Moreland states, coming to this specific moment in history requires passing an actual infinite number of events, which, as he has already established, is impossible. In regard to the second premise, he argues that the laws of nature do not govern something coming into existence from nothing. As a result, the universe must have been caused from something outside of the laws of nature. Some might argue that this argument is faulty because this means something must have caused the existence of God since “everything must have a cause.” However, as Moreland states, at some point there must have been something that just existed, which debunks this entire argument. In regard to premise three, Moreland establishes that the cause of the universe existed in an immaterial, timeless, and spaceless. state of affairs. It does not make sense that such a cause could have produced the first event that brought material, time and space into existence unless this cause was personal. After providing philosophical arguments for these three premises, Moreland then provides an argument for God using the design argument and an argument based on the existence of moral absolutes. I believe that each of Moreland’s philosophical arguments is very well thought out, based, and incredibly insightful, strengthening his thesis that Christians should seek to cultivate their minds.