The Real Source of Emotions

Where do these amazing things called emotions come from?  If you are like me, feelings are the bane and blessing of our existence:  a blessing as they create an emotive background within us as we look upon our children, or a bane as we experience threatening times of loss and grief.  At those various times our emotions match the delights and disasters of life.  The source of emotions is a surprising place. I believe this ability to feel comes from our being made in the Image of God.

A short while back, I had the frighteningly interesting experience (more frightening than interesting) of having my eye operated on.  The procedure was complicated so the operation was at a hospital in an operating room.  While I was waiting outside stretched out on a gurney, an anesthesiologist came over to check on me.  We ended up in a conversation.  I told him that having a series of eye problems had led me to appreciate how wonderfully our two eyes worked together to create the sense of depth.  I did not want to lose that, I said.

Then, he said, “Isn’t evolution fantastic, because a million years ago we had one eye in the middle of our heads, and then it migrated down to our face, and on the way it split in half.”  Gesturing, he placed two hands on his head and then he slid each hand down to each eye.  “That’s how we got two eyes,” he stated.

Please understand:  I had been in pain for several weeks and had experienced high levels of stress.  I am not as unsubtle as I will appear.

That is so stupid,” I replied, “that I’m almost forced into believing that God did it.”  He got the best of the argument because shortly thereafter I was unconscious!

Our bodies are repositories of wonder.  Within our short frame is an unimaginably complex set of abilities.  From whistling a tune to thinking up the splitting of the atom, we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  Yet, the greatest wonder of all is that all of this is expressed by a walking pile of chemical and electrical activity.  This is so wonderful that it makes the existence of God reasonable.  Inside of us is a world of emotions, appetites, and imagination.

Our ability to do things without, and sense things within, exists because God molded clay into an electrical chemical masterpiece that makes any computer laughable.  What was His model in doing so?  The answer is Himself.  We are flesh and blood expressions of the divine:  we are made in His image.  If that is so, than the contemplation of ourselves is a basic introduction to deity.

God has the ability not only to think and to will, but also to feel.  The language of the Bible expresses it this way:  God is said to have two qualities.  He is spirit and He has soul.  The classic statement is from John 4:24: “…God is spirit.”   The Greek construction is anarthrous (without the definite article) and emphasizes spirit as a quality.  A way of translating the phrase would be, “…God as to quality is spirit.”  Spirit implies self-awareness, reflection, and will.  When one examines how the Hebrew word and Greek word for spirit is used, it is commonly connected to terms of reflection, intellect, and intention.

God is also described as having a soul.  Soul implies sensation, feelings, and appetites.  God has what can be described as a soul since He is a sensate being.  Some erroneously take the language revolving around the word soul and almost turn it into some substance within God or man.  Soul is probably a category of language and psychological observation and not necessarily a substance.

"Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates.  They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them."  Isaiah 1:14

"Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations."  Isaiah 42:1

Sometimes language can generate confusion; this is one of those places.  It is easy to presume that soul and spirit imply substances, a spirit substance and a soul substance.  Yet it is commonly presumed that God is incorporeal, or is not a body.  Instead of God having substance, soul and spirit, these terms may be describing processes within a person.  Soul implies that the person has appetites and emotions while spirit implies that the person can reflect and be self-observing.

The source of emotions is therefore God.  At the center of reality is a being who feels and thinks.  Since that is true, and since the Bible says that we are made in His image, we too feel and think.

That we are made in His image is the reason for our emotions and our thoughts.  Men and women are similar to animals in having flesh, soul, and spirit, but the critical difference is that we are made in the image of God:

"For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God."  1 Corinthians 2:11

"Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?"  Ecclesiastes 3:21-22

"Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness… So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."  Genesis 1:26-28

Everything about us is a reflection of the divine: we are an analogy of the divine.  Yes, we have a soul like God, but that is only a part of it.  And indeed, we have a spirit like God, but it is more than that.  Everything about us is an afterthought about deity!

For more information about Dr. Eckman and his ministry click here http://www.whatgodintended.com/content/emotions-source.asp

More from Dr David Eckman

Becoming What God Intended

Sex, Food and God

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April 26, 2010. Food For Thought, Online Classes. Leave a comment.

Prepping New Podcast With Answers to Common Questions About The Shack by Paul Young

We’re pretty excited about the release of the class and study guide we’ve developed for The Shack but we’re far from finished.

Coming soon, we’re going to publish some conversations we recorded with Dr Bill Sawyer who developed the content for the class. With such a depth of knowledge, and a great gift for sharing, these recordings are going to be a real treat.

The recordings will be collected together as a podcast on podomatic and iTunes and the individual sessions will be shared here as well.

By the way, what questions do YOU have which your reading of The Shack may have brought out in you? Just leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

October 21, 2009. Tags: , . Online Classes, The Shack. 1 comment.

Moving Beyond The Shack with The Shack Class and Study Guide

We’ve been working like crazy on the new class and study guide for The Shack and it’s almost ready to go. Last week we even spoke with William Young and he was both excited and supportive to see that we’re finally coming out the other end of the tunnel.

The sign up page for this class and study guide is ready to go at
http://eduplex.org/en/launch2009/shack1.aspx

For those wondering what’s in store for this online class built around the book The Shack, here’s a brief description of course 1.

BEYOND THE SHACK Course Series
Beyond the Shack is a revolutionary, high impact, life-changing experience that engages the student in a deep and satisfying emotional connection to God: beyond rules, guilt and pain into relationship, joy and power! An exhilarating journey of discovery! A remarkable integration of teaching, coaching, social interaction and contemplation! The unique integrated coaching takes you beyond knowledge to actual experience of deep spiritual truth.

Course 1 – Forgiveness: Possible or Impossible?
Pain & Guilt: Neutralizing the Poison

When others hurt us, abuse us or commit horrific crimes against us, where is God in all of this and how could he possibly ask us to forgive? Forgiveness: Possible or Impossible? addresses the theme of forgiveness in The Shack book by William P. Young, and highlights the three distinct types of forgiveness, commonly taught as one. The course teaches common forgiveness myths, the dangers of premature forgiveness, and explains how to experience true freedom from those who have hurt us. If you are still feeling wounded by another, then this course is especially designed for you. Experience healing and a new freedom of your heart as you develop a loving and lasting relationship with God and others.

Student Comments: “I really liked the interaction with the other students on the conference call and was surprised at how fast a bond began and people started opening up.” “I liked the fact that there were seasoned staff on the call to ask the questions and keep the group on track.”

October 5, 2009. Tags: , , . Online Classes, The Shack. 3 comments.

Interviews With William Young About The Shack

While working on The Shack Class and Study Guide I found these interviews with William Young. They give a lot of insight into the pure passion he’s put into this book.

William Young Interview Part 1 of 3

William Young Interview Part 2 of 3

William Young Interview Part 3 of 3

Based on the comments about this book it’s pretty clear to me that people need additional information to process what they’re taking in. To me it’s less about “right vs wrong” interpretations but rather a willingness to explore your own values and beliefs when it comes to your relationship with God.

The Shack Class and Study Guide on the way. Won’t be long now.

If you have any questions you’d like covered, please leave them below.

October 1, 2009. Tags: , , , , . Online Classes, The Shack. Leave a comment.