Greetings friends around the world from Dallas, Texas!
With the sad passing of the beloved celebrity comedian Robin Williams, the subject of depression is once more brought to the forefront of world attention. Williams’ work will be remembered by many millions worldwide. Our sincere condolences to the Williams family for their untimely loss.
I will not get into a lengthy explanation of depression and its medical types and terms. I offer the following quote, “depression is a mental, emotional, and psychological disorder, usually characterized by a pervasive and persistent very low mood, low self-esteem, loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities. Major depression significantly affects a person’s family and personal relationships, work or school life, sleeping and eating habits, and general health.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/)
The World Health Organization (WHO), reported in 2012, “Depression is a common illness worldwide, with an estimated 350 million people affected. It can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school and in the family. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide. Suicide results in an estimated 1 million deaths every year. The burden of depression and other mental health conditions is on the rise globally.” In May 2012, WHO called for a comprehensive, coordinated response to mental disorders at country level. (http://www.who.int/mediacentre)
It is obvious that depression, in whatever form it takes, is prevalent at epidemic proportions worldwide. I will, as I have always dealt with issues in the past, confront the matter at its root cause. Treating a problem at the root cause will spontaneously take care of symptomatic affects and provide remedial solutions. As readers of this blog have known by now, I have always tried to view any given issue through the prism of the Trinitarian nature of God. Why is that? Because man and all creation was made in God’s Triune image, and thereby creation and man is forever connected to His Maker. (Gen.1:26-27) Man once lived in perfect union with His Maker in Eden and had no inkling of any depression whatsoever. Then rebellion became a way of life, and Adam and Eve were evicted from their Maker’s presence. What happened to man from then on is an open field day for man’s future destiny, as his disconnection from the image of his true triune self is now overturned and distorted forever. As long as man is disconnected from his Maker he will live an unfulfilled life, and will suffer from low self-esteem, unhappiness, and ultimately depression. It’s that simple. To liken oneself to the image of the Creator, is to psychologically be lifted above created life to the level of the divine with all its glory. This is the place where depression has no footing to start with. It is a place of complete Love, peace, and joy unbound. It is the place to defeat depression. It’s the place to start and restart life when a person has depression.
Think about this, God is Trinitarian, that’s to say, He is One God existing in three hypostasis (shared existence) in the Father, Son, and Spirit. God is not only Triune, but He is Love. (1John 4:8) All creation has this 3-dimensional stamp bearing the expression of His Love. The universe is made of three primary and independent, yet interdependent components: time, space and matter, which makes up one universe. The atom is formed from three particles: electrons, protons, and neutrons. The three states of matter are solids, liquids, and gases. All colors begin with three primary colors, red, yellow and blue. From these three come the three secondary colors, purple orange and green. With the additions of various shades of white and black, an endless color spectrum can be created. There are three basic forms of energy, motion energy, heat energy, and light energy. (Reflections of the Trinity, by Perry J Webb) The human family, fashioned after the Trinity, has three components, the father, mother and children. I could go on.
And here is the crux of the matter, man is no different in his constitution. Man was made to reflect the Trinitarian image of his Maker. To be a whole person, he has to express himself in his 3-dimensional nature in which he was created: that is, through body, mind, and spirit. Or, as author Fred Sanders put it, ‘head (mind), hand (body), and heart (spirit).’ Until man expresses himself holistically in his inter-connected makeup, he cannot exist in his Maker’s likeness. Man is triune in his makeup like His Maker. Within himself, man lives a shared 3-dimensional inter-connected existence. So, God creates to reflect His Triune Self, in Love. Nothing in creation lives in “solitary” form of itself, all of life and creation is interconnected like the Trinity exists in Love.
The obvious question for man is this: is he using the three integrated components of his makeup to live his life? Or, is he leaving out any component part of his triune person? All of creation around him by which man lives and subsists, openly display and witness to him about this inter-connected life that’s the stamp of the Creator who is Triune. The Psalmist say, “Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. 3 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. 4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. Creation declares the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” (Psa. 19:1-4)
What would happen to our universe if suddenly we find there is no matter but only time and space? There would be no universe as we know it. Or, what would happen to our world if the atom’s electron should cease to exist, can the neutron and proton particles do the job of creating energy on which the universe subsists? What if the color blue were to disappear, how would our sky look like? Our capacity for distinguishing light, shade, and other objects, would be hugely affected. You get what I mean? What would happen to humanity if a man and woman have no way to procreate? Humanity would cease to exist! The only living organism that’s living contrary to this 3-dimensional interconnected way of life, is man. Why? Because, unlike creation which has this interconnected life hard-wired, man was made to live a dynamic life with his mind – in the image of his Creator! Nothing else in creation has this Godly mind power, except man. Whereas animals have a purely physical life and governed by preset interconnected instincts, humans have both a physical and a spiritual life that’s reigned in by the mind. Man’s body, mind, and spirit life is lived through his mind and thought process. With the mind, man face choices – through his perspective he makes decisions. In other words, man has to make a deliberate decision to live by his integrated 3-dimensional life. He has to pay attention to his body, his mind, and his spirit. And the underlying influence governing their integration is the divine Love. (Rom.5:5) To leave out any one would be detrimental to the person.
Just One of Three Reasons for Depression
Of course, this is one of the three explanations of man’s search for answers about depression – the spiritual aspect. There are legitimate medical explanations as it concerns his body and mental (mind) faculty. Here, I quote from an article title, “It Can’t Be Depression, I’m Christian,”: “In the late 1990s and early 2000s several groundbreaking studies brought significant insight into the biology behind depression. In laymen’s terms, these studies showed that some people’s brains simply do not have the capacity to recover from the biological effects of stress and crisis (Kramer, p. 131). This in turn literally shrinks a part of the brain that controls feelings. The cause of depression is rooted in brain chemistry. The chemicals necessary to maintain this particular area of the brain are not sufficient. As a result, one’s mood is affected, and depression eventually can set in. Genetics has a strong impact on a person’s tendency to become depressed. It isn’t a matter of being Christian or not Christian, converted or not converted or saved or not saved. As Dr. Peter Kramer states in his book, Against Depression, when talking about a study focused on twins: “Even bleak environments elicit depression only in the vulnerable. That a shared environment rarely shows up in the chain of what causes depression pushes a good deal of what we call environment into the background” (ibid., 135). We all accept the fact that our bodies wear out and run down and are susceptible to disease. We can even accept the fact that our brains can be ravaged by diseases such as Alzheimer’s. But some Christians will not accept the fact that clinical depression also has specific biological causes. They’d rather categorize depression as a “bad attitude” or “lack of faith.” (www.gci.org). In other words, depression is not just about man’s faith, that’s just one aspect, there’s medical explanation also for his body and mind or brain function. Man is body, mind, and spirit no matter what his religion. His spiritual impoverishment does affect him both bodily and mentally, and vice-versa.
All aspects of this dreaded affliction must be aggressively investigated. What I cover here is the ‘trunk of the tree’ aspect of the issue. Let me continue. Often, man likes to live his 3-dimensional life separately and “solitarily” and it can’t be done. The illustration below show what I mean:
The three circles represent a person’s makeup: body, mind, and spirit. When we try to live these three components in “solitary” mode we don’t properly understand the integrated life of the body, mind, and soul so vital to human well-being. If we live only two of them without a third, then we’re headed for trouble. Hence, when God told Adam, “You shall surely die” (after he disobeyed), it meant Adam had replaced the Spirit life he had with God with a spirit which stood in opposition to Him, and thereby disconnected man from a vital aspect of his 3-dimensional life. And sadly, many times we leave out one of the triune components to our own detriment. The Psalmist say, “In his pride the wicked man does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” (Psa.10:4) They are living under the rebellious spirit of Adam which had him evicted from Eden. This is how humans are wired, and we see it in all creation. The only difference is the human mind is what differentiates man from the rest of creation. In fact the illustration above should be rendered as follows, showing the integrated reality of man’s 3-dimensional existence in body, mind, and spirit:
The three functions are integrated into a single expression of life. It can never be separated or function “solitarily,” because if we do, we do so to our own hurt. G.K. Chesterton said that humans are incomplete thinkers. He said, “We want things in fragments, that way we do not have to think of our inconsistencies. That way, we do not mind when our work contradicts our ideals (or principles), or when our politics contradicts our faith, and we keep each thing in its watertight compartment.” (The Apostle of Common Sense, Pg.19) Yes, we try to live this “solitary” persona compartmentalizing our actions and living a life of contradictions. We live a ‘double life’ when we ought to have one unified triune life. You are living against the grain of who you are as a person, and sooner or later it catches up with you. The end-result of that is we bring upon ourselves unnecessary stress which works against us and leads to all kinds of issues, especially to mental health. If this is not corrected, depression sets in, and the condition worsens with time unless we do something about it. However, where Love is unifying the 3-dimensional life, depression has nothing to hold on to. Does depression exists in God presence? No, Christ came to give us a life in the Father’s presence through Him. Depression thrives only when Love is non-existent.
The Bible is clear about this 3-dimensional aspect of man’s life and that it is to be expressed in unison and in harmony in a Trinitarian way. Paul said, “May God Himself (“God is Love” – 1John 4:8), the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul (mind) and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Thes.5:23) Yes, Love and peace will dominate your life to the end of your days. The Bible shows also that only His Word, His guidance for us in this life, is capable of reaching down into the deepest parts of our being, to tap into our innermost feelings, our profoundest thoughts, where one else can, so we can find meaning and purpose in life. Without it, we’ll live empty lives, always in search for answers, and without direction we turn to the wrong sources which do us more damage than good. Paul says to us, “For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Heb.4:13) The root cause of depression was told to us in the story of Adam and Eve, it was the spirit of rebellion, that’s passed down to mankind. Unfortunately, it continues to this day. It’s mainly our refusal to activate the spiritual component of our 3-dimensional makeup, or inheriting the wrong spiritual component, which is the basic cause of mental and many other issues. Yet, the Bible speaks of a second Adam, Jesus Christ, who came to right the wrong Adam had done. Jesus came to give man back the Spirit life Adam lost in Eden. We can start a new journey with a genuine 3-dimensional integrated healthful life by giving ourselves to Him.
I invite you to think about this matter with urgency as it concerns yourself and those of your loved ones. If you are already suffering from depression, then please find an excellent professional who can help you, someone who is licensed by the state and/or country where you reside. Most especially, embrace God in your life and activate the spiritual component of your life. Paul comforts us with these words, “God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us.” (Eph.3:20, The Message) I close with the Psalmist expression of God’s Love, in The Message translation:
“God’s Love is meteoric, His loyalty astronomic, His purpose titanic, His verdicts oceanic. Yet in His largeness nothing gets lost.” (Psa.36:5-6) This is not the place of depression, but of peace, joy, and Love!
Our prayers are with those who suffer from this dreaded condition. Our sympathies with those who have lost loved ones to this affliction. May the God who heals extend His compassionate hands and make you whole and comfort you.
Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessing of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you today and give you strength for authentic creative “Triune Living” as a Bula man-river.*
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to write me in the space provided below, or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kiang (Your Servant in Christ)
*The “Bulamanriver” is the metaphor describing the union of man with the Love of the Triune God flowing in humans, making possible the “Triune Life” – the source of the miraculous life in man. Man is the “riverbed” and the Spirit is the “living waters” that cover him and flows to all in his valley (destiny). (John 7:37-39)
To read the many facets of life of the “Bula man-river,” go to my website www.bulamanriver.com where you can order a copy of my book. Remember, when you purchase my book you lend a hand in Jesus’s Work, for all the proceeds go towards dispensing the Gospel worldwide. (Mark 9:41; Matt.28:28:18-20; Eph.2:10). Thank you for your support.
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All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.