What to read on neuroscience, man, God, and related matters:
In the first part of this article I laid out in a very brief, introductory fashion the various debates and controversies found in related areas such as neuroscience and evolutionary psychology. Issues covered include the mind-body problem, what it is to be human, how we understand consciousness, scientific naturalism, artificial intelligence, and so on.
I then offered a number of quotes from a whole range of authorities and experts – from the atheist to the theist – who have strongly challenged the reductionistic thinking so often found here, including the beliefs that only matter matters, and that our minds are nothing more than our brains.
Plenty more such quotes like that could have been offered, and many more articles on this quite large and complex area can be written. Perhaps more of them will be forthcoming, so stay tuned. But here I present a small library of books you should be aware of that closely look at all these questions.
Most are penned by scientists, philosophers or theologians. And while most are written by Christians, not all of them are. The truth is, there are a number of non-believers who reject the philosophical naturalism and the scientism – the idea that science alone has all truth and can explain all things – that we find here so often.
Some of the volumes offered here are brand new, while some go back a number of decades. For example, back in the 1970s the British professor of neuroscience Donald MacKay spoke about “nothing buttery” – the view that man is nothing but matter, and man – and everything else – can be fully explained in purely material terms.
His rejection of scientism and of reductionism has been shared by many other scientists and scholars. Indeed, the birth of modern science itself came about largely because of the Christian worldview, and most of the great scientists of the past have been Christians, or at least theists.
So current moves by some neuroscientists and others to exclude God and the supernatural is both a quite recent and a very narrow view of things. All this and more is covered in these books. What I offer here are over 70 works that are well worth consulting.
It should be noted that most good books on apologetics, anthropology, the new atheism, and related fields will have at least chapters or sections devoted to these matters. But to keep this reading list down to size, I feature volumes that are mainly – if not entirely – about the subjects under discussion here.
Aeschliman, Michael, The Restitution of Man: C. S. Lewis and the Case against Scientism. Eerdmans, 1983.
Allen, Ronald, The Majesty of Man: The Dignity of Being Human, 2nd ed. Multnomah Press, 1984, 2000.
Baker, Marc and Steward Goetz, eds., The Soul Hypothesis. Continuum, 2011.
Beauregard, Mario, Brain Wars. HarperOne, 2013.
Beauregard, Mario and Denyse O’Leary, The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Case for the Existence of the Soul. HarperOne, 2007.
Beck, James and Bruce Demarest, The Human Person in Theology and Psychology: A Biblical Anthropology for the Twenty-First Century. Kregel, 2005.
Boa, Kenneth, Augustine to Freud: What Theologians & Psychologists Tell Us About Human Nature and Why It Matters. Broadman & Holman, 2004.
Brown, Warren, Nancy Murphy and H. Newton Malony, eds., Whatever Happened to the Soul? Scientific and Theological Portraits of Human Nature. Fortress Press, 1998.
Burke, Thomas, ed., Man and Mind: A Christian Theory of Personality. Hillsdale College, 1987.
Carey, George, I Believe in Man. Hodder and Stoughton, 1976.
Clark, Kelly James, God and the Brain: The Rationality of Belief. Eerdmans, 2019.
Clarke, Peter, All in the Mind? Does Neuroscience Challenge Faith? Lion, 2015.
Cooper, John, Body, Soul, and Life Everlasting: Biblical Anthropology and the Monism-Dualism Debate. Eerdmans, 2000.
Corcoran, Kevin, Rethinking Human Nature. Baker, 2006.
Cortez, Marc, Christological Anthropology in Historical Perspective: Ancient and Contemporary Approaches to Theological Anthropology. Zondervan, 2016.
Cortez, Marc, ReSourcing Theological Anthropology: A Constructive Account of Humanity in the Light of Christ. Zondervan, 2017.
Cortez, Marc, Theological Anthropology: A Guide for the Perplexed. T&T Clark, 2010.
Cosgrove, Michael, The Essence of Man. Zondervan, 1977.
Crisp, Thomas, Stephen Porter and Gregg Ten Elshof, eds., Neuroscience and the Soul: The Human Person in Philosophy, Science, and Theology. Eerdmans, 2016.
Custance, Arthur, The Mysterious Matter of Mind. Zondervan, 1980.
Dickerson, Matthew, The Mind and the Machine. Brazos, 2011.
Dirckx, Sharon, Am I Just My Brain? The Good Book Company, 2019.
Elliott, Mark, ed., The Dynamics of Human Life. Paternoster, 2001.
Evans, C. Stephen, Preserving the Person: A Look at the Human Sciences. IVP, 1977.
Farris, Joshua, An Introduction to Theological Anthropology. Baker, 2020.
Feser, Edward, Philosophy of Mind. Oneworld, 2005.
Goetz, Steward and Charles Taliaferro, A Brief History of the Soul. Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.
Green, Joel, ed., What About the Soul? Abingdon, 1987, 1999.
Green, Joel and Stuart Palmer, eds., In Search of the Soul: Four Views on the Mind-Body Problem. IVP, 2005.
Habermas, Gary and J. P. Moreland, Beyond Death: Exploring the Evidence for Immortality. Crossway, 1992, 1998.
Hasker, William, The Emergent Self. Cornell University Press, 2001.
Hoekema, Anthony, Created in God’s Image. Eerdmans, 1986.
Horton, Michael, Richard Lints and Mark Talbot, eds., Personal Identity in Theological Perspective. Eerdmans, 2006.
Hughes, Philip Edgcumbe, The True Image. Eerdmans, 1989.
Jeeves, Malcolm, Human Nature at the Millennium: Reflections on the Integration of Psychology and Christianity. Baker, 1997.
Jeeves, Malcolm, Mind Fields: Reflections on the Science of Mind and Brain. Lancer Books, 1993.
Jeeves, Malcolm, ed., From Cells to Souls – and Beyond: Changing Portraits of Human Nature. Eerdmans, 2004.
Jeeves, Malcolm and Warren Brown, Neuroscience, Psychology, and Religion: Illusions, Delusions, and Realities about Human Nature. Templeton Press, 2009.
Kilner, John, Dignity and Destiny: Humanity in the Image of God. Eerdmans, 2015.
Kilner, John, ed., Why People Matter: A Christian Engagement with Rival Views of Human Significance. Baker, 2017.
Lennox, John, 2084: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity. Zondervan, 2020.
Lennox, John, Cosmic Chemistry. Lion, 2012.
Lennox, John, Can Science Explain Everything? The Good Book Company, 2019.
Lewis, C. S., The Abolition of Man. Macmillan, 1947.
Lints, Richard, Identity and Idolatry: The Image of God and its Inversion. IVP, 2015.
Macaulay, Ranald and Jerram Barrs, Being Human. IVP, 1978.
McConville, J. Gordon, Being Human in God’s World: An Old Testament Theology of Humanity. Baker, 2016
MacKay, Donald, Brains, Machines and Persons. Eerdmans, 1980.
MacKay, Donald, The Clockwork Image. IVP, 1974.
McDonald, H. D., The Christian View of Man. Crossway, 1980.
Machuga, Ric, In Defense of the Soul: What it Means to be Human. Brazos, 2002.
Martin, Charles, How Human Can You Get? IVP, 1973.
Meilaender, Gilbert, Neither God Nor Beast: The Dignity of the Human Person. Encounter Books, 2009.
Middleton, J. Richard, Liberating Image: The Imago Dei In Genesis 1. Brazos, 2005.
Miller, J. Steve, Near-Death Experiences as Evidence for the Existence of God and Heaven: A Brief Introduction in Plain Language. Wisdom Creek Press, 2012.
Moreland, J. P., The Recalcitrant Imago Dei: Human Persons and the Failure of Naturalism. SCM, 2009.
Moreland, J. P., Scientism and Secularism. Crossway, 2018.
Moreland, J. P., The Soul: How We Know It’s Real and Why It Matters. Moody, 2014.
Moreland, J. P., and David Ciocchi, eds., Christian Perspectives on Being Human. Baker, 1993.
Moreland, J. P., and Scott Rae, Body and Soul: Human Nature and the Crisis in Ethics. IVP, 2000.
Scruton, Roger, On Human Nature. Princeton University Press, 2017, 2019.
Shatzer, Jacob, Transhumanism and the Image of God. IVP, 2019.
Schaeffer, Francis, Back to Freedom and Dignity. IVP, 1972.
Sherlock, Charles, The Doctrine of Humanity. IVP, 1996.
Sickler, Bradley, God on the Brain: What Cognitive Science Does (and Does Not) Tell Us about Faith, Human Nature, and the Divine. Crossway, 2020.
Smail, Tom, Like Father, Like Son: The Trinity Imaged in Our Humanity. Eerdmans, 2006.
Strachen, Owen, Reenchanting Humanity. Mentor, 2019.
Strobel, Lee, The Case for Heaven: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for Life After Death. Zondervan, 2021.
Swinburne, Richard, The Evolution of the Soul. Oxford University Press, 1986.
Taliaferro, Charles, Consciousness and the Mind of God. Cambridge University Press, 1994.
Vitz, Paul and Susan Felch, eds., The Self: Beyond the Postmodern Crisis. Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2006.
Ward, Keith, More Than Matter? What Humans Really Are. Lion, 2010.
Happy study and reading.
Part One of this article is found here: billmuehlenberg.com/2021/10/28/mind-matter-consciousness-and-the-brain-part-one/