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302: The Biology of Sin


Matthew Stanford, Ph.D. Hope and Healing Center & Institute






As both a Christian and a neuroscientist, Dr. Stanford has seen scientific knowledge distorted to justify sinful behavior and, perhaps, even more disturbingly, has witnessed Christians misuse Scripture to demonize and alienate the very ones to whom they should be reaching out. In this presentation, he will discuss sinful behaviors as defined by the Bible, including adultery, rage, addiction, and homosexuality, comparing and contrasting how science and the Bible respond to each behavior. An attempt will be made to reconcile the fact that neurobiological predispositions do play a role in these behaviors, which the Bible defines as sinful while emphasizing the authority of God’s Holy Word and the abundant grace He has for those struggling with habitual sin. Participants will be able to identify the effects of sin on the spiritual and physical aspects of a client and how a pastoral counselor, lay counselor, or coach can help a client struggling with sin that may have a neurobiological component. 


Learning Objectives 

Participants will: 

  1. Understand the role of the brain in behavioral control 
  2. Identify the effects of sin on both spiritual and physical natures of clients of a pastoral counselor, lay counselor, or coach 
  3. Discuss how culpability for sin can be reconciled with a neurobiological predisposition for the behavior