Sin or Genetics? Making Sense of the Dark Side of Humanity

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Colorado Springs, CO— “I have seen the dark side of humanity,” says neuroscientist and author Matthew Stanford, Ph.D. Yet in his interviews with convicted rapists and murderers, Stanford was most struck by how ordinary these individuals were. More than anything, he says, they just seem…lo…and unable to control violent impulses.

The Biology of Sin by Matthew S. Stanford PhD

The Biology of Sin by Matthew S. Stanford PhD

In The Biology of Sin: Grace, Hope, and Healing for Those Who Feel Trapped (Biblica Publishing, $17.99, paper, ISBN: 9781606570319), Stanford draws from both his professional background and his solid Christian worldview to explore the nature of sinful behavior from both a scientific and a biblical perspective. Is criminal behavior a biological impulse? Learned behavior? Or is it a question of willful sin?

“Christ isn’t interested in just cleaning us up,” Stanford says. “He wants to completely transform us, recreating us in his likeness.” Stanford contends that biological tendencies do not doom people to sinful behaviors. While recognizing the impact of mankind’s inherent sinful condition, he promotes the power of an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ as the hope of victory over sin. “Biology is not destiny. The fact that we have sinful DNA is simply another example of why we so desperately need a Savior with the power to completely recreate us.”

Stanford tackles head-on many significant areas of sin including lust, lying, stealing, addiction, and rage, citing the influence of our genetic predisposition to sinful behavior. At the same time, he proves that a regenerative relationship with Christ has even greater power to break the strongest physical and biological bonds.

Stanford is professor of psychology, neuroscience, and biomedical studies at Baylor University, where he serves as the director of the doctoral program in psychology. His research has been featured in such noted publications as USA Today, The New York Times, and US News & World Report. He is also the author of Grace for the Afflicted: A Clinical and Biblical Perspective on Mental Illness.


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