Depression is a Matter of How We View the World

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 @ 4:22 PM

The Neurology of Depression

God has seen fit to bless us in our current day-and-age with amazing technological advances that allow us to peer into the human body like never before. Computed Axial Tomography (CAT) scans use a series of x-rays taken from different directions; while Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses magnetic fields and radio waves; and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) measures emissions from radioactively labeled, metabolically active chemicals injected into the blood stream. With these technological advances, scientists and medical doctors are learning more-and-more about the neurology of clinical depression.

Depression Changes the Brain

Today, through the innovations of science, God is showing us that a state of depression may involve the decrease of brain neuron size and density. Neurons are specialized cells that transmit nerve impulses. The human brain is estimated to consist of some 85 billion neurons. But recent research seems to suggest that it is not only neurons that may decrease in size and density during depression, the number of glial support cells (the connective tissue of the nervous system) may reduce as well. This loss of brain tissue results in larger ventricles i.e., “cavities” in the brain, and is believed to effect emotion, memory, and learning during a clinical state of depression.


Regardless of what science might reveal about the neurological implications of depression, as Christians, we serve a God who is all about redemption. To redeem is to compensate for the faults or bad aspects of someone/something; to gain or regain possession of someone/something in exchange for payment. Believers who have suffered through the course of depression and experience healing will often tell you that it came more so in the form of transformation than recovery. To recover is to return to a normal state of health, but to transform is to make a thorough, and what is often a dramatic change. Those who are in Christ Jesus are promised that God works good in all things (see Romans 8:28), even during seasons of depression. Our Lord tells us that His “yoke is easy” and His “burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30). The great biblical commentator, Matthew Henry, wrote the following about this verse: “It is a yoke that is lined with love. So powerful are the assistances he gives us, so suitable the encouragements, and so strong the consolations to be found in the way of duty, that we may truly say, it is a yoke of pleasantness.” A state of depression is, perhaps, one of the greatest challenges to a Christian’s faith; a challenge that brings the opportunity for our faith to be strengthened. And whom among us could not benefit from stronger, deeper faith in our Lord and Savior?

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