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Unfortunately, I don't have a rigorous definition of "conscious" and "unconscious" mind, although I think most of us would agree that they exist.

Question: Is there any verse in the Bible that says anything about the split between conscious and unconscious mind?

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@Greg McNulty provided a couple of links that might help you define consciousness, so please consider improving your question. (I voted it down because it doesn't show much research.) While you're at it, could you help me see how this is a question about Christianity? The Bible doesn't have to be a comprehensive reference book, you know. ;-) –  Jon Ericson Sep 17 '12 at 15:44
some people say that the holy ghost is our conscious - however this isn't what you're talking about. –  user1054 Sep 17 '12 at 18:48
@JonEricson - I do not understand why you would dislike this question and like this one. hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/2378/… I find both equally related to Christianity almost from the exact same angle? –  Mike Sep 19 '12 at 3:50
@Mike: Well, BH isn't about Christianity, but the Bible. But more importantly, the other question at least showed me some research effort. Re-reading it in light of my thoughts on Bible questions, I'm voting to close as off-topic. –  Jon Ericson Sep 19 '12 at 16:00
@JonEricson: Out of curiosity, is there any official document on how Christianity / BH are split? I'm definitely guilting of posting questions that ended up on BH. However, it kind of baffles me how that given neither site is overwhelming popular, what the policy is that initially caused the split. –  unregistered-matthew7.7 Sep 20 '12 at 2:34

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

The Bible is filled with distinctions between conscious and subconscious. However a clear demarcation in the original languages is not always clear as the those precise terms were not used.  In English we often refer to our subconscious with other words and it is the same way in Biblical Hebrew and Greek

For example εβουλομην often means  'consciously purposed' as here:

15 Και ταυτη τη πεποιθησει εβουλομην προς υμας ελθειν προτερον ινα δευτεραν χαριν 

Because I was confident of this, I wanted to visit you first so that you might benefit twice. (NIV 2 Corinthians 1:15)

On the converse θελω often means 'subconscious desires' as in this verse:

19 ου γαρ ο θελω ποιω αγαθον αλλ ο ου θελω κακον τουτο 

For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. (NIV Romans 7:19)

According to the TDNT by Gerhard Kittel:

The one finds in θέλειν impulsive and unconscious desire, and in βούλεσθαι rational and conscious.

However just as in English these words tend to overlap and can be substitutes for each other. Phrases like  'having a desire', 'seeking', 'wanting' or 'purposing' or 'being ready or inclined' may have to be assigned to the conscious, subconscious, both, or neither, depending on the context.


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2 Peter 2:12 talks about unrighteous men who indulge the flesh. The verse describes them as "creatures of instinct" and "unreasoning animals".

It seems significant that they are described as being moved by "instinct" rather than "reason".

This seems to indicate that it is error to be led by the "unconscious mind" at the expense of the "conscious mind".

I'm not sure "walking" should be classified as "unconscious", though; indeed, if it were, you may walk into traffic without thinking, as a sleep-walker might. ;p

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The verse that stands out for me here is Psalm 32:9:

Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.

I read it as: "don't just go on autopilot or on habit, following the crowd. God gave you a brain, use it!"

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Sigh. Downvoting, why exactly? –  Wikis Sep 18 '12 at 17:41
don't worry wiki - someone in a bad moo came roaring by and downvoted my scholarly approach as well. sometimes its just te sour mood people are in, you answer is fine (+1) –  Mike Sep 19 '12 at 2:11
@Mike: thanks, that was my guess as well. Your approach is indeed scholarly, +1! –  Wikis Sep 19 '12 at 4:26

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