Nature vs. Nurture

My thoughts on Nature vs. Nurture are very different from the secular world because the secular world doesn’t understand how a relationship with Jesus Christ can completely change a person. I believe my wife is a perfect person for the discussion of nature vs. nurture. I must begin with some history my wife. Erin never knew her biological father. She met her biological father for the first time just last year at the age of 33. As we get to know her biological father it seems the only similarities are a few facial features.

My wife is much more a product of her step-dad who raised her in a Christian home. If my wife was not a Christian I suspect she might be more like her biological father, since he is not. So I guess my question in the nature vs. nurture debate would be how much does Christianity play into this? If you were to look at identical twins where one was raised in a Christian home and one in a non-Christian home how different would they be? Would they still have similarities? I think they would have certain similarities, but you simply can’t leave out Christianity in this debate, because Christ can completely transform an individual.

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Nature vs. Nurture

If you leave religion out of it and take two people with the same genes and they are raised separately with the same worldview I believe they would have a tremendous amount in common if they were brought together later. I simply think it depends more on the culture, environment and worldview that the person is raised. That being said I guess I would say both if you consider God nature. If not, then I would say nurture because of the way our worldview and culture shapes us. Oops. I guess you simply can’t leave God out of the equation.

God is our nature since all man is created in His image and as Christians he is our nurture in the way that he guides and directs our lives. I think the reason that so many people have a hard time answering this is because they try to leave God out of it. According to the text Psychology: “The nature- nurture issue-the controversy over the relative contributions of biology and experience. The origins of this debate are ancient. Do our human traits develop through experience, or are we born with them? The Greek philosopher Plato (428-348 B. C. assumed that character and intelligence are largely inherited and that certain ideas are inborn. Aristotle (384-322 B. C. ) countered that there is nothing in the mind that does not first come in from the external world through the senses. ” (Myers, P. 7) The debate about nature vs. nurture rose again in the 1600’s with John Locke and Rene’ Descartes. Locke was on the nurture side believing everyone had a blank slate, and Descartes was on the nature side believing we are simply a product of our descendants. We then jump ahead to Charles Darwin in the mid 1800’s who was on the nature side.

He believed everything naturally evolved over time. So what is the answer? I took the following from Geneology. com “Fast-growing understanding of the human genome has recently made it clear that both sides are partly right. Nature endows us with inborn abilities and traits; nurture takes these genetic tendencies and molds them as we learn and mature. End of story, right? Nope. The “nature vs. nurture” debate still rages on, as scientist fight over how much of whom we are is shaped by genes and how much by the environment. (Powel, 2012) We simply don’t have the answer except to say it’s the combination on nature and nurture that shape us. The Darwin theory lives on today in our nature vs. nurture debate. When it all comes down to it, in simple terms, we really have only two options. We either leave God (the creator) out of the picture and embrace the evolution theory that everything just naturally happened, or we embrace the truth of God and his Word. The nature vs. nurture debate will never be resolved apart from God.

Things do naturally happen but only because God the creator is making things naturally happen. Nurture is part of our free will that God gave us and told us to rule over the earth and to populate the earth. As we populated the earth our cultures and habits, traditions evolved and developed. The result of who we are today does partially come from our ancestors; however apes are not our ancestors. Our ancestors are our grandparents, great grandparents and so on all the way back to Noah, Abraham, and Adam and Eve in the beginning.

It’s strange to really think we have similar genes to Adam and Eve but not as strange to think we have the same genes as apes. God created apes and monkeys to remind us what we would be like if we were not humans with a soul, and were apart from Christ. Just as you can’t separate God from creation, neither can you separate nature from nurture it is both, not one or the other.

References:

  1. Myers, D. G. , 2010. Psychology. New York, NY. Worth Publishers
  2. Powell, K. , 2012. Nature Vs. Nurture. , http://genealogy. about. com/cs/geneticgenealogy/a/nature_nurture. htm