"healthy and unhealthy
fear of god"


To Adam, fear caused him to hide; to Job, fear caused him to inquire ‘why?’ One causes a person to hide; while the other to seek what is wrong; how to do better; to ask for forgiveness. One explains with excuses; the other cries: what have I done?What shall I do? Seeks guidance; reason for what is wrong; opportunity to do better.

The Psychology of Fear is a reaction/combination of our psychology and biological make up. There are two different systems responsible for it: ‘parasympathetic’ system and the ‘sympathetic’ system. The first system serves to conserve bodily energy: peaceful times; slower heart rate; sleeping state, etc.; the sympathetic system serves to gather up the body’s resources to get the organism ready for vigorous actions. This system gets the body ready to flight or fight. Biologically as soon as Adam heard the voice of God, he fled; psychologically because he was aware that he had disobeyed God, he felt fear; he hid himself.

In Job to, we see the biological reaction; while the psychological reaction does not produce the fear to run, but to inquire ‘why?’“Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up:” (Job 4: 14, 15). actions of the sympathetic system caused the bones to shake and the hair to stand up: (to get the organism ready for something?) The same way the cat reacts when surprised by a danger? Psychologically because Job had not disobeyed God (anyone/anything), he felt no need to run; but because of the biological action, the psychological need/reaction was still present in him. This need takes the form of ‘why?’ What have I done?

Healthy and UN-healthy fear: we could say that psychologically Adam manifested UN-healthy fear (terror); while Job healthy fears (Godly fear).Because in Adam, it resulted in punishment; while in Job a reward.

Another example that healthy (Godly) fear can keep us from danger is found in the example that we have from Jehoshaphat:“And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, It is the king of Israel.Therefore they compassed about him to fight; but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him; and God moved them to depart from him” (II Chron. 18: 31); also II Chron. 20:Therefore the rewards of the healthy fear are well expressed in II Chron. 20: 27-29: “Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them, to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the Lord had made them to rejoice over their enemies….”

Healthy (Godly) fear can only benefit us as we read in Proverbs as well: “Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.” (Prov. 28: 14).

What kind of fear motivated the apostles to flee, John to follow at a distance and Peter to deny Christ?

What kind of fear is in our hearts?

Carlo De Pinto