If Jesus claims to be the divine made human and to teach the very words of God himself, then his trustworthiness would evaporate if we were to discover his entire view of human nature to be radically wrong. He would be offering a cure for an imaginary disease and would lose all credibility.
Human Nature and the Gospel
When we consider the view of personhood presented in Scripture, the question of whether we are mere brain machines or something more becomes a gospel question. In other words, the integrity of the gospel proclamation is undermined if we reject a biblical view of humanity, because, in large part, it is our nature that frames the gospel message in the first place. There are many reasons these connections matter, but four significant ones are worth reflecting on briefly.
First of all, the gospel of Jesus Christ presents us with a call: because we have all fallen into sin, we are unable to live the righteous life that God requires. This is a universal problem endemic to humanity. The remedy provided by God in Christ is the forgiveness of sins, secured by Jesus’s sacrifice of himself on the cross—the righteous for the unrighteous. We can stand in his forgiveness and be acceptable to God by turning from sin and following Jesus in faith. This is a very cursory description of the good news proclaimed by the apostles and bequeathed to the church, but it has a key implication that traditional Christian anthropology has embraced and many secular thinkers have abandoned: there is a moral law. We cannot be in need of forgiveness unless we have transgressed the moral law; and if we are not in need of forgiveness, the gospel is emptied of its power and truth. No moral law, no sin problem; no sin problem, no gospel.
Second, the Bible makes it clear that the death of our bodies is not the end of our story. While the belief in life after death is by no means unique to Christianity, being found everywhere from Plato to Buddha to Shirley MacLaine, it is essential to the Christian message. Over and over again, Jesus and the apostles preached that after this life we would be raised to face judgment, and judgment would be followed by either eternal life or death. So central was this belief in life after death that the apostle Paul declared, “If our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world” (1 Cor. 15:19 NLT). Surviving the death of our bodies is a central biblical teaching, but one rejected by nearly all secular cognitive scientists, their advocates, and the we-are-just-brains metaphysic.