The brain, in which the mind resides, is one thing and the heart in our thorax, with its power of motivation, is another thing. With but few
exceptions, the use of the word “heart” in the Bible is limited to the operations of the heart of man as the powerhouse of one’s desires,
emotions and affections, the place that comes to include the capacities for motivation. The Bible does not speak of a symbolic or spiritual heart in
contradistinction to the fleshly or literal heart, just as it does not speak of a symbolic mind, and thus we do not want to make the mistake of
viewing the literal heart as merely a fleshly pump as does orthodox physiology today. Most psychiatrists and psychologists tend to overcategorize the
mind and allow for little if any influence from the fleshly heart, looking upon the word “heart” merely as a figure of speech apart from its use
in identifying the organ that pumps our blood.
The heart, nevertheless, is intricately connected with the brain by the nervous system and is well supplied with sensory nerve endings. The sensations
of the heart are recorded on the brain. It is here that the heart brings to bear on the mind its desires and its affections in arriving at conclusions
having to do with motivations. In reverse flow, the mind feeds the heart with interpretations of the impulses from the senses and with conclusions
reached that are based on the knowledge it has received, either at the moment or from the memory. There is a close interrelationship between the heart
and the mind, but they are two different faculties, centering in different locations. The heart is a marvelously designed muscular pump, but, more
significantly, our emotional and motivating capacities are built within it. Love, hate, desire (good and bad), preference for one thing over another,
ambition, fear—in effect, all that serves to motivate us in relationship to our affections and desires springs from the heart.
The Bible makes a definite distinction between the heart and the mind. Jesus did so when saying we must love Jehovah with our “whole heart” as
well as with our “whole mind.” (Matt. 22:37) What we are at heart determines in large measure what we are as to personality. In this regard the
apostle Peter speaks of “the secret person of the heart in the incorruptible apparel of the quiet and mild spirit, which is of great value in the
eyes of God.”—1 Pet. 3:4.
Some medical scientists and psychiatrists believe that the heart does considerably more than pump blood. For instance, Dr. D. E. Schneider, a
neurologist and psychiatrist of New York, points out that, when the human embryo is forming, the heart and the brain develop from the same area, that
the heart is in part nerve tissue and, additionally, has the capacity for manufacturing and storing certain highly potent chemicals that exercise a
regulatory effect on the body, including, according to this research, the brain. His conclusion is that there is “evidence for a two-way
relationship between mind and heart,” and that, even as the mind has its effect on the heart, “the heart in turn may influence the mind
intensely.” Certain other researchers have arrived at rather similar conclusions.
It is significant that heart-transplant patients, where the nerves connecting the heart and brain are severed, have serious emotional problems after
the operation. Whatever medical science may yet learn about the human heart, the Bible definitely makes a distinction between mind and heart,
It is interesting to observe, too, that the heart is one of the first organs of the body to be affected by emotional circumstances. Our hearts leap
with joy; sudden danger brings a violent racing of the heart. Fear causes trepidation of the heart. Grief and sorrow bring it pain. From the heights
of joy and pleasure to the depths of despair and pain, the sensations of the heart are felt throughout the body. Appropriately we have many words and
phrases that incorporate the word “heart.” To name a few: Take to heart, fainthearted, tenderhearted, hardhearted, with all your heart,
heartrending, set your heart on, heartening, change of heart, and so forth.
The mind, as we use the term in English, is the intellect or knowledge-processing center. It gathers information, thinks on it and, by process of
reason and logic, reaches conclusions. With its powers of learning and perception, the mind relates the pieces of information it receives into
concepts and patterns. (2 Tim. 1:13) When the pieces fall into place with clarity, it can be said that one has knowledge of a matter.
Wisdom and understanding come when one is able to turn this knowledge into practical worth and see clearly how the related parts fit
together into the whole with meaning, usefulness, and workability.
The fleshly heart, in contrast, is intimately associated with affection and motivation. The psalmist wrote: “In my heart I have treasured up your
saying, in order that I may not sin against you.” (Ps. 119:11) We can see that the heart is what motivates one’s mind and course of action, by the
case of the Israelites when preparing for and constructing the tent of meeting in the wilderness. The record says that “everyone whose heart
impelled him,” all “whose hearts incited them,” contributed materials, skill and labor. (Ex. 35:21, 26, 29) It is because the
heart has this motivating capacity that it focuses attention on what the person really is inside, what the apostle Peter called the “secret person
of the heart.”—1 Pet. 3:3, 4.
Now, although the Bible shows the heart and mind to be separate and distinct, this still allows for close interrelation, interdependency, and
interplay between them. Your heart can be fed by your mind, for it is really with the conscious brain that we see, hear, feel, and receive the effects
of our other physical senses. In turn, your mind, which is seated in the brain, can be moved or motivated by your heart.
From youth the mind is exercising a strong influence on the heart. If the right kind of information is taken into the mind, right conclusions and
impressions are formed, and, as these sink down into the heart, there is a good influence in molding, controlling, and directing the motivations,
desires and affections of the heart. If wrong information is taken into the mind, wrong concepts are built up, and as a result prejudice, hate, fear,
pride, greed, stubbornness and other despicable traits take root in the heart and are reflected in the personality of the individual, especially if
these wrong conclusions and impressions were formed early in life. That is why one, in becoming a Christian, must ‘be transformed by making his mind
over.’ Paul admonished: “Be made new in the force actuating your mind.” This new force of mind is built up as we get God’s Word firmly
implanted in our minds and respond fully to God’s spirit, carefully watching afterward that our minds are not “corrupted away from the sincerity
and the chastity that are due the Christ.”—Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:22-24; 2 Cor. 11:3.
Permissiveness in home and school training has gone to seed, producing a rebellious, thrill-seeking generation. Each generation, the present
generation even more so, has produced a majority who have turned away from God, becoming “empty-headed in their reasonings” and “their
unintelligent heart became darkened,” so that “God, in keeping with the desires of their hearts, gave them up to uncleanness.”