Welch’s Blame It on the Brain? is a good lay-level introduction to mind-body issues in a counseling context. The details he leaves to other resources (e.g., for the theological debate about dualism vs. monism he refers readers to Cooper’s Body, Soul, and Life Everlasting), but the framework he provides is very helpful. Welch’s basic thesis is that the brain never causes people to sin. Brain injuries may remove the abilities of some to restrain the impulses of a sinful heart, but the brain is not forcing people to sin. In areas less traumatic than head injury, Welch argues that the brain may make certain temptations stronger but that this does not remove the responsibility to resist temptation. Welch does recognize that the complexity of mind-body issues may mean attempting to treat medical aspects of a problem medically and spiritual aspects of the problem biblically.
Jacobs’ work is similar to a historical theology of original sin. He outlines how the doctrine emerged, its historical context, and the thinking of the theologians who formulated and defended it. But Jacobs’ cultural history is much more than a historical theology. He also looks at broader cultural reactions to the doctrine of original sin and cultural events (such as utopianism) in light of original sin. G. K. Chesterton once marveled that people doubted the doctrine of original sin since it is the one doctrine open to empirical verification. Jacobs’ broad cultural sweep seems intended, in part, to document the verification.