The Dignity and Value of Man

Michaelangelo Sistine Chapel God and AdamIt can easily be argued that the philosophy associated with Christianity propelled the Western World to the place of leadership in civilization. In virtually all areas – science, education, technology, jurisprudence, government, literacy and social justice the Western world was streets ahead of other parts of the world. But now that the Western World has gone a long way towards rejecting the Christian worldview, it is therefore not surprising to see the West in decline.

It is not a co-incidence that first the United Kingdom and Western Europe and then North America became the dominant world powers of the 19th and 20th century. This dominance came out of a particular worldview that saw mankind as being a creative agent made in the image of God. In the biblical view, man is significant and special. His life is not determined by the Fates, or by the Stars, or by Allah. He is not part of “Maya”, an illusion. He is not even determined by his biochemistry. He is made in the image of God. And since God is free, Man is also free.

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Genesis 1:26,27

The Bible also teaches that God breathed his Spirit into man and Man became a living soul. “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)

A sound ethical system puts an enormous value on people, by which I mean human beings. This makes sense in the Christian worldview because the Bible teaches that Man is made in the image of God. And the Bible is very specific that by “man” it is referring to both the male and female versions of “man” – that is man and woman.

Because God is the ultimate value, anything made in His image is extremely precious. We cannot or should not therefore treat people therefore merely as means to an end – to be trashed when they no longer serve the purposes of the ruling elite.

The value of Man is further demonstrated in the gospels in the story of the Incarnation. The Bible teaches that in order to rescue us, God Himself became a man. This is why we believe that Jesus Christ is God. He – God the Son – came into this world as a man. This forever and eternally elevates the status of man.

Satan hates the Image of God

It should not surprise us to learn that Satan, who has been rejected from God’s Heaven because of His ambition and rebellion to displace God, unable to harm God directly, does all he can to mutilate and mock the image of God he sees in mankind.

Sadly, people everywhere have been corrupted and become stupid and blind enough to let Satan partially influence their character and nature so that they start reflecting the nature and selfishness of Satan rather than the glory and beauty of God. In addition to this, Satan damages humanity in all kinds of ways and works to disfigure and maim wherever possible.

Satan has actually done a great deal to enslave mankind. This enslavement is by no means absolute but it is significant. Man is now not as free as God would like him to be, but there is still an element – smaller or greater, of freedom in Man that can be utilised for the good if man can be convinced and empowered to do it.

 Other Views of the True Identity of Humanity

Beginning with Charles Darwin and his popularizers, the academic institutions of the west came around to a new consensus view on the identity of mankind. According to Darwinism, Man is a primate. He is a form of animal in the same general class as apes and chimpanzees. Mankind therefore is not a piece of divine workmanship, but rather a biochemical outcome as a result of blind of unpurposeful activity of the “Laws of Nature”. Darwin saw mankind as an evolved primate sharing a common ancestor with the monkeys – indeed with every other kind of animal or even plant.

It is outside the scope of this article to show how foolish and improbable this view really is. The amazing thing is that it has been adopted so widely in the Academic Community. From there it has gone out through the education system and the media to shape the way people see themselves.

When people see themselves as animals, products of the laws of physics, it is very hard for them to see themselves as Responsible for their Own Actions. After all, if my chemistry and environment decided the brain activity inside me, there is no “me” left to choose another way. It had to be. And if it had to be, no sensible person can blame me for what I did. Of course, under this view, society might view my actions as unhelpful, and take various measures to prevent me from acting in the same way again. The measures taken might superficially resemble measures taken in a Justice system organised along the lines of Christian philosophy. But they may not. In the future, a dictator might decide it is best just to kill you or me and use our bodies for fertilizer to help the National Agriculture Effort and reduce our Carbon Footprint. You might treat people like this if they are merely animals, or biochemical systems that mutated and were eliminated by others. If you don’t like this kind of outcome, you should recognize at least that it makes perfect sense in the current understanding of Who We Are.

Naturalism is the philosophy which claims that Material things are ALL THERE IS. Which is to say, there is no such thing as “spirit”. Naturalists believe that only things which follow the Laws of Physics (whatever they may be discovered to be ultimately) are real.

Darwinism is popular today because it proposes a Naturalistic solution of sorts to this issue of our Origin and Identity. When you think about it, if there is no spirit or God, then everything that is must have come from the physical universe only. If mankind did not live eternally in the past, then we must have come from some other kind of animal. Darwinism becomes the only possibility then. Observational evidence is not needed because in a naturalistic worldview, there really isn’t another possibility. However, the lack of solid observable evidence has led respectable scientists to propose Origins of the Universe and Origins of Life which seem to be functionally identical to MAGIC and just as mysterious.

Following on from Darwin, western thinkers proposed understandings concerning the Nature of Man that took us further down the path of darkness. William James taught that our human emotions are just CHEMISTRY. Now it should be clear to us that chemistry is involved with human emotions. But if that is all our emotions are, then we cannot trust that our feelings of revulsion at say the mass slaughter of baby seals, or young children for that matter REALLY MEAN ANYTHING MUCH. Sigmund Freud further reduced mankind down to the place where “Love” – the most significant and valuable thing that could be in the human heart, was little more than a function or derivative of SEX. Western Mankind is starting to see itself as a sexually amoral monkey. As Vishal Mangalwadi says, “If we see ourselves as monkeys, we will start to do monkey business”.

Other Views of Mankind

A slightly better view of mankind is perhaps the idea that we are part of God. This is common in the New Age Movement. What “God” is to the New Ager though is not clear. It probably means “All that the Universe Is” in which case the view that we are part of God does not mean a whole lot. Of course we are part of all that is. But if we are part of the Universe, and therefore part of God, so is a cockroach, and  therefore one might legitimately worship cockroaches. Indeed, in Hinduism, which is philosophically very similar to the New Age movement in its philosophy, people worship rats, snakes and I have even heard that some worship Chickens. The sad thing about this is that worshiping creatures always ends up demeaning the worshiper himself. According to the book of Romans chapter 1, such worship also leads to God giving people and societies over to things like homosexuality and other things which the Bible teaches God is very angry with.

If we worship anything and everything, then once again Man has no special value in the Universe. My wife once heard a Hindu lady in Australia talking with great awe about people who sacrificed their lives to save a monkey. I guess it makes sense if you yourself as having equal or less value than a monkey. At least in Darwinism people consider themselves more evolved and therefore of greater value than monkeys. But that value doesn’t compare to the value of someone made in the Image of God.

Consequences

Apart from the fact that if we persist in having the wrong view of man we are likely to never be reconciled to God in eternity, there are other consequences of this kind of thinking that pertain to this world.

For one thing, we will end up in many cases treating disabled people as liabilities to be disposed of at will. We will see more and more people killing their own children if the existence of the children doesn’t suit the selfish purposes of the parents. We will see governments killing more of their own people if those people don’t suit the political agendas of the ruling elite.

We will see widespread corruption in the legal system because truth doesn’t matter any more, only political will or money.

We will see educators lose their interest in Truth and only become agents of political agendas which suit whoever can seize power.

People will lose trust in us and business and commerce will suffer if we become untrustworthy, selfish and unprincipled because of our belief about Who We Are.

There are many other consequences of a low view of Man and our society cannot run forever on the moral capital gained during the season where Judaeo-Christian values were considered normative.

Do we really want to live in a society where people are viewed as expendable, only valuable inasmuch as they contribute to the political agenda of the ruling elite? That is where we are heading unless there is a revival of Biblical Christianity and worldview.

Pray. Get educated in truth. Live the truth and share the truth. Even if only for the Sake of God and Eternity.

 

What do YOU think?

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About Michael Fackerell

The Christian faith is about Jesus. He came to save the lost. About Jesus Christ, Bible teaching, Testimonies, Salvation, Prayer, Faith, Networking.

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