Monday, October 03, 2022


In the biblical story, then, humans are damaged goods. Their nature is good because it was created by God in his own image and likeness with a supernatural destiny, but they are damaged by their own infidelity to God’s calling and purpose for them. They are responsible for their damaged condition, not because they violate reason with rebellion, but because they devise rebellion in their hearts and their minds, and actions follow the disposition their hearts have created. Tresmontant, Cherbonnier, Brunner, and others intent on going back to the source—the biblical story—for Christian metaphysics and anthropology agree that responsibility requires freedom. Cherbonnier spoke for all of them (and numerous other Christian thinkers) when he wrote that
The Bible consistently acknowledges human freedom. It is presupposed by all its key words, such as sin, repentance, forgiveness, love, and covenant. Consequently, though not intentionally philosophical, it contains by inference what is probably the most thorough understanding ever written of what it means to be a free agent.
According to Brunner, freedom and responsibility together comprise the “formal image of God” not destroyed by or lost in the fall of humanity into sin. He distinguished this from the “material image,” which he defined as “right relationship with God.” Sin, beginning freely in the heart, alienates the human person (and all of humanity in general) from God against reason. Therefore, the material image is forfeited responsibly. But the formal image can never be destroyed; it is why the human person is able to hear and believe the Word of God and it is what makes him or her full of dignity and value above the rest of creation.—The Essentials of Christian Thought, 212–13 (emphasis original)

<idle musing>
That's the final snippet from this book. I hope you enjoyed it. As I said back at the beginning, the book is a very good introduction in that it assumes very little knowledge of theology. Consequently, if you do know something, it can feel redundant at times. And there were times I wish he had gone a bit deeper—but that's not the book he set out to write! He wrote an introduction to Christian thinking. And using that as the standard, he did a very good job.

I highly recommend it to anyone desiring to understand what it means to "think Christianly" about life. If you haven't also read The Universe Next Door, by James Sire (now in its 6th edition!), then I recommend you read that and this book in order to get a better view of what a Christian worldview looks like.

Of course, once you've read both those books, then you should jump into Brunner : ) But that's just an
</idle musing>

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