The Distortion of Humanity

Written in 1986, Created in God’s Image by Anthony Hoekema hits the proverbial nail on the head with the following “prophetical” paragraphs concerning the factors that threaten human values and the necessity of the Christian/biblical conception of man (I cannot agree more with much of this having watched an inordinate amount of news over the past couple of days that has highlighted afresh for me the effects of sin upon the human mind – we are truly on the brink of being a mindless, thoughtless society of persons in love with every wind of politically devised doctrine that raises itself up against that which is true and godly – anyway, to Hoekema who captures precisely this with regard to the doctrine of man):

Among the factors that threaten human values today are the following: the growing supremacy of technology; the growth of bureaucracy; the increase of mass-production methods; and the growing impact of mass media.  Forces such as these tend to depersonalize humanity.  New developments in biology, psychology, and sociology increase the possibility of the manipulation of the masses by the few.  Practices such as artificial insemination, test-tube babies, abortion, chemical control of behavior, euthanasia, genetic engineering, and the like raise questions about the dignity of human life.  Add to this such burning issues as racism, the problem of alienation (old versus young, conservative versus progressive, majority versus minority groups), the problem of equality between women and men, and the problem of decreasing respect for authority, and one can see why the question “What is man?” has acquired new urgency today.

Hoekema concludes:

Since each of the above-named views of man (idealistic – Greek philosophy; materialistic – Marxism) considers one aspect of the human being to be ultimate, apart from any dependence on or responsibility to God the Creator, each of these anthropologies is guilty of idolatry: of worshipping an aspect of creation in the place of God.  If, as the Bible teaches, the most important thing about man is that he is inescapably related to God, we must judge as deficient any anthropology which denies that relatedness.

Hoekema is right on target – in 1986!  24 years later, the hands of a select few in the tabloids and mass media have taken what it means to be human in the biblical sense and turned it on its head for the masses all over the world, so that what the masses see and hear on television or talk radio from sin-effected, thoughtless, self-contradictory, nihilistic people predisposed to wickedness and everything that opposes the Creator becomes, as it were, incontrovertible fact.  A fact that burdeningly signals the depravity of the times and the necessity of endurance on the part of Christians.  Only God can work that divine work of redemption that restores the human being – every faculty, soul, mind, and the use of the body – to its awakened and, well, redeemed state.  Let us hope, thus, in Him and the gospel that He has given for this purpose – the renewal of fallen humanity in the image of His Son.

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