claim to divinity by showing that even men who represent God are also in a minor sense ?partakers of the divine nature? ( <610104>2 Peter 1:4). Hence the many legends, in heathen religions, of the divine descent of man. <461103>1 Corinthians 11:3 ? ?the head of every man is Christ.? In every man, even the most degraded, there is an image of God to be brought out, as Michael Angelo saw the angel in the rough block of marble. This natural worth does not imply worthiness ; it implies only capacity for redemption. ?The abysmal depths of personality,? which Tennyson speaks of, are sounded, as man goes down in thought successively from individual sins to sin of the heart and to race sin. But ?the deeper depth is out of reach To all, O God, but the.? From this deeper depth, where man is rooted and grounded in God, rise aspirations for a better life but these are not due to the man himself, but to Christ, the immanent God, who ever works within him. Fanny J. Crosby: ?Rescue the perishing, Care for the dying? Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter, Feelings lie buried that grace can restore; Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness, Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.?
1. Natural likeness to God, or personality.
Man was created a personal being, and was by this personality distinguished from the brute. By personality we mean the twofold power to know self as related to the world and to God and to determine self in view of moral ends. By virtue of this personality, man could at his creation choose which of the objects of his knowledge ? self; the world, or God ? should be the norm and center of his development. This natural likeness to God is inalienable and as constituting a capacity for redemption gives value to the life even of the unregenerate ( <010906>Genesis 9:6; <461107>1 Corinthians 11:7; <590309> James 3:9).
For definitions of personality, see notes on the Anthropological Argument, page 82; on Pantheism, pages 104, 105; on the Attributes, pages 253-254; and on the Person of Christ, in Part VI. Here we may content ourselves with the formula: Personality = self-consciousness + self-determination. Self-consciousness and self-determination, as distinguished from the consciousness and determination of the brute, involve all the higher mental and moral powers, which constitute us men. Conscience is but a mode of their activity. Notice that the term ?image? does not, in man, imply perfect representation. Only Christ is the ?very image? of God ( <580103>Hebrews 1:3), the ?image of the invisible God? ( <510115>Colossians 1:15 ? on which see Lightfoot). Christ is the image of God absolutely and archetypal; man, only relatively and derivatively. But notice also that, since God is Spirit
<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->
Was this article helpful?