Sunday, April 23, 2006

Being Fully Human

sk said:

Speaking of questions, what do you make of this question (Steve, Paul, Gene, Evan, et al):

“Jesus did not come to make us Christian, he came to make us fully human.” -Hans Rookmaaker

I sense it’s just one of those empty statements liberals often make, but I’d be interested in the biblical take of the Triablogue crew.

4/23/2006 9:27 AM

Thanks for the question, sk.

The statement is terribly man-centered, as we would surely find humanism to be. Humanity is made the epitome of morality: that being human was Christ’s goal for us. But Adam was fully human, and yet he fell into sin and depravity. Biblically, when Adam fell, there was not an ounce of hope that something in Adam would save him from his sin. In fact, the Apostle Paul even contrasts the consequences of being in Adam and being in Christ (Romans 5). What Adam needed was not to be more human. What he needed was the Gospel.

Humans cannot save themselves, so being more human (or “fully human”) does not answer the problem. Biblically, of course, we must recognize that such a statement altogether fails to address the problems of sin, the holiness of God, the inflexible requirements of the law, etc, and so it naturally fails to lead into the supremacy of Christ and the Gospel that saves sinners on the basis of the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ that is received by grace through faith.

Perhaps such a statement is well-intended. Perhaps it seeks to call people to follow an ethical code, and thus be “fully human.” Perhaps it would embrace somewhat of a reality of sin by claiming that when one sins he is “less-than-human.” But ultimately such a statement seeks to exalt man rather than portray a Biblical picture of the doctrines of sin and humanity. It pushes God-as-solution out of the focus in order to make humanity-as-solution the central goal. The chief end of man, therefore, is no longer “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Rather, the chief end of man is “to be fully human.” And such a dogma is the direct opposite of the totality of the teachings of Scripture.

Not only does such a statement embrace a man-centered ethical system that fails to be informed by the Gospel, such a statement transfers the reference point of morality from the Creator to the creation: “Jesus did not come to make us Christian (Christ as the standard and example); he came to make us fully human (man as the standard and example).”

I think we can easily conclude that this careless statement is diametrically opposed by the Biblical worldview.

Evan May.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Evan. You hit the nail on the head. I guess I was hesitating with the statement because I didn't want to deny that we stay human when we are regenerated and converted and even glorified. I mean, we don't become God, or angels. Also, there's the thing about the image of God and how we recover it, which in a sense makes us fully human, but the author didn't have that in mind, I'm pretty sure. What he had in mind was what you've written, I suspect, especially when he pits "fully human" against "Christian."