Linda KimballRenew America
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." Genesis 1:27, KJB
For fifteen hundred years, Christendom and then later Protestant America, had followed St. Augustine (AD 354-430) in affirming that as all men are the spiritual image-bearers of the transcendent Triune God then it logically follows that each person is a trinity of being â€” of soul, spirit, and body:
"The essence of the human is not the body, but the soul. It is the soul alone that God made in his own image and the soul that he loves....For the sake of the soul...the Son of God came into the world...." (Incomplete Work on Matthew, Homily 25, Ancient Christian Devotional, Oden and Crosby, p. 153)
In Biblical thought, the body is inert matter organized and vitalized by the soul. A human life is a soul which informs inert matter, thus a body without a soul is no more than a disorganized mass of cells that would quickly deconstruct, said Pastor Louis Pernot in a sermon delivered at the Temple de l'Etoile in Paris. ("Body, Mind, and Soul," Nov. 28, 2010)
The noblest part of the soul is spirit (the heart). Spirit is immortal and self-aware. It can will and think and is freely responsible for what it thinks, wills, and does.
Spirit is the unique property that distinguishes soul from matter. In Biblical thought, spirit allows man to spiritually transcend the natural dimension in order to access the supernatural dimension, thereby allowing him to enter into a personal relationship with the Spirit of God. Through this relationship, man's conscience is cleansed over time, thus enabling him to more perfectly orient the manner of his existence in this world in preparation for eternity.
In Christian thought, a person is a spirit and personality is the total individuality of the spirit. Without spirit there is no person.
Pastor Pernot notes that the key to individual liberty in the temporal sphere is man's spiritual liberty contrasted against a genetically programmed animal-like orientation. Animals do not have spirits, which are linked to intelligence, imagination, sensitivity, self-consciousness, reflection and the capacity for truth and moral goodness.
A person is uniquely free because he can spiritually transcend matter to access the supernatural dimension as Paul affirms:
"Now the Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" (2 Cor. 3:17)
Man is God's spiritual image-bearer, and, said the brilliant French economist, statesman, and author Frederic Bastiat, this is the gift from God which includes the physical, intellectual and moral life:
"He has provided us with a collection of marvelous faculties. And He has put us in the midst of a variety of natural resources. By application of our faculties to these natural resources we convert them into products, and use them. Life, faculties, production â€” in other words, individuality, liberty, property â€” this is man (and) these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place." (How Evil Works, David Kupelian)
Vishal Mangalwadi, India's foremost Christian scholar observes that the unique concept of man as God's spiritual image-bearer gave birth to the "belief in the unique dignity of human beings," and this is,
"...the force that created Western civilization, where citizens do not exist for the state but the state exists for the individuals. Even kings, presidents, prime ministers, and army generals cannot be allowed to trample upon an individual and his or her rights." (Truth and Transformation: A Manifesto for Ailing Nations, pp. 12-13)
Death of the Western and American Soul
Jesus to Buddha, "....you took God away from them (and) your espousal of an absence of self is the most unique and fearsome claim you made...You turned from Hinduism because it said there was an essential self, which they called the atman." (The Lotus and the Cross: Jesus Talks with Buddha, Ravi Zacharias, pp.59, 67)
Of all Christian doctrines the most difficult to understand is that of creatio ex nihilo (creation out of nothing). This doctrine is the complete opposite of ancient and modern evolutionary cosmogonies affirming that the universe and even the gods, emerged or evolved out of a pre-existing substance such as primordial matter or the watery chaos, which begs the question of where the substances came from.
The Triune God's miraculous creation has its' foundation in the fact that He spoke all things into existence from nothing. Early Church Father Irenaeus comments,
"God, in the exercise of his will and pleasure, formed all things...out of what did not previously exist."
But if there is no Triune God, then it logically follows that there is no source for life, consciousness, soul, spirit and will, or for human dignity, worth, liberty, and property. Without God the Father unalienable (God-given) rights are meaningless. If man is not God's spiritual image-bearer, then he is less than nothing, a conclusion Buddha reached long before Jesus Christ walked this earth:
"Six centuries before Jesus Christ, the Buddha already knew that if God does not exist, then the human self cannot exist either......Therefore, he deconstructed the Hindu idea of the soul. When one starts peeling the onion skin of one's psyche, he discovers that there is no solid core at the center of one's being. Your sense of self is an illusion. Reality is nonself (anatman). You don't exist. Liberation, the Buddha taught, is realizing the unreality of your existence." (The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization, Vishal Mangalwadi, p. 6)
Teaching Monstrous Lies About God
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