Truth Project 3: Anthropology (Who is Man?)

This week, Del looks at the question of who man is, and weighs the answer Christians give against the answer secularists give. The answers given to this question directly affect the question of why there is evil. Del claims that Christians have a lot of answers to this question whereas the world does not.

First Del looks at the biblical view of man (meaning both men and women), saying that it teaches man is both body and spirit, created in the image of God. The Bible also says that man has fallen from his original state by rebelling against God. There is a “cosmic battle” within man, between who we were meant to be and who we are. What man needs, then, is divine grace and redemption. God must save us.

By contrast, our culture assumes that man is purely physical, is the product of impersonal forces, and is basically good. His need is not for redemption (since he is good, there is no need to be redeemed), but self-actualization.

Del examines the implications of this philosophy, and concludes that since it is dependent on impersonal physical forces alone, it leads to a lack of free will and a lack of ultimate meaning in life. It also leads to a lack of differentiation between humans and animals. He quotes Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) as saying, “A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.”

These differences play out in how people on each side view evil. For the person with a biblical worldview, evil comes from man’s fallen nature. For the secularist, evil does not come from human nature but from society and culture. According to Del, the question must then be asked, “Who makes society? Isn’t it human beings?” In the end, if man is basically good, there is no way to explain why evil exists. Then the question to the secularist can be pressed even further: “Why does evil bother you?” “Why do you feel bad about evil?” “Isn’t evil, as you describe it, simply the natural outworking of the evolutionary process?”

Del closes with an interview with Theodore Dalrymple, who wrote a book called Life at the Bottom which chronicles the sad results of lives oriented around fulfilling our desires and putting ourselves at the center of our existence. Dalrymple states, “You don’t need to find yourself; you need to lose yourself.”

In my view, this is the strongest “tour” so far. Del makes some very good points about the logical conclusions of a secular or naturalist view of humans, and illustrates a good evangelistic technique in pressing the secularist to come to terms with the deterministic, and frankly hopeless, conclusions of his or her philosophy. For the Christians in the audience, it represents a challenge to orient our lives with God at the center rather than our own selves and desires.

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