BELIEFS

MAN

We believe that we (because that’s who we’re talking about now) are riven. On the one side we are the marked-out creation, made in the image of God. Then again, we are gone astray or broken in every aspect: in body, in feeling, in considering, in worshiping.

We are created in God’s image, which means that we are to reflect the loving rule of God into the rest of the creation, and to reflect the praises of the creation back to God. That fact also implies that we are given reason and self-consciousness to find out God’s will, to search for expressions to praise Him, to further define the world He made. In short, we are to live toward God and act from His will. This calling lends dignity to our condition.

But we don’t live toward God! “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We are lazy just at the point when diligence is called for. We complain over what has been given to us and covet after what has not been given. We deal treacherously with our neighbors. Underneath our tongue is falsehood. We seize the creation and either worship or waste it. We mismanage: our thoughts, our time, our material goods. We don’t worship God as He calls for.

And all this carelessness has serious consequences. Because it is God’s world and we are in God’s image, the situation is dire. We are accountable for our shortcomings, and the comeuppance is death.

Surely, it’s not enough under these shortcomings to self-actualize or get in touch with our spiritual, warm-and-fuzzy side. Apart from some substantial grace which finds its way from outside of us, we are lost, unsafe, unclean, and condemned to die.