Summary: This is installment 3 in my series "Anchor Points: Holding On to the Truth in a Post-Modern World."
The Measure of Man
February 13, 2000
Anchor Point #3:
God created Man in His Own Image
Thus far in our study we have traced some of the elements of modern culture which are serving to change the rules of how people perceive reality. We are experiencing a clash of worldviews, though this is nothing new: there has always been a clash between Bible Christianity, the worldview that flows from taking Scripture seriously, and a modernistic, materialistic worldview. A new player has recently entered on the scene and commanded significant allegiance: postmodernism. The Bible teaches that truth is wrapped up in the person of God and His self-revelation. Modernism suggests that truth can be found through scientific exploration and experiment apart from any notion of the supernatural. At its most basic, postmodernism denies the possibility of the existence of truth. It doesn¡¦t say that we find truth here or there, but rather that trying to find truth is a doomed quest, because we can¡¦t look at anything and say this is true!
We have attempted over the last 2 weeks to set down some Scriptural anchor points onto which we must latch ourselves in order to be able to answer both the modern and postmodern viewpoints. 2 weeks ago, we laid down
Anchor Point #1: God is here, and He has spoken!
Last week, Anchor Point #2 stressed what God has said, in the first place: He has created all that is.
Today we focus on the aspect of creation that pertains to the pinnacle of God’s creation plan: MAN! (Read Scripture)
Maria vonTrapp sang, Nothing comes from nothing; nothing ever could. Her words illustrate well one of the dilemmas confronting the Darwinist naturalist! What does man come from? The naturalistic viewpoint, which is the prevailing viewpoint in the scientific world and which underlies modernism and to at least a degree postmodernism, contains several problems when it comes to its explanation of the nature of man.
Problems stemming from a naturalistic view of man:
1. The Death of Dignity or Whence self-esteem?¨
Outgrowths of Darwinistic naturalism include nihilism, the belief that life has no intrinsic meaning or purpose. Nihilism is impossible to live by, however, and so some adopt forms of what has come to be known as humanism. Anthony Flew, noted atheist, describes atheistic humanism as a positive philosophy of life that embraces life as meaningful despite the lack of any divine purpose or meaning. This sentiment has been expressed in the various Humanist Manifestos issued thru the years.
Yet, a logical case simply cannot be made for why we should have any optimism at all if there is no logical basis for believing that there is meaning in life or that our actions have any significance.
Mantra today is "self-esteem". We are misguided in trying to teach our children that they should have positive self-esteem while at the same time teaching them that they came from apes. We do our children no favors whatsoever if we do such, if we say to them ¡§think more of yourself¡¨ and then give them no logical reason to. If merely animals, why??? Fair question: Why should I respect myself if I am an animal?
When they jettison God, humanists at the same time both overestimate and underestimate the dignity of man. Proudly with Protagoras they proclaim Man is the measure of all things and then turn around and treat people as though they are animals. An example of this is the secularist approach to teen pregnancy: hand out birth control to kids! Implicit in their distribution is the idea you can’t control yourself, so protect yourself. That is a lie but we’ll talk about responsibility in a moment.
2. The Meaning of Morality or What’s the point of being good (and why is there even a category labeled "good"?)?
Won¡¦t belabor this point; spoke to it last week. But fact remains that without God, there can be no such item as morality.
"In the absence of any objectifiable criteria of right and wrong, good or evil, the self and its feelings become our only moral guide," says Robert Bellah, who adds, "If the individual self must be its own source of moral guidance, then each individual must always know what he wants and desires or intuit what he feels. He must act so as to produce the greatest satisfaction of his wants or to express the fullest range of his impulses"; being good becomes feeling good. (One secularist remarks) "something immoral is something you feel bad after. Which implies that you got to try everything at least once. Whatever produces a good result must be right, and whatever produces a bad result must be wrong."
Question: how do his categories even fit? Wouldn’t Hitler say that the extermination of the Jews was a "good result"? And what secularist can refute that?