The Truth Project Lesson 3

Lesson 3 – Anthropology: Who is man?

What is evil? Why is there evil in the world?

This question is often used by the world to challenge Christians.

Primary Doctrine – Theology and Anthropology. Who is God and who is man? These are the two basic foundations for a person’s and a culture’s worldview.

Culture’s view of who is man and who is God along with what truth is forms the foundation of the cultures worldview.

Galatians 5:16-17 – Two elements in conflict:

  1. The desires of our sinful nature
  2. The desires of the Spirit

The Pernicious Lie: The lie that man is basically good and that his greatest need is to self-actualize and get in touch with his inner desires.

The Biblical view of man – who is man?

  • His essence
  • His moral state
  • His need

The “states” or “modes” of man

State 1Innocent: a product of creation made in the image of God. [Gen. 1:27]

State 2Fallen: corrupted by original sin. [Rom. 5:12; Gen. 6:5]

Man, himself, cannot change himself back to innocent.

Adjectives to describe the old man (fallen man):

Evil, dead, blind, deaf, lost, rebellious, without hope, haters of God, desperately wicked, children of the devil

If fallen man dies in State 2 the he changes to State 2a – Hell [Rev. 20:15; Heb. 9:27]

State 3 – Redeemed: results of redemption, the new man. [Rev. 5:9]

Adjective to describe the new man (redeemed):

Redeemed, saints, priests, called out ones, the people of God , a holy nation, children of God, sons of God, beloved, wear white robes, born from above

But redeemed man carries forward both the image of God and their sinful nature.

R. C. Sproul said, “We have a heart hostile toward God . . . we have a bias in the mind against God . . . our sin is a barrier to the pursuit of God.”

Paul describes the cosmic battle within himself in Romans 7:15-25.

Our responsibility is to fight the battle within our self. [Rom. 6:12 and Rom. 8:5-14]

When the redeemed man dies he changes to State 3a – Glorified [1 Cor. 15:42-44]

The Biblical View of Man

  • His essence – made in the image of God; dualistic: both flesh and spirit
  • His moral state – a fallen nature
  • His need – redemption

Implications of Naturalistic Philosophy (Evolutionary Theory)

  • No free will
  • No life after death
  • No ultimate meaning in life

Naturalistic Philosophy’s source of truth – science – examining the stuff in the box to try to find the answers to big question, the universals.

Anthropological “Monism” – man is just material, no spiritual dimension. Man is a cosmic accident.

The world’s view of man is greatly influenced by Abraham Maslow and his “hierarchy of needs.” He states that man’s ultimate objection is “Self-actualization” – doing what we want to do.

Maslow said, “As far as I know we just don’t have any intrinsic instinct for evil.”

Is that true? Does that match reality, the world around us?

If evil is not inherent in human nature the where does it come from? How then do you even define evil?

Maslow points to our need to follow our instincts and our inner desires.

What is the truth? God has not called us to follow our inner desires. [Rom. 8:13 & Col. 3:5-10]

What is the enemy of self-actualization? It is a suppression of one’s inner desire. The obstacles are due to the truth of God.

The opposing truth claims of who is man, God’s verses the world’s.

God says:

  •  Man, though created perfect, rebelled against God and is now fallen, his heart is desperately wicked
  • Man needs divine grace, regeneration, and redemption

 The world says:

  • Goo-man, a product of mindless purposeless forces
  • Man is basically good
  • Man must save himself through self-oriented pursuits

 The Cosmic Battle – Imago Deo verses Imago Goo

 The obvious question is where does evil come?

 300 years ago Jean-Jacques Rousseau stated that man is good and the chains of evil are due to Christianity.

Our culture’s anthropology basic assumption:

  • Man, by nature, is good
  • Mental health and happiness comes through self-actualization and getting in touch with one’s real “good” inner-self
  • Social institutions are responsible for man’s evil actions

Theodore Dalrymple said, “The world says for you to be good just be true to yourself. Really, what you need to do is lose yourself.

Believers! See to it that no one takes you captive. [Col. 2:8]

The Pernicious lie – it is all about me! The ultimate selfishness.

Next Week – Lesson 4 Theology: Who is God?

About kevinbglenn

Follower of Jesus, Husband, Father, Son, Student, Reader, Runner, and BBQ enthusiast.
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4 Responses to The Truth Project Lesson 3

  1. TNT says:

    As part of this lesson you also emailed us an excerpt from this site:

    http://www.carm.org/apologetics/objections-and-answers/objections-and-answers-32-41

    I would like to ask about / nitpick this section:


    2. We need to ask and answer two questions. First, what is evil? It is that which is against God. It is anything morally bad or wrong. It is injurious, depraved, wicked. Some acceptable examples might be murder, rape, stealing, lying, and cheating. Second, if we want God to stop evil, do we want Him to stop all evil, or just some of it? In other words, if just some of it, then why? If He were to stop only part of the evil, then we would still be asking the question, “Why is there evil in the world?”
    Let’s suppose that someone was about to commit murder. God would have to stop him, maybe whisper in his ear, or if that didn’t work, do something a little more drastic, like have something fall on him, or stop his heart, or make his hands suddenly fall off. Anyway, God would have to do something.
    What if somebody wanted to steal? God would have to stop him too, right? Undoubtedly, God’s imagination would permit a more practical method than I have suggested, but the end results would be the same.
    What about lying? If someone were to tell a lie, then to be consistent wouldn’t you want God right there to stop that person from lying? After all, He couldn’t let any evil occur, could He?
    Let’s take it a step further. Suppose someone thought something evil. Then, of course, God would have to step in and prevent him from thinking anything bad at all, right? The end result would be that God could not allow anyone to think freely. Since everyone thinks, and no one thinks only pure thoughts, God would be pretty busy, and we wouldn’t be able to think. Anyway, at what point do we stop – at the murder level, stealing level, lying level, or thinking level? As your question implies, if you want God to stop evil, you would have to be consistent and want Him to do it everywhere all the time, not just pick and choose. It wouldn’t work.

    I would like to address two statements above:

    First this statement “The end result would be that God could not allow anyone to think freely.”… Before The Fall, weren’t Adam’s thoughts pure? Did he not think freely?

    And lastly, this statement “It wouldn’t work?”… Why do we want to put God in a box and say He couldn’t actually do this?

    I understand that I have taken this paragraph out of context because the author explains in the next two paragraphs(not listed above) that, for purposes “we don’t fully understand”, He made us the way we are and that He is sovereign.

    However, why even have these statements at all in ANY context that is completely contrary to an all knowing, all seeing, all powerful God? If I can take these statements out of context just to nitpick and play devil’s advocate with, imagine what the hardened atheists can do with them.

    In my opinion, the original author’s point #2 above should have been limited to the first 5 sentences and the last two paragraphs (not listed above). The rest of it takes away from the defense. For completeness I have my edited version of what his point #2 should have been:


    2. We need to ask and answer two questions. First, what is evil? It is that which is against God. It is anything morally bad or wrong. It is injurious, depraved, wicked.
    Evil is in this world partly because we give it its place but ultimately because God, in His sovereignty, permits it and keeps it under His control.
    Then you might say, “Couldn’t He just make us perfect and that way we wouldn’t sin?” He already did that. He made a perfect angel, Satan, but he sinned. He made a perfect man, Adam, and he sinned. He made a perfect woman, Eve, and she sinned. God knows what He is doing. He made us the way we are for a purpose. We don’t fully understand that purpose, but He does.

    TNT

  2. kbglenn says:

    TNT thanks for the comment.

    Nitpicking is always welcomed and reciprocated.

    Terminology is very important. More important that terminology is our understanding or assumption of the meaning of terms.

    1. I cannot affirm or deny if Adam’s thoughts prior to the fall were “pure.” I do know that Adam had volition. He used that volition to disobey the command of God and we know the rest of the story.

    2. I believe he showed that he could “think freely” when he choose to disobey.

    3. I also never want to put God in a box or limit Him. I believe God can do anything as long as what he doesn’t contradict His nature.

    4. My take away from this article is that the authors intention is to show that evil exists in degree from the smallest thought to the most outrageous actions. God therefore has to either stop all evil or allow all evil. God does work in all that so that His will is done. We are mistaken if we think that God should be a “hall monitor” for evil by making a judgement on where the “permissible evil thresshold” is. What should God allow and what should God disallow. This is important to understanding the volition of man. If God gave us volition but then limited that volition we would not have volition. (Say that ten times fast.)

    5. I, speaking for myself, believe that evil is the product of sin. For example. Murder is sin. A person takes another life. That action is both sinful and evil. God sees it as sinful. I see the sinful act as evil.

    6. Again, much of this is due to semantic.

    7. The article is written somewhat over the top but I believe the author is using that methodology to prove his point.

    Keep the comments and nitpicking coming. This is great stuff.

    Kevin

  3. Jr says:

    Hello,

    I just read some of the posts, and also read the synopsis of Lesson 3 of The Truth Project. I find it interesting that there was a statement saying that Adam had volition, and of course, he did disobey God and sinned. My question or comment is, if there is no mention that Adam was a victim of “Original Sin, or Hereditary Sin”, but yet, had volition and chose to disobey God. Why do some still insist that we (post Adam) need a “Sin Nature” to sin? I am also interested in why Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Daniel, David, and Jesus himself, never taught something so important as to say that we don’t sin by choice, but that we sin by “nature”, due to being guilty of what Adam did in the Garden.

    Jr

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