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August 4, 2022 12:01 am
What does it mean to be human? What gives true meaning to your life? Today, R.C. Sproul addresses these questions through the science of anthropology, the study of mankind, examining the dignity that sets people apart from all other creatures.
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Going up next on Renewing Your Mind work. God is no longer at the center of people's thinking. It is inevitable that the question of human dignity becomes a matter of grave concern.
Does it mean to be human differences between people and other creatures.
Those questions right through all philosophical questions including why were here in where we go after we die today on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. RC Sproul takes a hard look at what we often take for granted. Human dignity is safe to say that Adolf Hitler wasn't all bad. He may have been one of the baddest of the bad of all of human history. But even in the depths of our sinfulness as human creatures, sometimes by accident.
It seems, or how unintentionally were able to at least outwardly conform to the good as the theologians have defined as civil righteousness. When I was thinking I was. At least Adolf Hitler celebrated Christmas on occasion and he did it with a generous kind hearted spirit by which he distributed presence to his friends at his own expense when he was in Ebenezer Scrooge. So when we have to say that nice thing about Hitler's study bid to give presents to his friends.
In fact, before he became the Führer of Nazi Germany. He one year gave the same present to all of his close acquaintances and friends, his cronies, people like Goebbels and Herman Goering and Adolf Eichmann Himmler the rest of his names have gone down in infamy. That year Adolf gave each one of them personal copy of Frederick Nietzsche's book thus spoke Zarathustra in the German edition of that book. Make sure your course announced the death of God and called for the birth of the New Britain bench. The Superman would take humanity to new heights and to create a new world order. The philosophy that Nietzsche developed under the aegis of this concept of the romance of the Superman was called biological heroism.
What he meant by that was that he thought it was important to weed out the weak, the important, the lazy person's human race. They she was convinced that his own century was decadent 19th-century Europe and it needed a new leadership that would inaugurate and usher in a new humanity and so he looked for the creation of a master race of people and in Hitler's madness. He took Nietzsche's book as his blueprint for creating the Aryan race in my lifetime. Ladies and gentlemen, it was a matter of serious dispute on the continent of Europe, whether Jewish people could genuinely be considered human or at least fully human in our own nation in the 19th century, serious debates were held in conjunction with the issue of the abolition of slavery over the question.
Does the African Negro have a soul is that Negro a person or mere property or chapel.
That may sound totally shocking and astonishing to you, but the reality of the situation is that people's humanity can never be taken for granted in the realm of philosophy. The subject that has been on center stage in the 20th century has not been epistemology epistemology dominated 17th and 18th century philosophical investigation is not been metaphysics which dominated ancient philosophy medieval philosophy. The dominant question of philosophy in the 20th century has been the question of anthropology.
What does it mean to be arthropods to be man or human. That's been the overarching question and there's a reason for that is not again by accident that the crisis in anthropology, followed in history.
The eclipse of belief in God in Western civilization where God is no longer at the center of people's thinking. It is inevitable that the question of human dignity becomes a matter of grave concern the ancient philosophers try to give definition what it means to be human. We know the expression if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, chances are it's a duck's little more than what the Sunday school and state your center and drawing. What is it that is gray and furry and has great big long bushy tail and Johnny said I'm sure you want me to say Jesus, but it sounds like a squirrel. Or maybe sometimes we have difficulty giving precise definition to entities around us and in this world. Plato mused over the question, what is it that makes a human being distinctively human, what separates us from the other animals. Finally, in desperation, he defined a human person as a fatherless biped, a duck without feathers until one of his students hurled a plucked chicken over the wall of the Academy with a sign on it which said, behold, Plato's man.
It was fatherless and had 2 feet. What is it mean to be human. What is man. Remember, the psalmist asked that question so the Lord, our Lord, how excellent, how majestic is your name in all of the year when we consider the heavens, the work of your hands aside and the stars and all that thou hast our day. We inevitably asked the question, what is man that thou art mindful of him, we see how we understand humanity in large measure controls how we treat human things, how we value human and so an integral part of any Christian life and worldview must include within it a Christian anthropology of Christian understanding of what it means to be human. I keep wondering what my justice pondering it hasn't said a word since we started this doesn't seem to even be bothered by my constant interruptions. It just goes on pondering more and more it seems intently be satisfied to be alone doesn't have to be in a crowd. I wonder what it's like parentheses pondering the question that everyone of us ask some time or another, whom I what is the meaning of my life. The biblical image that is used more often than any other image for human life is an image drawn from nature is the image of grass. The grass grows it springs up, as germinated by the cool rains in the warmth of the sun. The process of photosynthesis.
It flourishes for the season, but then as the sun beats down upon it, it withers and dies. Sounds is a very pessimistic view of the matter doesn't.
But even in the most upbeat portions of sacred Scripture from time to time.
The writer will stop three minus don't forget all flesh is grass.
We live our threescore and 10. Then we whether and we die, and in light of the fragility of human existence.
We have to ask what's in. Do we have significance.
We have meaning. Is there any real value to human life.
We live in a time I believe of unprecedented pessimism with respect to the significance of human personhood after the Holocaust of World War II.
After the camps were exposed soldiers returned France was liberated was then that the works of men like Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre began to receive exposure across the world and Sartre. Perhaps the most penetrating dramatist of the French nation produced in the 20th century's also a technical philosopher and he commented frequently out of the mill you of atheistic existential philosophy in one of his books. I remember trying to secure a copy of it back in the 60s and I had the special order to get it because nobody had stock in the city of Pittsburgh and wait months to get it was a little book entitled nausea and the book nausea was Sartre's perhaps most vivid description of the futility and meaninglessness of human existence is final comments was that man is a useless passion a useless passion. Passion plays until it is a feeling an intense emotion that we express something that consumes us and controls are very being is not just casual concern protocol Tillich used to say that a person's God can be defined or identified. Once you identify that person's ultimate concern that about which you are most passionate, most caring citizen given about our humanity that we do care about things don't that we have feelings I remember is located at 70 would insult me and I would try to go home to my mother because she was sick. Listen, don't let these people get you down. Whatever people say unkind things about you just go back and you say sticks and stones will break my bones names will never hurt me. That was my defense right. The juvenile yes that transcends generation sent so I tried it. There is a scanner tidies the beat up on me like a Macrina would call the always terrible Langston and one that he was calm. He always names and eyes look at him and I sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me and what I was thinking as I was. This is a lie because sticks hurt and stones hurt, but you get over this, but the insult the insensitive criticism can paralyze your soul. I every person in this room. Every person sees this film has wounds that have never healed in their souls from something they heard somebody say to them or about them in their lifetime we care. We feel we laugh, we weep, we become afraid we don't just think thinking alone does not define the essence of our humanity effect you can even sense in the thinker here that there's not simply cerebral activity taking place, but what else is communicated here is an attitude.
Not sure what the attitude is certainly not one of frivolity. He is not in the mood of partying at the moment he's got different feelings that are absorbing him in this posture, feelings change one thing about our feelings that they always chase our salesperson to commit suicide if they would've waited 24 hours. They probably would. How quickly our feelings and our emotions change, but the question sort was wrestling with his all this caring all this feeling all this hurting all this rejoicing doesn't matter doesn't mean anything in his conclusion was no that's the we are bundles of passion bundles of feeling bundles of care and all of our caring is nothing more and nothing less and exercise in futility. It's useless because humanity has no meaning. Humanism could only emerge really from society that had previously been committed to a meaningful origin and a meaningful destiny of the human race. Humanism has done is rejected Christianity and try to replace their secular worldview and what they have rejected, not realizing that they have rejected the very foundation for the humanities that they seek to extol the lysate of the humanists with all sentences. If I come from nothing. If I'm going to nothing. I am nothing and why should I care who sits in the front of the bus on the back of the bus.
I care whether it's white germs are black germs that have rights in this world that I keep asking the humanists to give me a reason for his face. I keep asking that humerus to give me one reason why I should treat any human being with dignity.
Other than that he simply has the preference that I do it say that humanism is based on sentimentality. It has no metaphysical foundation, the epistemological foundation and certainly no theological foundation is in anthropology with no support based on sentiment, the Christian worldview teaches that man is totally depraved that mankind is the most wicked creature on this planet. Apart from the visitations of Satan himself. There that all the creatures that inhabit this world man is the worst that the great ecological problem with planet Earth is not because of an overabundance of rats, but an overabundance of people is people who have plunged the world into ruin the whole creation groans and travails because of man, the whole creation is under a curse because of mankind, and that which is grass is more than grass. It is unspeakably wicked and the moral judgment that God gives to mankind.
If there is there is none righteous, no not one. There's not even one who does good to know one people were here that that's when the reasons they reject Christianity in early Christian General Electric is purely reformed Christianity because before Christianity talks about the total depravity of human bags born in sin original sin. We stole human freedom is free will. Ignoring the fact that the term free will, never occurs in the Bible. The concepts there in terms of human responsibility. Yes, but the emphasis the Bible is on the bondage of the human heart is captive to evil passions but useless passion, simple passion is what defines humanity's animal believe in a kind of a view of anthropology, depressing. It's the highest view of man, the world has ever say there is no religion, no philosophy under the sun that takes sin is seriously as Christianity does Jerry wonder why that is because we have a morbid fascination with morality, none Christianity takes sin seriously because it takes people so seriously I Christianity says it is a serious matter when one human being violates another when one human being hates another human when one human being steals or rapes or kills another human series and that's wrong.
You see how epistemology, metaphysics, fit together, driving us to the concept of God, our doctrine of God determines our doctrine of man and our doctrine of man drives us to ethics as an integral and necessary dimension of our life and worldview viruses that man of all the creatures was uniquely created in God's image that we alone have a profound capacity and ability to reflect and to mirror to the rest of creation, the very character of God that we are called to be mirrors of God's holiness. That's why when we sin our sin is so serious because not only do we violate each other, but we lied to the creation about the nature of God were involved in cosmic treason. We have free will, in the sense that we have the power to do what we want. We don't have free will and the sense that we have the power to do what we want with impunity because over above my free will always stands the sovereign authority and the power of Almighty God. And if your anthropology makes millions sovereign. Your anthropology is the Christian you could have man is free but never autonomous.
Remember that God is free, and his freedom is a higher freedom than my freedom. I am free only within the limitations of God's free. I hear Christians say that God's sovereignty is limited by human freedom. When I hear them saying that I make certain assumptions. The first assumption is it didn't come from the sky. The first assumption I make is that Christian has really never thought about what they said they heard somebody else site and are just repeating it. They haven't thought about it for five minutes because I'm afraid if they thought about it and then send it there wouldn't be a Christian because of God's army is limited by human freedom. God is not God. That's blasphemy.
So we need to integrate our understanding of me in light of our understanding, because we get our identity from being made in the image of God. God is not made in the image of me.
He is sovereign. We are not our humanity is defined by him. And therein we find dignity we have an origin in the divine purpose of God we have a destiny in eternal glory that the father has prepared for us from the foundation of the world. Therefore, everything that happens between creation and consummation matters. There are no useless passions, it matters how we treat white people and black people Jewish any kind because there created in the image of God, and they bear that image even in their sinfulness. We are called to love, to love them as we love ourselves, how we understand human dignity will determine how we live our lives.
It influences our work ethic, our family dynamics as we just heard our social interactions all week here on Renewing Your Mind.
We are featuring Dr. RC Sproul series blueprint for thinking in five messages. RC explains the basic elements for right-thinking, we will have the audio files to your online learning library when you contact us today with a donation of any amount. We also want to have Dr. Sproles comprehensive series on Western philosophy is called the consequences of ideas unit we read the headlines observe the culture and wonder how did we get here rid of all these ideas come from this series answers those questions.
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We do that through daily messages that reveal the glory of God against the backdrop of culture, philosophy, apologetics, ethics in church history, you'll find an archive of past Renewing Your Mind programs plus articles, videos, and daily Bible studies, when you download our free app just search for linear in your app store. This week we are learning that some of the basics of how to think with a Christian worldview. But the truths of Scripture are more than just intellectual ideas their requirements for the way we live. RC will have more to say about that tomorrow and we hope you'll join us for Renewing Your Mind