Thursday, November 13, 2008

The ZigZag Café

We will be convening here at the ZigZag café, Suisse, on Thursdays for conversation and dialogue.

I invite you to stop by every Thursday for the question of the day. Your thoughts and participation are most welcome. Pull up a stool, avec un café, un thé, ou un chocolat chaud, et un croissant, and join in here on Thursday at the ZZ café.

For today:

What does it mean to be human?

19 comments:

Susan said...

Limited; finite; not divine; made from dust...

Greg said...

Susan,
Indeed!

I was going respond to the question like this today, so I'll do it here. One thought, among others, was that being human has two modes: there is a creational human - all humans are images of God - and there is a salvific human - those who follow Christ and are therefore being transformed into his image. Christ images God in a way that humans never could have as they are created, sin, and die, while Christ was not created, did not sin, and lives.

To be human means to image God, but we are all too often anti-human and therefore need to be redeemed and transformed into the image of Christ, who is and expresses true humanity.

Susan said...

I really like that thought:
to be human means to image God.

Greg said...

Susan,
Thanks!

John said...

Greg -

What you said is exactly what I was trying to think of how to say. We're human because we're made in the image of God, and that means being creative, self-aware, among many many others. I love how the word in Genesis for how we image God is the same pre-Fall, post-Fall, AND post-Flood.

I wonder, would you say that we become MORE human when we become Christians, though non-Christians are still fully human and image God, even if they do not recognize it? Could you say that with your creational/salvific distinction?-

Greg said...

John,
Thanks. And good point about the PF image.

Hmmm. Good question. How about this? I think that people in the salvific mode, who are redeemed and being redeemed, who are transformed and being transformed into the image of Christ, are being transformed into being truly human, as Christ is the measure of true humanity.

Rememeber, we should, I believe, configure creational/salvific as related and distinct. While we share much in common, one difference among others, is destiny.

John said...

Good point Greg. I agree.

I think I would say that as redeemed images of God, we're not becoming more human, but rather we're becoming more aligned with, realistically and practically, the thing that we image (that being, the Creator Infinite God of the Bible). If we're already fully human (if we define human as being the image of God), then we can't become more fully human. But we can become functionally, characteristically, and outwardly more like that Whom we image.

Greg said...

John,
Thanks. I think it's worth trying to find ways of formulating and saying things that keep with the biblical balance or nuance, and you've stated it well. Perhaps, just addin' inwardly to your last sentence.

John said...

Doesn't inwardly imply getting at the core? I'm having trouble seeing how this does not get in the way of being the image of God, if that is indeed our core. But I think we'd agree that man is not inherently good, though we were originally. The Fall had something to do with that. But we're still the image of God, still imaging and representing Him.

This one's hard to keep in tension and formulate. I guess I'm not sure I'd add 'inwardly' as you have, Greg. Seems to me that we are totally regenerated (though not sinless) when we become Christians. We have a new orientation now that we are in Christ.
Though if by 'inwardly' you mean fighting sin (which is what I was referring to by outwardly, meaning our actions) I think we're talking about the same thing, with different terms.

Clarification?

Greg said...

John,
Thanks for your input and for asking for clarification.

My addition of "inwardly" does have to do with the whole person, because it seems to me that actions are not just outwardly, but also take place in the thought world. Jesus' sayings and teachings on those who wash their hands thinking they're clean, when they're really not, comes to mind. In other words, the addition was aiming at a more holistic formulation.

or,

What we "see" and "don't see" relate to imaging God - as you say, a human representing God.

There is a tension between inward and outward and transformation into Christ's image has to do with both.

John said...

Ok, I see your point. And I agree that it is a more holistic thing, so I like your addition of inwardly.

I think I was making the image of God the whole of who we are inwardly, though I'm not so sure that's Biblical. I may need to rethink that one.

Thanks for your explanation and clarification.

Greg said...

John,
Thanks for the interaction and insights. I see more where you're coming from and encourage your rethinking.

John said...

Greg -

Nice picture by the way!

Susan said...

Yes, nice picture, especially as I can see books in the background!

Greg said...

Thanks to you for taking and giving it and Jasie for getting it up.

Greg said...

John that is. I enjoyed all your pic's on FB.

Susan came in just as I was commenting. Thanks, Susan. The picture is in the chapel, which is also the study center and library.

Joshua said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joshua said...

I think I would like the image of you doing dishes though, after all the students have deserted you, better. It tells a slightly different story from that pic, although you share that bent over posture.

Greg said...

Joshua,
I thought seriously about that pic too, but alas the chapel won out, for the time being, over the kitchen.