The Nature and Value of Human Life - Christianity

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  • Nature and Value of Human Life - Christianity
    • The nature of humanity and the human condition
      • Humans are made in the image of God, or imago dei
        • "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him." Genesis 1:26-27
      • God has a plan and purpose for all humans, even before their birth
        • "The days allotted to me had all been recorded in your book, before any of them ever began" Psalm 139:13-16
      • Human life was created by God and is therefore sacred
        • "Yourselves are God's temple and God's spirit lives in you" Corinthians 2:16
      • Humans are intrinsically valuable as Jesus dies for us
      • Many Christians believe that humans are sinful by nature, although some reject this notion and say that we are born without sin
        • "Surely I have been a sinner from birth" Psalm 51:5
        • Jesus: "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these" Luke 18:16
    • Fatalism and free will
      • Human beings are free, autonomous agents who are responsible for their own actions
        • "Man chooses not of necessity but freely" St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica
      • We are free to choose to do good or to sin, but God will hold us responsible for our actions
        • In Genesis, God punishes Adam and Eve for choosing to eat the forbidden fruit.
      • Our free will gives us dignity. If we choose to live our lives following Christ then our dignity grows and takes us towards our final destiny with Christ
        • Idea presented by Soulen and Woodhead, 2006
        • "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve;" Joshua 24:15
      • God is omniscient and knows all that we will ever do, but this does not make Christianity fatalistic. God is simply able to predict, with 100% accuracy, the way in which we will react to situations in our lives.
    • Equality and difference
      • Equality is a central idea as all human beings are created equal
        • God created all of humanity in his own image and likeness
        • St Paul: "There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female, for you are all one in Jesus Christ" Galatians 3:28
      • Still some inequality between men and women in many Christian denominations
        • Catholic churches do not allow women to take on ministerial and priest roles
        • The Protestant church has a mixed view, but there are now more and more women Bishops being ordained
      • Race equality is very important in Christianity
        • The Good Samaritan story
      • Jesus and God being described as 'perfect' beings seems to suggest that those with disabilities are further from Christ. However, Jesus did not discriminate against sick people
        • Jesus' healing miracles
    • The value of life
      • Human beings are intrinsically valuable as they have the 'imago dei' within them
        • "Image and likeness of God" Genesis 1:26
      • The killing of another human is morally very wrong as it destroys a being made in God's image and prevents God's plan for that individual being realised
      • A just war may be fought under certain conditions - such as when all other options have been exhausted and only proportionate force is used
        • St Thomas Aquinas outlined some rules for Just War
      • Self sacrifice is seen to be the greatest action of love and in following Christ Christians expect to suffer hardship
        • Jesus committed the ultimate act of sacrifice on the cross
      • Human life has greater value than non-human as we have capability for self-sacrifice and play the greatest role in God's plans


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