The Nature and Value of Human Life

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  • Created by: tayladave
  • Created on: 08-12-14 15:39
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  • The Nature And Value Of Human Life.
    • Human nature and the human condition.
      • The bible teaches that people should love God and 'love thy neighbour'. The bible is central to the beliefs about the nature and value of human life.
      • Christians have a unique value in all creation. They are sacred in the sense that their dignity - natural and supernatural.
        • Natural - through rational thought and moral decision making.
        • Supernatural - in terms of their ability to recognise God and have a purpose to be with God.
        • Christian ideas of dignity are based on an understanding that God has given human beings a purpose, and the purpose is to discover christ.
      • Lactantious said that God had made mankind as a sacred animal and therefore has dignity. This means that human beings should not be sacrificed.
        • Reference can be made to the story of Abraham being ordered to replace his son for a ram in sacrifice (genesis 22:3)
      • Humans can reject God's love, they are imperfect and flawed with the tendency to sin and therefore need to be saved and redeemed by choosing to believe in God.
      • Some protestant traditions think that the dignity had is lost due to sin and therefore need to be saved and redeemed by choosing to believe in God,
      • Within catholicism, the concept of original sin offers an important aspect of human nature.
        • St. Augustine and others have suggested that since the fall of man, human beings have the stain of original sin on them, the stain which caused Adam to eat the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden (Genesis)
          • God punished Adam and Eve for doing this and called it the fall of man, life was more difficult for people (man had to do work, women had to have pain during childbirth and people have to die.
          • Baptism can wash away original sin.
    • Free Will and Fatalism.
      • The traditional christian view is that human beings are free, autonomous (free to make decisions) agents, responsible for their actions.
        • STt. Thomas Aquinas agrees with this view in Summa Theologica and says 'man chooses not of necessity but freely'.
      • In Genesis, Adam and Eve exercise free will in choosing to eat from the tree of knowledge. They are held punishable for their actions by God,
        • STt. Thomas Aquinas agrees with this view in Summa Theologica and says 'man chooses not of necessity but freely'.
      • Many christians hold that we are free to choose to do good or sin as it is an important part of human dignity.
      • The specialness of human beings is also in the ongoing relationship between humanity and God and destined for unity with God if they follow christs example. This is supernatural dignity.
      • Soulen and Woodhead outline this well as saying that God has given Human beings dignity out of love, this love then reaches out to human beings in the care they show to one and other.
      • Other christians may believe that Fatalism (the belief that everything is pre-determined and we have no control over it) must be the other logical conclusion as if God is all knowing he must know what is going to happen in the future therefore free will does not exsist.
      • 'We must choose ourselves whom we will serve'

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