March 2nd, 2019| Topic: RaMbLeS | 0


John H. Evans, professor of sociology at the University of California, San Diego, discussed his book What is a Human (Oxford University Press) in the magazine New Scientist.

He talked about his research that analyzed survey data from 3,500 U.S. adults that led to a (not so) surprising conclusion: Those who believed humans bear the image of God held more humanitarian attitudes than those who did not.

People act on what they think is true. So Evans wanted to boil down the issue to an empirical question: what do people think, and how do they think others should be treated?

Accordingly, Evans’ first set of questions asked about what participants believed about humans: whether they were made in the image of God, whether they were only biological creatures with higher intelligence as determined by DNA. His next set of questions dealt with ethics: whether soldiers’ lives should be risked to stop genocide in a foreign country, whether terminally ill patients should commit suicide to save money, whether it was permissible to draw blood from prisoners without their consent, whether terror suspects should be tortured to potentially save lives.

Those who believed humans are made in the image of God were least likely to agree with any of the questionable ethics issues.

Concluded Evans in New Scientist:

The biological view of humans can lead us to see them as being like objects.”

Noted a New Scientist editorial:

If this preliminary result is upheld by further research, it will come as an unwelcome shock to scientific materialists.”


Evans observes also that his findings support the paradigmatic claim of this kind of materialism: the Nazis had a false notion of humans based on pseudoscientific racism, and this contributed to the holocaust. Likewise, the eugenics movements of the 19th and 20th centuries in Europe and North America focused on a list of valued capacities, and therefore that those humans with fewer/less of these capacities should be valued less and are dispensable.

Thankfully, only about 25% of the public in the USA agrees with the pure biological definition of the human. We still have hope!

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them.
Genesis 1:27

In a striking sequence of incidents as written by Mark, Scripture tells us of the fundamental responsibilities of one created in the imago Dei.

After pointing out the image of Caesar on a coin, Jesus said:

“The things of Caesar, give back to Caesar, and the things of God, to God.”
Mark 12:17

I.e., what bears Caesar’s image, give to Caesar; what bears God’s image, give to God. In other words, we who bear God’s image, are to give the totality of ourselves to God.

Soon after that Jesus has a discussion with a scribe and explains what that looks like:

“The foremost [commandment] is …
‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’
The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Mark 12:29–31

And then Mark adds the story of a widow who in devotion to God gave all she had for the Lord, for the work of the Lord, thus fulfilling both commandments.

Jesus’ evaluation of this fine lady?

“Truly I say to you that this poor widow put in more than all those
who put in [money] into the treasury; for they all put in from their surplus,
but she from her lack, all whatever she had she put in, all her life.”
Mark 12:44

All because of the imago Dei!

Share Your Thoughts

Copyright © 2012 Homiletix  |  Blog theme by ThemeShift customized by Gurry Design  |  Full sitemap