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Home » Theology » “Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology 2nd Ed.” by Daniel L. Migliore » Chapter 7: “Humanity as Creature, Sinner, and New Being in Christ”

Chapter 7: “Humanity as Creature, Sinner, and New Being in Christ”

  1. When you hear or think about the term “image of God” what immediately pops into your mind?  Has your view of the term changed after reading this chapter?
  2. On page 143, he writes about the general tendency to view human beings as disembodied mind (angelism) and by naturalism – the view that humans are predictable with no reference to free will, the soul, or relationship with God.  But now there’s a growing acceptance of seeing humans existence as being embodied existence.  “We are psycho-physical unities, not disembodied spirits.  We do not simply have bodies; we also are our bodies.”  Have you ever understood people on either extremes of angelism or naturalism?  Do you harbor a dualistic understanding of humans- that your mind (or soul) is different and separate from your body?  That perhaps your soul is more important than your body?
  3. On page 145 he writes, “Human beings are created in the image of God not as solitary beings bun in the duality of male and female (Gen. 1:27).  As created by God, we are essentially relational, social beings, and this essential sociality and co-humanity is signified by our coexistence as man and women.”  As you know, in church and especially in the Bible, we almost always address or “see” God in Fatherly or male terms.  Have you ever seen, experienced, or approached God in more motherly or female manner?  Or is addressing God as Mother too weird or going too overboard?
  4. On pages 150 – 151, Migliore gives a definition of sin as being “the denial of our relatedness to God and our need for God’s grace… sin is fundamentally opposition to grace… Sin is ‘grace denied’.”  What are your thoughts about his definition of grace?  Is it too narrow or too broad? How have you personally defined or understood sin to be?
  5. Migliore also writes about the different aspects of sin, not just its active, prideful side but also the passive, self-loathing, side as well.  “An adequate doctrine of sin will recognize that sin against the grace of God is not only titanic, Luciferian rebellion but also the timid, obsequious refusal to dare to be fully human by God’s grace.”  (p. 152)  Has the “banal” or passive side to sin played an active role in your understanding of sin?  Or has it been so invisible that it totally slips your mind?
  6. On page 156, he writes, “Sin insinuates itself into all human action, including not only what is widely condemned as evil but also what is commonly praised as good… sin may be most seductively and demonically at work under the guise of doing good.”  Does that statement frighten or alarm you that even our good intentions and actions can be stained so much by sin- that sin’s grasp is so widespread?
  7. On page 157, he writes, “The dominant view in Christian has been that Adam and Eve were created immortal and that death entered the world as a punishment for human sin.  According to this view, death is strictly the ‘last enemy’ to be destroyed finally by God (1 Cor. 15:26).  In the modern period this view has been challenged for several reasons.  The first is the indisputable fact that mortality marked all life on earth long before the appearance of human beings.  The second is the fact that human finitude implies limitation in time.  Hence to speak of immortality as intrinsic to our created humanity obscures human finitude and threatens to blur the distinction b/w creator and creature.  Christians indeed hope for everlasting life beyond death but this is a hope based not on what belongs inherently to human nature but solely on God’s free grace and faithfulness.”  Any views on this?  Did you grow up believing in the traditional understanding of original sin?  What made you stop believing in this traditional view?  Why or why not?
  8. On pages 157 – 159, he writes about the reality of death in God’s created order of things.  How do you approach or understand death in your life?  Do you see death as an enemy, violence, negation, loss, defeat, punishment, divine judgment, natural, friend, or brother?
  9. “The grace of God in Jesus Christ removes the ‘sting’ of death (1 Cor. 15:56).  Because of Christ, ‘Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s’ (Rom. 14:8).  Barth can therefore speak of those who look to the grace of God in Jesus Christ in life and in death as being ‘liberated for natural death, by which he means not ‘natural death’ in the secular sense of mere biological cessation, but death shorn of its ‘sting’ and now seen as the point of transition from ‘one hand of God to the other.’” (p. 159)
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