The Death of Socrates

The Death of Socrates

Friday, 14 January 2011

Human Autonomy Before God

Human beings are not altogether wicked - that was Luther's heresy. Original sin is a problem for us, but one must be careful not to overstate the gravity of concupiscence.
People do bad things. We are all sinners, but we should not lose sight of the fact that human beings are basically good (made so by God) with a God-given and inalienable dignity and are redeemable and are capable of sanctification and of "sharing in the Divine Nature".

The fact that we image God is the very basis of human dignity and rights. It is not a little thing to say. It is momentous in its significance. Doing violence to any human being is to do violence to that image and (analogously only, I agree) to God - this is a form of blasphemy.

If you want to "submit" to God, I suggest you become Muslim, as this is their doctrine! Jesus' Gospel (following on from Moses) is about liberation and freedom and abundant living in the friendship of God: not about being God's servants - let alone slaves! God has no need of service (or friendship for that matter) but offers us a share in the Divine Life out of a superabundant profligacy of generosity - grace. Jesus came into this world not to obtain service but to serve!

The granting and maintenance of human autonomy is fundamental to the whole Divine Economy. The story of God's creation of humanity, the Fall, the process of Divine Revelation culminating in the Redemptive Incarnation of Christ Our God can only be understood on the basis of the vital importance of human autonomy. Without autonomy, human life is not human life and not worth living. God - the great Lover of humankind - well knows this: in fact God made it so!

Autonomy is not even slightly at odds with friendship and the value of cooperation and community and the state. These all exist to promote and establish autonomy. The individual soul is prior to any combination of souls.

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