What is Man?

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Throughout the ages, humankind has asked the question, “What is man’s role in the universe?”  Overtime, four different answers have presented themselves.  What a person chooses to believe depends on his worldview.

Basically the four views are:

1) Man is subject to fate and the will of the universe.

2) Man controls the universe.

3) Nothing is certain and man is only subject to chance.

4) Man is created by God with a purpose.

A person who believes that man is subject to fate might try to figure out his destiny and influence the way he wants to, always battling the universe for control.  This view has influenced many movies and novels where the heroes try to live their lives in such a way as to avoid their destiny and it’s consequences.

A person who believes that man controls the universe would believe that he has the duty and empowerment to make certain decisions.  This person would be very driven and aspire to do great things.  However, this person would also be very proud.  This view must have dominated much of the Western world in the late 19th – mid 20th century.  Men like Friedrich Neitzsche believed that man would eventually become superhuman and could control all his actions and the world around him.

If someone believed the third position, that man is subject to chance, this person could be very apathetic.  After all, if one’s actions do not really do anything to influence his life, and only chance affects his life, why would one be moved to do anything?  A person could go from poor to rich or rich to poor with the snap of his fingers.  The philosophy of that person would be to “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you die.”  This view has dominated the West today, for many people, especially of the millennial generation, waste much of their time enjoying themselves.

The final view states that God is in control and that every man has a purpose.  In this view, men do make choices which affect their lives, but ultimately, God knows what is in store for them.  In some ways, this is similar to the view that fate controls everything, but fate is unpredictable, and God is unchanging.  The Bible outlines God’s plan for the world as a whole.  It says that all things work together for the good of those who love God.  Even though that does not mean that everything will always be easy, in the end, those who place their hope in God will receive a reward.  This is probably the most hopeful of all four views.

These views are all different, and have different ramifications.  For example, one’s view of authority is influenced by one’s view of the place of man.  If one believes that man is in control, then man is the ultimate authority.  If everything is controlled by chance, there really is no authority.  If everything is controlled by fate, then fate is the ultimate authority.  If God directs the lives of men, then he is the ultimate authority.

So which is the right view?  Does God control the world, does man?  Is everything subject to fate?  These are important questions that each person must answer at some point in his life.

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Truth?

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For thousands of years, philosophers have been trying to discern what truth is.  In the 20th century, science and logic were the foundation for truth for Western Europe and the United States, before that, truth was taken from the Bible.   In modern day 21st century America, there is a claim that truth is relative.  In this post, I would like to explore what life would be like under each type of truth and the consequences of it.

If truth is relative according to post-modern thought, then truth comes from the mind of man.  This is a frightening concept.  Each person would have his or her own set of morals, and two things which are contradictory would both be true.  For example, Billy says that it is wrong to murder because it hurts someone else.   Bobby believes that one’s actions are not necessarily wrong if they hurt someone else.  These men have two different philosophies and beliefs about truth.  Bobby does not think actions matter at all, because he believes that there is no divine person who judges him because of his actions.  Billy believes murder is wrong because he believes that it is wrong to hurt another human being and he believes that he will be judged for his actions by a divine person.  Imagine the chaos if every person in the world had completely different views about what truth is.  No one would get along, and there would be complete anarchy or complete tyranny.  Furthermore, how could a deity exist in a world where man invents truth?  One man could invent a deity for himself, and another would believe that no deities exist.  Who would be right?  This type of world could not exist for long, for man would eventually destroy himself.

If truth is completely based on science and logic according to modern thought, then truth comes from what man can observe.  There would only be a deity if a deity revealed himself to man and morals would be based on what is found in the natural world.  The origins of the universe would be determined (in a perfect world) by what humankind would observe for himself.  All spiritual things would be denied, for the spiritual world cannot physically be observed.  Man would be the ruler of the universe.  Most likely, mankind would get progressively better until man became superhuman.  At the end of time would be a perfect Utopia, where all living people would flourish.  Furthermore, nothing would happen to man after death, he would just rot in the ground.  The problem with this thought is that man would have the ultimate authority, and man would determine what truth is.  This would evolve into post-modernism, where all truth is relative.

Finally, if truth is determined by a deity, such as in the Bible, then truth goes beyond man.  The universe would have been created by this god or gods.  The god(s) would determine morals based upon his/their character(s).  The end of the world and the fate of humankind would also depend on the god(s).  This is different depending on the religion.  According to the Christian religion, God is a good, loving, and just God.  He has set the rules of what is wrong and what is right, and the punishment for doing wrong.  Because no human could ever attain God’s perfect standard, God came to earth in the form of a man and endured the punishment of mankind so that those who trusted in his sacrifice would not have to suffer.  According to Islam, a Muslim must work to get to heaven, and follow the seven pillars of morality.  In Judaism, because God is perfect, the Jews must follow the law and make atonement to God when they break the law, some Jews believe that the Messiah has already come, Jesus, other believe that God has not yet sent a savior.  Those are just three of the many religions, and the description of each is very simplified.

Personally, I believe that YWH, Jehovah, created the universe by the power of his word.  Because man is imperfect and could never be “good” enough to earn eternal life in heaven, God sent his only begotten son, Jesus to save mankind.  To see my full explanation of the gospel, go to my post, What Every Young Woman Needs To Know.  I also believe that someday this earth will be destroyed and God will create a new, perfect Earth, like He says in the Bible.  As to whether or not man has free will to choose God, I believe that in the hardness of the human heart, we would not freely choose God, so he has to send his Spirit to open our eyes and accept His gift of salvation.

I hope this post wasn’t too long!

Emma