Mom’s Prove Humankind is Wonderfully Made by God
So God created humankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
Listen before reading; It’s a wonderful world, By Louis Armstrong
I recently had a difficult discussion with a very good friend about the state of goodness in humankind. One which I have frequently with others as well. The discussion always starts with people telling me; I have way too rosy a view on the condition of humankind. In these discussions, I am told about the Doctrine of Original Sin and the state of the world today. Some will say that humankind is thoroughly and totally depraved. I always disagree. It is not that I don’t think we all sin and do things not pleasing to Jesus, but it is the severity of the state of humankind with which I disagree. Rather than thinking of us as totally depraved, I see humankind as mostly good with a tendency to sin.
Sometimes I am told, my viewpoint is not Biblical. However, when I read the description of how humankind was created in the Bible, I read; God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, this makes me feel correct in my viewpoint. This verse is important; the verse is in the first chapter of the first book in the Bible, Genesis 1:1. For me this means something. Being one of the first proclamations in the Bible, for me, it is the basis and start of a discussion about our state of goodness. It convinces me that we are all made in the image of God. Where we go from there is our free will, but it still remains we are at least made in the image of God.
Next, let’s go to the Doctrine of Original Sin. By the way, this is not a Doctrine created by God, rather it was thought up by Saint Augustine. To validate this, type into Google; who created the Doctrine of Original Sin, the first thing you will see is Saint Augustine. Some have interpreted this doctrine as proof of the total depravity of humankind. However, when I read the arguments by scholars, I find a range from a tendency to sin to all the way to total depravity.
The source of this thought on the Doctrine of Sin by Augustine is from Romans [5:12]-21. But nowhere in these verses do we see the words, total depravity. Rather in verse eighteen, we see, Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people. This is my point, even one act of bad behavior means we have sinned and are sinners. But it doesn’t mean we are all totally depraved.
This is where I think people have taken this to far. Augustine himself was no angel. In fact, one of his most famous quotes is, “Give me chastity, but not yet.” We should also remember before Augustine came to Christ, he led a life far more depraved than many. Making me think about one of the things I have noticed in life, that you see the world as you see yourself. My thesis here is that Augustine assigned to humankind a condition that existed within himself, but not all of humankind.
So it isn’t Biblical that we are all totally depraved. Our own experiences in life can affect how we think about sin. Our guide should be what it actually says in the Bible and our own thinking derived from our life experiences. Our life experiences when connected with the Bible; are real and should be considered.
Now before we go too far, it doesn’t mean I don’t think we all have sinned and need the cross for our redemption. I certainly do! But I don’t believe in total depravity for all humankind.
For instance, when I think of my mom, I don’t see total depravity. I see someone who raised, as my father would say, five only children. Each and every one of her children she doted on and looked out for. Always putting her kids and my father ahead of herself. Each child thought they were the favorite, only to discover in later life, we all thought the same way.
On summer days, she would drive all five of us children to Sebago lake for a day in the sun and swimming. Not just one day a week, most days! Everything about the day was for us. She prepared everything, and sat and watched her children play and swim.
During the school year, she became our personal taxi cab driver. Driving us to our athletic visits or music lessons. Most days there wasn’t much time for herself. She did the groceries, always with the thought of what her family liked. Today, these same meals are legendary. Even at the age of sixty-six, I crave these meals.
On my last visit to see her, I watched silently as she was making brownies. I saw her patience and thoughtfulness in making these delights from my past. There was total concentration on her part, and I could feel the worry about whether these brownies would be good enough for her family.
Now I know many others have moms like my mom, and some don’t. But from what I have seen, most do. The reason for pointing this out is that even if one person, like my mom, isn’t totally depraved, than people who interpret Augustine’s argument about all are totally depraved are wrong.
Likewise, I see this same goodness in my brothers and sisters. As well as, with the very many people that I worked within my career and my friends. Likewise, with the family I married into, all my brothers and sister-in-law’s have hearts of gold. Carolyn, my wife’s mom, is so very similar to my mom with her own goodness. Connie’s dad, Bill, has always been more concerned about his children and their spouses than himself.
So I am sorry, I can’t join the totally depraved crew and their thoughts. And this isn’t because I don’t know there is evil in this world. Or that I haven’t seen flaws in those around me. And certainly, I myself, many times should have and could have been better.
And this doesn’t mean that I don’t see the need for Jesus and the cross to redeem us, it is just simply, I don’t see this much evil in the world.
By the way, as soon as the news, as it always does, gets too negative, my mom changes the channel. She knows the world as it really is, filled with wonderful things and God’s love.
Listen to this song by Louis Armstrong and you will see what my mom sees, It’s a Wonderful World.
Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman