Historic Christianity and Man’s Dilemma

The historic Christian position is that man’s dilemma has a moral cause. God, being nondetermined, created man as a nondetermined person.  (determined/nondetermined is explained as we continue).  This is a difficult idea for anyone thinking in twentieth-century terms because most twentieth-century thinking sees man as determined. He is determined either by chemical factors, or by psychological factors, as Freud and others have suggested, or by sociological factors. In these cases, or as a result of a fusion of them, man is considered to be programmed. If this is the case, then man is not the tremendous thing the Bible says he is, made in the image of God as a personality who can make a free first choice.  

Because God created a true universe outside of Himself (not as an extension of His essence), there is a true history which exists. Man as created in God’s image is therefore a significant man in a significant history, who can choose to obey the commandment of God and love Him, or revolt against Him. This is the wonder of man and the wonder of history.  

It is the very opposite of the Zen-Buddhist statement which says, “The mind of man is like the wind in a pine tree in a Chinese ink drawing.” In this, man is killed twice. He is only the wind in the pine tree, and even then only in a drawing.  

Christianity teaches the very reverse of what the Eastern thinker says. Man can understand and respond to the One who, having made him and communicated with him, called upon him to show that he loved Him by simple command: “Don’t do this.” The test could have been something else. No act of primitive magic is involved here. This is the infinite-personal God calling on personal man to act by choice. And it was a motivated command, “… for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die”(Genesis 2:17), which would make no sense if man is only a machine. He could so act by choice because he was created to be different from the animal, the plant and the machine.  

To ask that man should have been made so that he was not able to revolt is to ask that God’s creation should have ceased after He created plants and animals. It is to ask that man should be reduced to machine programming. It is to ask that man as man should not exist. 

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – The God Who Is There 

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