Greetings from Faith Lutheran Church in Eldorado.
How is mankind viewed? Modernism envisions man as free and autonomous, able to understand and grasp the comprehensive unity of reality. He is also able to control his environment and work toward a utopia. The show “Star Trek” is based on this thinking.
Postmodernism is not in agreement with modernists. Meaninglessness is a characteristic of the philosophy. The movie “Mad Max” is more in line with how they see the future.
The Biblical view is not supported by either.
The Reformation understanding of two kinds of righteousness is the framework that I believe captures the Biblical understanding of mankind. In this framework, man understands his relationship to God and also to his fellow man.
We don’t use the word righteousness very often in our everyday life.
The idea of righteousness for scripture takes us to Genesis 1-3. To be righteous is to be the kind of human being God envisioned when He created us. Adam and Eve displayed that vision before the fall. They were in perfect communion with Him, and love flowed between them and God, and so they reflected God. They were in His image — a righteous image.
Modern man still asks questions regarding his purpose and why he is here. Am I meeting the vision of my creator? Am I righteous, or at least righteous enough? Yet man relates to each other. In the beginning, the relationship was marked by love and service to each other. People still ask how I relate to others, how I fit in, and if my contribution to society matters. Am I righteous in the eyes of my neighbor?
We are called upon to answer questions such as, “What were you thinking?” or “Why did you do that?” These questions require that we justify ourselves before others.
So we have two relationships — one vertical with God and the other horizontal with our fellow man.
For Luther, man in his fallen state could…