A Little Lower than the Animals (part 2)

I would like to suggest a few reasons for the austere view of humanity and humanity’s achievements that is a direct result of the naturalistic worldview. I believe there is a process of thought that leads to such a devaluation of humanity. I realize, of course, that there is a world of scientific and philosophical ideas behind all of this. However, I am keeping in mind that this is a blog and not a collegiate periodical.

#1 – A naturalistic view of the universe dictates that the world is a result of an accidental process of evolutionary development.

This idea is easily seen in an introductory statement in the book of photography that accompanies the Planet Earth series:

“The Big Bang, cosmic dust, gravity, nuclear fusion, electrostatic forces, sunlight, liquid water, a collision in space, a moon, a tilted axis and, in the end, a world that is uniquely fit for life. Consider our planet as a whole and all the living, breathing consequences of plain good luck.” (emphasis added)

#2 – Because existence is accidental, the universe has no ultimate purpose other than its own continual development.

This is where the conflict begins. The only true purpose of existence is continuing that existence. Rather than acknowledging the higher state of humanity in the evolutionary process, humans become a hindrance to that development.

#3 – Because the only purpose of existence is the continuation of development, anything that prohibits that development is a danger to the universe and in essence is a cosmic criminal.

And that is exactly what humanity has become in the naturalistic mind – a threat. Rather than being seen as the zenith of its own theory of existence, humanity which has already been pushed down to the level of animal nature is then pushed lower – lower than the animals.

While this process of thought is vindicated by making humanity the culprit of planetary destruction, in the end it is dishonest to its own thought process. In order to ignore the vast difference between humanity and the animals, the naturalistic worldview points the finger and criminalizes humanity and suppresses its obvious transcendence.

But where does all this start? I can suggest only one reason for this suppression and blatant ignoring of human achievement. Naturalism sees the enigma of a humanity that far exceeds the nature that surrounds it. In order to explain that, there are only two options: to recognize the divine design behind it all, or to make man a little lower than the animals. To protect itself and prevent its own destruction, naturalism refuses the former and chooses the latter.

Carl F.H. Henry speaks of the the resulting dilemma:

“If one takes a strictly developmental view, which considers all reality contingent and changing, what basis remains for humanity’s decisively creative role in the universe? How could a purposeless cosmos cater to individual self-fulfillment? Only the biblical alternative of the Creator-Redeemer God, who fashioned human beings for moral obedience and a high spiritual destiny, truly preserves the permanent, universal dignity of the human species. The Bible does so, however, by a demanding call for personal spiritual decision. The Bible sets forth man’s superiority to the animals, his high dignity because of the divine rational and moral image that he bears by creation. In the context of universal human involvement in Adamic sin, the Bible utters a merciful divine call to redemptive renewal through the mediatorial person and work of Christ. Fallen humanity is invited to experience the Holy Spirit’s renewing work, to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, and to anticipate a final destiny in the eternal presence of the God of justice and justification.”

Refusing that biblical alternative, which is the only logically honest alternative, the one adhering to the naturalistic view has no foundation on which to explain the transcendence of humanity over nature. The naturalistic mind looks at man and sees the image of the One whom it has already rejected. Henry goes on to suggest a reason for this rejection:

“Contemporary rejection of biblical tenets does not rest on any logical demonstration that the case for biblical theism is false. It turns rather on a subjective preference for alternative views of ‘the good life.’”

I’m not naïve enough to ignore the fact that this discussion is centuries old and runs deeper than I am capable of following (especially on a blog). But, I am honest enough to admit that all of the work, the thousands of books, the millions of ideas and the immeasurable amount of the creativity of people to generate it all has to amount to something more than just “plain good luck.”


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