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Christian Anthropology

Christian Anthropology

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Published by robert543
What is the implications for anthropology for Imago Dei? How does this relate pastorally.
What is the implications for anthropology for Imago Dei? How does this relate pastorally.

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Published by: robert543 on Mar 18, 2010
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Christian Anthropology
 Robert ColquhounMA Pastoral Education'God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female hecreated them.' (Gen 1:27 quoted at CCC 355).a) Explain the implications of this statement for Christian anthropology, for how we are tounderstand our relationships with God, ourselves, each other and creation. (1,500-2,500 words) b) Examine any pastoral and/or educational implications of your analysis in Part (a) within a settingof your choosing (1,500-2,500 words).a) The doctrine of Imago Dei, according to Emil Bramer, “decides the destiny of all theology.”
Von|Balthasar and Barth believed that Imago Dei should have a major place not only with anthropology but also with dogmatic theology.
This doctrine has wide ranging implications for man's relationshipwith God. As we are made in God's image and likeness, we are not a god, but a being made for relationship. It reveals the dignity of the human person, the balance of body and soul, therelationship between men and women and the individual in his interaction with the community.Man was created in the image of God to do what God does – love.
The first major observation fromthe doctrine of Imago Dei is that man is a created being. He is not a cosmological fluke, nor doeshis existence come by any other means except by creation
ex nihilo
from God. This puts man as arecipient of the great, mysterious and gratuitous gift of creation.
Creation then is a gift to man,who emerges from love. Creation is a “call from nothingness to existence:”
 God is the giver andman is the one who receives the gift. From this beginning, man is called to reciprocate this gift bythe disinterested gift of himself. This is why man “can fully discover his true self only in a sinceregiving of himself.”
 Various modern philosophies have attempted to reverse the notion of Imago Dei: Feuerbach, Marxand Freud all held that God is nothing else than an image projected by man. The “conception of 
1According to Bramer (in Ouellet, 2006, p26).2Ibid.3Hogan and Levoir, Covenant of Love, 1992, p45.4Pope John Paul II, Theology of the body, p67.5Ibid. p596Gaudium et Spes, n.24
man as a self constituted autonomous subject”
would necessitate that atheism to be the onlyadequate belief system for man. But Imago Dei shows man's fundamental orientation anddependence on God, not as an isolated individual, but as a being made for relationships.The account of God's gift of creation in Genesis tells us that “God speaks a human language, usinghuman concepts and images.”
Whilst acknowledging that human language has multiple limitations,we can guage that man is like God. Anthropomorphic expressions of God are acceptable, evenalthough he is the one who dwells in “inapproacable light.” (1 Tm 6:16). In the Old Testament, anyimage of God was prohibited (Deut 4:12, 4:15-6). It was an endeavour of the early Christians toreinterpret the prohibition of artistic representations of God (Ex 20:2, Dt 27:15).
The Iconoclasmwas based on the assumption that anthropomorphism fosters idolatry. Whilst man is similar to God,it is important to emphasize how God is also different and totally other. St Paul wrote of how wecan only see “indistinctly, as in a mirror.” (1 Cor 13:12). The image of God in man's understandingis a distant and imperfect notion.
Augustine held that Imago Dei could be seen as “A likenessindeed, but a far distant image.. the image is one thing in the son, another in the mirror.”
Our yearning for full communion with God is only something that can be realised when we are 'face toface' in heaven.Although God created both male and female, God cannot be considered masculine or feminine, butcan only be compared with masculine of feminine qualities.
God's love has been compared bothwith the masculine love of a bridegroom and the feminine love of a mother. Scripture is rich withanthropomorphic analogies of God as masculine or feminine,
but God should only be consideredas a father in a “ultra corporeal, superhuman and completely divine sense.”
Sexuality shouldtherefore not be assigned to the Godhead.
 At the same time, Jesus Christ was incarnated as a man.It is also possible to have a brief grasp of the trinity from an anthropological appreciation of man.Pope John Paul was keen to emphasize that it is 'possible to glimpse' an image of the trinity in thehuman family.
Hilary held that “The plurality of divine persons is proven from the fact that man is
7International Theological Commission, Communion and Stewardship, n13.8 Mulieris Dignitatem, n. 8.9 International Theological Commission, Communion and Stewardship, n.13.10Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, p278.11Aug. (Serm 52:17: cf. De Trin 9,17; 10, 19), in Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, p278.12Mulieris Dignitatem, n. 8.13See Is 49:14-5, Is 66:13, Ps 131:2-3, Is 42:13, 46:3-4, Hs 11:1-4, Jer 3:4-19.14Mulieris Dignitatem, n.8.15Hauke, Women in the Priesthood?, p165.16John Paul II, Letter to Families, n. 6: “The original model of the family must be sought in God himself, in thetrinitarian mystery of his life.”
said to have been made in the image of God.”
Richard of St Victor said that “if God is personal atall, he must have some other person to relate to in love, since the very meaning of loving and personimplies an interpersonal term of relation.”
We are invited to establish on earth an analogy of thecommunion of divine persons in heaven (GS 24). God then is not solitary but a communion of  persons. Scott Hahn mentions that God refers to himself in the first person plural, and in doing so,shows that in his deepest mystery he is a family of persons.
All of anthropology has a Christological dimension, because Christ is the perfect image of God.
AChristian strives to be conformed to Christ (cf. Rm 8:29) as to “become” the image of God requiresactive participation (cf. Col 3:10).
As the “Son is the perfect man who restores the divine likenessto the sons and daughters of Adam which was wounded by the sin of the first parents,” (GS 22) thevalue of Imago Dei is not a denial of the grace that comes through the incarnation. Even thoughChrist is not mentioned in Genesis, he himself refers to the 'beginning' in his refutations with thePharisees (Mt 19:3 and Mk 10:2). As Christ quotes Genesis 1:27, he gives it “an even more explicitnormative meaning.”
Imago Dei has implications for man's understanding of himself. Philo held that the image of Godwas only with the spiritual dimension.
Both Aquinas and Irenaeus refuted this idea, holding thatthe body is united with the soul. As the body is essential to personal identity, anthropologies thatclaim that Imago Dei is only spiritual forget that the Bible attaches great importance to the body.The evangelist John mentions that the 'Word was made flesh and dwelt among us' (Jn 1:14).Gaudium et Spes maintains that man was created in the image of God to know and love his creator (GS 12). This implies therefore that all of man has been made in the image of God as knowledgemust come through the body. Aquinas held the soul is the first principle of life, is everywhere in the body and is immortal.
Aquinas noted that man’s resemblance to God is shown in his intellect, because his relationship with the object of his knowledge is like God’s relationship with hiscreation.
 It is clear then that God resembles man in a spiritual and a social nature.
Augustinetells us, “Man is not a mere soul, nor a mere body, but both soul and body.”
17Hilary (De Trin iv) in Aquinas, Summa 1, 93, article 5.18Richard of St Victor in Clarke, Person, Being and St Thomas, p617.19Scott Hahn, First Comes Love, p40-43.202 Cor 4:4, Col 1:15, Heb 1:321International Theological Commission, Communion and Stewardship, n.12.22John Paul II, Theology of the body, p26.23Ouellet, Divine Likeness, p27.24Brown, Hudecki and Kennedy, Images of the Human, 1995, p136.25Summa Theologica I-II, q 3, a 5, ad 1. 26Shivanandan, Crossing the threshold of love, p79.27Augustine, De Civ. Dei. XIX, 3 in Aquinas, Summa, 1a, 75, art 4.

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