Last week I attended a conference at which the speaker used the illustration of a see-saw to illustrate the idea that when we have a high view of man we correspondingly have a low view of God, and when we have a high view of God we correspondingly have a low view of man. I know what he’s trying to get at, but I think the pictures wrong.
If I can put it this way, having a high view of man doesn’t necessitate a low view of God, in fact quite the opposite. In fact I would go so far as to say that having a low view of man belongs to the evolutionary world not the theological one. The Bible seems to tell us that God himself has a ‘high view’ of man – he made him in his image, the pinnacle of his creation, with the ability to know and relate to him, and rule over or steward the earth.
Now some will say the Fall changed all that – my question is, did it? Even after the fall, humanity is not portrayed in some kind of ‘worm’ tone as in the words Isaac Watts wrote in 1885 “Would he devote that sacred head, for such a worm as I?” Rather to paraphrase the Psalmist (8:3, 4) “After I’ve observed your creation of the universe, I mean wow! Then I see man and I’m staggered that you think of him – what is it about man that you think about him and care for him?” Now that to me is quite a ‘high view’ of man.
That doesn’t mean I deny the fallen state and the wrechedness of it (Romans 7:24). I just need to watch my theological categories.
Now the question is does it diminish my view of God? and my answer is no; in fact I magnify God all the more for the way he has created me/humanity. It staggers me even more that this God who made me in such a way, whom I have rebelled against, should take on our flesh, live here, be tempted in all points as we are, and give his life that we might once again be reconciled to him.