The Goodness of Human Life and the Doctrine of God

God creates humans and declares that it is “good,” yet a variety of pressures tempt the church to blunt the force of this verdict. These temptations are often subtle and unconscious, adopted more often through cultural practice than explicit theorization: they range from capitalist assumptions about worth to naturalist habits of mind that conceive the universe as an infinite wasteland of natural forces, unfit for human flourishing. The net effect of such temptations is the diminishment of the plausibility of belief in creation’s goodness, let alone the goodness of life. If Western culture currently exhibits a wide range of symptoms in this regard, few are as disastrous as its hostility to the idea of human life’s intrinsic goodness. The church bears witness to this counter-cultural truth by attending to its doctrines of God and creation, especially as these are embodied in Jesus Christ. This paper analyzes God’s declaration of human life’s goodness in a dogmatic register. By expounding the goodness of human life in relation to God’s infinitude, his knowledge of approbation, and the divine ideas, a distinct portrait of human life’s goodness emerges that is the foundation of human dignity. Dogmatics thus prescribes a handful of affirmations and denials pertaining to a theology of human life.

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