Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Clark on the Divine Image in Man: Jesus is the Logos

The following is taken from an article in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, "The Image of God in Man", by Gordon H. Clark, which someone linked to on the Facebook page dedicated to Gordon H. Clark. It is my contention that a man's life's work must be taken together as a whole, especially when judging the last book he wrote on the incarnation of Christ. I will be further reviewing Clark's books on the trinity and the incarnation in the upcoming week. But for now let Clark speak for himself:

Yes, the image is still there. Paradoxical though it may seem, man could not be the sinner he is, if he were not still in God's image. Sinning presupposes rationality and voluntary decision. Animals cannot sin. Sin therefore requires God's image because man is responsible for his sins. If there were no responsibility, there could be nothing properly called sin. Sin is an offense against God, and God calls us to account. If we were not answerable to God, repentance would be useless and even nonsense. Reprobation and hell would also be impossible.

But if we say all this, have we not tied ourselves in theological knots? If we acknowledge that we are dead in sin, must we not affirm either that the image has been lost altogether (and then we would no longer be able to sin) or that the image has parts and that most of its parts, or at least the most important parts have been lost (thus destroying the unity of the person), or finally should we retract the doctrine of total depravity and minimize sin?

The solution of this paradox is very easy and very clear. We note for one thing that Christ is the image of God (Hebrews 1:3), and that he is the Logos and Wisdom of God. We note too that Adam was given dominion over nature. These two points, seemingly unrelated, suggest that the image of God is Logic or rationality. Adam was superior to the animals because he was a rational and not merely a sensory creation. The image of God therefore is reason.

The image must be reason because God is truth, and fellowship with him--a most important purpose in creation--requires thinking and understanding. Without reason man would doubtless glorify God as do the stars, stones, and animals, but he could not enjoy him forever. Even if in God's animals survive death and adorn the future world, they cannot have what the Scripture calls eternal life because eternal life is to know the only true God, and knowledge is an exercise of the mind or reason. Without reason there can be no morality or righteousness: these too require thought. Lacking these, animals are neither righteous nor sinful.

The identification of the image as reason explains or is supported by a puzzling remark in John 1:9, "I was the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world." How can Christ, in whom is the life that is the light of men, be the light of every man, when the Scriptures teach that some men are lost in eternal darkness? This puzzle arises from interpreting light in exclusively redemptive terms. If one think also in terms of creation, the Logos or Rationality of God, who just above was said to have created all things without a single exception, can be seen as having created man with the light of logic as his distinctive human characteristic.

[Charlie's closing comment: It seems to me in light of Clark's above remarks that the divine image is rationality and that the Logos is pure reason as well as a person; the union of the divine image with the human image which is created in God's image and likeness is therefore more plausible because it is in fact a spiritual union and not a physical union, which would imply some change in God's absolute nature with all of His incommunicable attributes. I will make further comments after reading Clark's view of the trinity and the incarnation.]

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost;
Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen.


CB in Ca said...

I wander of Clark's alleged approval of Nesorianism will be expressed.

Charlie J. Ray said...

I'm in the process of reviewing Clark's two books, The Trinity, and, The Incarnation.

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