One of the wonderful things about presuppositionalism is that one need look no farther than the very basic teachings of the Bible in order to get one’s answers about philosophical issues which worry and weary the unbeliever. One such problem before the unbeliever is how the essential assumption of human dignity is accounted for in a non-Christian worldview. Our society is ruminated with the implications of human dignity, and yet we saw in Part 1 of the treatment of this subject that there are fatal flaws in attempting to consistently adhere to both a non-Christian view of the world and the premise of human dignity. There are few other “sacred” or religious writings which contain self-attestation to divine origin the way Christian Scripture does. We will not look right now at every other account of origins contained in other religious literature. Such a treatment is beyond our purposes here. We will merely state that among numerous other insurmountable problems (whether scientific, historic, logical, or otherwise), these accounts do not claim to carry anywhere near the weight that the Genesis account itself claims to carry as being God’s revelation to humanity. It is noteworthy that Muslims and (modern day) Jews may exempt themselves from the problem of accounting for the human dignity which we all assume only by borrowing from the Christian account of origins as recorded in the Hebrew book of Genesis and it is obvious that this is precisely what they actually do. What is not always so obvious is that those of other “religious” or “non-religious” views either do the very same thing or as a result of failing to do so, fall right back into the problems raised in the last entry on this subject.
If we think of the unattainable goal of accounting for human dignity within a non-Christian view of things as a joke, the anti-intellectual, anti-scientific theory of naturalistic evolution is its rather large butt. Not only is there an ever present danger of overextending the concept of dignity by ludicrously applying it to other entities like asparagus and apes, but there is the increasingly worrisome truth that within the evolutionary scheme of things we are naught but misshapen blobs that are not even found at the “end” of said evolutionary “scheme”. This is about more than kissing universal healthcare goodbye (that is a joke), this problem results in unacceptable and unintelligible sociological consequences.
We need look no farther than the very basic teachings of the Bible in order to get our answers concerning the justification of the human dignity which is foundational to human experience.
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And
let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the
heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping
thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in
the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And
God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the
earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the
birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that
is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You
shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every
bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that
has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.
Gen 1:26-30 (ESV)
Just as people communicate with one another, there was communication within the triune God prior to the creation of the first person (and of course, there was communication within the triune God before the foundation of the world). The linguistic tool of pluralistic majesty is not found in such early Hebrew writings as the Pentateuch, and in actuality did not come into widespread usage until so much later in time that it is of no consequence to our study here except to the extent we have already taken it. God is not speaking to angels, for nowhere is it said of humans that we are created in the image of any other than God. Note also that we as humans are created in the image of God, a theological concept which is wider than what our focus will allow us to detail here. Suffice it to say that not only are we like God in many ways, but we are capable of many of the same things which God does as God due to the way He has made us in contradistinction to the way God has made other creatures. We are also given dominion over the rest of creation, as God has dominion over all of creation and us. Not only this; but the account of the creation of the first man comes at the end of an account of the creation of everything else other than man (and of course, God). Unlike the arrogant, speciest jellyfish of Ishmael, we are the pinnacle of God’s creation. We are something special, in that sense, or to put it in much less postmodern language, we possess dignity. Thus according to verse 26, God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost agree with one another to create the first man in the image of God and as the pinnacle of creation with dominion over every other created thing.
We are given a detailed account of not only creation, but more specifically the first man, who was not produced in mass quantities like the animals, but rather was specially created in an intimate way by the God of the universe. The first man is commanded to subdue these creatures, and he even names them. All of this comes a little later in the Genesis account of course, which I encourage you to read again. The book of Genesis is the only true account of origins, and in it you will find many of the metaphysical truths necessary to make sense of the world as we know it. To reject the self-attesting Word of Christ is to engage in self-contradiction, for Christianity alone accounts for the very concept of dignity necessary for such rejection. Blobs do not write constitutions, and Jesus did not shed His blood for apes.