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Lord, What Is Man? Essay

3021 words - 12 pages

ABSTRACT: In this essay, philosophical anthropology is considered from the viewpoint of biblical exegesis. Our summons to self-knowledge is discussed in the light of immanence of the Kingdom of God in the human being. Humanity is argued to consist of a three-fold structure: outer, inner, and divine.

Psalms 144:3

The theme of my paper is philosophical anthropology in its proper sense, i.e., the understanding of human nature. Philosophy is a speculative discipline and we have to choose a basis for our reasoning. Let us consider the human being from the viewpoint of the Holy Bible. I chose the Bible, but I am sure that any Scripture of the world's religions might be such a source.

It is superfluous to point out that using the Bible as the ground for reasoning of philosophical anthropology should not imply any theological bias. Otherwise it would be not philosophy but something else.

Let us determine the association among the following sayings, which I select to juxtapose by their clear references to the Kingdom of God. "The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which ... when it is grown ... is the greatest among herbs" (Mt 13:31). "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field" (Mt 13:44).

These sayings I put on one side, and the following ones on the other:

"Behold, the kingdom of God is within you" (Lk 17:21). "Seek ye first the kingdom of God ... and all ... things shall be added unto you" (Mt 6:33).

From all the above said we emerge with the following idea. Inside a human being there is something little and hidden, a treasure, which may be found in spite of its small measure. But when it is discovered it may and must become unimaginably great.

This conclusion is probably hard to reach, but it is even harder to find this least thing and to be faithful in it (cf. Lk 16:10). It is very difficult to arrive at knowledge of what is least, for "the king-dom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force" (Mt 11:12)—that is, the Kingdom of Heaven is taken by strength, and those who take it are those who employ force. Is it not this same effort and this same labor that is the subject of the well-known parable: "Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them ... is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock" (Lk 6:47)? I have stressed the words "digged deep," for they are the most weighty key images.

Hitherto I have quoted only the Gospels, not referring to any other texts in the Bible. It would be more than strange if the Apostles had not touched upon this subject. Here is what Paul writes: "Take heed unto thyself ... for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee" (1 Tim 4:16). Thus, Paul requires a continuous effort of taking heed of oneself. The same idea is expounded in Corinthians: "Examine yourselves ... prove your own selves" (2 Cor 13:5).

I can summarize all I have said above in a...

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