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Human Being – Being Human

A Theological Anthropology in Biblical, Historical, and Ecumenical Perspective


Billy Kristanto

The ecumenical dialogues within Christianity mostly concentrate on the issues of justification, the Church, and the Holy Spirit. An ecumenical theological anthropology can rarely be found. The book presents the classical topics in theological anthropology from the Reformed, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox perspectives. The plurality or sometimes even the apparent tensions among theological traditions are shown to be within the limits of God’s word alone.

"In this fascinating book, Kristanto shares his thoughts on biblical notions, his vast explorations in the history of theology, and his analysis of today´s intellectual challenges. Bringing these all together in one highly readable work, Kristanto manages to demonstrate perfectly the relevance of the biblical concept of the human being for the Church and society."

Herman Selderhuis

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3 True Humanity: Imago Dei


Erickson divides the understanding of imago dei in three different views, i.e. the substantive, the relational, and the functional view.354 Each understanding has its own biblical supports. It is worth to note that although theologians derive arguments for the substantive understanding of the image of God from philosophy, they still impose biblical ideas on their thoughts. Thus, it still can be said that substantive views originate from the reflection on both general revelation and special revelation. Meanwhile, the relational view does not seek after certain particular qualities constituting the human nature but explains the image of God by describing the experience of particular relationship. Complementing the substantive and the relational perspectives, the functional view of God’s image teaches that the understanding of the image of God consists neither in essential qualities nor in the experience of rich relationships but primarily in human deeds and actions, in what one does and how one functions.

The statement about God’s image in Gen. 1:26–27 reflects Israel’s opposition to any other representations of God’s image in order to proclaim the freedom of God.355 While the Babylonians represented their gods with carved and wooden images, Isaiah cries out,

To whom then will you liken God,

or what likeness compare with him?

An idol? —A workman casts it,

and a goldsmith overlays it with gold,

and casts for it silver chains (Isa. 40:18–19)

It is more a cry...

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