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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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5 On Being Human


Just as vices has made human beings inhuman, so it is virtues that make us human. In this context, Christian virtues become the reflection or image of God’s own communicable attributes. Since human beings are created after the image of God, imaging God’s attributes makes us more human. Sin is the rejection of humble imaging of divine nature that results in vices.

Within the context of imaging God, human beings occupy the place of a woman who receives her honor from God. In the context of honor-shame culture, Proverbs draws a contrast between the wise and the fool: “A gracious woman gets honor, but she who hates virtue is covered with shame” (Prov. 11:16). The hatred of virtue results in shame while the love of virtue makes human beings honorable. Beside the contrast between honor and shame, there is also a contrast between woman and man: while a gracious woman holds to honor, strong (aggressive) men hold on to riches. The contrast between honor and riches is not strong, yet a plausible antithesis can still be deduced: the love of virtue, by which a woman gets her honor is given by God whereas riches have to be acquired by male aggressive effort.716 The acquisition of virtues is solely by the grace of God, yet human beings are warned not to hate virtue.

In Philippians, Paul assumed the existence of (moral) excellence (ἀρετὴ) to exhort the Philippians to focus their minds on “whatever is true, whatever is...

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