Bill Lockwood: The Supreme Value of Man-Religious Roots to Political Warfare
by Bill Lockwood
America is in turmoil. It may be playing out on a “political” field, but it goes much deeper than that. It reaches down into the patterns of beliefs, values, ideas, and concepts upon which our culture is built. It is western culture, built upon a God-centered worldview, that is under assault. Political wars have religious roots.
Consider the biblical view of man. What is it that gives man value? Reaching further, what worldview encompasses principles which give value to humankind? The answer: only one basic understanding of the world recognizes that man has any intrinsic value—the biblical worldview.
Creation of Man
The creation of man is set forth in Genesis 1:26-27 in wherein God said, “Let us make man in our image and after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, …And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created He him, male and female he created them.”
Only man is said to be “created in God’s image and after His likeness.” The same is repeated in Genesis 5:1,3 as well as in 9:6. The latter specifically demonstrates that “the image and likeness of God” is not shared by the animal creation (see 9:3 where animals are for man’s consumption) whereas the taking of human life is that which merits the charge of “murder.”
Genesis 5:1,3 clearly echoes 1:26-27 and evinces the fact that “the image and likeness of God” continues even after man’s sin in the garden. New Testament passages such as Jas. 3:9 show that value is attached to man due to this “likeness.”
“The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts …” (Prov. 20:27). Professor Plumptre, educated at Oxford a century ago, remarked of this verse: “the higher life, above that which he has in common with lower animals, coming to him direct from God.” Then he adds, “Such a life, with all its powers of insight, consciousness, reflection, is as a lamp which God has lighted, throwing its rays into the darkest recesses of the heart.”
What is the Image and Likeness of God?
The “image of God” is a distinction that sets humanity apart from the animate creation. We have but to ask, what does the Bible teach about man that is not taught about animals? Since man shares a biological make-up like that of animals, as well as the animation of the body, the single factor which sets man apart is the fact that man has an eternal spirit within him that is answerable to God (see 1 Thess. 5:23; Ecc. 12:7). What does this entail?
First, man is a rational being. This is not to argue that all of us act rationally at all times, but it is to say that we have the capacity to weigh matters and make informed decisions about them. Man has the ability to think, the power of problem-solving, the power to frame hypotheses, gather materials, gain insights into reality, test explanations, and to determine whether or not the test worked or did not work. As Professor Plumptre put it, only man has powers of insight and reflection.
Second, man is a moral being. Once again, this is not to say that we all act morally upright at all times, but only humankind has the capacity of “moral sensitivity.” Even evolutionist of yesteryear, G.G. Simpson stated, that unlike the rest of the animal creation, “Man is a moral animal.” Only man feels obligated to to obey moral principles. Only man distinguishes between what IS, and what OUGHT TO BE. All men have a sense of duty, and the sense of obligation to this duty regardless of personal safety.
Third, man has free will. When options are laid out before a person, only man has the ability to weigh these options for action and move on them—sometimes to the detriment of his own personal safety. It is solely from this biblical basis that our entire culture is predicated upon the proposition that “all men are created equal.”
These are the qualities which Solomon in Proverbs called “a candle of the Lord.”
Worldviews that Deny the Value of Man
I mentioned above that political wars have religious roots. Take paganism, both ancient and modern. Paganism begins with a denial that all men are created equal. Kenneth Matthews authored the two volumes on Genesis for The New American Commentary series. Reflecting upon ancient pagan beliefs, Matthews had this to say:
In the ancient Near East it was widely believed that kings represented the patron deities of their nations or city-states. Among the Mesopotamians and Canaanites, royal figures were considered ‘sons’ adopted by the gods to function as vice-regents and intermediaries between deity and society. Egyptian society recognized pharaoh as divine who was Horus in life and Osiris in death. Some royal stelae describe the king as the ‘image’ of God.
Some are born to rule. They have the “image of God.” Others are born to serve. Not much different from socialism. If we but allow the elite ruling class to organize and manage the rest of us, all will be well. This is the “gospel of socialism.”
How about the “Green Gospel” of Environmentalism? The grandfather of the modern environmental movement is former Vice-President Al Gore. His magnum opus, Earth in the Balance, specifically attacked the Genesis passages mentioned above.
“…major scientific discoveries have often undermined the Church’s tendency to exaggerate our uniqueness as a species and defend our separation from the rest of nature.” “It is my own belief that the image of God can be seen in every corner of creation, even in us, but only faintly.”
I believe that the image of the Creator which sometimes seems so faint in the tiny corner of creation each of us beholds, is nonetheless present in its entirety—and present in us as well. If we are made in the image of God, perhaps it is the myriad slight strands from the earth’s web of life—woven so distinctly in our essence … By experiencing nature in its fullest … with our senses and with our spiritual imagination, we can glimpse, bright shining as the sun, an infinite image of God.
To kick-off the modern environmental movement Gore felt the need to re-write Genesis. He recognized that a value shift was necessary to accomplish his green socialism.
The 1992 Biocentric United Nations Treaty did exactly the same thing. “Nature has an integral set of values (cultural, spiritual, and material). Where humans are one strand in nature’s web and all living creatures are considered equal. Therefore, the natural way is the right and human activities should be molded along nature’s rhythms.”
And just how might it be ensured that “human activities” be “molded along nature’s rhythms” and that humans recognize the “equality” of nature, since all of nature has God’s image, per Al Gore? Big Government—that’s how. It forces us to honor this “value shift” by recognizing humanity as no more valuable than a free-flowing stream, beautiful giant mountain, or a tall tree in the forest. And it is not “all men are created equal, but all living creatures.” No supreme value to mankind.
Denying the supreme value of man by jettisoning the biblical worldview lies at the bottom of the political left today. As Joe Biden himself stated on January 27, 2021, after one week into his presidency, his entire agenda is a “whole-government approach to put climate change at the center of our domestic national security, and foreign policy.”
That about sums up the entire machinery of government. All rooted in anti-biblical concepts that are the heartbeat of the Environmental Green Agenda. As stated in The First Global Revolution, a 1991 report by the Club of Rome, a powerhouse establishment group populated by people such as Al Gore, Bill Clinton, George Soros, David Rockefeller and Mikhail Gorbachev, “The common enemy of humanity is man.”