25 Aug

Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, The True Image: The Origin and Destiny of Man in Christ (Eerdmans, 1989)

Category: What We're Reading
By: Amy L. Graeser
Published: 08/25/03

"According to the biblical perspective, then, man cannot be classified as no more than an intelligent animal whose provenance is evolutionistically attributed to an animal origin from below and whose difference from the brute beasts is merely a matter of degree. To explain man in this way is actually to brutalize him and to open the door for the ungodly conclusion that man is after all but an animal and therefore virtually as dispensable as any other animal. . . . As we know only too well from the history of this twentieth century, it is a view of man which has encouraged even the justification of genocide for the sake of purifying the human stock." Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, The True Image: The Origin and Destiny of Man in Christ

In The True Image: The Origin and Destiny of Man in Christ, Philip Edgcumbe Hughes examines the authentic identity of man, studying who man was created to be, what happened to him with the fall, and how he will be restored to a sinless state. Hughes's position throughout his exploration is that the identity of man can only be understood in light of his relationship with Christ and the Godhead. He writes: "Nothing is more basic than the recognition that being constituted in the image of God is of the very essence of and absolutely central to the humanness of man. It is the key that unlocks the meaning of his authentic humanity. Apart from this reality he cannot exist truly as man, since for man to deny God and the divine image stamped upon his being and to assert his own independent self-sufficiency is to deny his own constitution and thus to dehumanize himself."

The first section of The True Image, "Creation in the Image of God: Integration," dissects what it means to be created in the image of God. The chapters in section one include: "The Meaning of Creation in the Image of God"; "Is There a Bodily Aspect of the Image?"; "Man and the Divine Image Not Identical"; "The Image of God in the New Testament"; "The Imprint of the Image in Man"; and "The Image in Fallen Man." The second section of the book, "The Image Rejected: Disintegration," studies the origins of evil, the fall of man, and how sin affects the image of God in man and his relationship with the Godhead. The chapters include: "The Origin of Evil"; "The Perfection of the Creature"; "The Biblical Account of the Fall"; "The Meaning of Death"; "Original Sin"; "The Freedom of the Will"; "The Freedom of God"; and "The Effect of the Fall." The third section, "The Image Restored: Reintegration," attends to the salvation and redemption of man, to the restoration and perfection of the image of God in man. The chapters include: "The Word Becomes Flesh"; "The Evolutionistic Interpretation"; "The Self-Humbling of the Image"; "The Theanthropic Person of Christ"; "Docetic Christology"; "The Early Unitarians"; "Origen's Christology"; "Arianism"; "The Christology of Athanasius"; "The 'Deification' of Man in Christ"; "The Christology of Apollinaris"; "Nestorius and Nestorianism"; "On to Chalcedon"; "The Importance of Orthodoxy"; "The Life of Jesus"; "The Death of Jesus"; "Understanding the Atonement"; "The Continuing Debate"; "The Glorification of Christ"; "Christology and History"; "Between the Comings"; "Between Death and Resurrection"; "Is the Soul Immortal?"; and "The Kingdom."

While the three sections record the biblical account of their main topic, they also recount other explanations of those topics, comparing and contrasting the latter explanations to the former account. [Posted August 2005, ALG]