Fundamental to the Christian understanding of the human being is the statement of the Biblical account of creation that God created humankind (subsequent to and in distinction from all other creatures) in the image of God (Genesis 1.26). It is from this that the original dignity and freedom of humankind derive. From the account according to which God created humankind as man and woman (Gen 1.27), it follows that the corporeality and sexuality of man were willed by God and are therefore good and valuable (which applies in equal measure to both sexes). Along with corporeality, human worldliness, historicity, and individuality are affirmed as well. The dignity of the human being not only as an interchangeable specimen of a species but also as a person derives from the fact that, according to the Biblical witness, God is in a dialogical relationship with each and every individual. In the Christian view, a turning towards the Divine or the human ‘you’ is an element constituent of the nature of the human. Understood positively, the commands and prohibitions that God gave humankind even in the original condition of creation (Paradise) (Gen 2.15‑17) are a way of saying that it is God’s will for human beings to live their lives freely and responsibly. Naturally, this high task and gift also implies the possibility of the shortcomings and failure from which sin and evil emerge as a manifestation of the hazards of the human condition. The difficult-to-understand doctrine known as original sin expresses that, at a minimum, the likeness of God in humankind is weakened through the temptation to sin (= Catholic view) or significantly impaired (= Protestant position). The work of salvation accomplished by Jesus Christ shows that God does not give up on an individual even if one turns away from God. Even in a state of extreme failure, God offers humankind the possibility of a new life. The individual redeemed in Jesus Christ through faith in the love of God may consider and experience him- or herself as a ‘child of God’ (Rom 8.14‑21). In this capacity of a child of God (which Jesus demonstrated), the individual achieves a perfect state in which his or her life is no longer determined by the stern necessities of societal, moral or even religious laws but rather consists in the freedom of love (cf. 1 Cor 13.1‑12 or the famous statement of Augustine (354-430): ‘Love, and do what thou wilt’).
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