The Bible, taken in its ancient historical context, says little explicitly about the nature of the human being, certainly not in any kind of scientific or philosophical way. It provides no explicit “theological anthropology.” Yet the New Testament, if read with care and creativity, may be seen to teach that the human person is a product of social and cultural construction; that the body, though a unity in some sense, is also made of various parts; that the self is social. The New Testament may help Christians accept the necessary finitude of human beings as a good, not as a flaw of human existence. It may come as a surprise to many people to see what may be learned from an innovative reading of the Bible about human sexuality and desire. Moreover, the value of some very traditional doctrines not popular with most modern people, such as the doctrines of original sin and predestination, may also be rediscovered for our time. And certainly the New Testament is rich for imagining the meaning of salvation and the resurrection of the body—even the “deification” of human beings—for Christians in the 21st century.
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