We are not all equal in our abilities, accomplishments, or station in life. Some of us are stronger than others, some smarter than others; some are better at writing novels, dunking basketballs, sculpting works of art, balancing ledger sheets, or diagnosing and treating disease. Yet we are blessed to live in a country that professes the profound truth that we are all equal. Given all of our obvious differences and inequalities, how can this possibly be?We would struggle to find an adequate answer looking only at natural explanations, evolutionary biology, or political history. Our faith reveals to us that each individual human life has equal dignity, value, and sanctity because we are created in the image and likeness of God.We can speculate on what it means to be created in the image of God. We have reason, intellect, self-awareness, and an immaterial spirit. We act with free will, choose right or wrong, and autonomously govern our own actions. We have the potential to love, to give of our selves, and to live in a relationship of communion with others. All of these are essential elements of our human nature that are bestowed on us by God our creator.
But unlike Him, we do not always know what is good. We do not always desire what is right. We do not always choose what we should. And we do not always treat others with the justice, the dignity, and the love that they deserve.
As humans suffering the effects of sin, we live in the middle, in both spirit and flesh. We long for communion with God, yet we hold on to self. We were created to be greater than we are, and we have hope that we are destined to share in the glory of God. (Tim Taylor, Chapter Guide)
Tim proposed the following questions … What are your answers, or what different questions might you have asked?
— St. Paul wrote, “I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate” (Rom 7:15). What are some examples of things that people do even though they know they are wrong or harmful? Why do you think we sometimes do things that we know to be wrong? Can anything be done to help stop us from acting this way?
— How does God respond to human sin? How should we respond to those who sin against us?