The philosopher Blaise Pascal called man “the supreme paradox,” because compared to all other creatures, he is both the most magnificent and the most miserable. What did Pascal mean? The answer goes to the heart of what the Bible says about man. Man is created in the image of God, but the Bible also tells us that man has fallen into sin and become corrupt. In Are People Basically Good?, Dr. R.C. Sproul explores the nature of mankind by looking at what it means to be made in the image of God and exploring the nature and effects of the fall.
“Homo religiosus. Part of the identity of humanity is our capacity for religion. But Calvin made the observation that man is a fabricum idolorum—an idol factory—so committed to religion that, even if he removes himself from the living God, he will replace his concept of God with a god made of his own hands. Luther, in similar fashion, commented that ‘Man, if he has no God, will make an idol,’ because he has to have something.” (Pages 7–8)
“But what uniquely stamps us as bearing the image of God has to do with our ability to mirror and to reflect the character of God. The image that God gave to us, the likeness that He has put in us as creatures, is an ability to show what it means to be holy.” (Page 19)
“Two things that every human being absolutely must come to understand are the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man” (Page 32)
“In some way, we are like God, so the more we understand who God is, the easier it is for us to understand who we are. And the more we understand what it means to be human, the more insight we can gain about the character of God.” (Page 9)
“what Christianity addresses is the problem of guilt” (Page 57)