As the image of God man draws his life entirely from his origin in God, but the man who has become like God has forgotten how he was at his origin and has made himself his own creator and judge. What God had given man to be, man now desired to be through himself. But God’s gift is essentially God’s gift....
As the Image of God
Topic: Virtue, Morality, & Ethics
“Originally man was made in the image of God, but now his likeness to God is a stolen one. As the image of God man draws his life entirely from his origin in God, but the man who has become like God has forgotten how he was at his origin and has made himself his own creator and judge. What God had given man to be, man now desired to be through himself. But God’s gift is essentially God’s gift…. In becoming like God man has become a god against God…. Man’s life is now disunion with God, with men, with things, and with himself.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich, and Eberhard Bethge. Ethics. Touchstone Book, 1995.
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Dietrich Bonhoeffer (4 February 1906 – 9 April 1945) was a German Lutheran pastor, theologian, participant in the German resistance movement against Nazism and founding member of the Confessing Church.
So Bonhoeffer says very rightly: “In the knowledge of good and evil man does not understand himself in the reality of the destiny appointed in his origin, but rather in his own possibilities, his possibility of being good or evil. He knows himself now as something apart from God, outside God, and this means that he now knows only himself and no longer knows God at all…. The knowledge of good and evil is therefore separation from God.” Only against God can man know good and evil.
–Thomas Merton [Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander].
Additional Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes
“Who stands fast? Only the man whose final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom, or his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all this when he is called to obedient and responsible action in faith and in exclusive allegiance to God — the responsible man, who tries to make his whole life an answer to the question and call of God. Where are these responsible people?”
–Dietrich Bonhoeffer [Letters and Papers from Prison, Who Stands Fast?, p. 5.].
“The truthfulness which Jesus demands from his followers is the self-abnegation which does not hide sin. Nothing is then hidden, everything is brought forth to the light of day. In this question of truthfulness, what matters first and last is that a man’s whole being should be exposed, his whole evil laid bare in the sight of God. But sinful men do not like this sort of truthfulness.
–Dietrich Bonhoeffer [Discipleship and the Cross, Truthfulness, p. 138.].