Last week i began a brief exploration of Ray Anderson’s theological anthropology. Part two is below:
Anderson’s second assumption is that human existence is originally social and only consequentially psychological (Ibid, 57; Italics Author’s). Anderson believes that humanity is to be understood fundamentally as “cohumanity,” as male and female. For Anderson this differentiation is analogous to nature of God as Triune. This is how humanity reflects the “image and likeness” of God (Anderson, 36-37).
Here we see how this thesis is connected with Anderson’s first assumption, and why it is key to his entire understanding of humanity. According to Anderson, we experience ourselves as fundamentally in relationship is due to God’s determination, not ours. Citing Genesis 2:18, Anderson comments that “God says that it is not good for man to be in this state of singularity (Anderson, 36).” To transcend the pure creaturely, to be human, humanity must “experience differentiation as the content of one’s own life (Ibid).” As the rest of the creation narrative shows, this determination of man’s lack and how it is resolved is due to God’s action, not man’s self-understanding. It is here that Anderson’s reason for focusing on humanity as occurring within the reality of creatureliness comes into sharp focus. This starting point allows him to begin to locate the answers to the “fundamental whys” in the transcendent will of God, not in our limited vantage point. Simply put, the valuing of our creatureliness requires a social orientation towards reality, and along with that a radical shift in our epistemological bearings, locating our understanding of reality as being grounded in God’s action, not ours. These first two theses of Anderson are the soil in which his rich relational model of the family will later take root.
Anderson, Ray S. On Being Human: Essays in Theological Anthropology. Pasadena: Fuller Seminary Press, 1982.