The assault on the dignity of man sparked by behavioral science today promises to be even more powerful than that provoked a century ago by the Darwinian controversy over evolution. The earlier argument was that since man’s ancestry was animal, he had no need to consider God his Maker. Today’s assumption is that since science can change human nature, God is dispensable as man’s Redeemer.

Another ramification of the debate, one given currency in Communist lands, also implies the irrelevance of Christianity: since Communism alone breeds a new man with a passionate commitment to socio-political revolution, the Christian churches offer mankind nothing to outweigh their obsolescence. In city after city, Mao’s China has therefore eliminated “parasitic” churches.

This dispute over the nature of man may not hold the highest priority on an evangelical agenda, but in the 1970s it surely belongs near the top. Consider the theological predicament of contemporary ecumenism. Since the World Council’s attempt to arrive at a common doctrine of God has collapsed into chaotic frustration, many ecumenists have turned instead to the doctrine of man in hopes it would lead to some intellectual unity. Yet because many churchmen obscure the truth of revelation, their definition of man no less than of God is highly confused.

Technocratic scientism sponsors the view that external reality can be wholly explained in terms of mathematically predictable continuities. The net effect of this theory is to eliminate any role for personal intelligence, will, and activity from the ultimately real world, and from nature and history, and from mankind objectively considered. Not only does the mechanistic explanation of the external world leave no scope for God’s ...

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