In order to understand how any comprehensive worldview fits together and operates in the real world, you must have some notion of what being "human" entails. If the Christian view of the world is to be believed, it must serve to explain human nature and how that nature works in the world as it really is.
To follow on the implications of the "cosmic cube," our understanding of human nature must make sense of both the physical and non-physical aspects of reality. On the Christian view, man is not just a lump of "stuff" controlled by a deterministic computer made of meat (the physical brain). There is more to him than that. Philosopher Dallas Willard (in his book, Renovation of the Heart) defines "human life" as consisting of the following:
- Thought (images, concepts, judgments, inferences)
- Feeling (sensation, emotion)
- Choice (will, decision, character)
- Body (action, interaction with the physical world)
- Social Context (personal and structural relations to others)
- Soul (serves to integrate all of the above)
Though Willard goes into great detail about each of these facets of humanity, a way to think of these in Biblical terms is:
Body: The physical part of us that expresses our real inner nature within the world
Soul: The non-physical aspect of our human nature. It consists of the heart ("decision central," the connection between mind and body), and mind (where our thoughts and feelings originate). This is what animates us and contains our character.
Spirit: Though the Bible seems to use the terms soul and spirit interchangeably at times, the spirit is what sets us apart from the rest of nature. This is the part of our non-physical make-up that gives us the ability to contemplate, seek and relate to our Creator.
Dr. Tackett points out that man was created innocent and in the image of God (imago dei), made the free-will decision to rebel against God and was therefore relegated to a fallen state from which only Christ can offer redemption that leads to eternal life.
The world's view is quite different. On that view man emerged and evolved from the cosmic 'stuff,' exhibits a basically good nature, and his highest aspiration is to attain fulfillment through self-actualization.
So which of these views makes the most sense of the world as we find it?
- If man is only the product of the physical stuff in the box, how did he come to display things like consciousness that are not physical?
- If man is basically good, how do we explain all the evil we see perpetrated in the world?
- If self-actualization is the ultimate goal, why have so few found comfort, peace and fulfillment in its worldly promises?