The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Without faith it's impossible to please God



In the image of Christ means I’m cloaked in a robe of value and worth. It’s not intrinsic but comes from God. Just as C.S. Lewis believed. We’re not ontologically equal to God. Only God is intrinsically glorious.

I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.~~ Is. 42:8

He shares His extrinsic glory but not His intrinsic Glory. Our glory is a derived glory. It’s an image and likeness. Only God is self-sufficient. We depend on Him as finite and dependent creatures. To want to exalt yourself and claim equality with God was the sin of Satan. It’s the height of arrogance. As C.S. Lewis states it’s the complete anti-God state of mind.


I don’t hear Randy to argue that the built in worth we have as offspring made in the image of God means that such glory didn’t come from God, or makes us self-sufficient. Insisting on such antinomies may leave us tilting at straw men.


I never said he argued that Bob. I was just pointing out from the scripture that only God is intrinsically glorious.


True, Bob. You WON’T find me arguing anything theologically (for the most part), that’s not part of Eastern Orthodox or Eastern Catholic theology. Although I also take stuff theologically, from Roman Catholic Fr. Richard Rohr and Anglican New Testament scholar N.T. Wright. I also quote stuff, from the non-denominational site - Got Questions - for informational purposes.


Hollytree, you sound like a misanthrope. If you act in real life the way you do online I couldn’t stand being around you.


The online definition at misanthrope definition

a person who dislikes humankind and avoids human society.

Perhaps H.T. would enjoy, reading ALL the works - of THIS philosopher:


Randy, I hate to use harsh language but hearing someone say humans do not have intrinsic worth REALLY irks me.


What’s the big deal over intrinsic, extrinsic? No one deserves to live this brief mortal life, let alone for endless ages. Yet we read in the Scriptures (Isa.43:4):

New International Version
Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you,

English Standard Version
Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you

Berean Study Bible
Because you are precious and honored in My sight, and because I love you,

New American Standard Bible
Since you are precious in My sight, Since you are honored and I love you,

NET Bible
Since you are precious and special in my sight, and I love you

Douay-Rheims Bible
Since thou becamest honourable in my eyes, thou art glorious: I have loved thee,


The moment you have self at all, there is the possibility of putting yourself first - wanting to be the center- wanting to be God in fact. That was the sin of Satan: and that was the sin he taught the human race ~~ C.S. Lewis

We are made for love, not for self. Our neighbour is our refuge; self is our demon-foe. ~~ George MacDonald Unspoken Sermons Series II 155

To deny oneself then, is to act no more from the standing ground of self; to allow no private communication, no passing influence between the self and the will; not to let the right hand know what the left hand doeth. No grasping or seeking , no hungering of the individual, shall give motion to the will; no desire to be conscious of worthiness shall order the life ~~ George MacDonald


I wonder what we’re assuming having a “self” means. My perception of life at age 72 is that the most dangerous people are those who do not have a secure and healthy sense of their self or identify as one among us all of we sinners created with and possessing profound innate worth. It is these with a deeply insecure sense of their worth who seem to be the ones who feel the most compulsive need to push everyone else out of the center and to violently occupy the place that belongs to God alone.

I’m inclined to think that it would be more constructive to seek discernment about an appropriate sense of self, rather than to denigrate having any sense of self at all


As I’ve already stated Bob our identity is found in Christ. It’s in being a child of God. As Dr. Beck has stated:

As Thurman describes it, the eccentric identity - “the ground of personal dignity…a profound sense of personal worth” that comes to us when we receive our identities as children of God - immunizes the self from “churning fear”. Anxiety is replaced by a state of relaxation. And this relaxation - grounded in the fact that the “individual now feels that he counts, that he belongs” - inoculates the ego from fear. This relaxation or peace comes from the “awareness of being a child of God,” which stabilizes the ego and "results in a new courage, fearlessness, and power.

Only God is intrinsically glorious. Ours is a derived glory. It comes from God. It comes from God and goes back to God. I do not see myself as having intrinsic worth or intrinsic worthlessness. I’m merely alive in Christ. I’m accepted as a child of God. I fully accept myself in the sense that I know I have aliveness in Christ. I’m cloaked in a robe of value and worth. In and of myself I’m nothing. God doeth the good works.


We keep agreeing that every good gift comes from God, And if your view of your self allows you also to “fully accept my self” (though I personally often see my self as a mixed bag) and see it as ‘robed with value and worth,’ that’s healthy and good! And perhaps like Origen, I sense that the other semantic distinctions you press, such as innate, inborn or intrinsic, don’t really matter for our lives.


Healthy Self-Esteem

Only God could create such a glorious design, where each of us, no matter what our function in the body, can experience the beautiful depths of humility in receiving our calling as undeserved grace, while at the same time having it be more exalted and infused with meaning and dignity than we yet have capacity to comprehend.

Humility and exaltation: it is God’s way (1 Peter 5:6); it is Christ’s way (Philippians 2:5–11). In Christ, God once again calls us to find security in our identity as his children — esteeming him supremely — and as complementary members of one another— esteeming others more than ourselves.

This is where we find the restoration of healthy self-esteem: in a glorious humility and defined and experienced in a God-designed organic community — a community in which we know God and know each other: the body of Christ.

The self-esteem movement as we know it really began when Adam and Eve ate the fruit in Eden.
Before that, self-esteem wasn’t an issue. Adam and Eve were not lost, and so had no need to “find themselves.” They had healthy self-esteem because they knew God and esteemed him above all things, certainly above themselves. This made them healthy selves, secure in their identity as children of God and complementary members of each other. Their self-esteem was rooted in a glorious humility, and defined and experienced in a God-designed community where they both knew and were known by God.

But that changed when they (and all of us since) detached themselves from God in their effort to be “like God” (Genesis 3:5). Self-esteem became rooted in pride, and seeking it became infected with selfish ambition. It mutated from a God-glorifying, complementary pursuit into a self-glorifying, competitive pursuit.


At least in terms of how I use this contemporary term, I observe that it is not those with a solid sense of esteem for their self-worth who feel most driven toward competition, but that it is those who lack self-esteem who exhibit a deep need for vain self-glorification.


That hasn’t been my experience Bob. As they tell us in Alcoholics Anonymous, We trust and rely on the infinite God rather than our finite selves. It has worked for me and millions of others.

When first challenged to admit defeat, most of us revolted. We had approached A.A. expecting to be taught self-confidence. Then we had been told that so far as alcohol is concerned, self-confidence was no good whatever; in fact, it was a total liability. ~~ Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions page 22

In the discussion on the Fourth Step in the 'Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, we read (at page 68) the following passage on self-reliance, self-confidence, fear and faith in God:

“Self-reliance was good as far as it went, but it didn’t go far enough. Some of us once had great self-confidence, but it didn’t fully solve the fear problem, or any other. When it made us cocky, it was worse.”

“Perhaps there is a better way - we think so. For we are now on a different basis; the basis of trusting and relying upon God. We trust infinite God rather than our finite selves. We are in the world to play the role He assigns. Just to the extent that we do as we think He would haves us, and humbly rely on Him, does He enables us to match calamity with serenity.”

Dr. Richard Beck is correct. Our identity is found in being a child of God not self-esteem.

We no longer seek fame and honor in order to be praised…We try to be humbly grateful and exert ourselves the more in a spirit of love and service. True leadership, we find, depends upon able example and not upon vain displays of power or glory ~~ Bill Wilson in The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.


hollytree, I highly affirm AA (and am thrilled you’ve found help there) and Dr. Beck, and what I said is not contrary to them. I think you confuse what I affirmed, because you insist on defining recognizing self-worth as bad, when I expressly stated that I don’t use the term self-esteem in the negative way that you do. There is no more solid basis for affirming your worth, than trusting that it is put within you by God.

But my experience is that many of those that you perceive and condemn as displaying a prideful and arrogant over-confidence and self-esteem, are conning you with an exterior that seeks to cover up how inside they remain deeply insecure and lack the healthy sense of self-worth that comes from knowing who we are in God.


Absolutely Bob. Ego is rooted in fear and anxiety. The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions are each designed to deflate this ego. It’s called Ego death. A.A. calls it ego puncturing. It’s a personality change where one gains humility in faith and dependence on God.


The image of God in the narrow sense concerns mankind’s ethical capacity and behavior. In creation, man was given the ability and the responsibility to mirror and reflect the holy character of God. Since the fall, the mirror has been splotched by the grime of sin. We have lost our capacity for moral perfection, but we have not lost our humanity with this ethical loss. Man may no longer be pure, but he is still human. Insofar as we are still human, we retain the image of God in the wider sense. We are still valuable creatures. We may no longer be worthy, but we still have worth. This is the resounding biblical message of redemption. The creatures God created are the same creatures He is moved to redeem. ~~ R.C. Sproul


Reformed theology is first and foremost theocentric rather than anthropocentric. That is, it is God centered rather than man centered. This God centeredness by no means denigrates the value of human beings. On the contrary it establishes their value…I have argued that Reformed theology has the highest possible view of humanity. Because we have such a lofty view of God, we care so much about the one created in His image. Reformed theology takes sin seriously because it takes God seriously and because it takes people seriously. Sin offends God and violates human beings…Reformed theology maintains a high view of the worth and dignity of human beings. It differs radically at this point from all forms of humanism in that humanism assigns an intrinsic dignity to man, while Reformed theology sees the dignity of man as being extrinsic. That is to say, man’s dignity is not inherent. It does not exist in and of itself. Ours is a derived, dependent, and received dignity. But God has assigned a remarkable value and worth to us creatures made in His image. ~~ R.C. Sproul in “What is Reformed Theology?” pages 29-30


I am glad that you and countless others have been helped by the Alcoholics Anonymous program to overcome your addiction to alcohol.

There are two aspects of A.A. thinking with which I disagree. Please don’t get me wrong; I don’t oppose A.A. because of this. I know it has helped a great number of people to overcome their addiction.

My first disagreement is with the view that alcoholism is a disease. As I see it, if alcoholism WERE a disease, that removes at least some of the responsibility of the alcoholic for his condition. For how can he help it if he has alcoholic disease?

My second disagreement is with the view that an alcoholic who has been helped to stop drinking by means of the A.A. program can never take a drink again, or he will immediately be out of control and begin drinking heavily again. I have known several people who have been assessed as alcoholics who occasionally have a drink, and yet who have never gotten into heavy drinking thereafter.

Henry Fingarette has written a book called “Heavy Drinking: The Myth of Alcoholism as a Disease.” I consider this book to be rather enlightening. It is available from Amazon: