OF HUMAN INDIGNITY AND THE LIMITS OF ETHICS
AbstractHuman dignity is threatened by human sinfulness, but also limited by non-sinful human indignity. In some aspects of creaturely existence, humour, sex and play, for instance, we are released from our dignity and the ethical evaluations that go with it. These should be appreciated as God’s good gift. Drawing on the book of Job and Psalm 39, the article argues that, precisely because Christian ethics goes beyond middle-class ethics, theological anthropology cannot restrict itself to an ethical perspective in which God is seen solely as Judge. This leads to a moralism that is humanly intolerable and theologically untenable: it ignores the ‘zeroth stipulation’ of the Decalogue, which points to God’s creative and consummative grace.
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