18 comments on “The Image of God and the Western Mind

  1. Matthew Henry is also highly-regarded and widely-read, but he has added a significant amount of cultural-baggage to the mix, as is evident by his commentary on Isaiah 20.



  2. To the Western mind, God is most notable for His free exercise of power, while to the Hebrew, God is most notable for His restraint.

    I love that! I’m quoting you somewhere, even if I may need to invent an entry for it. That is the best condensation of the difference between worlds of thought I’ve run across. I suppose I should be looking for more of the grace of my Master in his Hebrew Scriptures.

  3. Ooo, I have to correct you on part of this. Greek thought is not western thought, the western thought derived from Rome. We in the east see things vastly different from the west, and we don’t look upon creation as corrupted, nor do we have the same definition/view of “original sin” as in the west. The Greek Orthodox church, her associated Orthodox brethren, as well as the Oriental Church, developed separately since the sack of Rome by the Visigoths (410) – cutting of much of the communication between east and west – finally culminating with the start of the Great Schism in 1014.

    • Forgive me for being slow, but I don’t see the correction, in fact you made my point, for which I thank you. Maybe there is confusion over my use of the term “Greek”. I am referring to the teachings of the ancient philosophers whose thought has had such a profound influence in Western thought, not the teachings of Eastern Orthodox tradition. For what it’s worth, it’s my view that get (Orthodox) get a number of things right, that we in the Western tradition miss.

      • Important distinction with philosophical, not theological. I also agree that Eastern Orthodox have some things right that the Latin West could learn from.
        Good discussion!

      • I suspect our Modern Theologian is referring to the Roman appropriation of Greek philosophy, versus the “Alexandrian” use of those philosophers, which developed along different lines. Alexandrian may not be a valid term, but I want to differentiate even beyond Byzantine. Byzantine writings were re-introduced into Roman philosophical streams when Islam spread into Palestine and Asia Minor causing a major refugee migration. The newly introduced writings helped spawn the Renaissance. But I believe Alexandrian streams more or less stayed put in Northern Africa. I think between Islamic and Christian wars, the Alexandrian schools (Jewish and Christian) were severely damaged, especially with the loss of Alexandria and her library. Again, I’m not sure but I think Eastern Orthodox teaching is one of places we can find surviving developments off this Alexandrian theological and philosophical stream. Perhaps MT can help correct my gross oversimplification and misuse of terminology. I’m really borrowing heavily from “text-type” terms rather than actual church history terms, so I’m probably miserably short on my explanation.

      • Dang! Hit the wrong key.

        When I was young, everyone from the Eastern tradition was referred to as Greek, whether we were Ukranian, Russian, Romainian, etc. There were two terms, Greek Orthodox to refer to those from the Patriarchal tradition, and Greek Catholic to refer to those whose were under Rome, but still followed the Orthodox tradition. Both were just Greek as a shortcut.

  4. “To the Western mind, the human body is inherently evil, to the Hebrew the human body is inherently good; God’s own image. ”

    Very true. And this creates a different image, if you will, of words like “flesh” and “world” in the New Testament. We often interpret these terms as physical evils, rather than mindsets. The irony is, when we make the physical flesh and earth evil, we succumb to a worldly (Greek) mindset.

  5. I don’t know if I am on the right track but Don this was helpful to me for my homework for the class I attend where we are using “Stealing from God” by Frank Turek. Without me understanding this “western vs eastern” thought none of his chapter on Reason made sense …but now it seems that this atheism that promotes us to be just molecular machines makes it come together in my mind. Of course atheism is wrong, it just is a victim of its own western thinking! Just a rambling thought which occurred to me and may not make any sense at all to anyone else but it did to me; in fact it made it reasonable to begin to understand the thinking of we are “all good” vs we are “all bad”…without Christ there is no hope at all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s