Judeo-Christian anthropology (the study of humankind) lives with a peculiar tension. On the one hand, humanity is created in “the image of God” and endowed with unbelievable abilities and complexity. On the other hand, humankind has turned away from God as a “sinner” and is capable of staggeringly evil thoughts and deeds. On the one hand, evil in the world (coming from the state, for instance) can only be addressed through limitation, hindrance, and punishment. And on the other hand, it can only be addressed with forgiveness, grace, peacemaking, and reconciliation.

Let us choose our children as an example. They are viewed as images of God, and they need guidance and encouragement in order to develop the abilities given to them by God. This is the case whether these abilities are intellectual or artistic, literary or interpersonal. An independent personality subject to his or her Creator is the goal of child-rearing. Child-rearing is not an end in itself. Rather, it targets a time when the one to be brought up takes on complete responsibility for his or her life.

At the same time, children are seen as people who, owing to their sin, no longer live according to their original purpose. For that reason, they need to be educated away from evil. This includes admonition, limits, and punishment as well as the gracious attention, counsel, and encouragement to experience a fresh start.


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