It is by their gods that human beings are shaped and known

Quote of the Day for Monday, May 9th, 2011:

A second helping from the wonderful essay by David Bentley Hart: John Paul II Against the Nihilists:

For the late pope, divine humanity is not something that in a simple sense lies beyond the human; it does not reside in some future, post-human race to which the good of the present must be offered up; it is instead a glory hidden in the depths of every person, even the least of us – even "defectives" and "morons" and "genetic inferiors," if you will – waiting to be revealed, a beauty and dignity and power of such magnificence and splendour that, could we see it now, it would move us either to worship or to terror.

Obviously none of this would interest or impress the doctrinaire materialist. The vision of the human that John Paul articulates and the vision of the "transhuman" to which the still nascent technology of genetic manipulation has given rise are divided not by a difference in practical or ethical philosophy, but by an irreconcilable hostility between two religions, two metaphysics, two worlds – at the last, two gods.

And nothing less than the moral nature of society is at stake. If, as I have said, the metaphysics of transhumanism is inevitably implied within such things as embryonic stem cell research and human cloning, then to embark upon them is already to invoke and invite the advent of a god who will, I think, be a god of boundless horror, one with a limitless appetite for sacrifice.

And it is by their gods that human beings are shaped and known. In some very real sense, "man" is always only the shadow of the god upon whom he calls: for in the manner by which we summon and propitiate that god, and in that ultimate value that he represents for us, who and what we are is determined.

Amen. We are not only created in the image of our Creator God, but we are continually shaped in to the resemblance of the gods we worship. This, it seems to me, is pretty much the entire point of the Old Testament.