We homo sapiens sapiens are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” but why? What’s so special about being human? What makes us unique? And can we equate our uniqueness in the world with the Imago Dei? Experimental psychologist Justin Barrett comments.
We homo sapiens sapiens are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” but why? What’s so special about being human? What makes us unique? And can we equate our uniqueness in the world with the Imago Dei?
Experimental psychologist and cognitive scientist Justin Barrett joins Evan Rosa to discuss the image of God as a blueprint for each of us as individuals; human uniqueness as a theological and psychological category; the place of homo sapiens among other species; uniquely human capacities, such as executive function, hypersociality, and acquisition of specialized knowledge; the human biological niche construction—or changing the environment—and how our psychological traits factor; the psychological and biological underpinnings of human culture and the problem of creating cities; and how human technology interacts with our biological niche.
This episode was made possible in part by the generous support of Blueprint 1543. For more information, visit Blueprint1543.org.
- Learn more about bringing psychology to theology at Blueprint1543.org.
- Download your copy of Justin Barrett’s A Psychological Science Primer for Theologians (2022)
- TheoPsych Academy
- Psalm 139: 13-14
13 For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.
- Genesis 1:1-31
26 Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’
27 So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’ 29 God said, ‘See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so. 31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
- The image of God as a blueprint for each of us as individuals
- Nicholas Wolterstorff’s conception of the Imago Dei in Justice: Rights & Wrongs.
- Some varieties of understanding what about us makes us imagebearers, according to scripture
- Human uniqueness as a theological and psychological category
- Considering the place of homo sapiens among other species
- Uniquely human capacities, such as executive functions of the brain, sense of self, self-regulation and awareness
- Human hypersociality and relationality, and our interpersonal theory of mind
- Attachment as an evolved biological function
- The intellectual capacities for acquiring specialized knowledge like how to use fire, cook, and teach each other
- The human biological niche construction—or changing the environment—and how our psychological traits factor
- The psychological and biological underpinnings of human culture and the problem of creating cities
- How human technology interacts with our biological niche
- Dr. Ian Malcolm "...they didn't stop to think if they should"—from Jurassic Park.
About Justin Barrett
Justin L. Barrett is an honorary Professor of Theology and the Sciences at St Andrews University School of Divinity. An experimental psychologist by training, he is concerned with the scientific study of religion and its philosophical as well as theological implications. He is the author of a number of books including Why Would Anyone Believe in God?, Born Believers: The Science of Childhood Religion, and Religious Cognition in China: Homo Religiosus and the Dragon.
- This podcast featured Justin Barrett
- Edited and Produced by Evan Rosa
- Hosted by Evan Rosa
- Production Assistance by Macie Bridge, Kaylen Yun, & Logan Ledman
- A Production of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture at Yale Divinity School https://faith.yale.edu/about
- Support For the Life of the World podcast by giving to the Yale Center for Faith & Culture: https://faith.yale.edu/give
- This episode was made possible in part by the generous support of Blueprint 1543. For more information, visit Blueprint1543.org.