We have not yet seen what man can make of man. This is the last sentence in B. F. Skinner's book, Beyond Freedom and Dignity. Few books have impacted me as greatly as this book which I first read forty years ago. Skinner a behaviorist, author and professor at Harvard for 16 years was regarded by many to have been the most influential and controversial psychologist of the twentieth century.
Man is in the making still, as Skinner informed some people and reminded others when he observed that We have not yet seen what man can make of man. During creation God spoke everything into existence except the making of man. As a for instant, said, "Let there be light and there was light." But not so with creating man. God said, "Let us make man, in our image, and after our likeness." (Gen.1:26). Adam, the first man, was made, not spoken into existence and then directed by his Maker to name the cattle and fowls. Later a rib was taken from him which formed his help meet who he called woman. (Gen. 2:20). These acts of Adam indicate that in creation he was a cocreator, a role which he has continued to assume, especially in the ever-rmaking of himself.
Only man, of all creatures, can transmit his culture, his achievements history-wide, to his offspiring. Succeeding generations can receive achievements from preceding generations. Man today does not have to reinvent the wheel which without doubt was accomplished after trial and error over a long period of time. Building on the wheel vehicles have been invented, including the airplane. Future generations will venture into outer space far beyond what has already been done or imagined. Imagination is uniquely a human activity. Man can imagine a city and build it; imagine a symphony and compose it. "Wiseman Solomon said "As a man thinks so is he." There exists a collective consciousness of the human race. To reiterate, only man can transmit his culture to his offspring that continues to evolve, hence, makng it unnecessary for future generations to, an effective way of making this point, reinvent the wheel.
The evolved culture, environment in particular, has impacted man not just physically as evidenced in the dams and bridges he built but socially as evidenced in his inventions, high-tech communication, transportation and science. In many ways man is unlike his ancestors. Yet, he remains essentially who he always was, especially with regard to his biology. But socially and culturally the differences in man today and man of yesteryear are phenomenal and they have made him phenomenally different than he was a century ago. (My contemporaries acknowlege this when they say "9/11/2001 has changed America." Skinner is right We have not yet seen what man can make of man. And the songwriter is also right who said, You ain't seen nothing yet.
I am not a prophet and I have no desire to play God, but it is apparent to me that man's awareness of history, his soul restlessness, aventuresome spirit and heightening consciousness will continue to impel and propel him to loftier heights, translated to mean being made more man than he is. He has only two options: to self-destruct, i.e., totally eliminate himself or embrace his potential and make of himself something more than he has actualized and realized. It appears that he has chosen to opt for the latter.
Man having advanced far beyond who he was when he resided in original Paradise could not survive if he returned there. However, he is potentially capable of experiencing Paradise on a higher level than what was possible in the original Paradise. Before that can happen he must advance further toward his potential. This is possible. Man is not who he was and in the future he will not be who he is. He is evolving, and a cultural evolution is at the heart of man-making man.
Man is in the making still. Assisted by the culture, his enviroment and Creator he is able to be not just "made in the likeness of his Maker" but to become "like his Maker" with whom he is soul-wise and eternally connected. In a certain way this mutational process of man in the making may be described as man being born again, not just a second time but again and again...to the tenth power and beyond. This is like unto adding zeros to one hundred. Zeros do count when they are preceded by a number. We have not yet seen what man can make of man. Man is in the making still.
Yearning to be one with God, imagining,
discovering and acknowledging that
grace is sufficient when it is accepted
and applied with living faith, but that
faith without works is dead.
This is man.
Copyright 2011 by Uriah J. Fields