The high estimate of the human stature implied in the conept of ‘image of God’ stands in paradoxical juxtaposition to the low estimate of human virtue in Christian thought. Man is a sinner. His sin is defined of rebellion against God. The Christian estimate of human evil is so serious precisely because it places evil at the very centre of human personality: in the will. This evil cannot be regareded complacently as the inevitable consequence of his finiteness or the fruit of his involvement in the contingenices and necessities of nature. Sin os occasioned precisely by the fact that man refuses to admit his ‘creatureliness’ and to acknowledge himself as merely a member of a total unity of life.
Reinhold Niebuhr. The Nature and Destiny of Man, Westminster John Knox Press: Louisville/London 1996. (16)