The relation of man to God is generally agreed to be at the centre of a theological account of humanity. A seemingly contradictory perspective can be supplied in the doctrine of creation: the human being as creature, or an animal. Yet the definining characteristic of humankind, in opposition to animal-kind, is free will.
In an attempt to address this seeming incompatibility, MacFadyen advances a new understanding of dependence on and relation to God as 'more than necessary, ' and that on which autonomy and integrity rest. This is one of the paradoxes of religious belief. The author introduces categories of abundance in relation to human life: Human life is made for joy in God. But in doing so MacFadyen wishes to safeguard against the modern over emphasis on body/soul and the accompanying denigration of the body. Instead the author celebrates the body as part of an integrated and holistic account, which naturally includes his discussion of sex.
This book on the theology of humanity is key to our understanding of where theology may be heading in the new century.