This was an exceptional chapter! I especially connected with the section on personal consequences of sin. I have recently been struggling through - and discovering - that hope put in any individual is setting yourself of for disappointment and failure. Keller pulls back and argues this is only one aspect of a bigger issue.
Every persons need to “justify their existence” through the sense of worth and identity. This could play out in the attempt to fulfill duties to family, giving service to society, achievements, gaining or wielding power, seeking human approval, self-discipline, social status, talents, or relationships.
“Even if you say “I will not build my happiness or significance on anyone or anything,” you will actually be building your identity on your personal freedom and independence. If anything threatens that, you will again be without a self.” (pg. 165)
Keller explores how each of these is subverted by sin and is really a hollow identity without any real substance. For example, if one builds their identity on being a good parent, they have no true “self”. They are simply a parent, nothing more and if something goes wrong with their children or parenting there is no “self” left.
“Identity apart from God is inherently unstable.”
If you have aren't quite grasping this idea, disagree with it, are intrigued by it, or relate to it, then go get the book and read because I'm not typing up the whole chapter for you!
Tim Keller is speaking at the downtown Portland Borders this Tuesday at 7:00pm. It's free!