Question: I’ve been on the fence concerning your views of self-esteem and self-love, but I think you’ve really missed the mark when it comes to our self-worth. I recently read The Secret of Loving by Josh McDowell. He’s no slouch when it come to biblical apologetics and he says we are worth the price God paid for us—the death of His Son. Doesn’t that make us of infinite value to God?
Response: Where does it say in the Bible that mankind has value to God? Jesus did say that we are of “more value than many sparrows,” but that doesn’t support the ideas the men you mention promote. He could create trillions just like us out of nothing. It is not our great value (self-worth), but the fact that He loves us that caused Him to give His Son and caused Christ to die. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son….It doesn’t say that “God so valued the world that He gave….” Love does not love because of the value of the object. That would not be a genuine but a self-centered love (1 Cor 13) and would detract from the biblical teaching about redemption.
God did not get a bargain. He didn’t pay equal value, or what I am “worth.” The great cost at which I was redeemed gives no cause for me to have a sense of self-worth but of shame that the consequences of my sin caused Christ to pay such a great price.
The shedding of Christ’s blood, with which we were redeemed, was not because of our “worth,” but because of our sin and demands of God’s justice. So the greater the price, the worse the sin. To associate this “purchase price” with the “value” to God of an object, and to make it the basis for self-worth, is neither biblical nor logical. In fact, it shows the perversion that is caused by the influence of selfist psychology.
Even from a logical point of view, the price paid for an object does not determine its worth. It only represents what someone is willing to pay for it at a given time and under given circumstances. Everything fluctuates in price, from hay to gold. Price is determined by the market, not by the thing itself.
Nothing has an intrinsic value in and of itself, so the very concept of self-worth is wrong. A painting may have been bought at great price during times of plenty. In a famine no one would give even a crust of bread for it. Value is set by circumstances independent and outside of the object. It is not an intrinsic quality of the thing itself. There is no way to attach the price paid to the object purchased. Thus, the entire idea of self-worth is false.