Matthew 6:26 - 34
NASB - 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?
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As implied by the verse cited in the question, I'd say that Maslow's hierarchy of needs (as I understand it) is contradicted most directly by Jesus' words in Matthew 6:25-33. (This same thought is expressed elsewhere in the Bible as well, as in Deuteronomy 8:3 (which Jesus quoted to Satan in Matthew 4:4), or in 1 Corinthians 3:11.) Maslow's hierarchy is predicated on the satisfaction of needs through human effort, whereas Christianity is based on God as the source of fulfillment for all human needs (both physical and spiritual) if people will put Him first in their lives. Being in a right standing with God, which occurs only through faith in Christ, is, at the same time, the most fundamental human need (since it is the only need that deals in concerns that are eternal), and also the need which, when satisfied, leads (as Jesus noted) to fulfillment of all other needs (even those that are viewed as most basic in human terms).
I am inclined to take the view that Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a theory whose objective is, as its name suggests, to categorise human needs, in an ascending orderly fashion. As a theory therefore it sought to shed light on what fundamentally 'motivates' human action(s). In considering a theory such as this, in the light of Christian faith, I find that all of us are prone to an error that Christians often make, in approaching matters that are supposedly understood only within scientific, intellectual circles, on an assumption that when we explain the Christian faith through 'scientific and intellectual' approaches, we are borrowing from a strictly pagan or ungodly domain. But that is the very fallacy, as all things are God's, and He put all things in this visible world for signs to those who love Him; in pointing them to a Higher reality. The very intellect, by which we appreciate, interpret and categorise things of nature, is a gift to us from God and therefore believers do not borrow anything from unbelievers, as we know that the things that are, were not made from things that do appear. In the days of Jesus Christ our Lord and saviour, he explained things to his own hearers always speaking in 'parables', ie. Borrowing from the same ideas that are very familiar to them, to explain heavenly and eternal truths, using the base things of this visible world to confound the wise. To this end the idea expounded by Maslow's hierarchy of needs, is only an affirmation of already familiar biblical principles - the fact that human beings have physiological needs - Jesus Christ our Lord repeatedly ate with his disciples - the fact that human beings have emotional needs - Jesus Christ wept over the death of his friend Lazarus, the fact that human beings have intellectual needs - Jesus Christ reasoned with the people and they were amazed at his understanding - the fact that human beings have social needs and the need for self-actualisation - Jesus Christ healed the sick so that they would feel worthy again within their society, he addressed issues of social justice etc. At all points his life encompassed the very issues that have been of concern to all humans, throughout the ages. And yet, it was only through our very experiences, and borrowing our everyday language, collected wisdom and folklore, that he came through to us regarding how to position all our earthly needs in the light of the eternal love and providence of God our Heavenly Father. We should not be afraid of any accusation of plagiarism against us therefore, in using the knowledge that is common to us today to make a reasoned case for our faith. For if there is any plagiarism it is not on those who believe, but those who do not, as they take that which has been provided them by God, without giving him thanks, and without acknowledging Him as the author and source. I admire the apostle Paul for his ability to make a reasoned case to the Greek (the sophisticated, learned, cultured, intellectually-minded individual) just as much as he was able to do so with the barbarian (the most simple sort of man), for the word (our Lord Jesus Christ) can be understood by both, if through the guidance of the Holy Spirit those who share it are directed to approach their hearers with all of its power and force. We are commanded to love the Lord our God with all our hearts (emotions and sensibilities), with all our minds (strength of reasoning and faculties), with all our strength (functional abilities) and all our soul (our very innermost beings). There is therefore no contradictions between the ideas of life that have been hijacked by presumptuous, arrogant men and formulated into theories, and the eternal knowledge and wisdom made available to us by God Himself. I will praise Him with all that I have. God bless us all
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