This study analysis the concept of human needs form a systematic theological perspective. The definition of human needsis formulated to include the element of deficiency as well as the element of potential The study is divided in three parts according to the author’s definition of the task of systematic theology as coherent articulation of the Christian faith, the apologetic defense of the Christian faith against competing truth claims and the establishment of guidelines for the practical work of the church. According to this definition of the task of systematic theology, the study is divided into three parts. Part one analyses some of the classical loci of dogmatics for their implications for a Christian perspective on human needs. The doctrines of God, creation, Christ and salvation, the Spirit and the church as well as the doctrine of sin are analysed here. Special attention is paid to theological anthropology by analyzing the contributions of Karl Barth and Wolfhart Pannenberg in this regard. Part two analyses the origins and factual basis for the popular claims that a hierarchy of needs exist and that people have infinite needs. Serious deficiencies are found in Maslow’s theory of the pre-potency of needs. The contribution of Max-Neref, especially his distinction between needs and satisfies, facilitates a more nuanced understanding of the subject. As a conclusion to this part the results of part one and two are used to give a short outline of a Christian perspective on human needs. Humans need God as the basic ground and purpose of their existence. The presence of God is both mediated and presupposed by the fundamental need for other people. All human needs have a material basis. Human needs should be thought of as a network and not as a hierarchy. Here the symbolic needs facilitates the integration of the person while the material needs maintain the basis on which integration takes place People do not have infinite needs but needs the Infinite One. The third part provides clarity of what the concepts holistic and relevant mean for Christian ministry.
Thesis (DD (Dogmatics and Christian Ethics))--University of Pretoria, 2007.