In the struggle of ideas, the most fundamental and far-reaching is that of the nature of mankind. What are we? Why are we not at peace with ourselves or our neighbours? How does our understanding of our nature lead to personal and social well-being? We have followed the false leads of Darwin, Nietzsche, Marx, and Freud in trying to understand ourselves. Despite other differences, they all interpret man in relation to nature, rejecting transcendent, metaphysical or religious understanding of the human condition. They do not solve the contradiction between what we are and what we ought to be. Brunner sees the human contradiction as comprehensible only in terms of a God to whose word we must respond. This is not communication by language; it refers to the fundamental character of personal relations.
People are persons in so far as they can freely say to each other what they think and feel. This communication is possible in so far as we recognise that God speaks to us and respond to Him.
Brunner sees responsibility as the key to personality. The Biblical doctrine of man, created in the image of God and capable of responding to God's Word, is the key to recovering an effective sense of responsibility. With profound penetration and power, Brunner applies his thesis to such vexed questions as individuality and community, character, relations between man and woman, relations between soul and body. Man in Revolt explains our frustration and confusion about ourselves, and why the Christian view of man, of his place in nature and history, is the truth which man both needs and seeks in the search for himself.