Wesley & the Dehumanizing Beastliness of Sin
One recurring theme in John Wesley’s sermon on “The General Deliverance” is the contrast between human beings and animals, the “brute creation” as he terms it. For Wesley, the key difference between the two is that humanity is capable of knowing, loving, and enjoying God while the brutes are not. This leads him to conclude that those humans who are “without God in the world” have been reduced to the level of animals. So Wesley:
Key is the connection that he makes between degradation to the level of beast and the deliberate and willful nature of the action. Desiring to rule ourselves freely rather than be ruled by the good and wise Creator, we become enslaved to dehumanization. It is humanity’s rebellion that leads to our ruin; it is sin that makes man no more than a beast.