What makes us Human: a reflection

What makes us unique to all other creatures?

I’ve been observing humanity and wondering: what makes us human?

“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)

Theologically, the answer to what makes us human is that we have a spirit. GOD breathed into us and gave us life. For no other creature did GOD do this. Existent in any human being is the spirit. Whether or not the spirit within is alive depends upon whether we have given our lives to Jesus, for in so doing, our spirit is revived. 

We all inherit sin and so we all inherit mortality. As Adam’s spirit was alive at his creation, so did it die when he sinned against GOD. Faith in Jesus revives us and revives our spirit within.

That’s the basic theology of eternal life.

But what about our uniqueness as people, whether saved or unsaved?

What about the aspect of humanity as unique compared to all other living creatures?

This is important, particularly in an age that suggests for many that we are no different from animals? Many refuse to address the theological aspect.

This is what I’ve been reflecting on.…

To my mind there are three unique attributes which make us all human

Memory

When I recall experiences from the past, even the long distant past, I can enjoy all over again the people, experiences, events. I can even line up past experiences with present hang-ups or preferences. I have logic and I have reminiscences which trigger attitude or behaviour to certain stimuli. And I can alter my perspective by dealing with memory and addressing fears to remedy them. Forgiveness plays a huge part in healing.

I don’t think animals can rationalise past and present in such a way.

Relationship

We are designed for relationship. People need people. Even hermits at one time needed people, though they may have decided eventually to extricate themselves from society. There will likely be a reason for that, which takes us back to reflecting upon the above: memory.

Consider male and female. Not only do individuals each bear relationships in our lives but we can even draw a bit of a line between the sexes.

Here’s a joke which addresses this:

“A man is granted 3 wishes by GOD. For the first, the man says, “Can I have a zillion dollars?” GOD says, “Ah, I can give you a zillion dollars but extreme wealth has its challenges and I don’t tend to do the money thing casually.” Next the man asks for fame. GOD says, “I can make you famous but that won’t really be good for you because all your privacy will evaporate and you’ll be miserable.” Finally the man says, “Can you explain to me women?” GOD’s reply is, “How much money did you ask for again?”

The point is, we are so complex as individuals. Yet, the difference between how men and women relate, though an overgeneralisation, can also be divided into more-or-less complicated, the woman being the more complicated. Whether or not you agree with the premise — I think the vast majority of folk who have male/female friends and family will agree. In any case, we are each different and we all do relate sometimes in very complex, sophisticated ways. Other times we may react from basic instinct; yet, on the whole, we do not live our lives solely on a reactionary basis the way animals instinctively do.

Conscience

This is the Big One as far as I’m concerned!

Romans 1:28-32 hits the nail on the head for me:

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

Mankind is born knowing and knows inherently right from wrong but chooses to ignore it. By our conscience we know right v wrong, but in sin, we ignore it. Ignored long enough, the human conscience is seared. This is what has been happening in society over the last 50 years and has most rapidly decayed in the last decade.

First, in the 1960’s in the West, sex out of wedlock became “endorsed”. Fast forward to today, there is a push from the West upon all other societies to accept LGBTQ rights as Human Rights. I’ll join the dots:

  1. free-loving sixties motto: make love not war
  2. the pill is made available for women
  3. abortion becomes legitimised to liberate women
  4. common law lifestyle becomes legal partnership
  5. gay marriage becomes legal
  6. all sexual relationships are acceptable in society, mandated as human rights 
  7. children can choose their own gender and be prescribed hormones to change their biology

These are mere highlights to a gradual transition from Judeo-Christian values about sex and marriage upon which the Western society was built to humanistic, atheistic viewpoints fostered by the United Nations and all their tangents.

Children no longer experience the guilt of conscience when they sin sexually and so society has morphed into a situation in which we find ourselves now.

I could trace a time line about violence as well, by looking at removing the Ten Commandments from schools. 

Our conscience makes us human. Removing conscience is propagating behaviour as base as animals: i) sex to fulfil basic instinct and ii) killing for survival.

Humanity is unique

Whether we look at human beings as creatures uniquely created by GOD or not, the reality is we are different from animals when we are at our best. 

At our worst, we become barbarians. 

Perhaps, and so it seems, that is what we are becoming as we remove the restraint of human conscience which was in-built at Creation.

What I dwell upon

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

I choose to dwell upon the concepts of hope and restoration. I choose to pray for this for humanity. 

We are in the Last Days (last days of the Gentile church before Jesus returns) I believe, and although far into the future nations and individuals will one day be judged by Jesus, in the meantime, we can behave as human as possible and endorse the purpose for which each of us has been born: to be in relationship and to love one another… And for those who choose to, to love GOD first. Getting the order and the balance is key to ensuring we know what love is (see 1 Corinthians 13 and 1 John chapters 3, 4 for GOD”s definitions), and to practice it.

Practicing love, in its true unselfishness, is what makes us most human.

2 comments

  1. In the times we live in, it is futile to try and manage the conscious mind without understanding the superconscious mind and the subconscious mind as Christians…too many believers abandon the subconscious power by neglecting the word via consistent reading habits and they are vulnerable to ill health by switching off their spirit by watching too much main stream media in between going to church…now easy access to pornography and alcohol is accelerating the decline of this empire…tough prophecy, but a true and honest opinion

  2. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. I don’t disagree Cliff. However, I like to look at the beauty of humanity in balance with its self destruction. There is still beauty in spite of man’s fall, and there is always hope through Jesus:)

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