In our present age, there is a great deal of confusion. The social fabric of our society and culture is being torn apart thread by thread, resulting in a whole host of challenges to long-held beliefs about what it means to live together in a society, what is the nature and limitation of personal freedom, and what it means to be a Christian in today’s world.
A common thread running through all of these issues is the current confusion over what it means to be a human being. As human beings, we all have a vision of what it means to be human and to live a fulfilling life. We often take it for granted that others share our assumptions of what it means to be human and what is the purpose of human life. Sadly, it’s a faulty assumption that everyone else shares our understanding of what it means to be human.
Even more challenging today is that it’s easy to pick up bad ways of thinking about what it means to be human. Often without even realizing it, we adopt visions of what a fulfilling life should be from others that have decidedly non-Christian ideas about what it means to be human. We are susceptible to ordering our lives, at least in part, around a false understanding of how we as humans should live. Even benign fields of knowledge like the Law and medicine tell us something about what it means to be human, but they don’t give us the full picture.
So where can we go to get clarity in the midst of all of this confusion? Where can we find a complete picture of what it means to be a human being? As Christians, we know there is only one infallible source of knowledge: the very Word of God as given to us in the Holy Scriptures. In fact, as we will see, there is much about being a human being that can only be revealed to us through God’s Word. Anthropology, the law, medicine, psychology, and sociology have contributed helpful knowledge about human life and behavior. But none of them give a full picture of who we are as mankind.
Over the next several months, I’m going to look at what the Scriptures say about who we are as human beings. We’ll explore what it means to be made in the image of God, what the nature of the human will is, mankind’s fallen nature and redemption, the structure of man as both a physical and spiritual being, the origin of the soul, the state of the soul after death, and the resurrection.
We’ll also look at some other answers about what it means to be a human, such as gnosticism and new ageism, Marxism, Darwinism, and Freudianism, and transhumanism and posthumanism. We’ll see how each of these answers forfeits fundamental Scriptural truth about what it means to be human.
These are large and difficult concepts, and we will only be able to just scratch the surface. However, I hope this will give you a better understanding of who God has made you to be, and to be on your guard against the many ways the devil tries to destroy that understanding. If you have questions or comments as we go through these topics, please contact me.