What’s the second most talked about topic in the Bible? It’s Humanity. It kind of makes sense, right? If God is the most beautiful, glorious, and important being in the Scriptures than the being that most reflects him should be next. This bears itself out not simply in logical appeal but also in the word count. Check out the handy dandy pie chart below:
All of these are different forms of the same word, man. They have slight variations, but all carry basically the same meaning. We see this also in how frequently the Bible talks about humanity. As Christians we believe God spoke through men to humanity. It’s important to know, because the Bible has lots to say to us, as humans. It’s full of clarity, wisdom, and truth from and to humanity all to the glory of God. Who are we? Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going? How am I called to live my life? What is the best life I can possibly live? What’s wrong with us as individuals and corporately as cultures? Why do we sense a brokenness inside that we can’t seem to completely fix or do away with? I think everyone asks themselves these questions in one form or another throughout their life. Where we turn to for the answers matters greatly! I want to briefly (It is a blog so I won’t keep you all day) outline some of what the Bible teaches about humanity.
In Genesis we learn that Man is the crown of God’s creation. God uniquely and intentionally created humanity to be like him, to bear His very image. Bearing God’s image means that we are like him, but we are not him. Men and Women bear God’s image alike. Bearing God’s image has a ton of affects on how we see others and ourselves. Humans have intrinsic value as image bearers, despite what state they are in: whether in the womb, deformed and handicapped, on the edge of death, or our worst enemies. People ought to be treated as those who have value because they bear God’s image. This should erase sexism, racism, and other forms of discrimination and hatred. People should be treated with love, compassion, and care because they have infinite dignity as image bearers of the divine. Not only this but we also see that God created humanity to be in community. He created marriage not simply as a form of procreation, but as a way to more fully represent the divine. Marriage, but also the larger community, helps to form us to be more like the God who is completely unified in himself while three distinct persons. It is while engaging in community with other people that we realize and see more of who we actually are. This means we need to engage with other people, we can’t be isolated, to represent the divine image.
So why did God create us? If there’s a God that’s perfect and complete than he didn’t need to create anything. So why did God choose to create? Isaiah 43:7 says, “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” God created us to glorify himself. God had no need, but out of His abundant goodness and greatness He desired to create to show and spread His glory. God made Adam and Eve and placed them in a garden to work and keep it. They were created to know God’s goodness and to reflect it back unto the rest of creation. They were stewards intended to show the same care and responsibility to the world that God had showed to them. This means that the way we bring glory to God is by caring for the people and things around us. It means we must love and care about our neighbors, our family, even our enemies. It means we care about our physical world: what we throw away, how we treat animals, the pollution all around us.
We don’t care though. Well, at least not to the degree we know we ought. We care about some people, we care about some issues, and we care about parts of the world that really affect us. I see it in my own life. There are moments when I know I should show love and compassion to others but I don’t. The Bible even says as much in the book of James (4:17), “Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” We often know what we ought to do, what the right thing is, but we aren’t moved or changed to act. It’s this inner bentness, this inner selfishness that the Bible calls sin. Sin is missing the mark of God’s perfection. Though we were created in God’s image to bear His resemblance, that image has been broken. It has been fractured, like a broken mirror, so that we don’t truly and fully reflect God. It leads us to ignore and rebel against God and the good He would call us to. Our brokenness makes us concerned about our kingdom, our lives, and our good rather than God’s and others. We’re born enslaved to this cancerous disease called sin. We’ve lost what it really means to be human.
This is where the gospel comes in. Though we have lost and forgotten what it means to be human, to love God and care for His created order, He has not. God is faithful to mend what we have broken. He has come to us to reveal what our original intention and design looks like. He has come to us in Jesus to be our example of what it means to be human. We see in Jesus our example of knowing and relating to God the Father as we were made to. Jesus reflected God’s glory and care back unto all those around him. He served, he loved, he cared, he rebuked, he suffered, he died, and he resurrected all to the glory of God that he might be our example of how to live. We need Jesus not simply as our example though, but also as our savior.
When I was a kid my dad took me to Colorado to see the Mountains. One of the days he took me with him to climb one of the mountains. I could climb with him for part of it but before long the mountain grew steep and I couldn’t keep up. My Dad put me next to a tree that was sturdy, so I could lean and rest on it. He instructed me to stay put as he was going to climb further to explore. I was to stay put until he got back! Ha! He left and as a young kid I got curious. After several minutes I called out. After no answer I decided I could follow my dad. I began my climb but after several steps I slipped and began tumbling down the mountain crying out to my dad to save me. As I slid down the mountain I reached out and grabbed a small twig to hold onto. As I was holding on about to lose my grip and continue tumbling down the mountain my dad came down and swept me up in his arms. He saved me from my foolish mistake and inability to follow in his footsteps. This is a picture of what God has done for us through Christ. We don’t simply need someone to clarify the way up the mountain to God. We need someone who will pick us up on his back and climb us up the mountain that we can’t climb. We need one who is strong enough to climb where we could never climb. We also need one who will rescue us from our sinful weakness to bring us with Him. The gospel is that Jesus came to live the life we couldn’t and die the death we deserved that we might be brought to God. It is through His Salvation and Example that we can begin to be renewed and healed. We can begin to experience the love and compassion God has for us. We can begin to reflect that love back unto His creation. Have you trusted in what Chris has done for you? Do you see him as your savior and your leader? What ways is God calling you to better reflect His image by loving those around you?