WHAT IS HUMAN?

CREATED

Perhaps this meditation should have been the first in the series ‘What is human?’

To say that we are ‘created’ is to contradict the dominant beliefs of our world. It assumes the existence of a Creator. It infers that we are dependent, not independent. It rejects materialistic, evolutionary theories of origins. It outlaws secular humanism. It exposes the emptiness and meaninglessness of postmodernism. It challenges and confronts both atheism and antitheism.

Are we here because of a series of blind, random mutations – the product of pure chance? An accidental outcome of unplanned and purposeless material processes? Or are we here because of the deliberate decision, purpose and action of a personal and sovereign God?

Repeatedly the Bible tells us that we are created – made, formed - by God.

‘Then God said, “Let us make man …”’ [Genesis 1:26]
‘So God created man …’ [Genesis 1:27]
‘… the LORD God formed the man …’ [Genesis 2:7]
‘… there he put the man he had formed ‘ [Genesis 2:8]
‘When God created man …’ [Genesis 5:1]
‘… mankind, whom I have created’ [Genesis 6:7]
‘ … God made man’ [Genesis 9:6]
‘ … from the day God created man on the earth’ [Deuteronomy 4:32]
‘Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?’ [Job 31:15]
‘You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb’ [Psalm 139:13]
‘It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it’ [Isaiah 45:12]
‘Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us?’ [Malachi 2:10]
‘For by him all things were created … all things were created by him and for him’ [Colossians 1:16]

If we look at these quotes in their context we find that our createdness gives definition to our lives as humans:

It defines us as dependent creatures.
It sets us in a specific relationship with a being greater than ourselves.
It endows our human lives with sacredness.
It endows human life with extreme value.
It defines our origin.
It defines our meaning.
It defines our purpose.
It defines us as responsible and accountable beings.
It determines the expected standards of human life and human behaviour.
It defines who we ultimately belong to.

When we, in our vain grasping for independence from God, cast aside this createdness, we are also casting aside each of the above points of significance, leaving ourselves adrift from all identity, meaning and purpose. Without this reality that we are ‘created’, we inevitably express the truth of that other biblical answer to this same question ‘What is human?’: that humans are ‘lost’. Adrift from our Creator we are lost – without identity, without meaning, without purpose. We do not know who we are or what we are here for.

But here in this one word ‘created’ the foundations and the value of human life are revealed.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2013, 2016