What Does it Mean to be Human?
Randy asks the question, “What does it mean to be human?” What role do individual opinions and governments play in answering this question?
We would love to hear your comments about the human condition. Alternatively, contact us for prayer or further discussion.
The God of This Age
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4).
…so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power (1 Corinthians 2:5)
Every war waged is fought for a reason. So it is in spiritual warfare.
In our day, a strategic objective of the evil one is to influence cultural thinking on momentous issues.
An attempt to twist or confuse what is real. Substituting what is false for the authentic.
A Truth Encounter
Simply put, this is a truth encounter.
Thinking on contemporary issues – sexuality, gender identity, pregnancy and abortion, medically assisted suicide – has evolved radically in the last 30 years.
My deceased grandparents would be aghast at what is accepted – even celebrated – today.
Public perceptions have moved more in the last generation than possibly the preceding 5 centuries. Such is the quicksand of the post-truth era.
And each of the polarizing issues – sexuality, gender identity, pregnancy and abortion, medically assisted suicide – revolve around one core issue.
To Be Human
What does it mean to be human? And, who gets to decide?
Are you simply the most complex of animals? The species at the top of the food chain? A primate with a bigger brain?
Are you a bio-chemical machine? Is every decision, value, preference and behaviour simply the biological product of random interactions and arbitrary electrical activity in your brain?
Or are you, are we – regardless of race, religion, historical context, or intellectual capacity – created by God, for His purposes, and in His image?
These are “worldview questions” because the answer to each will determine what you value, think, and live out on a range of issues from education and vocation, to ethics and morality, to relationships and human bonding, to purpose and meaning in life – both now and after death.
In a biblical worldview, because we’ve been created in God’s image, inalienable rights are conferred on us by the Creator. And as such, He alone has the authority and sovereignty to define and determine those rights.
So when a human authority structure attempts to abrogate an assertion by Almighty God, we know who is behind that initiative.
To Be Human – Human Identity
Take for example this declaration by the US Supreme Court on human identity; I quote it because it seems to authentically summarize what the people on my street believe.
In 1992, writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy declared about human identity: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life”
So, is that correct? Do you agree? Is it even coherent? Is it workable in the real world?
Do I have the right to define my own concept of existence??
And if I have the right to define the mystery of human life, what happens when I determine for you and others something diametrically opposed to what you would define for yourself?
Who decides when our mystery of human life conceptions of existence clash?
In his next sentence, Kennedy wrote: “Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State.”
In other words, it is not up to the government or judiciary – instruments of the State – to determine matters of personhood, because human beliefs – determining what is real – are controlled by the individual: “defining one’s own concept of existence, of meaning…”
Then came the issue of same-sex marriage. Marriage is surely a matter of personhood and identity, the most profound – and complicated – of human relationships.
In a narrow 5-4 decision (Obergefell v. Hodges –2015), the Supreme Court determined that same-sex couples are entitled to marriage licenses in every US state overturning a previous decision from 1971. Justice Kennedy sided with the majority.
However, in the run-up to the Supreme Court’s hearing this issue, the voters of 6 states supported conventional marriage as between one man and one woman.
Here’s the rub:
a) on such a fundamental issue of human identity as describing marriage don’t the voters from the 6 opposing states have a say? In keeping with Kennedy’s original assertion, why can’t they define their “own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life”; and,
b) what about Kennedy’s abhorrence of human identity being “formed under the compulsion of the State”? When the most powerful court in the land reverses itself on an earlier decision and imposes its will – by the narrowest of decision margins – even on states that voted against, isn’t that precisely the compulsion of the State against which Kennedy warned?
The Post Truth World
In his book Saving Truth – Finding Meaning and Clarity in a Post-Truth World, lawyer and Christian apologist Abdu Murray cites this contradictory behaviour as evidence of societal turmoil in the pursuit of truth.
To drift away from a biblical worldview on what it means to be human – and all that results from this core understanding – leads to the incoherence and angst that we witness in the headlines – and in the lives of those we know and love – every day.
It’s what Murray labels a Culture of Confusion.
I’m reminded of the hyperbole of the Apostle Paul: For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength (1 Corinthians 1:25).
Takeaway: now is the time to understand the Bible’s worldview of origin and destiny, meaning, purpose and morality.
Now is the time for Christ-followers to live out the Gospel in all of its dimensions as empowered by the Spirit.
Now is the time to live for the One who was the personification of truth.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32).
In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me (John 18:37).
After completing a 35 year corporate-management career in the general insurance industry, Randy is dedicated to full-time elder’s work at Bethel Gospel Chapel in North Bay (Ontario). With a primary pastoral focus in Bible teaching (preaching and leading Bible studies). Randy is also engaged in visitation, church music, and helping develop other men in their roles as Christ-followers, preachers and leaders. He is married to Pat who is investing her life in working with women and children in the local assembly. They are both energized by their 3 children (2 married) and 6 grandchildren!
You can listen to pod casts from Randy’s show, “The Faith Factor,” by clicking here.
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Randy Bushey – God is Light
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Brad Hewey – Signs of the Times
Images Courtesy Of:
Baby Hand – RitaE
Woman on horse – nicolagiordano
Supreme Court – skeeze
Wedding – ZERIG