As human beings it might be easy for us take our human status for granted, or to assume that we know the full implications of being people. Of course we recognise that we occupy a very special place in the universe.
The Bible teaches that we people, human beings are the crowning glory, or the pinnacle of God’s creation down here on earth. God created the universe ultimately for Himself, to glorify His own name; however within that planet Earth has been assigned to us human beings to look after. (Actually the Bible talks about creation generally being assigned to people, but practically speaking I don’t think it would be easy for us to oversee the management of the entire universe – at least not yet!)
This article seeks to examine how God sees us because God Himself is the ultimate reality and the ultimate judge of what is right or wrong. So the way that God sees us is the most accurate way of seeing ourselves and knowing who we truly are.
The way the Bible describes us as human beings is overwhelmingly positive in many ways, (but also quite uncomplimentary in other ways) – but let’s look at the positive aspects first.
First and foremost – God loves us! God’s compassion is generously poured out upon His whole creation. God cares about our lives. God thinks about human beings as being of infinite value, which is why He sacrificed Jesus on the cross at infinite cost, to pay for our sins. God’s love was expressed from the outset in the act of creating this beautiful world for us to live in. Since then, death and destruction and pain and suffering have entered the world through sin, and corrupted what would have been our perfect paradise. However this world was designed to be perfect. The Bible (New Testament) teaches that God not only created the world “in the beginning”, but He continues to keep it going as an act of ongoing creation. “In Him we live and move and have our being” (or we continue to exist) – Acts 17v28;
“You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created” – Revelation 4v11.
God also continues to bless us as human beings with all kinds of fantastic gifts. He created the phenomenal variety of delicious foods that exist on earth, He created flowers and trees and music and dancing, and laughing. He also created gifts that are specific to us as individuals: our intellects, our skills, our Olympic athletic abilities or our virtuoso musical talents. God has blessed us with loving friends and caring families. He provides for our material needs, and also our luxuries. He has blessed each of us with utter uniqueness. I was recently reflecting that I am totally unique, not just among the 7 billion-odd people currently alive on earth, but even among all the people who have ever lived on earth – and all the people who will ever live on earth! Even if mass cloning was introduced tomorrow, my life experiences would still make me different from someone who had exactly the same DNA makeup that I did. And this is the same for each and every one of us – although admittedly this is not restricted to human beings – but perhaps only we human beings out of the whole of creation can fully appreciate this.
The Bible teaches that every single gift which is good and excellent, comes from God. Even though our world has been twisted and corrupted from what it was designed to be, there is still so much beauty and joy within it, and there is so much to be grateful for. The Bible teaches that God daily loads us with benefits. God is the One to whom we owe all our gratitude.
God has also bestowed upon us as humans a dignity which we do not share with any other created beings on earth. That is, we are made in His image. We also possess the ability to create, although, unlike God, we cannot create living beings “from scratch”. In fact, we cannot really create anything “from nothing” the way God can; we can simply compile existing things into new formulations or objects with new characteristics, or we can breed living matter. However, this still grants us unspeakable creativity, which other animals clearly cannot match. God has created us with the ability to think, to reason, to make moral choices; that is, to choose to do things which are good, or bad. Even though we often choose to make the wrong choices, God’s forgiveness and grace towards us is utterly unlimited, while we are down here on earth. He always forgives. The Bible teaches that His mercies are new every morning: Lamentations 3v22-23
In these ways, God’s views of us as humans are resoundingly positive. All these things are true of each and every last one of us. God loves each one of us, no matter what we have done. God’s forgiveness is available to each one of us, no matter what we have done. God offers eternal salvation to every single human being, in a world that will not be twisted by pain and suffering like our present world, but will be utterly perfect, where we will spend the whole of eternity praising the glory and majesty of our great King, the Lord God Almighty.
On the other hand, there are a few ways God sees us which are less exciting. Because God is the ultimate judge of truth and reality as the Bible teaches, then we have to accept that these following things are also true of who we are as human beings.
The Bible teaches that every single human heart (except that of Jesus Christ) is utterly and fatally twisted by sin. We are born with an innate sinful nature, we cannot help sinning. We also cannot save ourselves. Because of this sin, despite God’s immense and ongoing love for us, we are born separated from Him.
While the Bible teaches that yes, we are made in the glorious image of God, humans seem to be inclined to go one step further, and act as if we actually are God. Yes, the Bible does teach that God has created human beings with a kind of majesty, yet human wisdom and human glory can never compare with the glorious splendour of God Himself. The Bible teaches that God is arrayed, or clothed, in dazzling beauty. The universe pulsates with His kingliness. He and He alone is God, and He will not allow anyone, not even us humans, His dear and beloved creation, to encroach upon His glory which is reserved for Him and Him alone. This is the mistake that the devil made in trying to steal God’s crown. You’d think that no-one could possibly be stupid enough to try to steal the status of King of Creation from this all-powerful God Himself, but not only did the devil do this, but we as humans often copy his mistake, forgetting that we have actually been called to be kings among created beings, rather than king over all creation, a position which would naturally belong only to the actual Creator.
So yes as human beings we are all, each and every last one of us, corrupted by sin. We often seek to make ourselves god by disposing of the actual God, and His laws and rules in our lives. God does not change His standards for any of us, and He also does not change His standards over time. So He loves us all infinitely, and yet we all sin against His standards all the time.
Yet God in His infinite love and mercy has provided a solution even from our sins and disobedience. God has sent Jesus – that is Himself, to bear the punishment for our own sins, which we could never bear ourselves, and to restore us human beings, His beloved creations, to Himself.
As human beings, I believe we owe it to ourselves to thoroughly assess the claims of the Bible. Believing in God does not belittle us in any way – how can it, when God is so big?! I believe that God’s views on humanity are the most positive ways we could see ourselves. I believe that by embracing God’s views of us, that is, believing all those amazing things that God says about us in the Bible, we enhance our own human dignity immeasurably, and we also learn to value one another more highly. Even though I was brought up in a very Christian household, the one thing that most changed my life, when I was in the final year of my undergraduate degree at university, was the realisation that I was made in the image of God, or rather the realisation of what that meant. Since that point, no-one has ever managed to make me feel small as a person, try as hard as they might – and some people have certainly tried! Similarly, believing that we are sinful beings as the Bible teaches does not in any way make us smaller, or make humanity less valuable. This is because we already know that we are sinful; we already know that we do wrong things all the time. Seeing ourselves this way is merely acknowledging the truth of who we are, and what we do, instead of trying to explain it away with pseudo-scientific rhetoric. We already know that we are not god because we can scarcely control the conditions of the earth around us, let alone the universe (at least not yet!) So how can it possibly diminish us to believe in a God who can control all these things?!
So let’s learn to see ourselves as God sees us! God is an exciting Person, and all His plans, His promises, His purposes for us and our lives are exciting – if we would only embrace His truth! 😉
Photo of crowd of people from Pixabay