What I Believe . . . Humanity

I believe that humanity is a special creation of God and is at the center of his purpose in creation (Rom 8:19-22). Humanity’s existence on this planet was not an accident, nor was it only incidental to some higher purpose. I am convinced that God made this universe for the purpose of producing life that would serve with him in eternity; long after this universe has grown cold and died.

I believe that God created man from the dust of the earth (Gen. 2:7), but this creation was not instantaneous. Instead we were formed and shaped over many millions of years, and in the same fashion as every other type of life on this earth. While I accept that the theory of evolution has some explanatory value in the formation and diversification of life on earth, I believe it is inadequate to fully explain all of life, and humanity in particular. I do believe that either theistic evolution or progressive creationism offer a better explanation for the shaping of humanity and currently lean to the former.

I believe that humans are animals, physically differing little, except in shape, from others that we share this planet with. But I also believe we are more than just animals; that over the millennial of our development God worked to form us into his image (Gen 1:26-27). Alone among all of the animals on earth, we have been given the ability to know our creator (John 17:3), to be able to recognize his handiwork in the rest of creation (Rom. 1:20), and to be over the rest of life on earth (Ps. 8).

I do believe that all humans today bear this image of God, regardless the color of their skin, their gender, or any other characteristic. Just how that came to pass is currently beyond my understanding. It may have come first to a single individual or couple and spread to the rest of humanity; or God may have stamped all of humanity with his image at one time. Regardless of when and how he did this, it is apparent that for at least the last thirty thousand years humanity has recognized that there is something outside of this creation that is bigger than we are.

I believe the image of God is substantive in nature; that we are in some way made to be like God. Clearly we are finite creatures and incapable of exhibiting some of the attributes of the infinite God. But we are thinking creatures, with some awareness of our place in the universe, capable of sacrificial love, and conscious of morality.

I believe that there is both a material and an immaterial component to man. The material part is our body, which is a part of this world and is mortal. While there is some scriptural support to our immaterial part being composed of both a soul and a spirit (1 Thess. 5:23), I believe that Scripture more commonly uses soul and spirit interchangeably when referring to our immaterial component. Our soul is the seat of our personality as well as providing us with the opportunity to commune with God. I believe that our soul does survive the death of our bodies and that it will be reunited with a body at the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:50-53).

I believe that this image of God that all of humanity currently bears is limited or corrupted. Scripture is clear that those who put their faith in Jesus are being transformed into his image. We are initially made in the image of God; as believers, we are transformed into the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:49; 2 Cor. 3:18; Col. 3:10).

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