The Uniqueness of Humanity The uniqueness of humanity is reflected in the Biblical affirmation that humans are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26,27). This uniqueness, this sharp distinction between humans and animals, is impressively expressed in a variety of ways. One of them is captured in this very text, which says that God subjected animals to humans. Animals do not dominate one another generally. This is clearly seen in the fact that, though individual animals might kill one another for food, no species has ever been known to exterminate another species. Rather, humans dominate animals, even to the point of domesticating some and driving others to extinction. Also, humans are the only creatures able communicate with one another through words, whether spoken or written. While it is not unusual for members of an animal species to communicate with one another by a limited range of sounds they make, people are capable of making a wide range of sounds called “words,” which have very complex and specific meanings. People have even developed ways to represent these sounds through systems of writing, which have enabled them to communicate their thoughts to one another over large distances and times. Furthermore, humans are the only species which exhibit the capacity for higher-order thought. For instance, no animals display any indication of an inclination to contemplate their own existence and its meaning. Yet, people ask themselves why they exist and what their purpose in living is, or should be. They pose moral questions and concern themselves with right and wrong. They want to know if God exists and, if so, how to relate to Him. No animal shows the slightest disposition or ability to entertain, even to the simplest degree, any of these thoughts. Moreover, humans are capable of contemplating the future, including the end of their existence, and whether any part of them will survive death and, if so, what the nature of that existence will be and whether it might be affected by how they live their lives. Drew Gilpin Faust, in her book, This Republic of Suffering said, “Of all living things, only humans consciously anticipate death; the consequent need to choose how to behave in its face to worry about how to die —distinguishes us from other animals. The need to manage death is the particular lot of humanity” (pg. xiv). Yet, not only are humans capable of all of this, but they are capable of contemplating the implications of it all. In other words, they are able, and inclined, to ask themselves what all of this means for them. They can be amazed at the vast gap which separates them from animals and ask themselves why it exists. They can ask, “If no God created us, then why are we humans so distinctly different from animals? Why do we possess minds but animals do not? Why is there no animal which comes even remotely close to having such abilities and thoughts?” Evolution cannot account for human uniqueness for the obvious and dramatic differences between animals and humans. If humans exist as a result of a long series of subtle and graduated steps between themselves and animals, why is there a gap? Where are the steps? Yet, the Bible has the answer: God made humans in His image, to have a mind like Him. There never were any steps. God made the gap in the beginning, and it has been there ever since.
“What is man, that Thou dost take thought of him? And the son of man, that Thou dost care for him? Yet Thou hast made him a little lower than God, and dost crown him with glory and majesty! Thou dost make him to rule over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes through the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Thy name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:4-9)
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“What is man, that Thou dost take thought of him? And the son of man, that Thou dost care for him? Yet Thou hast made him a little lower than God, and dost crown him with glory and majesty! Thou dost make him to rule over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes through the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Thy name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:4-9)
The Uniqueness of Humanity The uniqueness of humanity is reflected in the Biblical affirmation that humans are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26,27). This uniqueness, this sharp distinction between humans and animals, is impressively expressed in a variety of ways. One of them is captured in this very text, which says that God subjected animals to humans. Animals do not dominate one another generally. This is clearly seen in the fact that, though individual animals might kill one another for food, no species has ever been known to exterminate another species. Rather, humans dominate animals, even to the point of domesticating some and driving others to extinction. Also, humans are the only creatures able to communicate with one another through words, whether spoken or written. While it is not unusual for members of an animal species to communicate with one another by a limited range of sounds they make, people are capable of making a wide range of sounds called “words,” which have very complex and specific meanings. People have even developed ways to represent these sounds through systems of writing, which have enabled them to communicate their thoughts to one another over large distances and times. Furthermore, humans are the only species which exhibit the capacity for higher-order thought. For instance, no animals display any indication of an inclination to contemplate their own existence and its meaning. Yet, people ask themselves why they exist and what their purpose in living is, or should be. They pose moral questions and concern themselves with right and wrong. They want to know if God exists and, if so, how to relate to Him. No animal shows the slightest disposition or ability to entertain, even to the simplest degree, any of these thoughts. Moreover, humans are capable of contemplating the future, including the end of their existence, and whether any part of them will survive death and, if so, what the nature of that existence will be and whether it might be affected by how they live their lives. Drew Gilpin Faust, in her book, This Republic of Suffering, said, “Of all living things, only humans consciously anticipate death; the consequent need to choose how to behave in its face to worry about how to die —distinguishes us from other animals. The need to manage death is the particular lot of humanity” (pg. xiv). Yet, not only are humans capable of all of this, but they are capable of contemplating the implications of it all. In other words, they are able, and inclined, to ask themselves what all of this means for them. They can be amazed at the vast gap which separates them from animals and ask themselves why it exists. They can ask, “If no God created us, then why are we humans so distinctly different from animals? Why do we possess minds but animals do not? Why is there no animal which comes even remotely close to having such abilities and thoughts?” Evolution cannot account for human uniqueness for the obvious and dramatic differences between animals and humans. If humans exist as a result of a long series of subtle and graduated steps between themselves and animals, why is there a gap? Where are the steps? Yet, the Bible has the answer: God made humans in His image, to have a mind like Him. There never were any steps. God made the gap in the beginning, and it has been there ever since.
MEDITATIONS MEDITATIONS HYMN HYMN SCRIPTURE SCRIPTURE HOME HOME
GOD CREATED MAN…
IN HIS IMAGE.
GOD CREATED MAN…
IN HIS IMAGE.