Humanity: Animal, Pawn or Child of God?

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There are multiple interpretations worldwide of how both believers and non-believers view the doctrine of humanity and the questions that come with it. The issues of origin, purpose, worth, and destiny are all differently understood depending on which worldview regarding humanity that you hold. Millard J Erickson addresses some of these viewpoints in his book; Introducing Christian Doctrine. He reminds us that, to some; “humans are simply at the mercy of forces in the world that control destiny, but have no real concern for them.”[1] He goes on to say that; to others, humans are, “primarily a member of the animal kingdom and derive from some of its higher forms.”[2] Christians and those holding a biblical worldview consider humanity to be much more than either of these two examples imply. Christian believe that humans are designed and created in the image of God, to serve and worship our creator. We believe that humans are God’s children and hold more value to God; that humans are set apart from the rest of creation.

Biblical Worldview of Humanity

To those holding a biblical worldview of humanity, humans are created and designed by God, for God.  According to Erickson, “This means, first, that humanity is to be understood as having originated not through a chance process of evolution, but through a conscious, purposeful act by an intelligent, infinite person.”[3] Christians believe that humans are set apart from the rest of creation and were made to have dominion over the earth. The biblical worldview holds that humanity was created in the image of God, reflecting his divine attributes and character. “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)[4] Christians believe that humanities worth is that of children of God, created for his glory. The biblical worldview holds that humanities (upon accepting Christ) ultimate and final destination consist of a perfect eternity with our holy creator.

Humanity: Animal

One interpretation of humanity that many continue to hold is that humanity simply falls into the animal kingdom. According to Erickson, those holding this interpretation believe that; “Humans have come into being through the same sort of process as have all other animals, and will have a similar end.”[5]  This interpretation of humanity believes that humans can be conditioned to react in certain ways; similar to training a dog.  

In contrast to the “animal” interpretation of humanity, the biblical worldview believes that humans are not merely animals but rather have dominion over the animals and other things of this earth. The bible says, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Genesis 1:26) [6] Christians believe that humans are set apart from the animal kingdom. By examining things such as; empathy, regret, passion, love, etc. one can see that humans indeed have a few more attributes than that of your typical animal.

Christians do agree that humans are a part of creation. According to Erickson, “As different as they are from God’s other created beings, they are not so sharply distinguished from the rest of them as to have no relationship with them.”[7] Christians agree that we should live in harmony and co-exist with other created beings such as animals. These are God’s creations as well. While the two worldviews may disagree foundationally, both can agree on creation’s importance.

Humanity: A Pawn of the Universe

Another interpretation of humanity that many continue to hold is that humans are merely some pawn of the universe. This view believes that humans are simply subject to a chaotic universe and have no divine or greater purpose. Those holding this view are subject to a sense of helplessness as they always feel like nothing is within their control. According to Erickson, “This is basically a pessimistic view that pictures people as being crushed by a world that is either hostile or at best indifferent to their welfare and needs.”[8] Those holding this view do not believe in a divine creator but rather “forces” of various natures that affect humanity. It feels that humanity is limited and has no real control over outcomes of any sort.

In contrast to the “pawn of the universe” interpretation, the biblical worldview believes that we were designed by a divine creator that still governs humanities existence today. It holds the belief that God is watching over his creation and that all things work for the glory and good of him. Christians do not believe in “forces” that have no regard for humanity. In fact, they believe that the only “forces” impacting humanity today are that of demons and angels; whom have full regard for humanities state of being. Contrary to the “pawn” interpretation, Christians believe that an almighty, holy God is present and active in the universe today…with humanities (the children of God) best intentions in mind.

The biblical worldview agrees that humanity is limited. According to Erickson, “As creatures, humans have the limitations that go with being finite. Our finiteness means that our knowledge will always be incomplete and subject to error.”[9] Erickson goes on to say that “limitations are not inherently bad.”[10] It is these limitations that make us creatures of God; one that he, himself created and deemed “good”. When we acknowledge these limitations and live accordingly, we are able to overcome the human nature that is sin.  


[1]Erickson, M. J. (2015). Introducing Christian Doctrine. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group.

[2] ibid

[3] ibid

[4] The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. (2001). Minneapolis, MN.: Crossway.

[5] Erickson, M. J. (2015). Introducing Christian Doctrine. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group.

[6] The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. (2001). Minneapolis, MN.: Crossway.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Erickson, M. J. (2015). Introducing Christian Doctrine. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Erickson, M. J. (2015). Introducing Christian Doctrine. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group.

REFERENCES

Erickson, M. J. (2015). Introducing Christian Doctrine. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. (2001). Minneapolis, MN.: Crossway.

One comment

  1. Dear dnnywear,
    Yes, let us discuss our creator.
    Please take not offense, but you cited, “Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I will be also” … but you did not yourself mention His name.
    Do you know His name?
    There is only one name given under heaven whereby a man can be saved; as there is only one savior: “I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour … I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God … and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a saviour; there is none beside me” [Isaiah 43:10-11; 44:6; 45:21] and “… there is none other God but one. [ I Corinthians 8:4].

    You said that your intention in writing “This blog is … to fulfill The Great Commission and spread the Word of God!” … but you did not mention the name of the Word of God.
    Are you taught to recite the words in the “great commission” as though His words are formulary? Or rather are you taught to do as Peter and all of the church did: the OBEYED the commandments of Jesus.

    Paulus repeatedly reminded us there is “one body, and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, and one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

    You will walk in Him. We are not called to walki in the scriptures, but rather in The Word of God (i.e. Yeshua Messiah).
    May I respecfutlly suggest that this one of Paul’s reminder should be above all, for seminary students: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For IN HIM dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” [Paul to the Colossians 2:8-9]

    Dnnywear, if your objective is to dicsuss “various subjects regarding the Christian faith from a Biblical perspective” … that is not what you are made to do.
    Why not?
    Because the Comforter (aka ‘Helper’ aka ‘Spirit of God’ aka ‘Holy Ghost’ aka ‘The Spirit of Christ’) is the only one who “leads you into all truth.”
    Period.
    We must be careful. What we teach ourselves is not helpful, it is only following other men and trying to understand the words of men; better to “rely not upon your own understanding” and to “take up your cross and follow thou me.”
    Urgently I implore you, ask Him to teach you.
    Inchristi is all, Inchristi is in all,
    Mark
    p.s. Were you aware that His name does not appear on this entire post? Not one single mention of the ONLY name of God which is given to us under heaven?

    Liked by 2 people

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