Humans: What, Who Are We, Really?

 

On 02 November 2020 I published on this website the article titled “Should Everyone Be Allowed to Be Who They Are?” In this present article I would like to expand on who we really are as human beings.

The theory of evolution proposes that man is but the highest development in an evolutionary process, whereby “lower” forms of life “evolved” over a period of hundreds or thousands of years into higher, more advanced life forms – animals – ending with the evolution of man at the apex.

The theory of evolution does not attribute the existence or emergence of man to some divine power or process, as the story of man’s creation tells us (Genesis 1-3). Thus evolutionists do not believe that man should be beholden to a divine entity or “God” who expects or commands that man behave in certain ways as that God prescribes.

The apostle Paul wrote about where such a Godless belief leads to, ultimately, in Romans 1:20-31 (NKJV) –

For since the creation of the world His [God’s] attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man – and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, In the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature [Lesbianism]. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful [homosexuality or homosexual acts], and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

Paul plainly says that the belief in evolution [which is also atheism] ultimately leads to the jettisoning of moral standards and to gross immorality, and consequently to death or perdition” (Romans 6:23).

God’s word – the Holy Bible – teaches that God created man in His own image, in His “likeness” (Genesis 1:26). We humans were created as being of the same “kind” [or genre] as God is. Genesis 1:20-25 gives examples of “kinds” of living creatures – sea creatures (fish), birds, cattle, and creeping things.

Clearly, then, God made mankind after the God kind – not the animal-kind, as evolutionists teach. Man is no high-end animal! But God reveals that we humans are presently but a physical likeness or appearance of God. In John 3:6 Jesus explained that “That which is born of the flesh [as man is] is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Jesus clarified that “God is Spirit…” (John 4:24)

In that profound conversation with the Pharisee Nicodemus, Jesus told him that he – as all of us do – needed to be “born again” in order to see [enter or be in] the kingdom of God (Verse 3).

In the famous “memory verse” (John 3:16), Jesus said: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son [Jesus as also the ‘Son of Man’ who would be lifted up as Moses lifted the serpent in the wilderness (Verse 14) – referring to Christ’s crucifixion or death as a payment or ransom to redeem or free mankind from the penalty of death for sin], that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Having everlasting life is what seeing [or being in] God’s kingdom means, and that through a change from our earthly, mortal human frame to a spiritual, immortal frame, through a resurrection at Christ’s return to earth to claim all kingdoms for Himself and His chosen ones, the “saints” (Revelation 16:15; 20:6).

Paul magnificently explained this in his famous “Resurrection Chapter” – 1 Corinthians 15. He summarized this transformation in Verses 50-54 –

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep [die], but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

How can we attain to such a wondrous resurrection? Paul desired to attain to that resurrection (Philippians 3:10). And he explained how he could attain it (Verses 8-11) —

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that
I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith: that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection; and the fellowship of His sufferings: being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection of the dead.

That was quite a list! Let’s break it down to more specifics.

1) The knowledge of Christ. What does it mean to “know Christ?” 1 John 2:3-4 says, “And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, I know Him, and does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

Jesus also said that, at His return to claim His own chosen ones, He will say to many: “I never knew you!” and tell them to depart or go away from Him as those who “practice lawlessness” [Greek, anomian] (Matthew 7:23, NKJV). [See: “I Never Knew You!” and A Great Omission in Doing the “Great Commission.”] Twice Jesus said that if we really love Him, we will keep His commandments (John 14:21, 23). [See: The Law of Christ and Moses and Jesus – Are They Contraries?]

2) Righteousness through faith in Christ. Of our own selves, we humans are not righteous, for we all sin (Romans 6:23) and are thus “unrighteous.” In order to make us righteous or “just” [“justified”] we need to be forgiven and cleansed of our sin, which is the transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4, KJV) – and this only through the blood of Jesus [the “Lamb of God,” John 1:3), whose death at Calvary’s cross pays the ransom that redeems us from death [see: The Ransomed of the LORD]. Through belief or faith in the power of Christ’s death to cleanse us of sin we thus become “righteous” or “just.” We are “justified” by our faith as Father Abraham was (Romans 4:2-6).

With such faith we have the “hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2). Of that glory Paul wrote (Philippians 3:20-21):

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able to subdue all things to Himself, by which He is able to subdue all things to Himself.

As explained earlier, that will take place at Christ’s return, when He will resurrect the dead saints or change the living ones from mortal to immortal, having everlasting life.

3) Being conformed to Christ’s death. Paul also taught that at baptism after true repentance of our sins, we symbolically put to death our “old man” – our old sinful selves – so that, just as Jesus died and rose again to glorious life after three days and nights in the grave, so we true Christians come up from the water of baptism to a new life – a life that is righteous and acceptable to God.

Whereas we used to practice unrighteousness or sin, we now strive to live a righteous life, a life obedient to the laws and commandments of God [see, for example, Luke 1:6; see also: Saved for Good Works]. That is possible only through the help of God’s Holy Spirit, which God gives after baptism (Acts 2:38). [See: God’s Spirit and Obedience, The Higher Law of the Spirit, and Breaking Down our “Walls of Jericho.”]

Partaking of the “divine nature”

The apostle Peter wrote that as Christians we are “partakers of the divine nature” by having escaped the corruption where this lustful and sinful world used to hold us in its sway (2 Peter 1:4).

Through the resurrection to glory at Christ’s return, we His true followers will receive the full “divine nature” of God. We will then become full-fledged members of God’s divine family as God’s very own children! As such, we will then become perfect as God is perfect. We, like God, will not sin anymore (1 John 3:9).

Thus will David’s psalm about the true value of man be fulfilled (Psalm 8:3-8) –

When I consider Your [God’s] heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars. Which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen – even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas.

Hebrews 2:5-8 qualifies this psalm by saying that, for now, we do not see all things put under man. Not until Jesus returns to bring us to glory and rule the nations and the vast universe with Him. Then we will become fully the brothers and sisters of Christ – the divine and glorious children of God (Verses 10-11)! [See: Are We All God’s Children?]

For a comprehensive treatment of the glorious future of mankind, see this link: https://www.herbert-armstrong.org, click ENTER HERE, select “Books & Booklets,” and scroll down to Mr. Armstrong’s book titled The Incredible Human Potential.

I hope and pray that you who are reading this article will find yourself being told by Jesus at His return: “Welcome to God’s family!”

 

Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.
26112021

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