I guess the first time it hit me was at 25 years old. We had our first child, David, and as I stood looking through the window to the hospital nursery, I thought, “This child will live eternally in either heaven or hell, and I have been charged with the responsibility to guide him. Oh, my!” Being human is terrifying. What was God thinking to grant such power to humans that we can affect his creation so radically? It is an awesome reality. What is so awesome and terrifying about being human?
Designed to Name and Rule
Humans are creatures made by a creator with the design to rule over creation for its good and God’s glory. The fact that we are humans means that we are limited. In other words, we are not the creator. We do not know everything (omniscience), nor do we have power over everything (omnipotence). And, of course, we cannot be everywhere at once (omnipresence). God designed us to rule over creation while worshipping our sovereign and loving creator. It is awesome beyond comprehension.
We have been granted the status of sons of God, conveying our privilege of relating to him as father and being heirs in his family. We are his partners in his earthly work. We are to discover and develop the treasures of creation and structure them to reflect his majestic creativity and love. The first human received the capacity and responsibility to name the animals. That means that we can discern the true nature of things so that we can manage them properly. When we misname, we mismanage.
Designed to Decide
Humans have a design of either male or female. They are equal and mostly the same, but their differences are significant. They represent the constant dynamic of structure and creativity. It has been described as order being challenged by chaos for the purpose of growth. God designed male and female humans to be interdependent. The first female came from the male. All other offspring came from the female. Not only are both essential to life on earth, but their differences are also sacred. All attempts to erase the differences are attacks on reality. The end of such efforts will not be good. It will be less than humanity’s design calls for.
Because of our design, we are decision-makers and our decisions matter. In fact, every decision we make moves the whole world toward chaos or ordered life. There are no inconsequential decisions. We never take a day off from making world-changing decisions. That is terrifying! It means that what I do affects others who don’t even know what I am doing.
For instance, when I disregard a healthy diet, I am affecting my wife, who will probably be the primary caregiver if I am sick. It affects whether my grandchildren will have quality time with their grandpa, which will affect the trajectory of their lives, which will affect their grandchildren. It affects those whose jobs my work provides, which affects their families and future. It affects the entire healthcare system in the nation and the world… ad infinitum. It’s awesome. I can change the world today! It might be only a slight change, but it is change no less. I should want desperately to change it for good.
Designed for Purpose Beyond Weakness
There is a problem. Humans are not only limited by their “creatureliness,” we are wounded by our sinfulness. Like our first parents, we are burdened with guilt over rebellious actions, shamed by our spiritual nakedness, and fearful of rejection and death.
Sadly, we followed not only the path of Adam and Eve but also that of Cain. He had the choice to confront his error and correct it but chose to see himself as the mistreated oppressed. His resentment led to hostility toward his brother, and finally, Cain eliminated him. Cain demonstrated that one cannot live without gratitude, and resentment makes gratitude impossible. History records the various attempts to live meaningfully without addressing the “fallenness” problem. Millions have died needlessly because some humans tried to manage the creation without considering the default selfishness of all fallen humans.
The burden of being a human beset by debilitating weaknesses, but conscious that our decisions matter is too heavy for many. They want another reality, so they become substitute creators and make up new ones. Some have declared that only a few elite are capable of managing the rest, and have found ways to construct governments which first serve but ultimately enslave the masses.
Designed for Restoration
Some have removed the creator and surmised that the only reality that counts must come from us, so we make our own meaning. Others conclude that there is no meaning to our decisions. They don’t matter in the long run, because no long run exists. We could go on. The proposals are numerous — all with a guarantee of failure.
There is great news. God, our creator, is also our Redeemer. He has acted in history to restore humans to their original design. He became a man in Jesus and reversed what Adam and Eve did. Like Abel, he offered the proper and final offering, forever removing rejection from those who trust him. We are human again. It is awesome. Let’s change the world today.