Saturday, June 19, 2010

What is Man?

Two things I have thought in the midst of frustration with my human nature: it would be better to pass away into the dust or soar on the wings of Divinity!  O how I wish to be either non-existent or a god!  And God smiles at me.  My wish is not altogether uncommon.  Many humans have destroyed themselves in such notions. …some have destroyed others with them.  But, I, if I remain stable and content, am destined to the quality of humanness that makes me a fragile vessel in hostile territory.  

We are both flesh and spirit.  The needs of both are important.  Our human design is of such a quality that it brings into balance both worlds.   Our spiritual part makes us dependent upon spiritual sustenance while our fleshly part makes us dependent upon fleshly sustenance.  It is for this reason that we seek connections with the heavens and connections with the earth.  Without spirit, our personality dies and without food, our bodies die.  And so it is that we see in our human realm the existence of both spiritual and physical death.  The Ecclesiastical writer again says this, “…and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.”  

A multitude of philosophies and scientific hypothesis have contributed to the suggestions about the quality of the human being since the beginning of time.  Are we of the animal kingdom or the product of intelligent, transcendent design? Are we superior or inferior to the natural earth?  Are we good or evil of nature?  Are our hearts basically righteous or do we conceive wickedness at regular intervals?  For some, the arguments are easily resolved and for others, complex and confusing.  Nevertheless, one thing we know: we are human. Whoever designed us, designed us in the very way that we know ourselves to be.  We have no hope of changing our design.  We can only attempt to elevate it or debase it.  And whether some of us strive to be raised up to the heavens or, by deprivation, are lowered to the belly of the earth, we all are still human.  Our original design resigns us to an even and equal plateau.  When speaking of death as the great equalizer of humanity, the Ecclesiastical writer proclaims this: “It is the same for all, since the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice.  As is the good, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath. …the same event happens to all,” Ecclesiastes 9:2-3.  All of us are equally human.  If not equal in appearance in this life, we are equalized by death. …none carry their poverty or wealth, wisdom or foolishness, status or debasement into it.  In agreement with the Biblical perspective, I say, we all stand before God as we are.  

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