Who are we?
Ten unpopular facts we ought to know
1. We are created by God
God, who made all creation, created mankind.
Then God said: Let us make man(kind) … So God created man(kind) … Genesis 1.26 and 28
We are not the product of chance. And we are distinct from all other living creatures. There may be some similarities but we are not the same. Other created beings may have a skeleton, internal organs and a circulation system but they are not human. Birds are birds, animals are animals and fish are fish. Humans are human.
2. We are created in the image of God
Unlike other living creatures, mankind was created in the image of God.
Then God said: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness … So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him … Genesis 1.26 and 28
Many wonder what it means to be created in the image of God. God is Spirit. He does not have a body like us. So our likeness to him is not a physical likeness. What is it? Think of what God is like. He thinks, chooses and speaks. He has made us able to think, choose and speak. He is the Creator. He has made us able to create and to be creative. He rules and reigns. He has made us to rule.
Then God said: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth … Genesis 1.26
3. We are created male or female
How did God make mankind?
So God created man in his own image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1.27 Those words convey three facts. We are created by God (point 1 above) and in the image of God (point 2 above). And thirdly that God made mankind as two. There are two sexes, male and female. We sometimes say that men have an XY set of chromosomes whereas women have an XX set. Our bodies consist of over a trillion cells. Each one has a DNA marker which indicates that we are either XX (female) or XY (male).
To be either male or female is a gift from God. It is a fact of your creation. In the normal course of events, by God’s appointment, a person is either male or female. Your maleness or femaleness is not an invention by mankind. It is not something that is socially constructed. It is a physical reality given by God. The cells of our bodies have male or female markers within them. We cannot change them. We are what we are, male or female.
4. We are created to exercise dominion together
Men and women are jointly appointed by God to have dominion over the fish, the birds, the livestock and all the earth.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it …” Genesis 1.28a
Men and women are to work together and not against each other. The partnership they share is real. It is of those who are equally created in the image of God. It is of those who are equally created by God and for God.
5. We are created equal yet different
Obviously men and women have different bodies. A man has male sexual organs, a woman female sexual organs. Internally we have a different balance of hormones. Men have more testosterone than women and women have more oestrogen than men. There are also functional differences. Women can have babies, men cannot. Men can father a baby, women cannot.
God created the man first. And he was placed by God in the garden to work and keep it.
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make a helper fit for him.” Genesis 2.18
The word helper is not a demeaning term. The fact that God is the helper of his people shows that it is not. Nonetheless it is an important word. It indicates different functions. Adam, the first man, was given the lead role to work and keep God’s creation. Eve, the first woman, who was bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh, was taken from Adam and given to Adam to be his helper (Genesis 1.23). She was created from the man for the man.
6. We are created to honour marriage
Marriage is not a social construct as some claim. Rather it is a God given ordinance. Marriage was designed by God. He ordained it when he created mankind, male and female. That does not mean that every single person will marry. But it does indicate who may marry.
Marriage, as well as being ordained by God, is also regulated by God. Marriage is the union of one man with one woman.
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 1.24
We sometimes describe marriage as one man united to one woman until they are parted by death. Or it can be put the other way round. Marriage is the union of one woman and one man until they are parted by death. God has not ordained any other form of marriage. God has not appointed that a person may have two or more spouses at the same time. Nor has he ordained that people of the same sex may marry. Such unions are man made inventions that are contrary to the revealed will of God.
7. We are created to complement each other
Men and women, though equal before God, are not the same. We share a common humanity, and enjoy an equal dignity and status before God. That equality does not negate the fact that men and women are made to complement each other. We are not identical. The complementarity that exists reflects God’s nature. He is One yet exists as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Mankind is one yet exists as male and female. The unity that exists does not exclude a diversity of roles. The male is created to father children; the female to be a mother. The husband is to deny himself in caring for and protecting his wife. And the wife is to assume the helping role God has appointed for her. The woman was created by God from the man (Genesis 2.5–9) and for the man (Genesis 2.18–20).
8. We are created to be what God has made us to be
We are created either male and female. As such we are either a son or daughter, who may have a brother or sister. A person called to marriage, becomes either a husband or wife. He or she may, within marriage, also become a father or a mother.
God calls us to recognise what he has made us to be, a boy or girl, a man or woman. He invites us to rely upon him and to receive from him power to live our life according to our divinely given identity. To be a man or woman affects who you are as an individual, as a member of a family, as a member of a church, and as a member of the society and nation in which we reside.
9. We are not what we are created to be
At some point after their creation Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, rebelled against God. Their departure from a state of original righteousness affects us all. Adam was a representative man. He represented all mankind. Thus when he rebelled the consequence of his rebellion affects us all. By nature we are rebels. We do not want to honour and love God. We are inclined to disobey rather than obey God. As a result, instead of accepting our God-given roles as men and women, we are inclined to distort them. A rejection of the divinely instituted complementary roles assigned to men and women is but one indication of our rebellious nature.
10. We are called to know that God’s way is the best way
Men demeaning or dominating women is not the will of God. Nor is a rejection of the helper role God has given to women. As those who enjoy and share an equal dignity and status as people created in the image of God, men and women are called to fulfil the will of God for them as men and women. To dishonour marriage by fornication, adultery, cohabitation, or divorce for ungodly reasons; to dishonour God by giving oneself to sexual passion with a person of the same sex; or to dishonour God by rejecting who we are as a man or woman is, according to what God has revealed to us, evidence of our rejection of him as our Creator (see Romans 1.18-32).
God has also revealed that all of us stand or fall before him. Now is a time for rebels to seek forgiveness. Now is a time for rebels to seek to be reconciled to God. History demonstrates that, according to God’s appointment nations rise or fall. Those who continue in a state of rebellion will in God’s time discover that their schemes will fall. A society or nation that rejects that God’s way is best will either in this life or the next discover that their rejection of him is futile. Rebellion incurs judgment.
But those who come to see things differently to what they do at present; those who come to see that God’s way is the best way; those who through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ find that they are empowered to embrace and live according to God’s design for men and women. Furthermore they discover that God’s way is the way of true happiness. It is the way of life in all its fullness (John 10.10).
30 September 2018