Do humans matter? Do you think you really matter? Hopefully, you answered yes to both questions. If you did, here’s some affirmations that you’re correct. But if you didn’t, here’s some things to consider and hopefully change your answer!
I got an email this morning, one of way too many I get every day. the opening was:
Every day a news article or opinion piece comes to my newsfeed that directly or indirectly asserts one of two common premises: humans are insignificant compared to the vastness of the Universe, or humans can and will be replaced by robots. It is amazing how many people believe these ideas are true.
But are either of these premises true?
However, as the woman in the image, that’s so sad. And like the author of the email wrote, It is amazing how many people believe these ideas are true.
Who asked, Do humans matter?
Context is something that’s always important here on this site. And so, I must provide some for the title questions. The first question is directly from a fundraising email I received. The second one is from me.
Sometimes getting into a question that’s too big leads to difficulties. For instance, are there more people that matter than people that don’t matter. Or, do you believe that everyone matters? Maybe that no one matters, including yourself? There’s also the option, maybe especially for those of us who have depression issues, that everyone matters, except for me.
Who asked? The Center for Science and Culture.
Well, the question of, do humans matter, was asked by The Center for Science and Culture, part of The Discovery Institute. To be honest, the first time I got something from them, I thought it was something I’d be very much against. Fortunately, I didn’t just delete it without reading anything.
The current fundraising effort comes with some thoughts on their question as well.
At the Center for Science and Culture, we believe humans occupy a special place in the Universe. They are uniquely designed to explore, care for, and improve the world around them. The reason and skills with which humans are endowed allow us to innovate, create, and solve the problems confronting us. While computers can help us innovate and problem-solve, they cannot replace human beings.
There’s nothing in that statement that I disagree with. At first glance.
But then, a question arises. Rather quickly, more questions follow. Let’s take a moment, or two or three, and go through them.
- we believe humans occupy a special place in the Universe.
- So do I. But then, who/what gave us that special place? Did we “give it” to ourselves? Or just take it, deserved or not?
- They (we) are uniquely designed to explore, care for, and improve the world around them.
- Again, I agree. Here, the question is why/how are we in that position.
- That question is actually answered in the next statement.
- The reason and skills with which humans are endowed allow us to innovate, create, and solve the problems confronting us.
- Wow – “endowed”. That sounds like a religious thing, doesn’t it?
- Is this place called the Center for Science and Culture somehow about religion?
- And if it is, which one, or ones?
- While computers can help us innovate and problem-solve, they cannot replace human beings.
- Having worked in the IT industry, ending up as an IT Infrastructure Director at a large university, I find myself qualified to respond to that. And it’s absolutely true.
- Computers cannot do anything they weren’t told to do by a human.
- They’re faster, yes.
- But, they’re only as accurate and unbiased as we humans program them to be.
What is the Center for Science and Culture about?
So, to answer the $64,000 question (or is it more money now with inflation?) let’s see what they say about themselves. Then, and only then, can we make a legitimate critique and comment on what they say.
The mission of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture is to advance the understanding that human beings and nature are the result of intelligent design rather than a blind and undirected process. We seek long-term scientific and cultural change through cutting-edge scientific research and scholarship; education and training of young leaders; communication to the general public; and advocacy of academic freedom and free speech for scientists, teachers, and students.
Oh. That sounds like liberal college thinking. In other words, no religion. Unless, maybe you noticed two words in there. “Intelligent design”. That might be religion. Unless, this is a group that thinks “nature” is intelligent.
Let’s move on to their Frequently Asked Questions page. I’ll give the short one-word answers, but feel free to go to the linked FAQ page to read the details.
Is intelligent design based on the Bible? No
Is intelligent design theory the same as creationism? No
Does Discovery Institute favor including the Bible or creationism in science classes or textbooks? No
Is Discovery Institute a religious organization? By now, you’re almost certainly expecting the answer to be “No”. However, this question doesn’t have a one-word answer. It’s an explanation. An explanation that essentially says, no – but … Here’s how they responded.
Discovery Institute is a secular think tank, and its Board members and Fellows represent a variety of religious traditions, including mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Jewish, and agnostic. Although it is not a religious organization, the Institute has a long record of supporting religious liberty and the legitimate role of faith-based institutions in a pluralistic society. In fact, it sponsored a program for several years for college students to teach them the importance of religious liberty and the separation of church and state.
So, What is the Center for Science and Culture about?
At this, point, I don’t believe it’s possible to way what they are. Pretty much any answer to that question is going to be biased by where we ourselves are coming from.
Who am I? Where am I coming from?
Therefore, since I’m a Christian, Protestant to be a bit more precise, I’ll answer from that perspective.
For those of you who know the issues behind free will versus predestination, I actually believe the Bible indicates both are true. I believe the Bible shows God clearly predestined some people to do certain things. People like Moses, Job, Paul, Etc. come to mind first. But then I believe He left it up to the rest of us to decide for ourselves whether or not to follow Him. For more on that, I have a short series on it over on God Versus Religion, titled Predestiny versus Free Will.
Do humans matter?
With all of that as the backdrop, let’s take a look at the first question. Do humans matter?
As I implied above, for us to say we matter isn’t exactly the best source for an answer. We do kind of tend to be rather arrogant and “puffed up” about ourselves. So I think, pardon the pun, a higher source should be found.
Creation of man
Earlier, we read that the Center for Science and Culture uses Intelligent Design. That’s not necessarily Creation. However, Creation in the Bible does require Intelligent Design. The catch to Intelligent Design outside the realm of God is that the source of the intelligence is unknown.
Not knowing where we come from probably has both positives and negatives.
For instance, if we don’t know who created us, we have no duty to that unknown creator. We owe him/her/it nothing. And even if we did, what would they want? We know nothing of them, so can’t reasonably be expected to do anything for them.
On the other hand, as with the God of the Bible, we do know something of our Creator. And we know what He wants from us. To some, that’s a negative. In the times we now live in, that seems totally unacceptable to anyone and everyone that thinks they have the right to do whatever they want. No exceptions. Any rule they don’t like they are free to ignore. THat’s not likely to go over very well with the God who Created us.
Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve from the Bible are the first humans. Maybe. Sort of. It’s interesting. The Bible doesn’t actually say there were no human-like creatures before Adam and Eve. That’s something we seem to have made up and act like it’s in the Bible. But, it’s not.
Here’s the difference between what we think and what the Bible actually says.
Ge 2:4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens— 5 and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, 6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground— 7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Do you see the difference?
Some object to the Adam and Eve Creation “story” because there were obviously human-type creatures on the earth more than 5,000 years ago. That is, before Adam.
My response is, so what? The Bible makes no statement as to any such creature. Their existence or non-existence isn’t important. Here’s what’s important. Adam was created in this fashion:
the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Adam was the first of any kind of creature to be given the breath of life from God. That’s what’s different. That’s what gets ignored/lost in the telling of Creation in the Bible. So what if there was another human-like creature before Adam, because none of them had the breath of life From God!
So – if you think humans in general don’t matter, consider this. God, the Creator of everything, chose humans from everything He created and He formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.
Therefore, we do matter to God. And if we matter to Him, then we should, by nature of His act of creating us the way He did, make us matter to ourselves. And honestly, why would we want anything less than this to be the case?
The destruction of man – almost
Do you remember The Flood? God was so angry at the people He created. However, He didn’t quite destroy everything.
Ge 6:5 The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7 So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
God was going to wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air. But, He didn’t. He started things over again with Noah and his family.
However, you may remember, it didn’t take very long at all for them to mess up as well. Sadly, it was a very short time.
The redemption of man
Throughout the Old Testament, we read, time after time, how God’s people turned away from Him. Got in trouble. Called out to God for rescue. Were rescued. And then shortly turned away from Him. Although, truth be told, they never truly turned all the way back to God in the first place.
So, the next step in God’s plan to save His creation was put in place.
Lk 2:8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Lk 2:13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
Lk 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
Lk 2:15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
Lk 2:16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Yes, Jesus. The Son of God. Sent to earth to die for everything we humans did wrong. And are doing wrong right now. And will do wrong in the future.
Our short question seems rather stupid at this point. Do humans matter? Humans matter so much that God sent His Son here to die for us! How much more of a sign do we need that we matter to God?
Do we humans think we matter?
Sadly, we humans still don’t seem to believe that we matter! Jesus even told us that. But apparently we don’t believe Him enough to do very much about it. It’s in the forgotten/ignored portion of a passage most of us know.
Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Do you recognize that? Most people do. But what about this portion?
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
Why don’t we think we matter?
It’s hard to imagine why we think we don’t matter. Read this part again:
Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
We’re afraid our evil deeds will be exposed. Afraid everything we did wrong will be seen by God. Guess what!? He saw all of it. Every single thing. It’s already been exposed to Him! Beyond that, He already knows every single wrong thing we haven’t even done yet! But it’s OK. Jesus died for all of us. If we’ll only step into the light.
It’s like – who exactly do we think we’re hiding things from? We probably hide more things from ourselves than we do from the people who know us best. And we hide nothing from God.
But Jesus dies for all of us. The only thing we really do, when we refuse to acknowledge that, is waste the gift God granted to all of us. We’re wasting it when we refuse to acknowledge He already knows what we did. We’re wasting an opportunity to spend eternity with the One who Created us after our life on this earth is over.
And once again, why would we want it to be any other way? Do we really want to be like we are now – forever? I don’t.
Do you think you really matter?
After everything we’ve looked at, how can we still think we don’t matter? Just think about what God did for us. Obviously, we matter to Him. Who do we think we are that we know better than Him?
Or – again – for those of us that have problems with depression, what will it take for us to realize that God really does love us? That He didn’t do all that for everyone else, but not for us? If you’d like to read more about that, I encourage you to check out Christian and depressed. How is that possible?
Conclusion – Do humans matter? Do you think you really matter?
Maybe this seems like a lot to you. Maybe you think it’s really short. It’s hard to know just how much to write on this one. Everything I’ve ever written over the last 10+ years is ultimately about this question of do we matter, to God. I don’t think it’s possible to overstate just how much we mean to Him.
But it’s also not possible to just write the words – you matter to God – and have you instantly believe them. I wrote a piece called Pop Tart Christians that went into what it takes to truly follow Jesus, even after finally starting the journey to become a Christian. Heck – I’m retired and still learning, still growing, and still trying to be a better follower.
In closing, I do want to leave you with one final thought. A thought from David, in the Old Testament. He was a Shepherd. Then a King. Ultimately Jesus was a descendant of his. Here’s what he said about God and us little humans.
For the director of music. According to gittith. A psalm of David.
Ps 8:1 O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
above the heavens.
Ps 8:2 From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
Ps 8:3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
Ps 8:4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
Ps 8:5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
Ps 8:6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
you put everything under his feet:
Ps 8:7 all flocks and herds,
and the beasts of the field,
Ps 8:8 the birds of the air,
and the fish of the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.
Ps 8:9 O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
So – who do you think man is? And how much do you think we, including you, mean to God?
And – why would you want it any other way than what you just read? Any way other than our Creator cares so much for each and every one of us?
Image by Alexandra Haynak from Pixabay