“The man here tells us a truth that is awful – we baptise ourselves with names that are far from the only truth about ourselves.”
One of life’s biggest question’s is who are we? What does it mean to be human? What is our purpose in life? What is the meaning to all of this? Essential questions, unfortunately, not quickly answered.
The Scriptures tell a story about us that starts on the first few pages of this ancient book. Humanity is made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26), from the dust of the ground, from the breath of God’s nostrils (Genesis 2:7), and from one another (Genesis 2:22). Humans were created to be like God and relate to Him by ruling over God’s creation. They were created with a connection to the earth as they were to cultivate and protect it (Genesis 2:15). Finally, they were created from one another as it is not good for anyone to be alone (Genesis 2:18). In Genesis 3, we became something less than human as we failed to be like God, and we allowed the serpent to rule over us. We became less than human as we failed to protect the Garden from evil. Then, we failed in our relationship with one another as we immediately turned to blame one another for our mistakes.
At the Fall, something happened to humanity where we lost our identity. We don’t know who we are anymore, we don’t really understand what we’re meant to be doing because of that loss of self. So in an attempt to recover our lost sense of self, we grab anything that seems to offer an answer to the big question “who are we?” A lot of us, at least in the West, have bought into the modern cultural meta-narratives of capitalism, scientism, gender equality, and probably dozens of ideas I can’t really think of right now. Why? Because even those these in and of themselves aren’t bad, these things help us make sense of who we are yet never really give us the complete picture. Each little story or philosophical idea makes us feel safe for just a fleeting moment. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much science discovers, whether we find peace in the Middle East or if climate change is solved tomorrow, we’d still end up feeling sense of restlessness and loss of who we’re truly meant to be.
The Bible tells us that because we’re incapable of being human ourselves, God has to send someone who can fix that problem for us. Jesus is the perfect human. He was truly human in that He was completely like God (Colossians 1:15) He ruled over the serpent and evil (Matthew 4:1-11). He loved God and others as Himself (Matthew 22:36-40), even His enemies (Matthew 5:44). So as we’re united to Christ by His Spirit, we start to recover a real sense of who we’re all meant to be (I’m thinking the beatitudes here as an example). It’s only in Jesus that we truly begin our journey on becoming truly human, which will culminate in glory.