I shouldn’t have been too surprised to discover that this post on how we need Christ needed more explanation. I’m actually pleased to have this occasion arise; it gives me a chance to reflect on what Christ has done for us in the past, and what he does for us still.
The objection doctor(logic) raised began:
The thing that bugs me about this is that it’s so anti-humanistic. Humility I can understand, but, to me, this is perverse.
When people achieve difficult objectives, they ought to get credit for doing so.
I hate the way Christianity tells people they’re nothing, makes them feel bad, then offers them a convenient promise to soothe their soul. And to top it off, Christianity takes credit for any success those people have at solving their own problems.
To address this adequately we have to begin with some background on who we are and where we come from. It begins, naturally enough, in Genesis. The first mention of humans is in Genesis 1:26-31:
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. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.
And God said, Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food. And it was so.
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Two initial observations: First, God is Creator. God is preeminent. God decided, and one result of God’s decision was humankind. It’s not the other way around. Humility before God, recognizing that He is Master, Creator, and Lord, is just recognizing reality.
Second, humans are significant nevertheless. God created us in His image. In this passage we see him blessing the first humans and giving them significant responsibility. In Genesis 2 God gives them moral significance by providing them with choices that matter. He seems almost solicitous toward Adam’s need for a suitable companion. There is real relationship there: even though “God is love” has not yet been articulated, His love toward humans is already evident.
Genesis 3:8-9 tells of God walking in the Garden. This is God’s condescending to them, allowing Himself to be apparent among them in a form or manner to which they can relate. It seems likely that He did this regularly, for they were expecting Him. This time, though, they hid from Him. More on that in the next post, but for now we can take note again of God’s personal interaction with them.
Anti-humanistic? In the Bible, humans certainly do not have the highest and most exalted place of all. We >do have the highest and most exalted place among created things, though. God is love, and his love is especially directed towards humans. (We won’t go into it here, but in Hebrews we learn that humans’ position is even higher than angels’.)
This is just a start, but it’s a necessary one for what will follow, as we continue later to look at what Christ does for us.
Part of a Series: What Christ Does For Us
Related: How To Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions — a post that elicited a short question, to which I’m writing a long answer