Zev Porat

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A Perspective on Humanity: Genesis 1:26-28

By James Christopher Powell

A simple search of "ISIS" in any internet search engine will yield a seemingly never-ending list of news articles dedicated to the terrorist regime. These articles contain reports of military actions against ISIS, reports of strongholds, as well as reports of the regime's well- documented treatment of prisoners. By now most of the world is familiar with the pictures and videos that depict ISIS barbarically decapitating individuals, burning victims alive, and literally torturing people to death. Many sources have also reported how ISIS has a well-established sex slave trade industry saturated with women from areas captured by the group. In short one can gather the understanding that ISIS has no regard for human life—especially if that life so much as thinks about standing in the path of this tyrannical organization. However, the same devaluing of human life can be seen through the reign of Hitler and Nazi Germany, through the African slave trade, and even through the abortion holocaust of today. Take away one's status as a human being and a person becomes the subject of annihilation and scientific experiments under Hitler's power or they become the focus of forced labor in the slave trade or the substance of eradication in abortion.

Aside from the Holy Word of God all the atrocities mentioned above are perfectly acceptable. Without an understanding of the unique status given to humanity by God our world will continue to face brutalities by humankind directed at fellow humankind. God's Word defines human life as a unique creation reserved for honor and a special place—a place above the rest of creation. Genesis 1:26-28 tells us that God values human life. He valued humanity enough to make man in His own image (v. 26-27). He valued humanity in such a way that He gave humanity a special position above the rest of creation as a ruler to subdue the creation in which he resided (v.26, 28). He valued humankind enough to give humanity the ability and the charge to increase in number (v. 28). Moreover God valued and loved human life enough to redeem humanity from the curse of sin through Jesus Christ's death on the cross (Romans 5:8). What more evidence does one need to conclude that God values human life? God created life, sustained life, and redeemed human life; God is a champion of human life.

Thus my perspective and the perspective of any who claim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is to value human life as God values human life. That is to value the life of each individual human as created for a special purpose and function with the ability to accept the saving grace offered through Jesus Christ. Now, you may be saying to yourself, "I do not support ISIS terrorizing innocent people" or, "I do not agree with the action of the slave trade and Hitler." However, the moment one human degrades another in any capacity or the moment one person thinks himself as better, superior or greater than another human this is the moment where the individual doing the degrading has declared the subject of degradation as inferior and thus not worthy of the rights that accompany humanity. Therefore if God values humankind then the prevailing attitude should be that one values every human life regardless of the benefit it brings to oneself.

This perspective on human life should show itself in the daily actions of Christians but it should bring hope to all individuals. When you interact with people in your work place you should speak to people as though they are a valued creation in need of salvation through Jesus Christ. When you interact with your spouse and/or children you speak to them and you treat them as the valued creation of God Almighty. However, this biblical perspective of humanity should give hope to those degraded by society and culture; those put-down and beat-down because of their lack of ability to benefit society as a whole or those swept aside because they do not measure up to the status quo of mainstream society. The hope is this: you are not worthless because God Almighty created you. God created you for a purpose. Chiefly that purpose is to have an intimate relationship with Him through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. To participate in this relationship you must realize that God is holy and you are separated from God because you are sinful but the provision for your sin was made through Jesus Christ's death on the cross. Jesus came to earth and paid the price for your sin so that if you accept Him, Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior you will be saved (Romans 10:9). God valued you enough to create you and offer you salvation and in the eyes of God you are valuable and loved.

James Christopher Powell has served as assistant minister in Northwest Florida for ten years. 
He studies at The Baptist College of Florida where he is working on a Master's degree in Christians Studies.
He married his wife Jennifer in March 2014. 

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