walk in the word
5When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground—7then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. —Genesis 2:5-8
In the Bible, Genesis 2:7 calls what makes us unique ruach ( ??? ), “spirit,” or the “breath of life.” It is what the Creator breathed into humanity that distinguishes us from all other living things. It’s why you know deep inside that you are not an animal and didn’t come from one. Even biological and physiological studies demonstrate clear separation between humans and animals. A 2005 study in Trends in Cognitive Sciences claims, “Humans have more cortical neurons than other mammals . . . The outstanding intelligence of humans appears to result from a combination and enhancement of properties not found in non-human primates, such as theory of mind, imitation and language.” Other studies have noted the differences between the “emotional center” of the brain in humans and animals.
Even the secularist is compelled to admit scientifically that there are fundamental differences between human beings and animals. A complexity and consistency of emotion, the existence of conscience, and the capacity for empathy are just a few of the differences science might attribute to evolutionary advancement but acknowledges as real nonetheless. Every discussion of the nature of man or meaning, or ministry, must begin with this reality: humans are unique among the living in that there is in the center of each of us a hunger for something that the experiences of this planet cannot satisfy—a quest for eternity.
No wonder, in Psalm 139, when David is pondering the connection between his life and his Lord that he is awed by the intimate way God had designed him: “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (v.14). Think about that last little phrase, “my soul knows it very well.” The whole idea of knowing, not just as accumulated facts in our minds, but the kind of personal intimacy and relationship that knowing refers to reminds us of the unique relationship that our Creator offers to us alone among His creatures (see Jeremiah 9:23-24). God created you with the intention of knowing and loving you for all eternity. Doesn’t that push you toward knowing and loving Him better and better each day?
Prayer – Heavenly Father, along with David, I confess to be awed by the fact that You have fearfully and wonderfully designed me. Thank You not only for my complexity, but also for the comfort and hope that You never cease to understand me. You wired me and watch over me in love. Thank You for the amazing cost You bore to preserve me and restore me to fellowship with You. In Jesus’ name, who paid my sin-debt, Amen.
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