Did you ever stop to think about this term? Sometimes we use it as a way to say that a person is completely crazy. Sometimes it’s used to infer that a person is impossibly greater than the normal average guy. Sometimes we use it to refer to someone without any sense of compassion or caring. It’s also interesting that when we mess up, one of the first excuses that we learn to deflect our responsibility in the failure is to say “well, I’m only human” or when someone makes a major mistake – “don’t judge, they’re only human”. How much do we really think about humanity and what it means to be human?
In Genesis, God says that man was made in his own image, in the image of God, Adam and Eve were created. They were made to worship God and they were fully capable to do it. They were made to love each other in perfect love and yet in just a couple chapters they had made a “mistake”. This is another word that our world likes to use when talking about “humans”. We make “mistakes”, we don’t really like to talk about sin, because that implies a personal and profound deficit in the account of our human morality. But the reality of it is we sin… we miss the mark that God has set, we fail to reach the bar because of that first sin. We’re not just “mistakers” we’re sinners and it is that sin that makes us less human.
NT Wright put it this way – “worshiping God makes us more truly human. You discover more of what it means to be fully alive. Conversely, when you give that same total worship to anything or anyone else, you shrink as a human being… you may feel a brief high, but when the effect is over, you are less of a human being than you were to begin with. That is the price of idolatry.” (From Simply Christian). “I’m only human”, biblically that would be a compliment, made in the image of God, but in this world what we really mean by it is “I’m just a sinner”. Sin makes us Less Human, in fact it makes us dead – we see it in ourselves and in the world around us… it is the world, it is the individual, who runs away from true life, in pursuit of an inhuman one and we cannot by ourselves change this course on our own.
It would be a sad day if we were left to that reality, after all, it’s really what hell is all about. A place devoid of the presence of God, filled with people who have become fully inhuman. But that’s not where he left us. Jesus said in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” While we could not follow God with all our heart, Jesus did. His death/resurrection/ascension not only frees us from the curse of sin (death), but allows us to experience true life in this world with the hope of a full life in heaven. It allows us the capacity for peace through Christ by the forgiveness he gives by his Grace when the world around us becomes inhuman. Not because of anything we do to earn good standing back, but all because of Jesus, true human and true God. It’s a wonderfully simple and exceedingly deep story that will rock our world – that we life is living out our worship of this God and in doing so experience the life as a human that he intends. Not perfectly on earth, but a glimpse of what heaven will be, fully human, fully alive.