Questions About Humanity People are Really Asking: The TOP Most Frequently Asked Questions About Humanity
Have Questions, Find Answers on Otakada.org – About Humanity people are really asking – Daily, people turn to the Internet to find answers to their questions about spiritual matters. Topics related to spirituality are the second-most searched subjects online. Sadly, websites that present false teachings far outnumber those that proclaim the truth of God’s Word. We will provide answers as the Holy Spirit leads us from a biblical perspective. You will also need to pray to secure answers to any question you may have because one of the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to lead us into all truth – John 16:13. Today, we look at Questions About humanity people are really asking and questions that relate to this with biblical answers.. Enjoy
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But before we answer questions about humanity, hereunder is the most important question that has to do with your eternal destiny with answer for your necessary action:
Question: What does it mean to accept Jesus as your personal Savior?
Answer: Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? To properly understand this question, you must first understand the terms “Jesus Christ,” “personal,” and “Savior.”
Who is Jesus Christ? Many people will acknowledge Jesus Christ as a good man, a great teacher, or even a prophet of God. These things are definitely true of Jesus, but they do not fully define who He truly is. The Bible tells us that Jesus is God in the flesh, God in human form (see John 1:1, 14). God came to earth to teach us, heal us, correct us, forgive us—and die for us! Jesus Christ is God, the Creator, the sovereign Lord. Have you accepted this Jesus?
What is a Savior, and why do we need a Savior? The Bible tells us that we have all sinned; we have all committed evil acts (Romans 3:10-18). As a result of our sin, we deserve God’s anger and judgment. The only just punishment for sins committed against an infinite and eternal God is an infinite punishment (Romans 6:23; Revelation 20:11-15). That is why we need a Savior!
Jesus Christ came to earth and died in our place. Jesus’ death was an infinite payment for our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins (Romans 5:8). Jesus paid the price so that we would not have to. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead proved that His death was sufficient to pay the penalty for our sins. That is why Jesus is the one and only Savior (John 14:6; Acts 4:12)! Are you trusting in Jesus as your Savior?
Is Jesus your “personal” Savior? Many people view Christianity as attending church, performing rituals, and/or not committing certain sins. That is not Christianity. True Christianity is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Accepting Jesus as your personal Savior means placing your own personal faith and trust in Him. No one is saved by the faith of others. No one is forgiven by doing certain deeds. The only way to be saved is to personally accept Jesus as your Savior, trusting in His death as the payment for your sins and His resurrection as your guarantee of eternal life (John 3:16). Is Jesus personally your Savior?
If you want to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, say the following words to God. Remember, saying this prayer or any other prayer will not save you. Only believing in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross for you can save you from sin. This prayer is simply a way to express to God your faith
in Him and thank Him for providing for your salvation. “God, I know that I have sinned against You and deserve punishment. But I believe Jesus Christ took the punishment I deserve so that through faith in Him I could be forgiven. I receive Your offer of forgiveness and place my trust in You for salvation. I accept Jesus as my personal Savior! Thank You for Your wonderful grace and forgiveness— the gift of eternal life! Amen!”
Now, Top Questions About Humanity People are Really Asking:
What does it mean that man is made in the image of God?
Do we have two or three parts? Are we body, soul, and spirit – or – body, soul-spirit? What is the difference between the soul and spirit of man?
Why did the people in Genesis live such long lives?
What is the origin of the different races?
What does the Bible say about racism, prejudice, and discrimination?
Is there an age limit to how long we can live?
Are only Christians God’s children?
How should Christians view human cloning?
What does the Bible say about cremation? Should Christians be cremated?
What does the Bible say about euthanasia?
What does it mean that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)?
Do human beings truly have a free will?
Does everyone have a “God-shaped hole”?
Can man live without God?
How are human souls created?
Is the human soul mortal or immortal?
Why did God create us?
Question: What does it mean that man is made in the image of God?
Answer: On the last day of creation, God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). Thus, He finished His work with a “personal touch.” God formed man from the dust and gave him life by sharing His own breath (Genesis 2:7). Accordingly, man is unique among all God’s creations, having both a material body and an immaterial soul/spirit.
Having the “image” or “likeness” of God means, in the simplest terms, that we were made to resemble God. Adam did not resemble God in the sense of God’s having flesh and blood. Scripture says that “God is spirit” (John 4:24) and therefore exists without a body. However, Adam’s body did mirror the life of God insofar as it was created in perfect health and was not subject to death.
The image of God refers to the immaterial part of man. It sets man apart from the animal world, fits him for the dominion God intended him to have over the earth (Genesis 1:28), and enables him to commune with his Maker. It is a likeness mentally, morally, and socially.
Mentally, man was created as a rational, volitional agent. In other words, man can reason and man can choose. This is a reflection of God’s intellect and freedom. Anytime someone invents a machine, writes a book, paints a landscape, enjoys a symphony, calculates a sum, or names a pet, he or she is proclaiming the fact that we are made in God’s image.
Morally, man was created in righteousness and perfect innocence, a reflection of God’s holiness. God saw all He had made (mankind included) and called it “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Our conscience or “moral compass” is a vestige of that original state. Whenever someone writes a law, recoils from evil, praises good behavior, or feels guilty, he is confirming the fact that we are made in God’s own image.
Socially, man was created for fellowship. This reflects God’s triune nature and His love. In Eden, man’s primary relationship was with God (Genesis 3:8 implies fellowship with God), and God made the first woman because “it is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). Every time someone marries, makes a friend, hugs a child, or attends church, he is demonstrating the fact that we are made in the likeness of God.
Part of being made in God’s image is that Adam had the capacity to make free choices. Although he was given a righteous nature, Adam made an evil choice to rebel against his Creator. In so doing, Adam marred the image of God within himself, and he passed that damaged likeness on to all his descendants (Romans 5:12). Today, we still bear the image of God (James 3:9), but we also bear the scars of sin. Mentally, morally, socially, and physically, we show the effects of sin.
The good news is that when God redeems an individual, He begins to restore the original image of God, creating a “new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). That redemption is only available by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior from the sin that separates us from God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Through Christ, we are made new creations in the likeness of God (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Question: Do we have two or three parts? Are we body, soul, and spirit – or – body, soul-spirit?
Answer: Genesis 1:26-27 indicates that there is something that makes humanity distinct from all the other creations. Human beings were intended to have a relationship with God, and as such, God created us with both material and immaterial parts. The material is obviously that which is tangible: the physical body, bones, organs, etc., and exists as long as the person is alive. The immaterial aspects are those which are intangible: soul, spirit, intellect, will, conscience, etc. These exist beyond the physical lifespan of the individual.
All human beings possess both material and immaterial characteristics. It is clear that all mankind has a body containing flesh, blood, bones, organs, and cells. However, it is the intangible qualities of mankind that are often debated. What does Scripture say about these? Genesis 2:7 states that man was created as a living soul. Numbers 16:22 names God as the “God of the spirits” that are possessed by all mankind. Proverbs 4:23 tells us, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life,” indicating that the heart is central to man’s will and emotions. Acts 23:1 says, “Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, £My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.’” Here Paul refers to the conscience, that part of the mind that convicts us of right and wrong. Romans 12:2 states, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” These verses, and numerous others, refer to the various aspects of the immaterial part of humanity. We all share both material and immaterial qualities.
So, Scripture outlines far more than just soul and spirit. Somehow, the soul, spirit, heart, conscience, and mind are connected and interrelated. The soul and spirit, though, definitely are the primary immaterial aspects of humanity. They likely comprise the other aspects. With this is mind, is humanity dichotomous (cut in two, body/soul-spirit), or trichotomous (cut in three, body/soul/spirit). It is impossible to be dogmatic. There are good arguments for both views. A key verse is Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” This verse tells us at least two things about this debate. The soul and spirit can be divided, and the division of soul and spirit is something that only God can discern. Rather than focusing on something we cannot know for sure, it is better to focus on the Creator, who has made us “fearfully and wonderfully” (Psalm 139:14).
Question: What is the difference between the soul and spirit of man?
Answer: The soul and the spirit are the two primary immaterial aspects that Scripture ascribes to humanity. It can be confusing to attempt to discern the precise differences between the two. The word “spirit” refers only to the immaterial facet of humanity. Human beings have a spirit, but are we not spirits. However, in Scripture, only believers are said to be spiritually alive (1 Corinthians 2:11; Hebrews 4:12; James 2:26), while unbelievers are spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-5; Colossians 2:13). In Paul’s writing, the spiritual was pivotal to the life of the believer (1 Corinthians 2:14; 3:1; Ephesians 1:3; 5:19; Colossians 1:9; 3:16). The spirit is the element in humanity which gives us the ability to have an intimate relationship with God. Whenever the word “spirit” is used, it refers to the immaterial part of humanity that “connects” with God, who Himself is spirit (John 4:24).
The word “soul” can refer to both the immaterial and material aspects of humanity. Unlike human beings having a spirit, human beings are souls. In its most basic sense, the word “soul” means “life.” However, beyond this essential meaning, the Bible speaks of the soul in many contexts. One of these is humanity’s eagerness to sin (Luke 12:26). Humanity is naturally evil, and our souls are tainted as a result. The life principle of the soul is removed at the time of physical death (Genesis 35:18; Jeremiah 15:2). The soul, as with the spirit, is the center of many spiritual and emotional experiences (Job 30:25; Psalm 43:5; Jeremiah 13:17). Whenever the word “soul” is used, it can refer to the whole person, whether alive or in the afterlife.
The soul and the spirit are connected, but separable (Hebrews 4:12). The soul is the essence of humanity’s being; it is who we are. The spirit is the aspect of humanity that connects with God.
Question: Why did the people in Genesis live such long lives?
Answer: It is somewhat of a mystery why people in early chapters of Genesis lived such long lives. There are many theories put forward by biblical scholars. The genealogy in Genesis 5 records the line of the godly descendants of Adam— the line that would eventually produce the Messiah. God possibly blessed this line with especially long life as a result of their godliness and obedience. While this is a possible explanation, the Bible nowhere specifically limits the long lifespans to the individuals mentioned in Genesis chapter 5. Further, other than Enoch, Genesis 5 does not identify any of the individuals as being especially godly. It is likely that everyone at that time period lived several hundred years. Several factors probably contributed to this.
Genesis 1:6-7 mentions the water above the expanse, a canopy of water that surrounded the earth. Such a water canopy would have created a greenhouse effect and would have blocked much of the radiation that now hits the earth. This would have resulted in ideal living conditions. Genesis 7:11 indicates that, at the time of the flood, the water canopy was poured out on the earth, ending the ideal living conditions. Compare the life spans before the flood (Genesis 5:1-32) with those after the flood (Genesis 11:10-32). Immediately after the flood, the ages decreased dramatically.
Another consideration is that in the first few generations after creation, the human genetic code had developed few defects. Adam and Eve were created perfect. They were surely highly resistant to disease and illness. Their descendants would have inherited these advantages, albeit to lesser degrees. Over time, as a result of sin, the human genetic code became increasingly corrupted, and human beings became more and more susceptible to death and disease. This would also have resulted in drastically reduced lifespans.
Question: What is the origin of the different races?
Answer: The Bible does not explicitly give us the origin of the different “races” or skin colors in humanity. In actuality, there is only one race—the human race. Within the human race is diversity in skin color and other physical characteristics. Some speculate that when God confused the languages at the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9), He also created racial diversity. It is possible that God made genetic changes to humanity to better enable people to survive in different ecologies, such as the darker skin of Africans being better equipped genetically to survive the excessive heat in Africa. According to this view, God confused the languages, causing humanity to segregate linguistically, and then created genetic racial differences based on where each racial group would eventually settle. While possible, there is no explicit biblical basis for this view. The races/skin colors of humanity are nowhere mentioned in connection with the tower of Babel.
After the flood, when the different languages came into existence, groups that spoke one language moved away with others of the same language. In doing so, the gene pool for a specific group shrank dramatically as the group no longer had the entire human population to mix with. Closer inbreeding took place, and in time certain features were emphasized in these different groups (all of which were present as a possibility in the genetic code). As further inbreeding occurred through the generations, the gene pool grew smaller and smaller, to the point that people of one language family all had the same or similar features.
Another explanation is that Adam and Eve possessed the genes to produce black, brown, and white offspring (and everything else in between). This would be similar to how a mixed-race couple sometimes has children that vary in color. Since God obviously desired humanity to be diverse in appearance, it makes sense that God would have given Adam and Eve the ability to produce children of different skin tones. Later, the only survivors of the flood were Noah and his wife, Noah’s three sons and their wives—eight people in all (Genesis 7:13). Perhaps Noah’s daughters-in-law were of different races. It is also possible that Noah’s wife was of a different race than Noah. Maybe all eight of them were of mixed race, which would mean they possessed the genetics to produce children of different races. Whatever the explanation, the most important aspect of this question is that we are all the same race, all created by the same God, all created for the same purpose—to glorify Him.
Question: What does the Bible say about racism, prejudice, and discrimination?
Answer: The first thing to understand in this discussion is that there is only one race—the human race. Caucasians, Africans, Asians, Indians, Arabs, and Jews are not different races. Rather, they are different ethnicities of the human race. All human beings have the same physical characteristics (with minor variations, of course). More importantly, all human beings are created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27). God loved the world so much that He sent Jesus to lay down His life for us (John 3:16). The “world” obviously includes all ethnic groups.
God does not show partiality or favoritism (Deuteronomy 10:17; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9), and neither should we. James 2:4 describes those who discriminate as “judges with evil thoughts.” Instead, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves (James 2:8). In the Old Testament, God divided humanity into two “racial” groups: Jews and Gentiles. God’s intent was for the Jews to be a kingdom of priests, ministering to the Gentile nations. Instead, for the most part, the Jews became proud of their status and despised the Gentiles. Jesus Christ put an end to this, destroying the dividing wall of hostility (Ephesians 2:14). All forms of racism, prejudice, and discrimination are affronts to the work of Christ on the cross.
Jesus commands us to love one another as He loves us (John 13:34). If God is impartial and loves us with impartiality, then we need to love others with that same high standard. Jesus teaches in Matthew 25 that whatever we do to the least of His brothers, we do to Him. If we treat a person with contempt, we are mistreating a person created in God’s image; we are hurting somebody whom God loves and for whom Jesus died.
Racism, in varying forms and to various degrees, has been a plague on humanity for thousands of years. Brothers and sisters of all ethnicities, this should not be. Victims of racism, prejudice, and discrimination need to forgive. Ephesians 4:32 declares, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Racists may not deserve your forgiveness, but we deserved God’s forgiveness far less. Those who practice racism, prejudice, and discrimination need to repent. “Present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Romans 6:13). May Galatians 3:28 be completely realized, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Question: Is there an age limit to how long we can live?
Answer: Many people understand Genesis 6:3 to be a 120-year age limit on humanity, “Then the LORD said, ‘My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.’” However, Genesis chapter 11 records several people living past the age of 120. As a result, some interpret Genesis 6:3 to mean that, as a general rule, people will no longer live past 120 years of age. After the flood, the life spans began to shrink dramatically (compare Genesis 5 with Genesis 11) and eventually shrank to below 120 (Genesis 11:24). Since that time, very few people have lived past 120 years old.
However, another interpretation, which seems to be more in keeping with the context, is that Genesis 6:3 is God’s declaration that the flood would occur 120 years from His pronouncement. Humanity’s days being ended is a reference to humanity itself being destroyed in the flood. Some dispute this interpretation due to the fact that God commanded Noah to build the ark when Noah was 500 years old in Genesis 5:32 and Noah was 600 years old when the flood came (Genesis 7:6); only giving 100 years of time, not 120 years. However, the timing of God’s pronouncement of Genesis 6:3 is not given. Further, Genesis 5:32 is not the time that God commanded Noah to build the Ark, but rather the age Noah was when he became the father of his three sons. It is perfectly plausible that God determined the flood to occur in 120 years and then waited several years before He commanded Noah to build the ark. Whatever the case, the 100 years between Genesis 5:32 and 7:6 in no way contradicts the 120 years mentioned in Genesis 6:3.
Several hundred years after the flood, Moses declared, “The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10). Neither Genesis 6:3 nor Psalm 90:10 are God-ordained age limits for humanity. Genesis 6:3 is a prediction of the timetable for the flood. Psalm 90:10 is simply stating that as a general rule, people live 70-80 years (which is still true today).
Question: Are only Christians God’s children?
Answer: The Bible is clear that all people are God’s creation (Colossians 1:16), and that God loves the entire world (John 3:16), but only those who are born again are children of God (John 1:12; 11:52; Romans 8:16; 1 John 3:1-10).
In Scripture, the lost are never referred to as children of God. Ephesians 2:3 tells us that before we were saved we were “by nature objects of wrath.” Romans 9:8 says that “it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.” Instead of being born as God’s children, we are born in sin, which separates us from God and aligns us with Satan as God’s enemy (James 4:4; 1 John 3:8). Jesus said, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me” (John 8:42). Then a few verses later in John 8:44, Jesus told the Pharisees that they “belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire.” The fact that those who are not saved are not children of God is also seen in 1 John 3:10: “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.”
We become children of God when we are saved because we are adopted into God’s family through our relationship with Jesus Christ (Galatians 4:5-6; Ephesians 1:5). This can be clearly seen in verses like Romans 8:14-17: “… because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs —heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Those who are saved are children “of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26) because God has “predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will” (Ephesians 1:5).
Question: How should Christians view human cloning?
Answer: While the Bible does not specifically deal with the subject of human cloning, there are principles in Scripture which may shed more light on the concept. Cloning requires both DNA and embryo cells. First, DNA is removed from the nucleus of a creature’s cell. The material, bearing coded genetic information, is then placed in the nucleus of an embryonic cell. The cell receiving the new genetic information would have had its own DNA removed in order to accept the new DNA. If the cell accepts the new DNA, a duplicate embryo is formed. However, the embryo cell may reject the new DNA and die. Also, it is very possible that the embryo may not survive having the original genetic material removed from its nucleus. In many cases, when cloning is attempted, several embryos are used in order to increase the odds of a successful implantation of new genetic material. While it is possible for a duplicate creature to be created in this manner (for example, Dolly the sheep), the chances of successfully duplicating a creature without variations, and without complication, are extremely slim.
The Christian view of the process of human cloning can be stated in light of several scriptural principles. First, human beings are created in the image of God and, therefore, are unique. Genesis 1:26-27 asserts that man is created in God’s image and likeness and is unique among all creations. Clearly, human life is something to be valued and not treated like a commodity to be bought and sold. Some people have promoted human cloning for the purpose of creating replacement organs for people in need of transplants who cannot find a suitable donor. The thinking is that to take one’s own DNA and create a duplicate organ composed of that DNA would greatly reduce the chances of organ rejection. While this may be true, the problem is that doing so cheapens human life. The process of cloning requires human embryos to be used. While cells can be generated to make new organs, it is necessary to kill several embryos to obtain the required DNA. In essence the cloning would “throw away” many human embryos as “waste material,” eliminating the chance for those embryos to grow into full maturity.
Many people believe that life does not begin at conception with the formation of the embryo, and therefore embryos are not really human beings. The Bible teaches differently. Psalm 139:13-16 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” The writer, David, declares that he was known personally by God before he was born, meaning that at his conception he was a human being with a God- ordained future.
Further, Isaiah 49:1-5 speaks of God calling Isaiah to his ministry as a prophet while he was still in his mother’s womb. Also, John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit while he was still in the womb (Luke 1:15). All of this points to the Bible’s stand on life beginning at conception. In light of this, human cloning, with its destruction of human embryos, would not be consistent with the Bible’s view of human life.
In addition, if humanity was created, then there must be a Creator, and humanity is therefore subject and accountable to that Creator. Although popular thinking—secular psychology and humanistic thought—would have one believe that man is accountable to no one but himself and that man is the ultimate authority, the Bible teaches differently. God created man and gave him responsibility over the earth (Genesis 1:28-29, 9:1-2). With this responsibility comes accountability to God. Man is not the ultimate authority over himself, and he is therefore not in a position to make decisions about the value of human life. Neither, then, is science the authority by which the ethics of human cloning, abortion, or euthanasia are decided. According to the Bible, God is the only one who rightfully exercises sovereign control over human life. To attempt to control such things is to place oneself in God’s position. Clearly, man is not to do this.
If we view man as simply another creature and not as the unique creation he is, it is not difficult to see human beings as mere mechanisms needing maintenance and repair. But we are not just a collection of molecules and chemicals. The Bible teaches that God created each of us and has a specific plan for each of us. Further, He seeks a personal relationship with each of us through His Son, Jesus Christ. While there are aspects of human cloning which may seem beneficial, mankind has no control over where cloning technology may go. It is foolish to assume that only good intentions will direct the utilization of cloning. Man is not in a position to exercise the responsibility or judgment that would be required to govern the cloning of human beings.
A frequent question is whether a cloned human being, assuming that human cloning is one day successful, would have a soul. Genesis 2:7 says, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Here is the description of God creating a living, human soul. Souls are what we are, not what we have (1 Corinthians 15:45). The question is what kind of living soul would be created by human cloning? That is not a question that can be conclusively answered. It seems, though, that if a human being were successfully cloned, the clone would be just as much of a human being, including having an eternal soul, as any other human being.
Question: What does the Bible say about cremation? Should Christians be cremated?
Answer: The Bible does not give any specific teaching about cremation. There are occurrences in the Old Testament of people being burned to death (1 Kings 16:18; 2 Kings 21:6) and of human bones being burned (2 Kings 23:16-20), but these are not examples of cremation. It is interesting to note that in 2 Kings 23:16-20, burning human bones on an altar desecrated the altar. At the same time, the Old Testament law nowhere commands that a deceased human body not be burned, nor does it attach any curse or judgment on someone who is cremated.
Cremation was practiced in biblical times, but it was not commonly practiced by the Israelites or by New Testament believers. In the cultures of Bible times, burial in a tomb, cave, or in the ground was the common way to dispose of a human body (Genesis 23:19; 35:4; 2 Chronicles 16:14; Matthew 27:60-66). While burial was the common practice, the Bible nowhere commands burial as the only allowed method of disposing of a body.
Is cremation something a Christian can consider? Again, there is no explicit scriptural command against cremation. Some believers object to the practice of cremation on the basis it does not recognize that one day God will resurrect our bodies and reunite them with our soul/spirit (1 Corinthians 15:35-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:16). However, the fact that a body has been cremated does not make it any more difficult for God to resurrect that body. The bodies of Christians who died a thousand years ago have, by now, completely turned into dust. This will in no way prevent God from being able to resurrect their bodies. He created them in the first place; He will have no difficulty recreating them. Cremation does nothing but “expedite” the process of turning a body into dust. God is equally able to raise a person’s remains that have been cremated as He is the remains of a person who was not cremated. The question of burial or cremation is within the realm of Christian freedom. A person or a family considering this issue should pray for wisdom (James 1:5) and follow the conviction that results.
Question: What does the Bible say about euthanasia?
Answer: Euthanasia can be a very difficult issue. There are two sides that are difficult to balance. On one end, we do not want to take a person’s life into our own hands and end it prematurely. On the other end, at what point do we simply allow a person to die and take no further action to preserve life?
The overriding truth that drives the conclusion that God is opposed to euthanasia is His sovereignty. We know that physical death is inevitable (Psalm 89:48; Hebrews 9:27). However, God alone is sovereign over when and how a person’s death occurs. Job testifies in Job 30:23, “I know you will bring me down to death, to the place appointed for all the living.” Ecclesiastes 8:8a declares, “No man has power over the wind to contain it; so no one has power over the day of his death.” God has the final say over death (see also 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54-56; Hebrews 2:9, 14-15; Revelation 21:4). Euthanasia is man’s way of trying to usurp that authority from God.
Death is a natural occurrence. Sometimes God allows a person to suffer for a long time before death occurs; other times, the person’s suffering is cut short. No one enjoys suffering, but that does not make it right to determine that a person is ready to die. Often God’s purposes are made known through a person’s suffering. “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other…” (Ecclesiastes 7:14). Romans 5:3 teaches that tribulations bring about perseverance. God cares about those who are crying out for death to end their suffering. God gives purpose to life even to the end. Only God knows what is best, and His timing, even in the matter of one’s death, is perfect.
At the same time, the Bible does not command us to do everything we can to keep a person alive. If a person is being kept alive only by machines, it is not immoral to turn off the machines and allow the person to die. If a person has been in a persistent vegetative state for a prolonged period of time, it would not be an offense to God to remove whatever tubes/machines that are keeping the person’s body alive. Should God desire to keep a person alive, He is perfectly capable of doing so without the help of feeding tubes and/or machines.
Making a decision like this one is very difficult and painful. It is never easy to tell a doctor to end the life support of a loved one. We should never seek to prematurely end a life, but at the same time, neither do we have to go to extraordinary means to preserve a life. The best advice to anyone facing this decision is to pray to God for wisdom (James 1:5).
Question: What does it mean that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)?
Answer: Psalm 139:14 declares, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” The context of this verse is the incredible nature of our physical bodies. The human body is the most complex and unique organism in the world, and that complexity and uniqueness speaks volumes about the mind of its Creator. Every aspect of the body, down to the tiniest microscopic cell, reveals that it is fearfully and wonderfully made.
Engineers understand how to design strong yet light beams by putting the strong material toward the outside edges of a cross-section and filling the inside with lighter, weaker material. This is done because the greatest amounts of stress occur on the surfaces of a structure when handling common bending or stresses. A cross section of a human bone reveals that the strong material is on the outside and the inside is used as a factory for blood cells of various kinds. When you examine a sophisticated camera with its ability to let in more or less light as needed and its ability to focus automatically over a vast range of field, you find repeated imitations of the operation of the human eye. And yet, having two eyeballs, we also have depth perception which gives us the ability to judge how far away an object is.
The human brain is also an amazing organ, fearfully and wonderfully made. It has the ability to learn, reason, and control so many automatic functions of the body such as heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing, and to maintain balance to walk, run, stand, and sit, all while concentrating on something else. Computers can outdo the human brain in raw calculating power but are primitive when it comes to performing most reasoning tasks. The brain also has an amazing ability to adapt. In an experiment, when people put on glasses that made the world seem upside down, their brains quickly reinterpreted the information they were being given to perceive the world as “right-side-up.” When others were blindfolded for long periods of time, the “vision center” of the brain soon began to be used for other functions. When people move to a house near a railroad, soon the sound of the trains is filtered out by their brains, and they lose conscious thought of the noise.
When it comes to miniaturization, the human body is also a marvel fearfully and wonderfully made. For instance, information needed for the replication of an entire human body, with every detail covered, is stored in the double-helix DNA strand found in the nucleus of each of the billions of cells in the human body. And the system of information and control represented by our nervous system is amazingly compact in comparison to man’s clumsy inventions of wires and optical cables. Each cell, once called a “simple” cell, is a tiny factory not yet fully understood by man. As microscopes become more and more powerful, the incredible vistas of the human cell begin to come into focus.
Consider the single fertilized cell of a newly conceived human life. From that one cell within the womb develop all the different kinds of tissues, organs, and systems, all working together at just the right time in an amazingly coordinated process. An example is the hole in the septum between the two ventricles in the heart of the newborn infant. This hole closes up at exactly the right time during the birth process to allow for the oxygenation of the blood from the lungs, which does not occur while the baby is in the womb and is receiving oxygen through the umbilical cord.
Further, the body’s immune system is able to fight off so many enemies and restore itself from the smallest repair (even repairing bad portions of DNA) to the largest (mending bones and recovering from major accidents). Yes, there are diseases that will eventually overcome the body as we age, but we have no idea how many times through a lifetime that our immune systems have saved us from certain death.
The functions of the human body are also incredible. The ability to handle large, heavy objects and to also carefully manipulate a delicate object without breaking it is also amazing. We can shoot a bow with the arrow repeatedly hitting a distant target, peck away quickly at a computer keyboard without thinking about the keys, crawl, walk, run, twirl around, climb, swim, do somersaults and flips, and perform “simple” tasks such as unscrewing a light bulb, brushing our teeth, and lacing up our shoes—again without thinking. Indeed, these are “simple” things, but man has yet to design and program a robot that is able to perform such a vast range of tasks and motions.
The function of the digestive tract and the related organs, the longevity of the heart, the formation and function of nerves and of blood vessels, the cleansing of the blood through the kidneys, the complexity of the inner and middle ear, the sense of taste and smell, and so many other things we barely understand—each one is a marvel and beyond man’s ability to duplicate. Truly, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. How grateful we are to know the Creator—through His Son, Jesus Christ—and to marvel not only at His knowledge but also at His love (Psalm 139:17-24).
Question: Do human beings truly have a free will?
Answer: If “free will” means that God gives humans the opportunity to make choices that genuinely affect their destiny, then yes, human beings do have a free will. The world’s current sinful state is directly linked to choices made by Adam and Eve. God created mankind in His own image, and that included the ability to choose.
However, free will does not mean that mankind can do anything he pleases. Our choices are limited to what is in keeping with our nature. For example, a man may choose to walk across a bridge or not to walk across it; what he may not choose is to fly over the bridge—his nature prevents him from flying. In a similar way, a man cannot choose to make himself righteous—his (sin) nature prevents him from canceling his guilt (Romans 3:23). So, free will is limited by nature.
This limitation does not mitigate our accountability. The Bible is clear that we not only have the ability to choose, we also have the responsibility to choose wisely. In the Old Testament, God chose a nation (Israel), but individuals within that nation still bore an obligation to choose obedience to God. And individuals outside of Israel were able to choose to believe and follow God as well (e.g., Ruth and Rahab).
In the New Testament, sinners are commanded over and over to “repent” and “believe” (Matthew 3:2; 4:17; Acts 3:19; 1 John 3:23). Every call to repent is a call to choose. The command to believe assumes that the hearer can choose to obey the command.
Jesus identified the problem of some unbelievers when He told them, “You refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:40). Clearly, they could have come if they wanted to; their problem was they chose not to. “A man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:7), and those who are outside of salvation are “without excuse” (Romans 1:20-21).
But how can man, limited by a sin nature, ever choose what is good? It is only through the grace and power of God that free will truly becomes “free” in the sense of being able to choose salvation (John 15:16). It is the Holy Spirit who works in and through a person’s will to regenerate that person (John 1:12-13) and give him/her a new nature “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). Salvation is God’s work. At the same time, our motives, desires, and actions are voluntary, and we are rightly held responsible for them.
Question: Does everyone have a “God-shaped hole”?
Answer: The “God-shaped hole” concept states that every person has a void in his soul/spirit/life that can only be filled by God. The “God-shaped hole” is the innate longing of the human heart for something outside itself, something transcendent, something “other.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 refers to God’s placing of “eternity in man’s heart.” God made humanity for His eternal purpose, and only God can fulfill our desire for eternity. All religion is based on the innate desire to “connect” with God. This desire can only be fulfilled by God, and therefore can be likened to a “God-shaped hole.”
The problem, though, is that humanity ignores this hole or attempts to fill it with things other than God. Jeremiah 17:9 describes the condition of our hearts: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Solomon reiterates the same concept: “The hearts of men, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live…” (Ecclesiastes 9:3). The New Testament concurs: “The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so” (Romans 8:7). Romans 1:18-22 describes humanity ignoring what can be known about God, including presumably the “God-shaped hole,” and instead worshipping anything and everything other than God.
Sadly, too many spend their lives looking for something other than God to fill their longing for meaning—business, family, sports, etc. But in pursuing these things that are not eternal, they remain unfulfilled and wonder why their lives never seem satisfactory. There is no doubt that many people pursuing things other than God achieve a measure of “happiness” for a time. But when we consider Solomon, who had all the riches, success, esteem, and power in the world—in short, all that men seek after in this life—we see that none of it fulfilled the longing for eternity. He declared it all “vanity,” meaning that he sought after these things in vain because they did not satisfy. In the end he said, “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
Just as a square peg cannot fill a round hole, neither can the “God-shaped
hole” inside each of us be filled by anyone or anything other than God. Only through a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ can the “God-shaped hole” be filled and the desire for eternity fulfilled.
Question: Can man live without God?
Answer: Contrary to the claims of atheists and agnostics through the centuries, man cannot live without God. Man can have a mortal existence without acknowledging God, but not without the fact of God.
As the Creator, God originated human life. To say that man can exist apart from God is to say that a watch can exist without a watchmaker or a story can exist without a storyteller. We owe our being to the God in whose image we are made (Genesis 1:27). Our existence depends on God, whether we acknowledge His existence or not.
As the Sustainer, God continuously confers life (Psalm 104:10-32). He is life (John 14:6), and all creation is held together by the power of Christ (Colossians 1:17). Even those who reject God receive their sustenance from Him: “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45). To think that man can live without God is to suppose a sunflower can continue to live without light or a rose without water.
As the Savior, God gives eternal life to those who believe. In Christ is life, which is the light of men (John 1:4). Jesus came that we may have life “and have it to the full” (John 10:10). All who place their trust in Him are promised eternity with Him (John 3:15-16). For man to live—truly live—he must know Christ (John 17:3).
Without God, man has physical life only. God warned Adam and Eve that on the day they rejected Him they would “surely die” (Genesis 2:17). As we know, they did disobey, but they did not die physically that day; rather, they died spiritually. Something inside them died—the spiritual life they had known, the communion with God, the freedom to enjoy Him, the innocence and purity of their soul—it was all gone.
Adam, who had been created to live and fellowship with God, was cursed with a completely carnal existence. What God had intended to go from dust to glory now was to go from dust to dust. Just like Adam, the man without God today still functions in an earthly existence. Such a person may seem to be happy; after all, there is enjoyment and pleasure to be had in this life. But even those enjoyments and pleasures cannot be fully received without a relationship with God.
Some who reject God live lives of diversion and merriment. Their fleshly pursuits seem to yield a carefree and gratified existence. The Bible says there is a certain measure of delight to be had in sin (Hebrews 11:25). The problem is that it is temporary; life in this world is short (Psalm 90:3-12). Sooner or later, the hedonist, like the prodigal son in the parable, finds that worldly pleasure is unsustainable (Luke 15:13-15).
Not everyone who rejects God is an empty pleasure-seeker, however. There are many unsaved people who live disciplined, sober lives—happy and fulfilled lives, even. The Bible presents certain moral principles which will benefit anyone in this world—fidelity, honesty, self-control, etc. But, again, without God man has only this world. Getting smoothly through this life is no guarantee that we are ready for the afterlife. See the parable of the rich farmer in Luke 12:16-21 and Jesus’ exchange with the rich (but very moral) young man in Matthew 19:16-23.
Without God, man is unfulfilled, even in his mortal life. Man is not at peace with his fellow man because he is not at peace with himself. Man is restless with himself because he has no peace with God. The pursuit of pleasure for pleasure’s sake is a sign of inner turmoil. Pleasure seekers throughout history have found over and over that the temporary diversions of life give way to a deeper despair.
The nagging feeling that “something is wrong” is hard to shake off. King Solomon gave himself to a pursuit of all this world has to offer, and he recorded his findings in the book of Ecclesiastes.
Solomon discovered that knowledge, in and of itself, is futile (Ecclesiastes 1:12-18). He found that pleasure and wealth are futile (2:1-11), materialism is folly (2:12-23), and riches are fleeting (chapter 6).
Solomon concludes that life is God’s gift (3:12-13) and the only wise way to live is to fear God: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (12:13-14).
In other words, there is more to life than the physical dimension. Jesus stresses this point when He says, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Not bread (the physical) but God’s Word (the spiritual) keeps us alive. It is useless for us to search within ourselves for the cure to all our miseries. Man can only find life and fulfillment when he acknowledges God.
Without God, man’s destiny is hell. The man without God is spiritually dead; when his physical life is over, he faces eternal separation from God. In Jesus’ narrative of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), the rich man lives a pleasurable life of ease without a thought of God, while Lazarus suffers through his life but knows God. It is after their deaths that both men truly comprehend the gravity of the choices they made in life. The rich man realized, too late, that there is more to life than the pursuit of wealth. Meanwhile, Lazarus is comforted in paradise. For both men, the short duration of their earthly existence paled in comparison to the permanent state of their souls.
Man is a unique creation. God has set a sense of eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11), and that sense of timeless destiny can only find its fulfillment in God Himself.
Question: How are human souls created?
Answer: There are two biblically plausible views on how the human soul is created. Traducianism is the theory that a soul is generated by the physical parents along with the physical body. Support for Traducianism is as follows: (A) In Genesis 2:7, God breathed the breath of life into Adam, causing Adam to become a “living soul.” Scripture nowhere records God performing this action again. (B) Adam had a son in his own likeness (Genesis 5:3). Adam’s descendants seem to be “living souls” without God breathing into them. (C) Genesis 2:2-3 seems to indicate that God ceased His creative work. (D) Adam’s
sin affects all men—both physically and spiritually—this makes sense if the body and soul both come from the parents. The weakness of Traducianism is that it is unclear how an immaterial soul can be generated through an entirely physical process. Traducianism can only be true if the body and soul are inextricably connected.
Creationism is the view that God creates a new soul when a human being is conceived. Creationism was held by many early church fathers and also has scriptural support. First, Scripture differentiates the origin of the soul from the origin of the body (Ecclesiastes 12:7; Isaiah 42:5; Zechariah 12:1; Hebrews 12:9). Second, if God creates each individual soul at the moment it is needed, the separation of soul and body is held firm. The weakness of Creationism is that it has God continually creating new human souls, while Genesis 2:2-3 indicates that God ceased creating. Also, since the entire human existence—body, soul, and spirit—are infected by sin and God creates a new soul for every human being, how is that soul then infected with sin?
A third view, but one that lacks biblical support, is the concept that God created all human souls at the same time, and “attaches” a soul to a human being at the moment of conception. This view holds that there is sort of a “warehouse of souls” in heaven where God stores souls that await a human body to be attached to. Again, this view has no biblical support, and is usually held by those of a “new age” or reincarnation mindset.
Whether the Traducianist view or the Creationist view is correct, both agree that the soul does not exist prior to conception. This seems to be the clear teaching of the Bible. Whether God creates a new human soul at the moment of conception, or whether God designed the human reproductive process to also reproduce a soul, God is ultimately responsible for the creation of each and every human soul.
Question: Is the human soul mortal or immortal?
Answer: Without a doubt the human soul is immortal. This is clearly seen in many Scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments: Psalm 22:26; 23:6; 49:7- 9; Ecclesiastes 12:7; Daniel 12:2-3; Matthew 25:46; and 1 Corinthians 15:12-19. Daniel 12:2 says, “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” Similarly, Jesus Himself said that the wicked “will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” (Matthew 25:46). With the same Greek word used to refer to both “punishment” and “life,” it is clear that both the wicked and the righteous have an eternal/immortal soul.
The unmistakable teaching of the Bible is that all people, whether they are saved or lost, will exist eternally, in either heaven or hell. True life or spiritual life does not cease when our fleshly bodies pass away in death. Our souls will live forever, either in the presence of God in heaven if we are saved, or in punishment in hell if we reject God’s gift of salvation. In fact, the promise of the Bible is that not only will our souls live forever, but also that our bodies will be resurrected. This hope of a bodily resurrection is at the very heart of the Christian faith (1 Corinthians 15:12-19).
While all souls are immortal, it is important to remember that we are not eternal in the same way that God is. God is the only truly eternal being in that He alone is without a beginning or end. God has always existed and will always continue to exist. All other sentient creatures, whether they are human or angelic, are finite in that they had a beginning. While our souls will live forever once we come into being, the Bible does not support the concept that our souls have always existed. Our souls are immortal, as that is how God created them, but they did have a beginning; there was a time they did not exist.
Question: Why did God create us?
Answer: The short answer to the question “why did God create us?” is “for His pleasure.” Revelation 4:11 says, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” Colossians 1:16 reiterates the point: “All things were created by him and for him.” Being created for God’s pleasure does not mean humanity was made to entertain God or provide Him with amusement. God is a creative Being, and it gives Him pleasure to create. God is a personal Being, and it gives Him pleasure to have other beings He can have a genuine relationship with.
Being made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27), human beings have the ability to know God and therefore love Him, worship Him, serve Him, and fellowship with Him. God did not create human beings because He needed them. As God, He needs nothing. In all eternity past, He felt no loneliness, so He was not looking for a “friend.” He loves us, but this is not the same as needing us. If we had never existed, God would still be God—the unchanging One (Malachi 3:6). The I AM (Exodus 3:14) was never dissatisfied with His own eternal existence. When He made the universe, He did what pleased Himself, and since God is perfect, His action was perfect. “It was very good” (Genesis 1:31).
Also, God did not create “peers” or beings equal to Himself. Logically, He could not do so. If God were to create another being of equal power, intelligence, and perfection, then He would cease to be the one true God for the simple reason that there would be two gods—and that would be an impossibility. “The LORD is God; besides him there is no other” (Deuteronomy 4:35). Anything that God creates must of necessity be lesser than He. The thing made can never be greater than, or as great as, the One who made it.
Recognizing the complete sovereignty and holiness of God, we are amazed that He would take man and crown him “with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:5) and that He would condescend to call us “friends” (John 15:14-15). Why did God create us? God created us for His pleasure and so that we, as His creation, would have the pleasure of knowing Him.
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