Michael Ots: What Does It Mean to be Human?

michael2Michael Ots is an evangelist who regularly speaks at events in universities across Europe. His first book, What Kind of God? is translated into Russian, Serbian, Romanian and Spanish.  To find out more, please visit www.motsy.org

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‘Man is a crumpled piece of paper in the rain whose only liberation is death’ – this was the conclusion of the existentialist philosopher Jean Paul Sartre. Most of us would not share his bleak conclusion about humanity. However, his was the logical conclusion to come to if at the end of the day we live in a materialistic universe where there is nothing more than matter. The scientist Francis Crick said ‘You, your joys and sorrows, memories, ambitions, sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the massive assembly of nerve cells… Who you are is noting but a load of neurons.’

The problem with such views is that they are hard to live out in practice. I wonder if Crick ever told his wife that she was just a bunch of neurons?! We have an instinctive sense that we are worth more than that. If then we find that our worldview doesn’t satisfactorily explain what’s most important to us, we have to question whether that worldview is true. Later in Sartre’s life he confessed ‘I do not see myself so much as dust that has appeared in the world, but as a being that was expected. A being that could, it seems, come only from a creator. And this recognition of a created hand drives me back to God.’

Ultimately, it is only within the Biblical worldview that we find reason for the dignity and value of humanity that we so instinctively feel. We are not just advanced animals or collections of chemical reactions. We are of infinite value because we are created in the image of the infinite God.