One of the conflicts between naturalists and Christians is whether humans have unique characteristics or are just animals conforming to the survival rules of nature. The biblical view of humans is that we are created in the image of God. That means we have a spiritual makeup that is different from any other life form on Earth.
Someone sent us an article about a student who asked the famous anthropologist Margaret Mead what she considered the first evidence of civilization in an ancient culture. Mead reportedly said the earliest evidence is a broken and healed femur. She pointed out that if animals break a leg, they die. They become easy prey for predators as they can’t get to a water source to drink or hunt for food. If you are a naturalist believing that chance environmental factors drive all life, that is the only option.
If you find a skeleton with a healed femur, you know that someone at that time cared for the person. Healing of a broken femur takes time. Someone carried the person to a safe place and protected them for a significant time, feeding them, providing water, and supplying medical help until the bone healed. Mead’s point is well taken and shows how humans are different from any other life form on Earth.
In Luke 10:30-37, Jesus tells a parable about a man usually referred to as the good Samaritan. A man has been robbed and is lying beside the road naked and half dead. What jumps out to us in the story is that two men who saw the injured person and refused to help were a priest and a Levite, religious leaders. The Jews hated Samaritans, but it was a Samaritan who took care of the injured man. The point is clear that followers of Christ should care for others who are less fortunate. Failure to do that shows an unwillingness to do what Jesus taught.
Humans are different from any other life form on Earth. We recognize the needs of other humans and are called to act on those needs. Doing that is evidence of God’s image in us. A predator might eat the injured man, obeying the natural animal instincts. Because of human uniqueness, we are called to love and serve others.
— John N. Clayton © 2024