You were created to be human.

I mean it. You were created to be human. Maybe the impact of this statement is lost because its truth seems so evident. No one would ever argue against this, right? Maybe it’s never occurred to you to be anything other than human. No one has ever said this statement to you and you’ve never said it to yourself out loud. Why would it need to be said? It’s so obvious…right?

Turns out, the long story of history tells us that it’s not so obvious to us at all. Think back to the first pages of Genesis. God creates the earth, the seas, the stars and the sky, and so on. And then, at some point, humans come into the picture and God gives them some instructions, right? You probably remember most of the instructions because there weren’t many of them. The list was pretty short. Humans were supposed to work and keep the Garden of Eden, be fruitful and multiply, and eat of the fruit of any tree…except for one. There was just one fruit they weren’t supposed to eat. Fast forward to chapter three and what happens? They eat the fruit from that tree. It’s what we call “the fall.”

How could this happen? They’ve got a beautiful garden with lots of work that needs to be done. They’ve got animals to name and tend to. They’ve got…um…multiplying to do. And when they get hungry, they get their pick of the orchard. There was literally one thing they weren’t supposed to do…and they did it. Why? Was the fruit that tempting?

Fortunately, we have an answer to that question. The Scriptures tell us that it wasn’t the fruit itself that they wanted so bad. They wanted something else that Satan was promising. Look at how the conversation between Eve and the Serpent plays out:

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

Did you notice the promise of the serpent? This isn’t a story about fruit. This is a story about pride and ambition…identity and entitlement. It’s not that Adam and Eve just wanted to eat some fruit they weren’t supposed to have. They wanted to be something they were never created to be. They wanted to be “like God.” They stopped believing a simple, obvious truth…

They were created to be human.

Now, you might hope that Adam and Eve and the rest of humanity would have learned our lesson after this. Unfortunately, we are really slow learners. The pages of Scripture hold story after story of humans forgetting this simple truth. There are stories of people wanting to be more than human. There are stories of people trying to treat other people like they’re less than human. And these stories aren’t limited to the pages of the Bible. War, oppression, racism, bigotry, assault, sexism, abuse, and the rest of human depravity attest to the fact that we don’t believe this simple truth. Failing to learn this lesson has led to immeasurable heartache, pain, injustice, and evil.

Graciously and gloriously, the Gospel promises that this is not our fate. In the end, sin does not win. Injustice is righted and oppression finds its end. The serpent will be crushed and Christ will stand victorious! But even before that Day, we have been freed and called to be what we were created to be.

Over this 4-part series, we’ll continue to explore what it means to be human. Continue to Part 2 here!