Who am I? Who are you?
How would we answer these seemingly simple questions? We might begin by answering with our names. But are we really just a name? Other people may have the exact same name, but they’re not us. We would not be any different if we had a different name. So, who are we? We may then define ourselves in terms of our relationships: we are part of a country, race, ethnic group, and/or culture. We are husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children, etc. of others. We could also answer according to our careers, hobbies, interests, or other desires. While such information may shed some light on who we are, it does not actually get to the heart of the matter. If we take away all the relationships, careers, hobbies, and interests, what is left? Who is it that remains?
As you can probably figure, the answer to this question is not as easy as it might seem. The question of “Who am I?” along with its close cousin, “Why am I here?” have been asked by plenty of people for thousands of years. You would think that with such a basic question and so many intelligent minds considering the matter for so long that we would finally understand who we are and why we are here. Yet the matter is as confusing and difficult now as it was in the past!
Many different answers to these questions are offered. Some, based on a scientific belief system, would say that we are simply animals better developed than all others, and our purpose, if we have one, is to reproduce and have even more human beings. Others will think of humans as more special than that, and believe that our purpose is to lead good lives and help others when possible. Some exotic religions believe that we can be reduced to our life force, and we are here to gain knowledge and wisdom so that we can either be reincarnated as a more advanced creature or be a drop in a great ocean of eternal consciousness. Are we to believe that we are just advanced animals? Is our purpose only to reproduce, do some nice things, or to work on self-fulfillment? Or is there a better way for us to understand who we are?
The Bible has revealed who man is and why man is here. The Bible establishes that man is part of God’s creation, yet remains quite special: he is the only creature created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). Yes, man is told to go and multiply and subdue the earth (Genesis 1:28), but that was not God’s whole purpose for man. Man was also made to recognize God as his Creator, to love Him, and to serve Him (Romans 1:18-21, 1 John 4:7-20, Romans 6:16-23). In so doing, man can gain the resurrection of life through the Son, Jesus Christ, so that he may be fully restored to God (John 5:28-29, 1 John 1).
Many have disputed these claims from the Bible throughout the years, but when we consider ourselves, we see that the claims make sense. We of all creatures are creatures of learning– without any nurturing and instruction, human children will not grow up and function. We have very few instincts; we must learn to survive. Should we believe that our learning ends at adulthood? This is part of the way God created us, so that we could recognize our dependence upon Him to establish how we should live our lives. It is not within a man to direct his own steps– the way he thinks is right leads to death (Jeremiah 10:23, Proverbs 3:5-7, Proverbs 14:12).
Let us soberly consider who we are and why we are here. Can we really trust ourselves to answer these questions accurately? We humans have failed ourselves too many times. Let us instead trust in God the Creator, who has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ, and love and serve Him today!