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Sep
16

HUMANS – Who Are We?

The main focus of this blog is about humans; but what that really means is how do we relate to God? How do humans view God; what do we really know about God? To describe God, we must first better understand ourselves. This is not an easy task, since we are too close to ourselves, and even a mirror does not provide enough distance for a truly objective perspective. However, difficult as it may be, I am going to try and provide some insight about ourselves that I believe you might find interesting.

In the book, HUMANS, I described the fascinating story of how we got here. We see that our story began with God’s introductions of Homo sapiens, 200kya in Africa. However, I stopped the story about the time humans became complete with full consciousness, and I believe that was the point in time that we became God’s children. This was a long time in the making – almost 200,000 years. This also was about the time we were beginning the major advancements in civilization and that advancement now has have been going on for the past 10,000 years.  This period is the most intriguing and interesting of all human history, but it is also the most difficult to capture the true significance. I find it interesting that we need historians to describe the significance of even recent events, even those that we remember as first hand witnesses.

If you look at humans today, you see a marvelous and complex creature involved with activities, too many to list – we engage in trillions of different activities. In these activities, you see the full spectrum of possible things that humans might engage in from the very good to the very evil and with every level of goodness in between. In addition to the specifically good or evil activities there are those which are neither. I know the evil activities must sadden God, as he would like all to pass His test and go to Heaven.  The purpose of the testing will be a special topic to be covered in detail later. In this blog, I will focus on the good of humans, as it shows what humans are capable of and maybe that will be our mode of behavior when we go to Heaven. I very well could have a lengthy discussion of the evils of today – the things humans do to each other either through corruption or in the atrocities of unnecessary war. Almost everything imaginable is how you might describe what we do to each other. This topic bothers me greatly and I might talk more about this topic at a later date; however, if you want to know more just listen to the evening news.

I will start this description of us with the physical and then finish with the mental. There are about 7,000,000 humans on earth today and there is a remarkable sameness in our physical makeup. We all have the same bone structure starting with 270 bones at birth. Some bones fuse together and by adulthood, the bone count is 206.[1] The rest of the human anatomy is amazingly the same with respect to the muscle, organs and the function of each. We are the same anatomically as the first Homo sapiens. This sameness is also found in essentially all other living things. This sameness is so common in evolution theory that there is an appropriate word used to describe it – stasis. I believe that stasis illustrates the robustness of the DNA coding system – no change over many, many generations. This concept of stasis is contrary to Darwin’s theory of creation of new creature species by long periods of small change. We will see that this is not the only problem with Darwin’s theory, when I discuss evolution later.

I should note that stasis is common to all other living creatures, animals, plants, fish, birds, etc. It is common to see fossils of animal millions of year old that are the same as creatures today. When you look at humans, you see not only this sameness, but you also see a whole spectrum of cosmetic differences. There are many different heights, weights, shapes, skin color, hair and hair color. The differences are so great that it is rare to see two humans that look alike. This is not the case with all other living things; members of a given species, other than humans, all look alike to me. Maybe it is just my inability to see the subtle differences that may be present. This human sameness and yet differences may best be described by the nature of our DNA code. There must be a portion of the code that is protected from change, while another part is susceptible to the variation in climate and other environment factors that humans have experienced over long periods of time. I believe this is micro-evolution in operation. However, once these variations are created in the people of a given culture, then we see the sameness again.

The physical properties of humans are interesting, but the real significance of humans lies in the mind. I keep the same distinction between brain and mind that I used in the book, HUMANS, p23. I like the concept of mind-brain dualism, where the brain is the physical organ that resides in our skull, while the mind is more spiritual, our soul and independent from the brain. This view has gone out of favor, but I believe it maybe the more accurate way of describing the real facts. In HUMANS we saw how the Complete Human emerged with what I call the Human Defining Set (HDS). The set of attributes includes all the attributes of consciousness, plus the moral code, our conscience, the concept of a god and our free will. Not other creature has these attributes; they are what make humans unique.

The dominate attribute is the ability to think. It is really what makes us human. I am thinking as I write these words – do they convey the desired thoughts? You are thinking as you read these words – are you getting the intended thought? Almost every activity humans engage in involves thinking. The primary exception is where we require automatic, repetitive actions where there is not time to think about the detailed set of actions, such as in many sports. You cannot think about the details of the golf swing while you are swinging – it must be automatic. This act of training for a specific action has allowed humans to attain spectacular performance in many areas. We celebrate those champions who have achieved these spectacular results.

Notice that I describe the attributes of humans and the human mind by the activities they have engaged in. Probably one of the most significant advancement was with agriculture, which eventually provided a surplus of food and a surplus of time. This allowed humans to think of activities in other fields and the division of labor (and thought) was born. Within a short 4,000 years, we see the first pyramids in Egypt. Compared to the minor advancements made during the first 150,000 years, 4,000 is a short period of time. Remember that these people, a short time earlier, were instinctive driven, hunter-gatherers. In the next 3,000 years we see the implementation of metals, copper, bronze and iron refined to make tools and weapons. The very significant invention of writing was first observed in Mesopotamia in about 3,300 BC. By 733 BC we see Rome established. This now is within the time frame of the Old Testament. Then, there is the period of Christ and the spread of Christianity thorough much of the Old World.

There seems to be a slowdown in advancements in during the next period. There were some, just not at the same rate as earlier. Then beginning with the 15th century we see the discovery of the new world and the beginning of the great sea voyages that essentially brought all parts of the world together. Then beginning with Galileo around 1600 we see the pace of advancements increase. Just the names of a few of the innovators give you the idea of the pace of advancement in the past 100 years. A few of these names include: Newton, Pascal, Maxwell, Ohm, Darwin, Lavoisier, Curie, Planck, Bohr, Fermi, Wright, Ford, Einstein, Kilby, Biard, Moore, Jobs, Gates, Watson, Crick, and Hawking. I admit to the bias based of my own experience in technology. There are hundreds more innovators not only in technology but also in the arts, literature, architecture, medicine, government and even agriculture. Although my background is in technology, I feel that one of the most important areas of human activity is in the arts. This is where you see the society defined and expressed.

There is much more to our existence here on Earth than just our advancements. There are the acts of how we treat each other. Here we see the full spectrum of behavior ranging from respect and love to hate and killing. The human mind with free will and the influence of Satan is capable of all levels of behavior. I believe that most people can resist the influence of Satan and behave moderately well, at least without killing their fellow humans. Others seem to have an obsession with evil and doing harm to others. We all are guilty of some level of sin and I believe our behavior is part of a test. I have some theories about the testing God is giving us and that will be in a later blog.

I have covered much of human history in these short paragraphs, when it really takes volumes to describe these human activities. The important thing to keep in mind is that all of these advancements began in thinking mind of an innovator. It is the thinking mind that makes us human unique. I am going to cover knowledge in detail in a later blog, but for now I want o make the following point about humans and knowledge. Knowledge brought to light by the human mind can take different forms:

  • Rediscovery of knowledge known by others earlier
  • Discover of some fact in nature not previously known
  • Combination of existing knowledge to create new knowledge
  • Creation of a new concept not in nature and not previously realized

The discussion of knowledge is important because of God’s knowledge. He knows everything, but what does that really mean? The later discussion of knowledge is also very interesting, and I believe I will have used all of the above points in the discussion. I also believe that based on my initial thinking about God and knowledge that additional insight will be gained about God by looking at His knowledge.

It should be clear in this short discussion that humans are a marvelous and unique creature, created by God to be his children. I can think of no other way to describe what we are other that being created by God. How can we not realize His existence and presence and love Him as He desires? Keep in mind that this blog is part of the Knowing God Project and that these initial blogs are setting the stage for complex and deep thoughts to follow. Next blog will be: Opinions – A Human Trait

Have a blessed Day,

Shaun

 

 

 

 

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_bones_of_the_human_skeleton. [Accessed 15 September 2015]

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