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THE VALUE OF THE HUMAN PERSONALITY (HUMAN WORTH)

by Charles E. Blake
Although fallen, man is of inestimable value before the Almighty. Although incapable of saving
himself, man, as creature, represents, for G OD, the highest and best, made in his image and called to
share in his glory. In light of Christ's willingness to give up his own life for the redemption of the
human being, we have an idea of the value GOD places on us (I Pet. 1:18,19). Hence, in our opinion,
the biblical perspective of the individual's fundamental worth, in G OD's eyes as much as our own, is an
essential element for personal growth and the development of our relationship with G OD and everyone
else. Having created man in his image, GOD has placed inestimable value on each being. His efforts
to redeem fallen and sinful man not only manifest the love of G OD, but his good judgment in setting
out to recover that which, for Him, is of infinite value. The author of this study has influenced
Christians of all continents toward a biblical balance of humility before our Creator-Redeemer and a
sacred training of mutual esteem between the members of the body of Christ, so that we learn to
esteem and recover human worth on GOD's terms.

1. The intrinsic value of the human being (Gen. 1:26-28)


The nature that marked the human being's creation, and his position in it, reveals his intrinsic value,
which calls us to be responsible and accountable.

The human being is distinct from the rest of creation. The divine trinitarian council determined that
humanity would have to possess the divine image and likeness. Humans are spiritual, not only body,
but also soul and spirit. They are moral beings, whose own intelligence, perception and determination
exceed that of any other created being.

These properties that humanity possesses, and its prominence in the order of creation, imply intrinsic
value, not only of the family of humanity, but also the individual value of each human being.

Capacity and ability entail a responsibility and obligation. We should never conform ourselves to a
standard of living much lower than that which God has provided for our existence. We should
endeavor to be the best that we can and to reach the highest levels. To do less would make us
unfaithful servants of the life with which we have been entrusted. See Psalms 8:4,5; 139:13,14.

2. Human dominion over creation (Psa. 8:4-8)


The ability to fulfill our responsibility over the earth depends on our willingness to submit to and serve
the living GOD.

Not only is man intrinsically distinct from the rest of creation, but he was given authority over the earth
and all that there is in it. The human being was made to govern (v.6). Our ability to exercise authority
over the earth depends on our readiness to submit ourselves, serve and obey the living G OD, under
whose authority we are. Our authority over the earth makes us responsible for it. The mineral
resources, water, air and different species of animal life, should be the interest of every government
and person. Can we allow to disappear from the earth the different species of animal life that the
Creator has put at our disposal and with whose care we have been encharged? Dare we contaminate
and corrupt GOD's creation? "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required; and
to whom much has been entrusted, more will be asked" (Luke 12:48).

3. Mankind's important role in earthly affairs (Gen. 3:17)


The world literally rises or falls because of human action. Each believer has strategic importance in
order to maximize the impact of good.

From the perspective of his strategic role, we should assume that man is more valuable than any
other thing on earth. No other form of earthly life occupies such an important cosmic role as mankind.
Literally, the earth is sustained or falls by human actions. Only humans have the power to exhaust the
earth's resources and pollute the atmosphere. The sin of a human being, Adam, corrupted the world.
The continual sinfulness of humanity caused the Flood (6:12,13). In contrast, Jesus Christ's
obedience brought justification and righteousness to many (Rom. 5:18,19). If redeemed men and
women walk in this justification and righteousness, can't the world be made to flourish? God desires
to reveal his truth and beauty to the world only by means of redeemed mankind. Each believer has a
strategic importance in his own sphere; we should all try to add to the contribution of good and
encourage others to do the same.

4. The sanctity of life (Gen. 9:5,6)


Human life is GOD's unique, spiritual and immortal creation, and should be deeply respected.

Life was given to man by GOD. Human beings were made the "image" and "likeness" as G OD's
singular creation (1:26; 9:6); spiritual, immortal and intelligent. Therefore, G OD said, "Thou shalt not
kill" (Exod. 20:13). To take a human life is to violate the image of G OD in the human being, which
should be respected and honored. Life, even prenatal, is always a miracle and nobody should believe
he has the right to spill the blood of an innocent human being. "To require" (Gen. 9:5) indicates that
GOD is doing something more than introducing a rule. G OD, in reality, "will seek justice" (from the
Hebrew "darash") or "will demand" the life of a person as payment for the innocent life that was taken.
To lack respect for life should never occur to anyone. We should proclaim its value and sanctity.

5. The unity of mankind (Acts 17:26)


All humanity comes from one blood, literally as well as figuratively.

Here the unity of the human race is clearly established, because it was through Adam and Eve (Gen.
3:20), and later, through the sons of Noah (Gen. 9:19), that the human races and nationalities arose.
All of us proceed from one blood, figuratively as well as literally, given that the same types of blood
are found in all ethnic groups. Mankind is a universal family. Don't we all have the same father?
Hasn't the same GOD created us" (Mal. 2:10). All form part of a world community. No race or nation
has the right to despise or disassociate themselves from another race. The apostle Peter says, "G OD
has shown me to call no man common or unclean. In truth I understand that G OD is no respecter of
persons, but in every nation accepts him who fears him and does righteousness" (Acts 10:28,34,35).
There are only two categories of human beings: the saved and the unsaved. The other differences,
like the color of skin or cultural aspects, don't count to G OD. To tell the truth, all human beings are
related.

6. All believers are members of the body of Christ (I Co. 12:12)


Christians need each other and all contribute to the well-being of the body.

The human body is an exquisite organism. Scientists can neither duplicate it, nor can they fully
understand it. It is a synthesis of many parts that work together in a comprehensive totality. What
affects one part of the body, affects the totality. Each member of the body is related with, and
dependent on, the other parts of the body. And thus it is also with respect to all the believers as
members of the body of Christ. We should function in the body of Christ like the parts of the human
body function in it. The amputation of an arm is an impediment for the entire body. There is no brother
in the faith whom we don't need. The word "body" (Greek, soma) is related to sozo, which means "to
heal, preserve, be restored". This clearly demonstrates how our lives are intrinsically united within the
body of Christ, and how our well-being of others (Rom. 14:7). We must allow Christ to closely unite us
with each other in the Church.

7. Love: the proof of discipleship (John 13:34,35)


Love is not only a sentiment or preference, but a decision and mode of conduct.

That Christ commands us to love indicates that loves is not only a sentiment or preference; it is what
one does and how one relates to others; that is, a decision, a commitment, a manner of behavior.
Jesus declares that the world will know that we are his disciples if we behave lovingly to each other.
Schisms, disputes, scathing critiques and defamation, are contrary to the spirit of Christ. His love was
a sacrificial, unconditional love; it is a constant and spontaneous love, that looks for the best interests
of the loved one. He commands us to love as He has loved us.

8. Christ demands social conscience (Matt. 25:37-40)


Preoccupation for the hungry, the abandoned, the ill and the imprisoned cannot be divorced from our
walk as Christians.

Christ ordains that we have social conscience (verses 31-46). These are the principles by which
people will be judged: their treatment toward those who are hungry, who are homeless, who are poor,
sick or in prison. The care for society can't be divorced, biblically, from the Christian walk. "He who
has pity on the poor gives to Jehovah, and the good that he has done, will return to pay him" (Prov.
19:17). Jesus compares our treatment toward those who are in disgrace to our treatment toward Him.
What we do for them we do for Him. We mustn't allow the Christian walk to be only a spiritual
enterprise, separated from service to humanity. When we fail to attend to social need, we fail to
recognize the value that others have, diminishing our own merit in the eyes of the L ORD, and inviting
condemnation (see James 2:14-17).

9. One shouldn't think too highly of himself (Rom. 12:3-5)


Man occupies an elevated position, but nobody should think that he's more valuable or important than
another.

Because the Bible teaches that human beings are made in the image of GOD, we must respect the
position of each individual under GOD. This passage doesn't teach that believers should think of
themselves as worthless or insignificant, but rather no one should consider himself to be more worthy,
more important, more deserving of salvation, or more essential than anyone else. Possessing talents
or different gifts doesn't indicate differences in worthiness, because we all belong to one body, and
are all interdependent (verses 4,5). Thinking otherwise distorts reality. Each individual has intrinsic
value and dignity, in view of the face that we are all equal before G OD and in Christ.

10. Partiality (James 2:1-9)


The Bible teaches that we should respect everyone equally, without showing bias.

Human worth isn't due to race, wealth, social position, or educational level. All persons have
importance and are of great value in GOD's order. Considering a race, group, or individual as less
important than another is sin, in view of the fact that Christ died for all and for each one in particular.
At the foot of the cross we are all equals, as much in our dignity (the L ORD sent his Son to die for each
one of us) as in our need to accept his gift of salvation. We learn to respect and honor each person
and each people, without taking into account his color or as, Christ said: "...whatever you should do to
of the least of my brothers, you do it to me" (Matt. 25:40).

11. Help from a despised source (Luke 10:33)


The tragedy of prejudice is that it can separate us from a potential source of aid.

There were many marked ethnic frictions between the Jews and the Samaritans (John 4:9); they
didn't often interact and, in some cases, hostility existed between them. But Jesus, early in his
ministry, taught them the truth of GOD. The LORD ministered to "the Samaritan woman" and to the
people of Samaria (John 4:4-42). In this parable, the source of assistance wasn't a relative or co-
citizen of Israel, but a despised Samaritan. We are reminded that one of the great tragedies of
prejudice is that it separates us from those who could eventually offer us aid. The compassion of the
Samaritan deserves the greatest of eulogies, because the person whom he assisted, under normal
circumstances, probably would not have even spoken to him. Christ has come to break a similar
separation between human beings.
12. The transcultural nature of the Word and work of G OD (Matt. 27:32)
Black hands reached out to help the Savior carry his cross; according to Acts, the first Gentile to be
converted was an Ethiopian, who later established a church.

This text reminds us that different cultures were represented at Calvary and in the Church. 1) Simon:
wise men of all ages would have felt honored to fulfill the task that was given to Simon of Cyrene, a
black man from northeastern Africa. Whether voluntarily or not, black hands were extended to help
the Savior carry his cross. (Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus, men who were known to
the early Christians in Rome.) 2) The Ethiopian eunuch, from Africa, (Acts 8:26) was the first
converted Gentile whose name is mentioned in the book of the Acts of the Apostles. The story reports
that he returned to Ethiopia to found the Christian church of Abyssinia, which still exists today.

13. Man's greatest need is salvation (I Pet. 1:18,19)


The price of Christ's death reveals the value of the human personality and the importance of
salvation.

The value of the human being can be inferred from the price that was paid to redeem man (John 3:16;
I Cor. 6:20). GOD the Son, through whom the worlds were created, became flesh and died for the sins
of humankind. The fact that he voluntarily shed his blood and died for us reveals, not only the value of
the human personality, but also the importance of salvation. Through Christ, believers are forgiven,
justified and, by the new birth, renewed in the image of G OD. Fallen men and women can only
produce the works of the flesh. Only the Spirit, through the new birth, can renew and recover those
whom the Fall destroyed (John 3:5,6). To achieve this highest human potential and have abundant
life, we must accept Christ by faith.

14. Abundant life (John 10:10)


Jesus, the Savior, came to restore the quality and potential of the human life.

Christ came to earth in defense of life. Through his words and actions, he opposed any thing, effort or
person who could diminish it. In the same way, we are called to do all that is in our power to preserve
and enlarge the lives of those who are around us. Beyond evangelizing, we should work to reduce
poverty, illness, hunger, injustice and ignorance.

On top of his defense of life, Jesus also came to deliver us from death and offer us life in abundance.
Through his death and resurrection, Christ has opened a new dimension of life for all humanity, so
that "all things" are made new (II Cor. 5:17).