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The title of this article is What Is a Human?, happy little girl smiling in a park.

What is a human? Do you define humans as naked apes? Is your concept of being human that we are just animals and nothing more? Are we just the end product of millions of years of evolution? If so, have you considered where that belief logically takes you? Believing that survival of the fittest and chance evolutionary processes made you what you are has led to slavery, racial prejudice, abortion, ethnic cleansing, and a distorted view of sex.

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If humans are only animals and “survival of the fittest” determines the value of a race, then inferior races should serve superior races. This, of course, was the whole basis of Hitler's extermination of the Jews. The history of the world is full of the enslavement of other humans. Even today, white supremacy is based on evolutionary assumptions. Abortion is justified on the belief that an unborn child is not human and should not inconvenience others. Ethnic cleansing is based on the notion that one ethnic group is superior to another and justifies eliminating the inferior group.

The history of America's use of evolution is horrendous. In 1904 a Mbuti tribal man was kidnapped from the Belgian Congo and exhibited as an attraction in New York City's Bronx Zoo. In 1911 a museum in San Francisco showcased a Yahi man calling him “the last wild Indian in California.”

Today, most cultures view sex as recreation at best and a tool of control at worst. Likewise, most evolutionists would not entertain the notion that sex can create a unique and incredible bond between a man and a woman for life.

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Evolutionists say that humans are the product of millions of years of evolution. That belief says that survival of the fittest and chance evolutionary processes made you who you are. Also, it has logically led to slavery, racial prejudice, ethnic cleansing, and abortion. But is that true, or should we accept the Bible description of humans?

Genesis 2:3 uses two different Hebrew words to describe the creation process. The passage says, “God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it: because that in it he rested from all his work which God created (bara in Hebrew) and made (asah in Hebrew).” Some translations do not distinguish between them, but the words refer to two different processes.

Asah refers to making something from materials that have already been created. In contrast to asah, the word bara refers to something only God can do in creating something that did not exist before. Those two words describe two different processes, and the distinction is essential.

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There are two other significant Hebrew words used in the Genesis creation account. One of them is yatshur. It describes artistic work in the creative process. It means to form or shape as a sculptor would do. Genesis 2:7 tells us that “God formed (yatshur) man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” The reference to the living being uses the Hebrew word nephesh, which refers to a breathing creature. It is also used to refer to animals.

Young Indian children in streets of India

The similarity between asah and yatshur is that they both refer to the shaping of something from materials already created (bara). Genesis uses the word asah when referring to God making animals. Psalm 94:9 uses yatshur to describe the formation of the human eye. Jeremiah 1:5 uses it to refer to the formation of the fetus in the womb. The word bara is connected to the Bible description of humans. Bara refers to something only God can do in creating something that did not exist before. The Bible uses that word in describing the creation of the first humans.

Genesis 1:1 uses bara to refer to God creating the universe and planet Earth out of nothing. The same word is used in Genesis 1:20 for the creation of the first life when only non-living matter existed before. Then it is used in Genesis 1:27 for the creation of the first humans in the image of God. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them.” This view of what a human is, values every person. All human lives matter because all lives, all races, all ethnic groups, and both sexes are created in the image of God.

All attempts to get animals to exhibit characteristics unique to humans, such as artistic creation, musical synthesis, worship, and teaching them to think, have been a failure. There are horror stories of animals raised in human homes as humans and how they eventually reverted to their instinctive drives. One of them was a chimpanzee raised as part of a family. It savagely attacked and wounded a female visitor whom the chimp considered an invader in his territory.

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The Bible is very clear in its teaching about the unique nature of humans and their equality with one another. In John 4:1–42, Jesus interacts with a Samaritan woman. John 4:9 points out that Jews at that time did not even talk to Samaritans, much less a Samaritan woman. John 4:27 tells us that the disciples marveled that Jesus spoke with her. Galatians 3:26–29 states the Christian view of the equality of all humans in no uncertain terms.

Skeptics have attempted to say the Bible denigrates some humans as second-class citizens by pointing out the conflict between Jews and Gentiles. That conflict had nothing to do with race but was over religious matters. Others have suggested that Genesis 6:1–8 denigrates some groups by calling them nephilim. The word nephilim does not mean a giant or an alien or a half-human. The word's literal meaning is “fallen ones,” and the passage's context is clear that it describes people who have rejected God and his will. The word for a giant in Hebrew is gibbor (Job 16:14) or rapha (Deuteronomy 2:11, 20; 2 Samuel 21:16, 18, 20, 22).

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The biblical concept of humans is not only that all races and nationalities are equal, but that humans as a whole are unique and special because they are created in God's image. The lineage of all people on Earth today goes back to the creation of the first humans. No other faith but Christianity has given the instructions to treat one another — even our enemies — with love, respect, and care (Matthew 5:38–48). That is because we are all created in God's image.

— John N. Clayton

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Scripture links/references are from BibleGateway.com. Unhighlighted scriptures can be looked up at their website.