Questions about what it means to be one’s self or what it means to be “human” are inferred among major blockbusters such as
- I-Robot (human vs. robot),
- I Am Legend (human vs. what once was human),
- The Stepford Wives (authentically human vs. synthetic or human-made),
- The Truman Show (human reality vs. his ideals),
- Transformers (man+robot vs. evil),
- Stealth (human vs. A.I.)
- The Matrix (reality vs. illusion in a world of powerful computers).
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (human imagination vs. himself in reality)
- The list goes on.
We wonder what it really means to be an individual. What does it mean to be authentic verses synthetic? Can we remain an individual and a society at the same time? “What is human?”
Scripture records that all knowledge begins with a fear of God. The knowledge of one’s self is no different. Solomon (the teacher), says that all knowledge apart from that of a knowledge of God is “meaningless.” Solomon concludes his thesis this way:
Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil (Ecc. 12.11b-14).
Book I in John Calvin’s The Institutes of the Christian Religion, begins his exploration of such matters with the subject heading:
OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD THE CREATOR
His opening thesis: THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD AND OF OURSELVES [IS] MUTUALLY CONNECTED. He writes that a true knowledge of ourselves is necessarily tethered to a right knowledge of God.
Much more can be said of this conclusion, which is my own as well. In an attempt to close this post, I would suggest that we as humans have little to no meaning without knowing the Creator. When we rightly know our Creator, we not only may know ourselves rightly, but for the first time ever, we have community. Meaning comes about in community–true community–the kind of community that exists in the Trinity and the fellowship of believers.