Distorted, Not Destroyed – HUMANITY (1/25/15)
Humanity was created in God’s image to glorify Him uniquely in creation. We were created to display His worth and glory as His representatives and steward His creation. This purpose and position gives humans infinite value and the highest dignity. And this value and dignity isn’t earned by things like our accomplishments, what race we are, what gender we are, or how we look. Rather, it is simply a part of what it means to be created in God’s image. So, if all humans are created in the image of God, then how do we explain the unimaginable pain, evil, and injustice involved in the human experience?
In Genesis 2:16-17, God gave man a simple command to not eat of one particular tree in the Garden. Everything else was theirs, but God reserved this one tree for Himself. A little while later, Genesis 3 tells us that Humanity is deceived by the serpent and begins to desire what was forbidden. They want to be equal with the creator—setting their own boundaries and questioning His goodness—rather than walk in submission to Him. So, humanity rebels—committing high treason against the Creator and King!
Humanity’s purpose was to know God and to be a reflection of God’s glory. This was lost in an instant. The consequences of humanity’s rebellion against their creator caused physical and spiritual death. While we were created for right relationship with God, ourselves, others, and creation, each one of those dimensions was broken and fractured by our sin. We now have a distorted relationship with:
• God – We were created to be in relationship to Him and worship Him with all of our thoughts, desires, words, and actions. But this is no longer the default position of humanity’s heart.
• Self – Instead of finding our value and worth in God, we look anywhere else. We have become self-absorbed, but still long for wholeness.
• Others – Instead loving and serving one another in healthy community, we use and abuse one another for our own purposes.
• Creation – We don’t steward and cultivate creation the way we were meant to. Instead, we use any aspect of creation we want to for our own purposes rather than for glorifying God.
Without proper understanding and reverence for the image of God in others, we see horrible things take place:
• Human Trafficking (Modern Day Slavery): “Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings, mainly for the purposes of forced labor and sex trafficking.”
o 27 million globally are victims – more humans are slaves now than at any other point in history o It is the second largest criminal activity globally
o Every 3 seconds someone becomes a victim of the slave trafficking industry
o Approximately 80% of victims are female, with 50% of victims being children
o The average age is 12
o 79% of all human trafficking is for sexual exploitation (Women and children)
• Racism and Prejudice:
Hatred and the mistreatment of an individual because of race, ethnicity, or economic status is a global problem.
o According to a new study, more than 250,000 Americans over the age of 12 are victimized every year by hate criminals. 48.3% of these crimes are racially motivated.
o There are 939 active hate groups in the United States - a 56% increase since 2000
o A poll from 2012 revealed that 51% of Americans expressed anti-black sentiments; a 3% increase from 2008.
o A survey in 2011 revealed that 52% of non-Hispanic whites expressed anti-Hispanic attitudes.
The systematic eradication of humans in the womb after conception by the biological parents or national government o Worldwide issue (Govt. enforced in places like China) o In the U.S. there are approximately 1.2 million abortions annually o 97-99% of U.S. abortions occur over convenience (The mother’s life would be interrupted or inconvenienced).
Children without parents or a home o Affects approximately 150,000,000 to 200,000,000 children worldwide
o 5,760 children become orphans daily o More than 8,000,000 children live in institutionalized care
o Annually: 14,505,000 children grow up as orphans and age out of their care system by age sixteen (38,493 orphans age out daily)
o Every 2.2 seconds another orphan ages out with no family to belong to and no place to call home. Studies have shown that 10% – 15% of these children commit suicide before they reach age eighteen.
o Studies also show that 60% of the girls become prostitutes and 70% of the boys become hardened criminals
o Another study reported that of the 15,000 orphans aging out of state-run institutions every year, 10% committed suicide, 5,000 were unemployed, 6,000 were homeless and 3,000 were in prison within three years
o Average cost for an adoption is approximately $40,000, while the average cost of an abortion is approximately $400 (one child adopted for every 100 children killed)
Without question, humanity is distorted. However, the image of God is not destroyed in us by sin. There is hope. The Gospel is about the recovery of God’s image in us and the restoration of creation. God promised a “Creation Rescue” mission, even after we rebelled against Him and continue to defame His image in countless ways. There is hope, and His name is Jesus.
John 3.16-17: “For God so loved the world (distorted, broken, humanity), that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” Jesus came into our brokenness to redeem it and offer healing to anyone who would choose Him!