Bottom-line, we are creatures of body and spirit. We are not bodies with a spirit or spirits in a body—not two separate dimensions of personal being somehow pasted together. We are body-spirit beings: an intrinsically interpenetrating amalgamation of both. It’s our human nature in this life (Genesis 2:7). It’s our future destiny in resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:51-53).
Some may exalt the materialistic view of humanity preached dogmatically by scientism, but no one really laughs or loves or lives that way. Our minds and souls are spiritual entities, not merely chemical processes of matter. Others may adopt a pantheistic monism, where “all is one,” and try to imagine that any perceived variation in personal choices, emotional feelings, and bodily experiences is nothing more than maya, an illusion. Again, none can conscientiously hold such a belief and at the same time act authentically in satisfying hunger, working a job, creating art, enjoying a friend, seeking comfort, fleeing pain, grieving loss, or crying for justice. Life as maya is definitely not human-friendly. Nor is Gnosticism, that ancient, but lately re-popularized philosophical system that divides body and spirit. Denigrating the material world as evil baggage, and positing ultimate value in spiritual existence alone, creates a Jekyll-Hyde split personality in human self-perception. Such dualistic thinking treats our physical embodiment as a nightmare. But in real life, if we listen to our heart of hearts, all of us feel quite at home in human flesh.
At root, all these beliefs are foreign to what we—as body-spirit beings—know personally. None are friendly to gut-level humanness. None arise from within natural human experience. All are foreign, imposed from without, philosophically, religiously, superstitiously, but often eloquently. To gain greater credibility, modern proponents of these creeds may offer alternative interpretations of the Bible to support their ideas. Don’t be fooled. From Genesis to Revelation, the Scriptures are incarnational.
Christ’s Incarnation is the reason I look to human-friendliness as the ultimate standard for evaluating any belief system about humanity. That our Maker became a true Human is central to the Christian faith. It’s the best news the human race could ever receive.
Let the many prospects of God’s Human Incarnation become your meditation. Contemplate deeply its significance for the fulfillment of humanity’s holiest dreams and highest destiny. One by one, you’ll abandon every human-unfriendly belief you ever held. You’ll find that Truth is a Person, as you embrace Jesus Christ, the resurrected God-Man. You’ll discover the ultimate condition for human self-acceptance, as our loving, personal Creator embraces you.