If you will allow me to begin by stating the obvious, “We are Human.” I haven’t yet met an animal that can read, so if you are reading and understanding this, odds are, you are human. You are not an animal. But… How human are you? You may answer that you are fully human, and again, you would be right. Even so, there is a quality of being human that is more human than our present condition and it has to do with failure and success.
In one sense, we have failed at being human even though we are fully human. All humans have the essential human quality of being created in the image of God. To be a successful human we would need to live up to that quality which requires us to reflect the perfect character of God as we worship him as his creation and in his creation. Adam was our original human representative as head of the line to all humanity. As that representative head, Adam would determine success or failure for all his descendants. He failed.
In Luke’s genealogy (Luke 3) we see a line of ancestry from Jesus to Adam. When the line finally arrives at the first man, Adam, we find that Adam has no earthly father. He is called, Adam, the son of God. As God’s perfect image bearer, Adam was to live in the fullness of humanity that God intended for us. When Adam rebelled against God, we lost that fullness. In fact, we devastated that fullness. Since the fall we have all been failing sons. As failing sons, we are failing humans.
This term ‘Son of God’ is found in many places in Scripture in both the Old and New Testament. As we have already stated, Adam was son of God. When God chose another man, Abram, from among the gentiles, he established him as a nation. That future nation was called Israel. They were to be God’s shining light as his chosen children. In Exodus 4:22-23 God tells Moses to go to Pharaoah and demand the release of Israel when they were in captivity. He said, “Thus says the LORD, Israel is my firstborn son, and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.”” God saw Israel as his son. Israel were supposed to show the other nations what it meant to be the son of God. In obedience to God they could display true humanity. When they entered the wilderness they also rebelled against God to make their own idols and to grumble about him. In the Promised land they did what was right in their own eyes. They became like everyone else in the world. They failed.
We get the sense that from Adam to God’s chosen people, we have failed at being God’s children and therefore failed at being the humans that God had created us to be. Israel were supposed to be the display of God’s glory to the rest of humanity. They were supposed to be the example of what God created humans to be as they live for him and reflect his character. Regardless of Israel’s failure, God remained faithful and promised a Son of God who would succeed where they could not. 2 Samuel 7:13-14, “He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son….” The promise is for a Son who will have an everlasting kingdom. This is Jesus who came in the line of King David.
Jesus succeeds where both Adam and Israel failed. He truly reflects the very character of God in all perfection. Jesus shows us what it truly means to be human. He is the better and true Adam. He is the better and true Israel. He is the better and true Son of God. At least one of the elements making the term “Son of God” so significant is that Jesus really is the successful Son. He was born perfect, lived a perfect life and through his sacrifice he conquered the consequences of our sinful failure. He takes our failure and gives us his success. Do you want to know what it is like to truly be human? We can know something of it in Jesus Christ now even while waiting for the day when the final consummation will bring full realization.
Of course, we are not evolved ape-like creatures. Of course, we are not animals. But even as humans we need to learn how to be human. For that, look to the true Human – The Lord Jesus!