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The meaning of to be human is to possess the five features of consciousness. It is a psychological and biblical definition.
The Explanation has solved the first part of the mind-body problem. To be human signifies being endowed with consciousness which confers five characteristics: how humans function, reasoning, socialization, rulership, and purpose for life.
(Mind-Body Problem Solved, Chapter 20 – Table of Contents)
These defining traits are precisely what God bestowed on the first human He created in His image. God has these traits hence humans acquired them. We see their manifestation in Genesis 1-3 immediately after the Creation.
- How humans function: They could choose from the two Trees, Their dual nature resulted in bad behavior (Genesis 3), disobedience to God’s ethics, and justice was served in ousting them from the Garden. Humans are in a period of self-reflection when most will return to God and be forgiven. This is God’s plan for the first humans and their descendants; it plays out over thousands of years.
- Reasoning: Immediately on Creation God asked the first human to name the animals. He did this and reasoned there was no partner for him (Gen. 2:20).
- Socialization: God blessed the couple and told them to multiply, build a family, and replenish the Earth (Gen. 1:28).
- Rulership: God gave them dominion and told them to subdue the Earth (Gen. 1:28).
- Purpose for Life: God told the first human to dress and keep the Garden. The deep meaning of this poor translation is to serve and worship God (Gen. 2:15).
The above course of action can only be activated because God ingrained those characteristics in the first human and each descendant of the first couple. I cannot give details here but all five of these traits are intimately related to the ultimate purpose for which God created humans in the first place. Just like a jet pilot must be fitted with health, weather, navigation, flight control, and plane engineering to accomplish their purpose, similar to humans for their eternal purpose. We will develop this subject.
Mind-Body Problem. First part solved
Here’s how Wikipedia defines the mind-body problem.
The mind–body problem is a debate concerning the relationship between thought and consciousness in the human mind, and the brain as part of the physical body. It is larger than, and goes beyond, just the question of how mind and body function chemically and physiologically (for example, the neural correlates of consciousness), as that question presupposes an interactionist account of mind–body relations. This question arises when mind and body are considered as distinct, based on the premise that the mind and the body are fundamentally different in nature.
We have solved a section of the first part of the problem. I say a section because I have purposely NOT used the term mind to this point in the book. The Explanation has limited the discussion to neshama – consciousness, to show what it is to be human.
The aspect of the mind-body problem we’ve solved so far is body and consciousness are definitely different in nature. The body is dust and consciousness is God’s neshama, the divine essence of non-material origin. This is the profound meaning of Genesis 2:7.
Neshama is consciousness with five inherent characteristics God ingrained in the first two humans and all their descendants. Consciousness makes humans, human.
We still have much more to discover. The nature of mind, what is mind? How it correlates with consciousness and the dust brain (part of the body). And particularly the interactions between the material body and non-material consciousness and mind. The rest of the book answers all those questions and takes you even further.
The Bible shows us why God endowed us with both consciousness and mind and how we have to prepare it now before we can jump into the cockpit seat and be at the command of one of the most powerful pieces of equipment humans have created. Imagine what would happen if you had your hands on the throttle and controls if you weren’t prepared. There’s nothing worthwhile you can do well without preparation and training. It takes time and for most specific careers you need physical, social, and mental prerequisites. Consciousness with its five characteristics is the prerequisite to be human.
Psychology and to be human
Abraham Maslow, a psychologist, established the hierarchy of the 5 human needs in the 1940s. Starting with the most basic, they are, psychological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. It obviously includes a lot of elements we’ve witnessed in what it is to be human but falls short of a complete picture. And especially the correct order of human needs. Obviously, we require enough for physical survival but beyond that, we need direction about life (how humans function and proper reasoning). This is clearly seen in an affluent society, coupled with a lack of future, anxiety, and crime.
Understanding consciousness and its five characteristics is grasping the real fundamental needs of ALL humans. They are within the scope of psychology worldwide and should be the basis of education starting with parents; all people who have the responsibility for modeling and training the young people today to be the adults of tomorrow. To be human means to possess consciousness and below is an image with a brief summary of how we need to cater to those needs.
1. How humans function
The foundation is how humans function because that is the first item on the menu for toddlers. Every infant displays their dual nature by doing things they shouldn’t, like sticking their finger in an electric socket or climbing up on an open window ledge. They make choices to disobey their parents’ directives to stop screaming or pick up their toys. Have parents taught them these ethics and set the bounds with justice? Are the children learning to obey (self-reproach or self-control)? Finally, are children receiving forgiveness (after correcting a wrong choice), love, praise, and encouragement when they make the right choices? This approach is valid for all ages and all people, planetwide.
2. How humans reason
The rules for psychologically stable children and adults are in the Bible. Detractors focus on the hard questions of capital punishment and sacrifices, (which can be answered) to the detriment of solid living principles provided by God in the book of Proverbs. Everyone should meditate on those words (Psa. 1:2). They are the basis of ethical reasoning without which it’s impossible to lead an abundant life in this world today.
3. How humans socialize
This is where Western civilization has jumped the track. It has nothing to do with spirituality or theology. Socialization means raising children, human beings with love and respect to be an integral part of society. Psychology deals with dysfunctional children and adults caused by a breakdown in the socialization chain of upbringing. The more broken homes, the more anti-social behavior we’ll have. Socialization is in dire need of parent education. But even upstream from that we need homes with two loving male and female parents. Society goes the way of parenting.
4. How humans rule
To rule is to manage, starting with our toys and the spoon that brings food to our mouth, and not all over the place. As we grow, our rulership extends outwardly and upwardly with more and more responsibility. It includes our time, TV, reading, social media, and bigger and more powerful things, like a car or gun. If we can’t rule life responsibly, how can we be expected to rule weapons or anything else we’re given to govern?
5. Purpose for Life
In an ideal world, which unfortunately is not ours, as people grow, they should be given opportunities to see and experience a variety of activities. As they develop their talents, skills, and tastes they will narrow their choices and begin to focus on what their calling in life is. Whether it’s to be a plumber or a pilot, a bricklayer or a beautician, a teacher or a politician, all trades and professions are needed. Thankfully, we’re all different, and together, each one’s purpose in life covers the gamut of human needs.
In summary, what it is to be human, these five characteristics of consciousness are biblical, but they apply to every single human who has ever walked the face of this Earth. God set in motion the basis for abundant life for humanity. It is better to believe in God, but even without such belief, a fulfilled life and a stable society are achievable, if we fulfill these principle requirements of consciousness.
Spirituality, Christianity, theology and to be human
God created humans including the body, consciousness, and mind so the questions arise, how do these elements interconnect? and how does God interact with each of those entities? The Explanation will answer those questions, one by one, in due time. For now, God’s Creation looks like this graphic, establishing what it is to be human.
The same five characteristics of consciousness apply to worshippers of God. This is obviously on another level and God does not expect non-believers to be at this stage, the above steps apply to them. To each his own in God’s time.
1. How God’s people function
For those animated by God and His Spirit, our respect for Him and our neighbor (the two Great Commandments) are the prime motivators. The spiritual application of God’s way of life involves the Beatitudes: poor in spirit, mourn, meek, merciful, hunger and thirst for righteousness, pure in heart, peacemakers (Matthew 5), and God’s definition of love (1 Corinthians 13).
2. How God’s people reason
In the last chapter, we saw five options of reasoning of which only one is a valid basis in God’s eyes, theology, not intuition, science, philosophy, or religion.
In the hierarchy of what it takes to be human, I’ve put reasoning second. However, in biblical terms, it comes first. The Apostle Paul sums it up well, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5). That is the practical application of true theology.
3. How God’s people socialize
God’s goal in granting the aspect of socialization as part of consciousness is because He is a Family that will be parenting His children as more and more enter His Family. That’s another exciting story, but God’s Family functions in a specific way (Love for Father (God) and love for brothers and sisters (neighbor)); this is social relations.
God created humans in His image. Likewise, we are one human family and each belongs to their smaller family and functions in a specific way (love the Head of the family, father and mother, and our brothers, sisters, and neighbors). Our human family is training for our spiritual family.
4. How God’s people rule
Christ gave us the principle in Mark 10:42-44 “But Jesus called them (the disciples) to him, and said to them, You know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority on them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.” Christian rulership is service to all our neighbors.
Proverbs 25:28 applies to all humans, as I wrote above, but even more so to people who are converted, “He (or she) that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” We will be discussing this spirit, suffice to say, a Christian has self-control.
5. Purpose for Life
God has an incredible, out-of-this-world purpose for life and He implanted His Neshama, our consciousness in each of us to accomplish that purpose; To become His Sons and Daughters in His Family and reign for all eternity.
Salvation is a free gift of God, but He offers it to those who use their consciousness to glorify Him according to His purpose. The way humans function, their reasoning power, socialization, rulership, and purpose are present to be trained in preparation for the time God will accomplish His plan.
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