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To Be Human

Originally published on Jun 2015


by Rev Dr. Tan Soo Inn



What does it mean to be human? This question continues to haunt us in the fast changing world of the 3rd millennium. This question should concern Christians too. Christ has saved us to be truly human not to be super human. To have some understanding of what it means to be human, we turn to Genesis chapters 1 and 2, a picture of creation, and humanity, before the fall. From the first two chapters of Genesis, we find that there are at least four elements in being human, four calls, so to speak.


The Call to Meaningful Work

We see humanity been called to manage creation on God’s behalf. If “to have dominion” sounds harsh, the picture of the loving gardener in Chapter 2 reminds us that as stewards of God’s creation, we care called to protect it and to develop its potential. God needs all sorts of people doing all sorts of things to care for creation. There is therefore no sacred-secular divide in our approach to work. We take seriously the call to serve God in the church and in the world. And BGST seeks to equip God’s people to do whatever God has called them to do.


The Call to Communion With God 

Humankind was created on the 6th day of creation. They were tasked with important work. On the 7th day however, they could not work. The seventh day was the day that God, and creation, rested. It was the day that God blessed. It was a day for humankind to enjoy the blessings of their creator and to commune with Him. Humankind was created for important work but we are more important to God than our work. He has created us for communion with Him. Therefore no amount of success at work can replace the hunger for the divine found in every human heart.


The Call to Community

The first negative we encounter in the Bible is in Genesis 2:18 where God reminds us that it is not good for man to be alone. Note that this comment was made before the fall. At that time Adam had a perfect relationship with God. Clearly that was not enough. Humankind was created for two key relationship — with God and with humankind. Marriage is one of the ways that this need for human community is met. The other way is to have good friends. Jesus was single but he had three close friends — Peter, James and John.


The Call to Live By A Work-Sabbath Rhythm

The word “sabbath” does not appear until the book of Exodus but the practice is found here in the first two chapters of Genesis. God created in 6 days and rested on the 7th. There is a 6 plus 1 rhythm to life. We understand that the Jewish Sabbath is the seventh day of the week and the Christian Sunday is the first day of the week. We will not go into the reasons for the change today. We just want to point out that God’s rhythm is one that includes 6 days of work and one day set apart to rest, a day to remember who God is, who we are and what is the purpose of life, a day to reconnect with God and with others.



These then are four elements of being human — the call to meaningful work, the call to communion with the Lord, the call to community, and the call to live by a work- sabbath rhythm. I don’t think I need to encourage you to do meaningful work. But I exhort you not to neglect the other three elements. Make sure you make time for communion with your Abba Father, for family and friends, and make sure you respect the work-sabbath rhythm. I commend you then to be faithful to the Lord, to be faithful to your calling, and to be faithful to your humanity.



He is the director of Graceworks, a ministry committed to promoting spiritual friendship in church and society. He has a BDS from the University of Singapore, a ThM (NT) from Regent College, and a DMin from Fuller seminary. He has served as the lead pastor of two churches and as the executive leader of a major para-church ministry. He is now the teaching pastor of Evangel Christian Church. His passions include connecting the Word of God to the struggles of daily life, and the mentoring of emerging leaders.

Contributor: Tan Soo Inn
Presented by:  BGST