Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26, NIV 1984).
My Musings – Humans are distinguished from the rest of the God’s “creatures.” We have self-awareness (conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires). We have imagination (the ability to form ideas, images or concepts that are not observable by our senses). We have a conscience (an inner prompting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior). We have an independent will (the ability to make decisions and choices and to act in accordance with those choices and decisions). We have principles (fundamental truths or propositions that serve as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior). To name just a few. This is, in part, what it means to be made in God’s image (not to mention the fact that we are more than just a physical creature). The animal kingdom, for example, when confronted with a stimulus, can only respond to that stimulus (based on instinct, urges, conditioning, fight or flight, etc.).
Stimulus ——-> Response
Humans are different. Because of things such as self-awareness, imagination, conscience, will, and principles, we have the freedom to choose how we respond to the stimulus.
Stimulus ——-> Freedom to Choose ——->Response
While we may be pre-disposed to certain “determined” responses due genetic determinism (your DNA or nature), psychic determinism (your upbringing, or nurture), and environmental determinism (something or someone in your environment that influences you one way or another), in the final analysis we still have the freedom to choose. Our choices cannot ultimately be blamed on these factors. Our choices, our behavior (response), is a product of the conscious decisions that we make and that we are responsible for.
Despite all of this, from the very beginning, and all too often, our lives are characterized by so many wrong choices.
Stimulus – When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom,
Freedom to Choose
Response – she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
(Genesis 3:6, NIV 1984)
My Advice – Wouldn’t it be nice if there was some “magic” eraser that would let us start over with a clean slate? The truth is, that there is. There is a choice we can all make that will make up for all of our poor choices, as if we had never made them at all. “In him [Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” (Ephesians 1:7, NIV 1984). “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12, NIV 1984).
Stimulus – “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, NIV 1984).
Freedom to Choose
Response – “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12–13, NIV 1984).
The Choice Is Yours. Choose Wisely.
Adapted from “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” by Stephen R. Covey
Want to become a Christian? See my blog series “The Born Again Experience.”