Who Am I? Finding Eternal Significance
By Candi Cushman and Jeff Johnston.
Who am I?
We can all give superficial answers to that question—like what my name is and where I go to school.
But there’s so much more to us than those surface-level answers, isn’t there? Like the answers to those deeper questions we all have: What is my real purpose? Why do I exist? What really defines me as an individual?
Having those questions is one thing that makes us human. We all long for something deeper than just this immediate, physical universe. We want there to be more to life than simply eating, breathing and sleeping.
That’s because, at our core, we are spiritual beings. And that’s what sets us apart from animals, who live by instinct. The Bible explains this by saying that God has “set eternity in the human heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
That’s not to say our environment doesn’t shape us. Of course, so much of who we are is influenced by our family, our heritage, and the community and country we are born into. But our environment alone is not the total answer. In addition to differences in our physical bodies and variations in our temperaments— there are those mysterious thoughts and feelings that no one knows about.
What we think and feel are a huge part of who we are. In the very center is our spirit – the soul, the will or the heart– where we find our deepest beliefs, dreams, hopes and passions, and where we make choices.
So where does this spirit or soul come from? Well, we believe that’s part of what the Bible means when it states that God made us “in His image” (Genesis 1:27).
Josh McDowell does a good job explaining this concept in his book The Secret of Loving:
Have you ever said, “I really don’t count. I could disappear and no one would notice or care”? Most people think those thoughts at one time or another. Yet the Bible reveals that God looks at us quite differently. In the Bible, God tells you that He sees you as very special because God created you in His image.
… Suppose you went outside and stood next to a tree. You could say that in many ways you are equal in value to that tree, since both you and the tree were specially created by God. But there is one critical difference—God created you in His image. God did not give His image to any other part of His creation.
Candi Cushman is an education analyst and director of the Day of Dialogue Web site. Jeff Johnston is a gender and homosexuality analyst for Focus on the Family.