An Individual’s Worth

by Carolyn Cogswell

Many people believe their significance equates to their accomplishments and judge themselves and others accordingly. The Bible offers a different approach.

People tend to evaluate themselves and others based on what they do rather than on any concept of their intrinsic worth. An understanding of the worth of a person limited to what they do for a living may satisfy the curiosity of some. But a brief look at Genesis reveals a different perspective.

The book of Genesis begins with God creating an environment for plants and animals, then creating man in His image (Gen. 1:26, 27). After giving Adam charge of the earth, He gives him a wife. Then the devil comes to tempt Adam and Eve to disobey God. This is when their problems begin and those of all their descendants.

God Emphasizes a Person’s Worth

Before Adam and Eve sinned, they lived in a perfect environment and may have lived there forever, being fruitful and multiplying to their heart’s content. Instead, the Bible teaches that they chose to allow sin to destroy their family and all the families that would be born thereafter.

In the third chapter of Genesis, Adam and Eve’s famous offspring, Cain and Abel, exemplify man’s capacity for jealousy and murder. In the fourth chapter, an angry and jealous Cain murders his brother Abel because God was pleased with Abel’s offering and not with Cain’s. From then on, the Bible records stories of man’s opposition to God followed by God’s redemption.

The Biblical Theme of Redemption

The theme of redemption culminates in the story of God’s virgin-born Son. According to Christian belief, Jesus came to teach man about God. Jesus Christ ultimately suffers crucifixion to atone for the sins of the world and rises from the dead. The Bible indicates that God then sent His Spirit to live in those who choose to believe, in order to love the world back to God.

For Christians, Christ’s sacrificial act of enduring crucifixion in order to redeem man from the curse of sin, serves as demonstration of human worth. Christians believe that God views individuals as worth more than all the treasures of the earth. This is illustrated in Matthew 4:8 and 9 when Jesus refuses Satan’s offer to give him “all the kingdoms of the world and their glory“ in exchange for falling down and worshiping him.

The Value of a Soul

Although God gave the first man a job early in his history, his work was not intended to define his worth, as it often does in some cultures. Instead, the Bible teaches that every person is valuable because God created him or her in His image. According to Christian belief, God saw descendants of Adam and Eve, born with an irresistible urge to sin and doomed to die separated from Him, worthy of sending His Son to redeem them.

Copyright Carolyn Cogswell

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