Only Human…

In the popular action movie The Matrix (1999) there is a scene where Neo (the savior figure) dodges several bullets. As a few nick him, he falls on his back and the “agent” walks up to him while he is still vulnerable. Because Neo was not able to dodge every bullet the agent points his gun at him, to end his life, and utters the famous line, “Only Human.”

Paul teaches the Corinthians about being “only human” in 1 Corinthians 3:1-4…

I think I actually prefer the ESV’s reading of this text, because it correctly translates the word άνθρωπος as “human” instead of “men.”

“But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not being merely human?” (1 Cor. 3:1-4, ESV)

It occurred to me as I was reading this text that Paul is linking the idea of being human with the idea of unchristian behavior. Today, it is quite common to hear someone justify themselves because they are “only human.” Or people will justify actions as being part of “human nature.” It seems to me that Paul believes that we should forsake our “human nature” and not rely on being “only human.” Rather, we should be being “spiritual people.”

After all, the Corinthians humanness caused them to act according to the world and prevented him from feeding them with solid food.

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  1. That’s a good word, Lew! You’re right … being a human is natural, but God is supernatural. The flesh (and it’s fruit) is natural, but the fruit of the Spirit is supernatural. I don’t want to be living in the natural flesh of being human, I want to walk in the supernatural fruit of the Spirit!

    One thing that I thought of when you said that about people using “I’m only human” as an excuse for whatever … it reminds me of all the pop psychology books out there in the Christian world that I believe (in my humble opinion) people take and read and use as excuses for their behavior (i.e. books about temperaments, love languages, etc.) … but that’s another post :-)


  2. Lew,
    While thinking about our church’s Men’s ministry yesterday (one of my current responsibilities) I was pondering another similar and somewhat common “justification”…

    “Boy’s will be boys.” I think more often than not this is used to explain the hyperactive behavior of little boys, but I’ve also heard it used in justifying a man’s tendency toward lust of the flesh. This cute and seemingly innocent saying is the world’s excuse to indulge the flesh rather than crucifying it daily. But God has called and empowered us to live a new life. Resigning ourselves to being “only human, or just boys” is a subtle tactic of the enemy to steal, kill and destroy the abundant life that Christ died to give us. (John 10:10)

    Good word this morning! Thanks!

    Be blessed…

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