What it means to be Human



1200 – 1500 words (4 pages)


1 inch margins – top, bottom, left, right

12 point type

Ariel or Times Roman font

Staple upper left

The paper must include a title page with the paper’s title, student’s name, the course and date centered on the page (not included in the page count).

If you use footnotes, either Turabian or Modern Language Association (MLA) format is acceptable.

There is no criterion for the number of sources you must use, but whatever you use should be cited.

If you use a bibliography, include it as a separate page (not included in the page count).

Use of the first person is acceptable.


This paper is a reflection paper.  The intent is for you to write on the topic “What Does It Mean to Be Human,”  based on the readings you have done for class, i.e. the Creation Stories, Phyllis Trible’s article, the Flood Stories, the Joseph story, the Book of Ruth, and the Gospel of Mark as examples.  You don’t have to use all of them, and you can include others if you like. It doesn’t matter if I agree or disagree; you’re presenting and defending your own ideas.

Your paper should be organized approximately as follows:

Introduction: One or two paragraphs. What is your general thesis and approach? Note: The way the thesis – what the paper is all about – is expressed – is a very important part of this paper.  A good thesis sentence defines the whole paper.

Body: Approximately 3 – 4 pages. Define your terms; present your approach and evidence. Critical reflection that demonstrates your understanding of the material, in the context of the thesis, is the important aspect of this section. In other words, think, don’t just play back what you’ve read.

Summary: One or two paragraphs. What is your final conclusion?

General description of grading criteria:

1. The clarity of the final paper, which requires a clear thesis, and effectiveness in writing on the assigned topic

2. Critical analysis and reflection that demonstrates understanding of the material.

3. Correct use of grammar, style, and format

4. Completion of the assignment by class time

General description of Grades:

A to A-: Paper must excel in all of the areas mentioned above. Points may be deduced for minor flaws in writing style and grammar.

B+ to B-: Paper must have some attempt at articulating a thesis with evidence of critical and creative thinking. Grammar must be basically sound. Points will be deduced for a weak thesis, errors in content, weakness in organization, or lack of clarity in style.

C+ to C-: Paper may have no clear thesis statement but does demonstrate some central point with some critical minimal creative reflection. There are major errors in content, poor organization, lack of clarity, and frequent grammatical errors.

D+ to D-: No clear thesis, numerous grammatical errors, minimum compliance with requirements of critical and creative reflection.

F: The paper meets none of the criteria above

The paper is due to me by end of class. Every class day late will lower the grade to the next lowest letter grade.


What it means to be Human


Introduction. 1

Being Human. 1

Conclusion. 4

Works Cited. 6


The issues surrounding our humanity have been addressed in many ways. The question of humanity is also complex with different meanings attached to it. “What it means to be human” is a statement, which relates to how individuals understand their existence. What one person identifies as being human differs from another individual’s opinions.


The concept of being human is closely linked to artificial traits and machines. The sophisticated technologies have set boundaries regarding what being human implies. The boundary makes it difficult to argue that certain qualities and consciousness constitute being human. The paper highlights all attributes possessed by individuals that make them human. Additionally, it highlights the biblical teachings as examples of what it means to be human.

Being Human

The ability to express emotions is part of being human. Mark’s Gospel further explains this by depicting Jesus as the son of man, who was also prone to emotional outbursts. Jesus had emotions such as anxiety, tenderness, sorrow, anger and compassion, which are common emotions that people feel every day, allowing them to relate better with one another. Jesus showed his anxiety when he went to pray at the Gethsemane garden before his arrest. Jesus was deeply troubled and distressed as he knew he was about to be arrested and crucified. He went ahead and prayed to God so that the trying time may pass. Jesus was emotionally overwhelmed to the point of death. It is at the same garden that we also establish the nature of human as that, which gets weary beyond control. Peter and the two sons of Zebedee accompanied Jesus to Gethsemane. He went up the mountain severally but came back and found them asleep. Jesus was disturbed and expected these people to stay awake and help him wait for his trial time. He however understood them, knowing that their souls were willing but they were exhausted.This example is a clear indication that being human implies that one can get overwhelmed. Like Jesus, human beings experience the lowest points in their lives. However, what matters is how we deal with the life challenges. To be human is to dust yourself off all concerns and overcome obstacles.

The readiness to show compassion to everyone is being human. Jesus showed compassion to people and children in many ways. Besides his miracles, Jesus had time to eat with sinners and the poor. He fed more than five thousand people because he did not want them to go hungry. He always looked out for the outcasts and the destitute in society and helped them integrate back into their communities. Human beings can love and express their feelings to anyone. Love is, therefore, a need that makes us human. People normally yearn for love and feel loved in return. They can show their love through actions and words. God, who created us in His image, loved us so much that he gave out his only son to save the world. There as so many philanthropists and charity organizations, that convey the message of love to the people like Jesus.

The book of Ruth as well explains that to be human means one can feel disappointed and bitter especially when they are faced with adversities. Naomi was sad, bitter and depressed after losing her sons and husband. She was heartbroken to the point of death. She went back to Bethlehem as a widow, questioning why God had taken everything from her. It is normal for one to feel bitter, broken and empty, as that is part of being human. To be human implies that at some point in life, a person may have to deal with one situation or another but what matters is how we get out of the tough situations. To be human also means to have a social life. Having asocial is the ability to unite with others and offering help where necessary. Understanding how to develop and maintain supportive connections and network is part of being human. Human beings need one another to sail through life and find solace whenever they feel vulnerable and alone. It is because of this nature that some people can overcome depression while those who shy away from social connections end up committing suicide.


According to the creation stories, being human implies that God created everyone in His own image and likeness. The central point in Genesis chapter one is that human beings are different from animals since they represent God’s image. This image makes human life sacred and prohibits people from taking another person’s life. The creation story provides five concepts that allow for a biblical understanding of what it really means to be human. Firstly, the physical ability of human beings reflects God’s image. Human beings can walk upright and have brains. Humans have an intellectual capacity for communication, creativity and rational thinking. A human must be social just like God who exists as a community of people. Another key trait possessed by humans is spirituality. Humans have a unique relationship with God who speaks to them directly. The idea of regal is a salient feature that explains what it means to be human. God commanded humans to be His stewards and rule over other creations.

Being human means making mistakes and learning from them. I believe that nobody was born perfect and that is why erasers and apologies exist. Mistakes are part of life and being human and as such, people ought to accept when they are wrong and learn from their mistakes. The Bible cites many examples of people who made mistakes but still, God forgave and accepted them back. Great men and women have made mistakes in their lives but that has never been the end of life for them. Human beings do fall short of God’s glory, but He still accepts them because they are only human. God knew that we are all sinners and hence sent Jesus, to be the intercessor who takes away our sin. The story of Joseph also teaches us that human beings can sin like Joseph’s brothers who sold him into slavery.

To be human, means having certain physical features that differentiate us from animals. Humans have cognitive abilities and skills, which allow them to carry out simpler and complex activities. Human beings can imagine, innovate and think critically. Humans can communicate effectively, walk upright, eat and participate in all physical and leisure activities. Human beings have a high intellectual capacity compared to other animals. Humans represent God in human flesh.


The study has proposed many ways that demonstrate what it means to be human. Human beings can express their emotions without fear of judgment. Jesus too, was human enough to express emotions like anger, bitterness, compassion, sorrow and resentment in the course of his misery. Making mistakes and learning from them is part of being human.

The Bible teaches that we are all human, because God created us in His own image and likeness. Certain physical traits, such as the ability to communicate, eat, talk, sit and walk are what make human beings unique, as compared to God’s other creatures. The stories of Ruth and Joseph are perfect illustrations of what it means to be human. Ruth’s anger and bitterness as well as the folly committed by Joseph’s brothers are what make them inherently human. As Alexander Pope once famously said, “To error is to human; to forgive, divine”.

Works Cited

Bible, Holy. The Holy Bible: King James Version. Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996.


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