What Makes us Different?


What is it that makes us human?

It's hard to tell sometimes. Is it intelligence? I'm pretty sure that there are some squirrels in my back yard that could beat me on some intelligence tests. The use of tools? That one has been debunked. Emotional attachment? Elephants have been shown to have incredibly strong attachments that last over years of separation.

So, what is it? Why do we hold a such a special place in God's creation?

I recently read the first chapters of Genesis and thought of this as it was made clear that humans were distinct and different. God breathed into us. We are made in the image of God and no other creature was created in that way.

At the same time my daughter was studying world religions and it hit me. Often used as a way to debunk God, I think they actually are evidence for His existence.

I have heard it said that religion is simply a way for humans to try to understand and control their environment. Even an opiate for the masses to keep people under control. Maybe so. But have you ever wondered why humans are the only creatures with this need to worship? We are the only ones who reach out for something more.

There is not a single animal that creates a temple or attempts to appease some being greater than themselves. There are no indications of worship or spiritual gathering in the animal kingdom ever, and there are examples throughout human history.

Maybe it's because there is something in us that is drawn to its source. Maybe it's that we were created with a space for God that won't be satisfied with anything else. We try, sometimes in harmful and destructive ways. We fill that space with God, with ourselves, with power, with entertainment, and a myriad of other things.

But, as St. Augustine says, "Our hearts are restless, Lord, until they rest in You." Nothing else will fit into that space. Nothing.

We were made to know God. It's pretty incredible really.

Photo: @thoughtful_camera

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Karen May

Inspirational Catholic Writer and Speaker

based in Austin, Texas