Innate Qualities

When considering characteristics of the human body that are innate, several things may come to mind. Actions such as a heart beating, lungs breathing, and eyes blinking are examples of actions that happen involuntarily and do not require to be first taught. When the Lord made Adam, He made him a fully-grown man who’s bodily functions were fully developed. Adam’s mind was made to understand logic, and he was made able to understand the language in which the Lord spoke to him. Mankind was created with a certain set of abilities that needed no instruction, from the moment God breathed into the nostrils of Adam. (Genesis 2:7) Some actions are in some ways obviously and involuntarily innate in regards to the physical, human body; this we know to be true. How often, though, do we take into consideration the innate qualities of our spiritual natures that set mankind apart from the rest of creation? For instance, can communication with words be seen as spiritually significant? Is prayer instinctual? Is the desire to fear and worship a being of higher power something inherent? Questions like these have rattled the minds of philosophers and deep thinkers for ages. Fortunately for mankind, answers to these questions can be found in Scripture, and can be demonstrated through the examples of men and women throughout history.

The first instance of a spiritually innate ability can be found as early as Adam communicating with God in the garden. Starting in verse 16 of Genesis chapter 2, a communication between God and man was happening. “The Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from there of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.’” It goes on to say in verse 19 that Adam was given the authority to name the creatures God presented to him. These circumstances, although simple in appearance, prove two truths. The first truth that can be noticed is that there is a verbal language which God used to transfer messages to Adam. The second truth is that that language appears to be understood and reciprocated by Adam without him being taught it. In light of these truths, one could conclude that the act of communicating with God was an experience for Adam that was unlike a man’s typical, physical needs, but was a spiritual one that needed to be met just the same.

Although mankind can’t have a verbal conversation with the Lord today, there is an avenue we’ve received by which we can meet the spiritual need to communicate with God, this is prayer. Throughout the Patriarchal Age, most recorded instances of communication had with God was verbal and direct. The word “pray” wasn’t even mentioned until the time of Abraham. Its first reference is made several hundred years after the creation of man, in Genesis 20:7. The context of its inclusion was after the Lord had appeared to King Abimelech in a dream to warn him that Sarah was Abraham’s wife, and not his sister like Abraham had told him. Other occurrences of the word “pray” began to emerge in the Bible after this point in time.  

Due to Abimelech’s preexisting belief in the gods, the word “pray” would have meant something to him. However, moving forward from Abraham’s time, and focusing on the present, there are people who choose to accept a belief in there being no God (or gods for that matter) at all! If we are holding to the concept of this act of communication being one that is innate, then it would be significant to witness individuals who claim, with no belief in a supernatural being, to pray. Such information was given attention by Timothy Keller, a Presbyterian minister and famous author, in his book, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God. Although not all of what Keller has to say is something I agree with, his cited research on this topic fits in well with the subject at hand. In his book, Keller cites a survey done in 2004 that shows a percentage of atheists who pray. In the original survey, the results concluded that almost 30% of the atheists living in the UK admitted to praying. If the definition can be agreed upon that praying is a form of communication with something of a higher power than the individual, why would someone who claims a belief in nothing pray at all? Could it be that it’s simply a part of the human nature to desire for a communication with what is superior to mankind? A number of God fearing people have answered this question with, “yes.”

In Scripture, there are references to what the innate purpose of man is to be. Both the Old and New Testament share knowledge on what cannot be denied by any human being who has lived, or will live, on the earth. In regards to what the purpose of creation is, one does not have to search very far in Old Testament to discover it. “For the choir director. A Psalm of David. The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands (Psalm 19:1).” Glory to God is displayed in His creation. In regards to what is innately known by man, the apostle Paul makes reference to the fact that man has no excuse but to accept God’s power and divinity. Romans 1:19-20 says, “because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” What the writer says in Ecclesiastes 12:13 can be paired well with the words of Paul. “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.” 

Due to certain qualities that have been instilled within us, the desire for a connection between us and our Lord is inevitable. The need to express a respect and adoration for a higher power has been something that remains to set humanity apart from the rest of creation. Focusing on the innate qualities of our spiritual natures is something that may prove to be beneficial as we walk our Christian walks. I urge us all to focus on our individual walks and talks with our Lord, and treat them as if their intentional. The Lord calls all of us to Him. “Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made (Isaiah 43:7).”