I think I am correct in assuming that the term “human being” is a relatively recent title which man has ascribed to himself. It raises certain questions in my mind in relation to scripture and, further, to modern English Bible versions.
“Being” is derived from the verb “to be”, the first person singular declination of which is “I am”. This is the name by which God identified himself to Moses at the burning bush (“I am that I am” Exodus 3:14) and by which Jesus identified himself to the Pharisees (“Before Abraham was, I am” John 8:58). This title reflects an eternal and divine existence in an unchanging present tense, beyond the bounds of the time and space continuum.
I have recently been working through Walter Veith’s 36 part series of lectures entitled “Total Onslaught”, throughout which he identifies and exposes certain false doctrines held and promulgated by the inner circles of catholicism and freemasonry, one of which is the eternal divinity of man as opposed to him being a creature of God in a fallen condition, requiring salvation and reconciliation to God.
Questions: Who first coined the term “human being” and why? Isn’t this an assertion of the lie spoken in Eden “and ye shall BE as gods” in Genesis 3:5?
I turned something up in a recent Bible study which highlighted this issue quite emphatically. A reading was taken from James 5:17 in the NIV “Elijah was a HUMAN BEING, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.” I was following this, knowing that the KJV put an altogether different dimensional meaning to the same verse. “Elias was a MAN SUBJECT TO LIKE PASSIONS as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.”
Any new Christian reading the NIV here might simply read that Elijah was a bloke, dude or geezer like us but I suspect that the NIV is using “initiate” language in its corruption of the Word of God in this verse. The lesson which the KJV seeks to give the reader is also lost. It omits completely the context of Elijah being “subject to like passions as we are” and this is the context by which a believer can gain a great deal of encouragement.
If we look at an episode in Elijah’s life, we can see such “passions” or emotional pressures coming to bear on him. In 1 Kings 18 and 19 we read of Elijah’s exploits in challenging Israel before the prophets of Baal, how he called down fire from heaven onto the altar which he built to the Lord, killed all the false prophets and demonstrated the power of God in many ways. Then, on hearing Jezebel’s threats, he runs and hides in the wilderness, wishes himself dead and sees himself as a man alone. God has to come and speak to him to correct his view of himself. This certainly reminds me of some of the episodes in my own life as a Christian, in principle but not quite to the same degree!
I hope this illustrates a point in relation to the subtlety by which the Word of God has been changed and its consequent effect of man’s view of himself, both secular and in Christian persuasions which use modern Bible translations. It should be understood that the vast majority of such translations in English published since 1910 are derived from completely different manuscript sources than the received text versions. For a detailed study of the history on this subject I would recommend viewing the following videos or, better still, following through the entire series of lectures to get the subject in the full context of the war which has been waged against the truth since Jesus ascended and up to the present day.