Machine may not be the right term. Machines have no mind, will, or emotions. Neither do they have freedom to choose. Organism would be a better fit.
That said, however, I prefer the word machine. Machines are designed to do something. It seems that some organisms can just exist, and that is all we expect of them. A squirrel just has to exist as a squirrel and that’s fine. He just takes care of himself, supports his own existence, but is not otherwise productive. A squirrel would make a lousy machine. It would be difficult to sell many of them. Most machines have a singular purpose. The ice cream machine at McDonald’s is designed to produce ice cream. If it doesn’t do that it is worthless. In fact it is detrimental, taking up space and being in the way.
Likewise, human beings are not designed just to exist but to produce a particular product. That product is agape.
This perspective is supported by Scripture. Loving God and our neighbor not only comprise the first and second commandments, but Jesus taught that they embodied the whole law. Likewise, the Apostle Paul taught, “…love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:10b NKJV) If the command to love embodies the whole law, this fact conveys that agape encompasses our purpose for existence. God designed us to produce agape.
That this is God’s design for humans is not only validated by Scripture, but it is also supported by the fact that a life characterized by agape constitutes the optimal expression of humanity. A life characterized by love is pleasing to God. We find this reality expressed throughout Scripture. Whenever people demonstrate love to others God is delighted with them. People failing to show love, instead acting in selfish and hurtful ways, are objects of God’s displeasure.
Likewise, when we display agape toward others, by definition it is a blessing to them, since agape can be defined as seeking the best interest of another. In fact, displaying agape to others makes for healthy relationships and a well-functioning society.
In addition, displaying agape also comprises the healthiest and happiest approach to life of the one manifesting agape. The satisfactions provided through selfish choices are fleeting and unsatisfying. Jesus said to the woman at the well, “He who drinks of this water will thirst again.” Extending agape to others brings a deep and lasting fulfillment.
The fact that agape makes every dimension of life work well validates that God designed us to be agape producing machines.
Therefore, to the extent we display agape, we are fulfilling our purpose as human beings, we are living according to God’s design. To that extent our life is working well for others and for ourselves and is pleasing to God.
Since producing agape comprises our human purpose, I plan to explore this topic further in the next several post. As we go through this series I hope all of us will be asking if we are living to the fullest extent as human beings, maximizing agape production.