Who am I?

That’s a question that many people are asking today. Our world seems to be in the middle of an identity crisis and there are many voices speaking up and telling people what they can and should find their identity in. Thomas Fretwell has written this really helpful book Who am I? Human identity and the gospel in a confusing world, in it you will find a helpful critique of culture and a hope that comes only from the Gospel.

A big question that needs to be asked is ‘what is it that makes a human?’…

“The understanding of who we are as humans – whether a random collection of atoms or a uniquely designed creature – forms the foundation of our identity.”

I believe that the Bible teaches that we are to find our identity in God, Fretwell goes on to say…

“We were made with eternity in our hearts – that is, we are specifically intended to find our ultimate meaning and fulfilment by living in accord with what we have been designed for: to glorify God and enjoy Him for ever.”

In this book Fretwell offers Christ as the key to understanding human identity. He argues, through Scripture, that the identity that Jesus offers the world is the only one that matters and that it surpasses every other understanding because His is the identity that we were created with.

Some people base their understanding of their identity on past events (positive or negative), others base it on the community that they are in and still others base it on their sexual orientation…

“These things are not unimportant, but they are not able to provide objective identity.”

Fretwell goes on to expose our culture which celebrates sexual freedom but actually cheapens and reduces the wonderful gift of sex, that God gave the world, to nothing more that a fulfilment of desires and physical satisfaction. Not only does this leave people empty, not only does this damage the wonderful gift that God gave the world but it leaves people searching for something that they can only find in God. Their real identity as a creature created by a loving and caring Father.

In chapter 4 Fretwell starts off with a short fictional story. I must say that when I was reading it I was wondering where he was going with it all, and then it came and I was surprised. I won’t go into the details because I can’t give the whole book away. But the short fictional story takes the ideologies of the world to their logical conclusion. The story was really helpful to think about how people would respond if you started to take their ideologies to their conclusion. This is a helpful way of getting people to think of the devastation that begins in the mindset and thinking of mankind.

Why should people find their identity in Jesus? Because, as the Bible teaches, we are made in the image of God. We are His image bearers.

“If we really want to understand what it is to be human, we must first understand something about who God is – the source of the image. It also means that our true identity is not contingent upon how beautiful or successful we are; rather it is totally dependant on Him.”

We shoudl find our identity in God because we were created by Him, but there is a problem, we are flawed human beings. Fretwell goes on to explain original sin, the curse of the first Adam, but he ends the books with the wonderful promises of the second Adam. Jesus, the second Adam, doesn’t bring a curse but forgiveness, He brings redemption to those who call on Him and He makes us part of God’s family. We are taken from being flawed people, stick in the pit of our own sin, to being in the palace of the King. Jesus offers people the identity of people redeemed children of the living God.

Have you ever asked questions like; why am I here, what’s the purpose of life? What does it mean to be human and who am I? Pick up this book to help you think through some of these questions. You can buy a copy here.

Rating 4/5

Thomas Fretwell, BTh and MA (Theology), is currently undertaking PhD research. An engaging speaker and host of the Theology & Apologetics podcast, he is a tutor in Theology at King’s Evangelical Divinity School and an associate speaker with Creation Ministries International. He also serves on the pastoral team at Calvary Chapel, Hastings.