When did we become human? This is a question that still remains to be solved by anthropologists.
Did we become human when we first stood up on two legs, freeing our hands for tool making, which demanded more mental ingenuity? Was it the creation of language? Art?
In order to understand at what point our species became human, we need to understand what it means to be human.
Humans enjoy both an external (corporeal) and inner (spiritual) reality. Our external reality is similar to that of other creatures, which have natural and worldly desires for food, comfort and sex. But our deeper, inner reality is something other creatures do not share.
This inner reality provided a medium by which God could affect the minds of men and women and enter into a most unique relationship. Through this medium and relationship, the human species can override its corporeal or natural level and continue to evolve inwardly into new spiritual beings called angels.
According to the theological writings and personal discoveries of Emanuel Swedenborg, we became human when we first began to both recognize and worship God. We are human from what we receive from God through our inner, psychical world.
God has given men and women two capacities in life that make us human. They are free will and discernment. These two capacities are the essence of human form (not ten toes and fingers or an upright stance). These two gifts are the finite equivalent of God’s Divine Love and Divine Wisdom. Free will has reference to love and discernment has reference to wisdom.
It is the two capacities of free will and discernment that make us an image of the Lord God. They allow God to make a covenant with the human race.
The Infinite essence is Love. Love is living and conscious (wise). Love is Infinite Personality. So God’s form is infinitely and divinely human.
Therefore one could also say that standing upright is what made us human—if we look at this as an inner or mental posture—which allows us to gaze towards heaven rather than have our eyes always fixed to the earth. In this way “standing upright,” means becoming an upright citizen through the observance of God’s tenets.
Our special God-given inner reality, called spirit, is the means by which men and women can gain eternal life and happiness.