WHAT IS MAN?

David spent his early years as a shepherd.  He learned much about providing the sheep pasture and water...protecting them from bears and lions that would harm them...doctoring them in times of sickness and affliction and calming them when they were frightened.  In the process he learned to make and play musical instruments and to be an expert marksman with his slingshot.

David also had time to meditate on God's creation.  From the smallest flowers beneath his feet to the heavenly bodies over his head David pondered the meaning of God's handiwork.  A great question arose in his mind which he addressed to God:  "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?  For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor."  Psalm 8:3-5.

David's question has been pondered by countless millions since and answers have been offered from many perspectives.  Biologists might speak of man as being a composite of complex organisms.  Chemists might think of man as a living creature composed of the 18 elements that make up the earth's crust.  Philosophers might speak of man in glowing terms as being the creature with the highest power of reason.

MAN IS A FALLEN CREATURE

CREATED GOOD
As the last and highest act of God's creation man was created in God's image and likeness (Genesis 1:26, 27).  When God made His assessment of His creation man was included as being "very good". (Genesis 1:31).  In his original state man was innocent and sinless.  He was the supreme object of God's love and a partner in God's fellowship.  Man lived in a garden that has been described as "paradise".  There was abundant provision for man's every need and comfort.  There was no sweat, thorns, worry, sickness, growing old or death.  There was also no war.  The indication is that if man had not sinned none of these things would have come.

MAN FELL
The sad and regretful fact is that man sinned by disobeying what had been clearly forbidden by God.  The Apostle Paul informs us that Eve fell into disobedience because she was deceived but that Adam sinned deliberately (1st Timothy 2:13, 14).  As a result, the Pandora's Box of ills that plague humanity was opened.  The worst of all, man experienced death as God said he would.  ". . .But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."  (Genesis 2:17).  God was not referring to physical death but spiritual death.  Physically, Adam lived to be over 900 years of age.  (See Genesis 5:5).  Spiritually, Adam and Eve died that day.  Their spiritual nature became dead to it's relationship with God.  Moreover, every descendant of Adam has been born with physical life, but dead spiritually.  "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men. . ."  (Romans 5:12).  "For as in Adam all die. . ."  (1st Corinthians 15:22).  No wonder that Jesus said to Nicodemus, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'"  (John 3:6, 7).

MAN IS AN UNGRATEFUL CREATURE

The most graphic description in the Bible of man's downward spiral from the noble estate in which he was created to the lowest pits of evil is found in Romans 1:18-32.  It begins with man knowing much truth about God and ends with man given over to every evil practice imaginable.  We are told in verse 21 what brought about that downward spiral ". . .Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened."   Adam and Eve were ungrateful for the relationship they had with God and the paradise into which God had placed them.  A proper attitude of gratefulness for God and His blessings would have strengthened them to say "no" to disobeying God.  Whether it has been individuals or entire cultural groups that have descended to the depths of sin one contributing ingredient that got it started was ungratefulness to God.

It has been my privilege to share the gospel of Christ with tens of thousands of people.  I have been blessed beyond my ability to express it for those who responded by renouncing the sin that held them in bondage and receiving Christ by faith as their Savior.  All to common, however, the response has been "I'm sure that's good for people who need it, but there are other things that are far more important to me".  The average person is ungrateful for the sacrifice of Christ on the cross to make salvation available to them.

MAN IS A DEPRAVED CREATURE

Man is not only born in a spiritually dead condition but he is also born with a sin nature.  This is exactly what David was referring to in his fervent prayer of repentance, "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me."  (Psalm 51:5).   As a direct consequence of man's sinful nature he becomes a sinner by choice.  Although there have been many who have flattered themselves that they are without sin the Scripture declares that all are sinners.  How can anyone read Romans 3:9-23 without admitting this is true.  "There is none righteous, no, not one. . .They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one. . .  For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."  One southern preacher was heard commenting on this Scripture, "You didn't become a bum by accident, you worked at it!" 

MAN IS AN ETERNAL CREATURE

In the revelation of God's creation we read, "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (or soul).  (Genesis 2:7).  The spiritual component of man is spoken of in the Old Testament Scriptures as being distinct from the physical component.  When Rachel physically died as a result of giving birth to Benjamin we read, ". . .As her soul was departing (for she died). . ."Genesis 35:18)  We then read, ". . .And the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived."  (1st Samuel 7:21, 22.  In 1st Samuel 28 the story of King Saul going to a medium is recorded.  Saul asks the medium to "bring up Samuel" who had physically died and whose body was buried.  To the great shock of the medium the soul of Samuel did come up and delivered a message of God's impending judgment on Saul. (See 1st Samuel 28:7-19).

The patriarch Job spoke rather clearly about his spiritual nature patiently waiting between the time of his physical death and the time his body experiences a resurrection to be reunited with his spiritual nature. (See Job 14:14, 15, and Job 19:25-27).  David prophesied graphically about the soul of Jesus going down to Sheol but not remaining there long enough for His physical body to experience corruption.  (Psalms 16:9-11).  The apostle Peter confirmed this was the meaning of David's words at Pentecost.  (See Acts 2:23-35).  So did the Apostle Paul in Acts 13:34-37.  Jesus spoke most clearly of all about the eternal nature of man's soul.  He plainly stated, "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul..."  (Matthew 10:28).  In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus told a story that graphically illustrates the immortal nature of the soul:

A rich man and a beggar named Lazarus died.  The soul of Lazarus was carried to a place of comfort in the bosom of Abraham,---"The father of all those who believe".  (Romans 4:11).  The soul of the rich man was taken to Hades where he found himself tormented in flame.  The rich man and Lazarus could see one another although they were separated by an impassable space.  Both were fully conscious of their condition and the condition of each other.  Both had clear memories of their life on earth.  The rich man was informed that he could never pass from his place of torment over to the place where Abraham and Lazarus lived in comfort.

For a further study on the immortality of the soul please see John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15; 1st Corinthians 15; 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18 and Revelation 20 and 21.

MAN CAN BECOME A NEW CREATURE

Man can be born again.  He does not need another physical birth but he needs a spiritual birth.  Jesus said, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'"  (John 3:6, 7).  This birth comes when any man or woman receives Jesus Christ by faith as personal Savior.  "But as many as received Him to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:  who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."  (John 1" 12. 13).

The glorious consequence of becoming a new creature in Christ is that we become members of the family of God.  God is our Father and we are His child.  We are heirs of God and joint heirs of Christ (Romans 8:14-17.).  Our eternal glory is secure.  Our life on earth is a walk with God.  What is man"  Without Chirst hopeless.  With Christ, filled with blessed hope!

 

 

Copyright 2002 Thomas E Berry
Scripture quotations from NKJV unless otherwise noted

 

    Copyright 2008 Truth Helpers Inc.