Lesson 10: The Creation of Man | Biblical Foundations for Living

Who am I? I am a sinner who has offended the God who created me to reflect His image.

Introduction to the Doctrine of Man

“What is man?” is a question that has prompted several answers. Some say that man is only a body; others say that man’s body is nothing but an idea; still others say that we cannot know anything about man’s make-up. Then the question of sin arises. Some say that men are basically good and that the answers to our problems are within us; others say that morality is subjective  each individual determines for himself what is right or wrong. But how does the Bible answer these questions?

We have learned in previous lessons that the Bible reveals God as the infinite Creator of finite mankind. In spite of this Creator/creature distinction, God has chosen to reveal information about Himself to men through His Word. This study of the doctrine of man (or Anthropology) will give a biblical answer to the question, “What is man?”

Lesson Ten: The Creation of Man

In order to adequately answer the question, “Who am I?,” one must understand the origin, nature, and fall of man, along with the effects of his fall.

[Notice that we start a discussion of man with what the Bible says, not with man’s experience, psychology, history, etc. One knows who he is because God has said who he is.]

This lesson will examine:

1. The origin of mankind

2. The nature of mankind [A “nature” is the basic facts or characteristics of something. ]

I. The Origin of Mankind [I.e., where did man come from?]

A. The creation of man was instantaneous and immediate on the sixth day of Creation.

[“Instantaneous” means that it happened in an instant. “Immediate” means that there was no drawn out process involved. I.e., no evolutionary process is responsible for the origin of man. This also rules out theistic evolution, the idea that God used the evolutionary process to create man.]

The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.   Genesis 2:7

Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man.   Genesis 2:21 22

Many people believe that man is a product of evolution. However, God created man immediately , that is, Creation was a direct act of God apart from any intermediate process such as evolution.

[Can one be a Christian and still believe in a form of evolution? Yes. Many Christians believe that God created the world through a process of evolution. But the only way to accommodate the evolutionary viewpoint is to change our interpretation of Genesis 1-11. If these chapters are figurative/metaphorical, then we could accept evolution. But is there any reason to think that the author of Genesis meant the first 11 chapters to be figurative/non-literal? No. The intent seems to be a description of what occurred, i.e., a historical account. Why is it so important that we maintain a literal view of Gen 1-11? Because Jesus and the NT authors did. What if they were wrong? Then our view of the Bible and Christianity is wrong. ]

Note: Though Adam and Eve were created directly by God, all other men (except Jesus Christ) descend from Adam and Eve by procreation (Genesis 3:20 and Acts 17:26).

[“Procreation” = the normal method of conception and birth.]

B. Mankind was created in the image of God .

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness . . . .” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.   Genesis 1:26 27 (See also Genesis 5:1 and 9:6.)

Unlike everything else God created, man was created “in the image of God.” This image includes both a personal and moral resemblance to God.

[We are, or can be, like God in some ways. This distinguishes man from animals. ]

1. It is a personal resemblance to God. Like God, man has personality.

[“Personality” is not referring to one’s attitude (e.g., outgoing, shy, funny.) Personality is person-hood, the fact that one is a person rather than an animal or a plant or an inanimate object. This is the basic make-up of the image of God. It is the primary thing that sets man apart from animals.]

a. Like God, man possesses intellect, will, and emotion.

The three components of personhood, intellect, will, and emotion, operate in a logical sequence. One can visualize this sequence in the following way:

Mind ? Will ? Emotion

Mind comes first because the other two are dependent upon it. Information must enter one’s mind before it can be responded to. Will comes before emotion, not vice versa. We run into difficulty when we reverse the order by allowing our emotions to dictate our actions.

[Notice how often people mention how they feel rather than what they think. People often make decisions based on feelings/emotions rather than reason.]

b. Like God, man has the ability to use language .

Since man was the only creature made in God’s image, only he has the ability to communicate via language like God.

Note: In the garden, Adam and Eve conversed with God audibly (Genesis 3). Today, God speaks to man through His Word, while man speaks to God through prayer.

[God does not speak audibly (out loud) to people today. Why not? Because we have God’s Word to tell us what to do.]

2. It is a moral resemblance to God. Like God, man has the ability to discern right from wrong.

Mankind was created in a state of moral purity (Genesis 1:31) and possessed the ability to discern right from wrong (Genesis 3:2-3). This image of God in man was marred by man’s fall into sin but not lost ; it was effaced but not erased. Thus, men still possess the ability to discern right from wrong.

[Analogy: words on a page smudged but still readable. All men still possess the image of God, although not to the same degree that Adam and Eve or Jesus had it. Sin has marred or defaced mankind. Note: even unsaved people bear the image of God (Gen 9:6; James 3:9).]

Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them. – Romans 2:14 15

Note: The marring of the image of God in man does not reduce man’s responsibility to God.

[Man is the only creature who has this ability. Can animals discern between right and wrong? No. Also, part of this moral likeness to God is the capacity for spiritual things. Man can possess spiritual life, fellowship with God, etc.]

C. Mankind was created in a state of unconfirmed holiness .

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.   Genesis 1:31

God made mankind upright.   Ecclesiastes 7:29

God did not create sin, nor did He create mankind sinful. Mankind was created morally pure (not neutral) and without sin. However, that purity was unconfirmed and, when put to the test by God via Satan’s temptation, Adam and Eve chose to disobey God.

[Had Adam and Eve passed the test, they likely would have been confirmed in holiness and there would not have been a fall.]

Note: God chose Adam to represent the entire human race. Therefore, when he chose to sin, he plunged all mankind into sin. However, one cannot blame Adam for his individual acts of sin, because each individual chooses to sin (Romans 3:23).

[In later lessons we will look at the imputation of Adam’s sin, that is, how Adam’s sin affects us.]

II. The Nature of Mankind

When we talk about man’s nature, we are referring to man’s basic or essential characteristics. The Bible speaks of individuals as being “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Modern medicine recognizes that each person has several physical systems (nervous system, digestive system, etc.). Though each of these function separately, man still functions as a single person.

In referring to man, the Bible uses several different words (body, soul, spirit, heart, mind, etc.). At the same time, it stresses that each human being is a unity of the different parts  a whole person (Psalm 63:1 and 84:2). One can separate the various components of man’s nature into two categories:

[We take a dichotomist view, that is, man is composed of two parts. Some hold a trichotomist view, that man has three parts: body, soul, and spirit. But the terms “soul” and “spirit” are pretty much synonymous in the Bible, so we don’t make a distinction between soul and spirit. ]

A. Mankind’s nature has a material aspect.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.   Psalm 139:15 16

The material aspect of man is his body.

[Some people say that the body is all there is. That is, they claim that all activities that seem to originate in the soul/spirit are really only physical and chemical process in the brain or glands. Is this what the Bible teaches? No. There are processes going on in every person that cannot be attributed to material causes.]

B. Mankind’s nature has an immaterial aspect.

The immaterial aspect of man is often referred to as his spirit or soul . Some say that man is made up of three parts: body, soul, and spirit. However, both soul and spirit are used interchangeably throughout Scripture to refer to the immaterial part of man (Matthew 10:28; 26:41; 1 Corinthians 7:34; James 2:26). Thus, one should not make hard and fast distinctions between spirit, soul, heart, and mind, all of which describe the immaterial aspect of man.

Note: A person’s human identity results from the union of the material and immaterial (Genesis 2:7). These two parts unite to make a complete human being. At death, the material part of man decays, but the immaterial part lives on in conscious existence.

[Dead believers seem to have some kind of bodily existence between the time of death and the resurrection. At the resurrection, the soul/spirit is reunited with some aspect of the physical body, and a glorified body is formed which will go on forever.]

C. Mankind’s nature is passed on through procreation .

Adam . . . had a son in his own likeness, in his own image.   Genesis 5:3

Although Adam was created in the image of God, Adam’s children were generated in his image (which still bore God’s image). The transmission of man’s being was and is through natural generation or procreation. This is true of both the material and immaterial aspects of human nature.

[In other words, you received your total human nature from your parents. God did not create your soul separately and inject it into your body when you were born. Somehow the immaterial part of the human nature is passed from the parents to the child.

Note: The virgin birth of Christ was necessary to prevent the fallen human nature of Mary from being passed on to Jesus. ]

Note: God created Adam and Eve sinless, but every individual born since then has been conceived in sin (except Christ). All human beings receive their nature (both the material and the immaterial aspects) from their parents. Therefore, our sin nature does not come from God.

[You may have heard that the sin nature is passed down through the father’s blood line. This is false. Sin does not reside in the blood. The sin nature is somehow passed on thru procreation, but the Bible does not explain exactly how this occurs.]

Learning to Live It

1. You have taken a field trip to the local museum. During the tour, your guide continually refers to man as evolving from a lower life form. You finally speak up, stating that according to the Bible, man was created by God as a being higher than animals. The guide laughs and says, “I would far rather believe the facts of science than the fairy tales of a book. Besides, your beliefs are based totally on faith, while mine are based on years of scientific study. Dare you dispute the findings of such scholarly men and women?” How should you answer him?

You don’t dispute the facts, but his interpretation of the facts. You challenge his assumptions (such as uniformitarianism). You inform him that his views are also based on faith–did he see evolution take place? Further, the theory evolution is by no means without problems.

2. When some preachers talk about someone who has heard and understood the gospel, yet has rejected it, they say that the individual has a head knowledge, but not a heart knowledge, or that the individual has “missed heaven by eighteen inches” (the distance between the head and the heart). What is wrong with such a statement?

Both the mind and the heart are part of the immaterial aspect of man, not two separate entities. Thus, you cannot separate the two–the individual has either both a “head” and a “heart” knowledge or neither. Further, it is equating the physical organ with the immaterial aspect of man. It would be better to say that the person knows the facts (meaning) but has not acted upon them (significance).

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