Original word for ‘man’ in the bible:
- In Hebrew: ‘adham’, ‘Ish’
- in Greek: ‘aner’, ‘anthropos’
- There are more than 3000 instances of word used for ‘man’! There is no doubt that man is the one of the central theme of bible.
Four fundamental aspects concerning Man:
- Present Condition
- These are four principle aspects of the doctrine of man in the bible. You may go to any part of the world, culture, society, religion, past and present, and you will encounter these four aspects concerning man. Every religion, culture or society will try to answer these questions in various ways. Their answers shapes every area of one’s life and worldview, how they relate to themselves, to God and to other people.
- This bible study guide discusses the doctrine the origin of man according to bible (Christianity).
Q. Who created man according to the bible?
- It is very clear from the beginning of the bible that God created man and woman. (Gen 2:7)
- Man did not evolve (emerge) from the lower forms of life. But God is the creator of man. Gen 2:7 -“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.”
- Bible does not explain just ‘how’ God created man and ‘how much’ time it took. But it is sure that the moment, God breathed into his nostril, he became alive, before he wasn’t.
- Science may explain millions of years of evolution process and gradual formation of the earth and its beings. But Bible is very clear that man started to exist, when God breathed life into lifeless form made of dust of the ground.
Q. What are the three chief ingredients of man according to bible?
- Body (Gen 2:7)
- Soul: ability to reason and think (mind) and ability to feel (emotion) (Rev 6:9, Hebrew 12:23)
- Spirit: Moral nature, free will to choose (Pr 26:27, 1 Cor 2:11)
- (1 Thes. 5:23 – “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”)
- The difference between man and animals is not that we have soul and spirit and animals don’t. (Eccl 3:21 -“Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”) But the fact that we are created in the ‘Image of God’ and animals aren’t.
- Man was created with highly developed intellect, knowledge, reasoning and moral character. Many people have a picture of a cave man (with no sense of understanding), when they think of first humans. But bible teaches that man was endowed with these qualities from the beginning. (Think of our great grand parents, they were by no means, less intellectual or knowledgeable than we are. Off course, their understanding and knowledge were less technical and scientific.)
Q. What is the chief purpose of man?
- Dominion: God has given man dominion over the earth and nature. (Gen 1:28-29)
- Stewards: The dominion however, does not mean to abuse the earth, but men are to be faithful stewards of the authority given by God. (Gen 1:29)
- Seek their creator: (Acts 17:27: – God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.”)
Q. Created in the Image of God:
- Man is created in the image of God. (Gen 1:26-27, 2:7, 5:1, 9:6, Eph 4:24, Col 3:10)
- Group exercise: Take a portrait or an image of someone (with some fine details) and ask the group, “what do they see?” The image will reflects the attributes of the actual person in the picture.
- When God created man in His image, man reflects what or who God is like, His attributes, His reflection. Following are few attributes:
- Personality: Ability to reason, think, choice, wisdom
- Authority: Just as God has the ultimate authority over all things, God have man an authority to rule and dominion over the earth and nature. (Gen 1:28-29)
- Creativity: God gave man ability to create. Man can procreate.
- Moral character: Ability to choose from right and wrong, good and evil, ability to distinguish.
This summarize the biblical doctrine of the origin of man. The doctrine of sin and consequences (present condition, salvation and destiny) will be discussed in the later part of this series.
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