If we want to know the truth about man, we must turn to the Bible. “Truth is what God says about something.” The Bible tells us about man’s creation, nature, and relation to other beings. Man is the focal point of creation. All the earth is subject to him. Genesis 1:26. However, to really know man we must obtain God’s perspective, not man’s ideas.
I. MAN’S ORIGIN
It is only natural that man should be curious about his origin. He always has been. Various theories have been put forward at different times by philosophers. The most modern is the theory of evolution, which asserts that man’s ancestors are the lower animals. There is no evidence that primitive man is any different from modern man. The fact that Human blood is one blood throughout the world proves that it is not a process of evolution. Acts 17:26. Animal blood will not sustain life for man. We cannot mix our blood with animal blood. From fish to fowls to animals to man, God created each one after their own kind. Genesis 1:24-25.
Man is distinctively different in that he was created in the image of God. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Genesis 1:26-27.
God created the first man from the dust of the ground. Genesis 2:7. However, throughout history God created human beings in one of the following ways: (A) By conception with man and woman. (B) Without the aid of a woman, as Eve. (C) Without a man or woman, as Adam.
(D) Without the aid of a man, by a woman, as Christ. This is another evidence of God’s power over life.
God says concerning His creature man, “I have created him for my glory, I have formed him: yea, I have made him.” Isaiah 43:7. So the question is “What is the chief end of man?” Properly answered, “The chief end of man is to glorify God.”
II. MAN’S NATURE
Anyone who has witnessed a person dying understands vividly that man has a physical body and also a soul or spirit. At one moment the person is alive … the next he is gone. Yet his body is still there. But the life principle has departed; a dead body remains.
The Bible teaches us that man is a threefold being: body, soul and spirit. I Thessalonians 5:23. While it is hard for us to distinguish between soul and spirit, since both are in contrast with the physical body, the Bible shows that there is a difference. A plant is a body without soul or spirit. An animal has a body and soul but no spirit. Man is body, soul and spirit. The soul distinguishes a living being from a dead one, but the spirit distinguishes a man from an animal. The spirit of man makes it possible for him to have communion or fellowship with God.
Man is the only created being that prays. Prayer is a universal practice. From the most pagan people to the most enlightened people – we pray. Why? Have you ever seen a monkey thank God for his bananas? Also, man is the only created being with a conscience. Have you ever seen a monkey that felt guilty for stealing another monkey’s coconuts or for committing adultery? The writings of history are filled with the testimonies of human beings who were struck with conviction that they had done wrong. Romans 1:18-32. Animals make decisions through instinct. Only man can make decisions by reasoning.
When fallen man becomes a Christian, he receives the indwelling Holy Spirit. We received the old nature through the fall of Satan, which he brought into the human race through the fall of Adam. If we will come to Him in faith, receiving Him as our personal Savior, He literally, in the person of the Holy Spirit, takes up residence in our lives. At that point we receive a new nature, which is “Christ in you the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27.
The soul is the seat of the emotions and passions. The term spirit includes our ability to know and reason. Man is responsible to God and it is his greatest duty to find out what God wants him to do, then do it. These two natures, the flesh and the Spirit, are an internal warfare that we as Christian battle throughout life. (More about this under “Salvation”)
III. MAN’S FREE WILL
There are other beings in the universe, which God has created. These are angels or spirits. They do not have human bodies or souls. They are mightier than we are. They were also created to serve God, but like man, they have a free will. Some of them fell into the sin of disobedience. Isaiah 14:12-15.
God could have made a number of machines to do His will mechanically. Instead He chose to create beings who could, if they wished, serve Him voluntarily and love Him freely. We cannot quite understand why He would desire to have it so, but the evidence clearly abounds throughout history. Man makes his choices, and God delivers the consequences.
IV. MAN’S SIN
When God created free beings, able to do His will or refuse to do so, He must have known that some would choose the wrong way. And so it turned out. A great angel called Lucifer, now known as Satan, decided to set his will in opposition to God’s. The first sin was not committed on earth but rather in heaven. He was immediately cast out of heaven. Many other angels joined Satan and were cast out with him. From that time on, Satan has sought to hinder the plans of God in every possible way. When man was created with a free will, Satan immediately planned to tempt him from the path of obedience. God had warned man, but Satan succeeded only too well in drawing him into sin as well. The well-known story is found in Genesis 3.
Now God, as the moral Governor of the universe, cannot tolerate in His presence any being who deliberately disobeys His commands. This is why Satan was cast out of heaven when he defied God’s will. The same treatment was necessary for man, and so Adam was driven from the physical presence of God. Genesis 3:23-24.
Sin had entered the human race, and Adam’s nature has been passed on to every member of the human race. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death has passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Romans 5:12. We are all born with a tendency to sin. This nature responds to temptation from without and so we yield and grievously sin against a holy God.
V. MAN’S FUTURE
Just as the Bible tells us of man’s origin, as coming from the hand of God; and of man’s shameful fall and the consequent separation from God; so it faithfully tells us that every man, woman and child will some day stand before God as his Judge. “So then every one of us shall give an account to God.” Romans 14:12. The fact of death is so common that everyone understands the inevitable end of every man. But the Bible adds, “It is appointed unto man once to die but after this the judgment.” Hebrews 9:27. God has created man and revealed to him His will through His Word. God will absolutely hold every person responsible for everything he has done. This life is primarily a preparation for the next one. Man does not die like the animal. Man’s spirit must go to God, his Creator and Judge.