What Is Man?

The Psalmist asked the question “What is man, that Thou art mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:4). David posed this question when considering all of God’s creation against the apparent insignificance of man. When one considers all of creation, what is minuscule man that God is mindful of him? And yet God has blessed man with a greatness no other part of creation knows. This, in turn, glorifies God by showing His great power. Yet the question can stand apart from this approach and deserves an answer in and of itself.

So, what is man? This is an important question not only because David asked it but also because many today do not seem to understand who or what man is or have forgotten it or don’t care. But without a proper understanding of who man is or what the role of man is, satan can easily pervert those roles and corrupt both society and the church. In order to stop this corruption, we have to understand man as God designed him and defend God’s design boldly and openly.

First of all, man is a created being (Gen. 1:26). Man is not the product of millions of years of evolution, nor of chance mutations (Gen. 2:1,2; Ex. 20:11). Man was specially and purposefully created and designed by God (Psalm 139:14). There can be no harmony between the Bible’s historical account of creation and man’s speculation about origins that involve gradual change over time from simple to complex creatures. Not only does evolution and naturalism conflict with the biblical account of creation, it is intuitively contrary to reason. How can something come from nothing, as naturalistic evolution demands?

If evolution is true and man is nothing but a chance arrangement of atoms and molecules, and a series of genetic mistakes, then there is nothing special about man at all. If man is no different than a can of soup chemically, then a snail might well be just as important as a human baby or the elderly or any other person not deemed productive to society. If evolution is true why not kill unwanted babies, let the elderly die and euthanize the weak and feeble of society. But is this not what is happening in our own society or at least being advocated? These attempts either derive from a lack of understanding that man is a created being or are knowingly pushed in order to confuse man’s understanding.

Second, man is created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26). This makes man special. No other creature was made in the image of God and all other creatures were created for man’s benefit (Gen. 1:18-20). God has given man dominion over all other living things (Gen. 1:28) and as long as man is a good steward of that which God has given him, he is free to do what he wants with that creation (James 3:7; Psalm 8:6-8). No animal, insect or plant will ever be more important than any single man or group of men and yet satan, through liberals, attempts to get man to accept just that kind of erroneous thinking.

Because man is created in the image of God life is therefore both sacred and of inestimable value. The universal condemnation of wrongfully taking an innocent human life in the act of murder is ultimately predicated upon the central truth that man is created in God’s image (Gen. 9:6). Abortion is the taking of an innocent human life for no other better reason than that it gets in the way of the mother or father. Euthanasia is the taking of innocent human life for the honorable goal of reducing human suffering but it disregards the sacredness of life created in the image of God.

Third, when God created man He created him male and female (Gen. 1:27). Therefore, there are two genders and only two genders. There are two sexes and only two sexes. The attempt to try to make “gender” something different than “sex” is merely an attempt to blur the roles God has assigned to men and women. Face book apparently now offers at least 51 “genders” from which to chose when you sign up for their service. This perversion of what is obvious by nature and manifest by revelation is a travesty. It is nothing other than an attempt of the devil to break down the role of male and female and thus to break down the institution of the home (Gen. 2:18-25).

Knowing who man is and what he is is vitally important for the continuation of a moral and beneficial society. It is also essential for carrying out the work of God in the Lord’s church. There are many working for satan who would willingly pervert God’s design with regard to man’s nature and his role in God’s plan. They are not shy about perverting God’s designs and are tireless in their efforts and we must meet their energy with an even greater zeal for the truth.

“For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour” (Psalm 8:5).

Eric L. Padgett