Doctrine of Man: Part One

Posted: November 3, 2008 in Uncategorized

Why were we created? Wayne Grudem asserts that “God created us for his own glory (Isa. 43:7; cf. Eph. 1:11-12).  Therefore, we are to ‘do all to the glory of God’ (1 Cor. 10:31).” It follows that our purpose in life is simply to glorify God for only He is so worthy (Rev. 4:11).

Moreover, Scripture asserts that we were made in the image of God but what does that mean? Again, Dr. Grudem writes, “The fact that man is in the image of God means that man is like God and represents God.” For example, see Genesis 5:3 which reads, “When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.”

Yet, the Bible also states that this image has been distorted by sin, not lost, but distorted. Yet, if King Jesus saves us then He sends the Holy Spirit to progressively recover that image (Col. 3:10) until we are made perfect, like Jesus, upon His return (1 John 3:2).

But what are the specific aspects of our likeness to God? Theologians have identified the following traits as possibilities:

(1) moral aspects- we are morally accountable to God), have an inner sense of right and wrong that sets us apart from animals and are capable of right actions that reflect God;

(2) Spiritual aspects-we have immaterial spirits as well as physical bodies, “a spiritual life that enables us to relate to God as persons, to pray and praise him, and to hear him speaking his words to us” and “immortality; we will not cease to exist but live forever.”;

(3) Mental aspects-we have the ability to reason and think logically including the ability to utilize complex language and to reflect on the future and our mortality as well as to deeply feel and to create drawing upon logic, feeling, etc.;

(4) Relational aspects-we have the ability to enmesh ourselves within a community in a much deeper way than any other creature, which includes marriage and family;

(5) Physical aspects-while God is spirit, our physical bodies still reflect God in some ways, such as our ability to hear and see.

Finally, the last, and perhaps most important thing to note about our creation is that we draw our dignity from the fact that we bear God’s image.  Fred Craddock put it something like this, “God made the stars, the seas and the mountains and then said, ‘now I will create my masterpiece and do you know what that was…you!”

Tomorrow–“He created them male and female.”


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