Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
So God created man in hisown image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
What is man? Who is man?
Everyone is trying to answer this question. This question has been around as long as humans have. It seems that everyone has their own opinion and is looking for an answer.
Belief in God is becoming more and more rare so we are seeing a rise of humanism. There are so many issues lurking over the question, “what is man?” There are issues rising in psychology, sociology, and new discoveries in biology almost everyday. Humanity seems to become depersonalized by mass-production methods, mass media, and the supremacy of technology. Practices such as test-tube babies, abortion, chemical control of behavior, and genetic engineering raise questions about the dignity of human life.
Add to all of this issues like racism, the problems of politics, the problem of equality between men and women, etc. and you begin to see why it is important for us to ask, what is man? Who is man? Everyone is trying to give an answer.
Karl Marx said that man is simply a product of nature. According to Marx, humans are part of a social structure and evil arises from that structure. The only way it can be eliminated is by making changes in the structure, so the individual is important only as a member of society.
The psychologist B.F. Skinner said that all of our behavior is determined solely by our environment. If you can figure out the environment perfectly, then all of our behaviors would be completely predictable.
But the most basic presupposition of the Christian view of man is that man is a creature, created by the Creator.
As creatures, we are wholly and totally dependent on our Creator to preserve our being, to sustain our existence (Neh. 9:6, Acts 17:25, 28).
But we are not only creatures; man is also a person.
Being a person implies having some sort of free will to make everyday decisions and choices. We have a soul. We have a spirit. So as a creature, we are totally dependent, but as a person we have a relative independence. This is a mystery to us. It seems incompatible.
To really answer the question, “what is man?” or “who is man?” we must look to several key Scriptures, but one particularly: Genesis 1:26-28.
We must recognize that in the Garden, before the Fall of man into sin, humans were actually really good. But after the fall, we have a problem. And Genesis 5:1-3 tells us that Adam’s son, Seth, inherited Adam’s likeness and was created in his image, and Adam was created in God’s image – so the cool part of this is that the image of God is being passed down to every single human being. The not cool thing is that so is the corruption of that image.
There are some other texts that will help us understand.
2 Cor. 4:4 – In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
John 14:8-9 – Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Here we see that Christ is the perfect image of God. What we see and hear in Christ is exactly what God intended for us.
The whole goal of creation is for man to be conformed to the image of Christ.