Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

Genesis 2:7

The psalmist asked God, “What is man that Thou art mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:4), and this is the question we seek to answer in this study.

In some ways human life is just as all other life – the word translated “soul” in the King James – “man became a living soul” (nephesh in Hebrew) – was used also for the animals that God created (Gen. 1:20-24 and 2:19). And in Genesis 2:19 even the animals are called “living creatures” or “living souls.” Our body chemistry is similar to the animals – our senses, our nutritional needs, the gestation cycle of infants, the general human life span, etc. – all of these are not very different from the rest of creation.

The secret to understanding the significance and purpose of human life is found in the original intention of God – that we would be made in His image and would be given responsibility to subdue and rule over the earth, and to multiply and subdue the earth (Genesis 1:26-28). In this image we also have the remarkable ability to communicate with our Creator, to know Him, to have a relationship with Him. This also is one of the purposes for which God made us – not just to work and procreate, but to know Him. When God breathed into the nostrils of Adam the breath of life, Adam was animated to fulfill the purposes for which He had been created. From the moment of his creation and while still in his innocence Adam was divinely enabled to do these things – to know his Creator, to rule over creation, and to multiply.

That the main purpose of humanity is to know God there can be no question, as this is repeatedly the emphasis of Scripture. The divinely inspired psalmist wrote: “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you” (Psalm 73:25). Christ said, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). Adam’s and Eve’s (or Eve’s and then Adam’s) temptation was to substitute something for God – to replace knowing Him with trying to satiate the unsatiable lusts of the human soul, to elevate ourselves in His place (pride), to try and unseat the One above all, and even if it was to only unseat Him in their hearts, it was rebellion against God all the same – spiritual high treason.

The Apostle Paul, as the Spirit enabled him, understood and wrote about the nature of Adam being passed down to us, as we are his offspring. In 1 Corinthians 15:45-49, he compared Adam, “the man of dust,” with Christ, “the second man.” Just as we in our natural bodies have inherited biologically the physical nature of Adam – from dust we came and to dust we return – in Christ we who believe have received His image. God has not left us unredeemed. He did not turn His back on us in utter rejection, and in Christ reverses the Adamic curse.

Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

We have not only inherited from Adam our biological nature; we have also inherited from him our spiritual nature. Romans 5:12 says, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” These words of Paul are sometimes considered the most difficult theology of the entire New Testament, but I believe the meaning of Paul (or more appropriately of the Spirit) is clear enough, and we can understand them easily if we will let the words stand in their simplicity. He means to say that it is common knowledge that all men and women sin, that this character flaw is found in the entire race. Some sin without having ever known the teachings of God’s Word or the standards of God’s Law, but those who have been properly taught still sin in that they do not obey it perfectly. And it is all because every last human being is descended from Adam and his spiritual nature, along with his biological nature, is passed along to us.

But in Christ is our redemption possible, and we who believe have the promise of bearing His glorious image after death – “we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He truly is” (1 John 3:2). And we have the promise of bearing His spiritual image while we live – “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Rom. 8:29).

Another trait of human life as it was created and revealed in the original plan of God – we have the capacity to learn and grow and change, and in this we are different from God – this is the limits of bearing His image. God is forever and always the same – from eternity to eternity – “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). We have the promise of fullness of knowledge in heaven – “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Cor 13:12). – but here on earth we learn and grow. To fulfill the purposes of our existence require that we be redeemed by Christ, that we are brought back into fellowship with Him in a salvation or conversion experience. But from that point on we grow. We grow in our relationship with God. We grow in understanding and fulfilling our obligations toward the creation. We grow in understanding and in fulfilling our obligations to one another as well, to pass on blessings to the next generations.

Why is God mindful of humanity? Why does He care about you? Because He has not given up His original hopes and plans for creation. He desires that you know Him, and this is possible through Jesus Christ. He desires that you grow in this knowledge and in this relationship, and that you bless those around you, even the created order itself. And the amazing and plain truth is that our hearts know these matters, that no human being is truly fulfilled until they have given themselves to these purposes. We are made to make a difference, and in Christ we can do exactly that.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.