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Doctrine of Man

Bible Doctrine of Man

In the beginning God created ...

The Origin of Man. The Bible states that man was created by God. This truth is found especially in Gen 1:26-31 and 2:7-25. These passages teach that God did not use any previously existing living creature in bringing man into being.

In the Genesis account of creation man's presence in the world is attributed directly to God. By this act alone, as the God of love and power, man was "created" (bara', 1:27; 5:1; 6:7) and "formed" (yasar, 2:7 - 8). By this creative act man was brought into existence in a duality of relationships, at once to nature and to God himself. He was formed of the dust of the earth and was endowed with soul life by the breath of God. God is the source of his life, and dust the material of his being.

Man was created for fellowship or communion with God. Unlike any of the other creatures, he has a fundamental likeness to God: he is created in the "image of God" (Gen 1:26-27). Man meets and talks with God in the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:15-17). Man did not just spring out of nature by some natural evolutionary process. He is the result of the immediate action of God, who used already existing created material for the formation of the earthly part of his being. Man has thus physiological similarities with the rest of the created order (Gen. 18:27; Job 10:8 - 9; Ps. 103:14, etc.) and consequently shares with the animal world in dependence on God's goodness for his continuance (Isa. 40:6 - 7; Pss. 103:15; 104, etc.).

Man is also created to do God's will and work. Man was created in God's image so he might "have dominion" over the rest of creation (Gen 1:26,28) or perform God's work of ruling the creation in His place. This was the original intention of God for man.

The extent of this "Freedom or Dominion" is grounded in man's nature as rational and free, the Bible sets in motion the view that every man is responsible for his own wrongdoing. Thus Adam is seen as the primary type of each man's sinning, and his fall is the story of everyman. Western theology regards Adam's transgression as the fountainhead of all human evil. Many Bible scholars trace sin to humanity's connection with Adam, through whom it has become a natural element of every man's nature. Through God's granted freedom/dominion He has allowed man's free will to choose good or evil, life or death.

In Pelagius and Augustine these two views came into sharp conflict. Pelagius taught that man was unaffected by Adam's transgression, his will retaining the liberty of indifference so that he possesses in himself the ability to choose good or evil. In the light of Rom. 5:12 - 13 Augustine maintained that Adam's sin has so crippled man that he can act only to express his sinful nature inherited from his first parents. The inevitable compromise appeared in the semi - Pelagian (or semi - Augustinian) synergistic thesis that while all men do inherit a bias to sin, a freedom of decision remains that permits at least some men to take the first step toward righteousness.

In the Calvinist - Arminian controversy of the seventeenth century the conflict was reenacted. Calvin contended for the total depravity of man; man "has no good remaining in him." Therefore the will is not free to choose the good; so salvation is an act of God's sovereign grace while the Arminian view teaches that God grants every human enough grace to either except or reject God's offer of eternal grace in Christ. In other words the Arminian view is that all or depraved (sinners), but not the Calvinistic view of total depravity (no ability to choose God).

Romans 1:18-21 states "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened" is one of a number of Bible references that imply that God holds man accountable/responsible for his choices.

Many of the Bible stories seem to show that although all have sinned it also has become God's continuing intention to repeatedly intervene to draw man back to Himself. Ultimately, the Redeemer-Jesus-was sent for this reason as well. Man is not only to have fellowship with God; he is to glorify Him, by what he is and what he does (1 Cor 10:31; Eph 1:12). Through the Restoration of Man by faith in the the death, burial, and Resurrection of Christ, God has acted to restore man to his original state of innocence and fellowship with God. He has done this by sending His Son to die for man so man might be reconciled to God and be renewed or "born again" (John 3:3,7). The desire of God is to restore man to a dynamic, vital relationship with God (Rom 6:4; 2 Cor 5:20).

Man is most fully human when fulfilling the intention of God for him: worshiping, serving, and loving God. Of all creatures, only man has been given this blessed privilege. We were created for the pleasure of God. 2 Peter 3:9 states "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

John the Baptist and Jesus came preaching, "Repent the Kingdom of God is at hand." John the Baptist goes on to speak of God's judgment saying in Mat 3:10 "And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire."

The purpose of the above comments on the "Doctrine of Man" is to encourage you to study and meditate upon the Word of God.