Tag Archives: Man

Man

What is man that you are mindful of him, 
and the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:4 ESV)

Compared to the vastness of the universe, humanity is puny. Looking up into the night sky forces the writer of the Psalm to see himself as small and God as unimaginably huge. From a purely human point of view, Man does not even register on the scale when compared to the presence of God. But humanity does register on God’s scale, for God created Man in His image, giving people the natural ability to have a personal relationship with Him, the God of the universe. 

There are two words for man used in Psalm 8:4. The first word, man (enosh) means mortal, the individual person as well as the group as a whole. Man is collective and may refer to all of humanity. This word is first used in Genesis 6. “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown” (Genesis 6:4 ESV). The second word man is the word adam, the name for the first man in Genesis 1. Adam means ruddy, and implies health and vitality. “What is man (enosh) that you are mindful of him, and the son of man (adam) that you care for him? (Psalm 8:4 ESV)

In Genesis 6:4, the sons of God and the daughters of man are the progeny of Adam and Eve, and all their descendants. The mighty men are the strong, powerful, brave men who were ruling the world. The sons of God are those mighty men, who sired mighty men. These men of renown are described as an individual or as a group. Why would God have any regard for those who are great in their own eyes and the eyes of the world but are puny and insignificant in the scheme of God’s universal design? They are created in the image of God which does give them stature in God’s design but does not make them as significant as their Creator.

There are few cultures that do not revere strong men. Such reverence enhances the strong persons conceit and self-importance. Strong men are proud of their accomplishments and superiority. Societies delight in those who are mighty. Lesser men are looked upon with disdain. Manly characteristics are defined by pride and strength and ability. Strength becomes more important than anything considered weak or meek. God is forgotten in the pride of a person’s strength, as are others created in the image of God who do not exhibit the same forceful character and traits. 

From Adam to Noah, as people wandered away from God, they saw themselves as mighty men and men of renown. Mighty men are warriors leaning toward tyranny, and giants, unafraid of anything. Men of renown are individuals who are remembered for their superhuman deeds, those whose reputations followed them, who became larger than life and were then mythologized. Perhaps they were viewed as bigger than any god. They were certainly viewed as blessed by a god.

Such people are not blessed by God, but are under His judgment. God describes such larger than life people as wicked in everything they do and are. “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart” (Genesis 6:5-6 ESV). Those who revere strength over the knowledge of God ultimately sink into wickedness. The thinking of their hearts, their whole person, mind, emotions and will, are corrupted by sin, unable to do anything for God. They cannot save themselves from God’s wrath with their own strength. They are evil and God grieved that He made them and allowed them to prosper and populate His world. 

All they need to do is look at the heavens, the work of God’s “fingers” and all of the things God has put in place to understand their puniness and insignificance. 

Pregnant

Behold, the wicked man conceives evil 
and is pregnant with mischief
and gives birth to lies. (Psalm 7:14 ESV)
They conceive trouble and give birth to evil, 
and their womb prepares deceit. (Job 15:35 ESV)

There is a principle stated in this verse which works for good or for evil. It is the principle of creativity. Part of the image of God in Man is the ability to create, not ex nihilo, nor making a different substance out of an original substance, but the ability to think and find solutions to simple or vexing problems, to build and accomplish. When God created the universe, He created stuff out of nothing, ex nihilo. He then took that matter and energy which He created and from that stuff began forming other, different stuff. He created Man out of the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7). Jesus, showing He is God yet found in the flesh of a man, created wine out of water (John 2:1-12). Originally, in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were given control and dominion, part of the image of God, over the earth, to work it (Genesis 2:5) and subdue the earth (Genesis 1:28).

There are three steps to the principle of creativity. A person conceives an idea, which means to bring forth. In this verse the word conceives means to pledge or bind, to spoil or corrupt or offend. Because it is a wicked person creating the idea, the idea itself is designed to corrupt and destroy, to be evil, which means trouble, sorrow and idolatry. The wicked person conceives evil.

In the second step the idolatrous idea moves into full pregnancy. Pregnant means to bear or be with child. The wicked idea grows from the smallest seed until it is ready to be launched into reality. During this time, the idea gains strength and maturity, growing in its respective parts to cause trouble and mischief

Finally, the idea is given birth, born, brought forth, ready to cause as much damage as possible. It is lies, deception, falsehood, fraud. All idols are frauds because they steal from God that which is only His.

We see this scene played out in the Garden of Eden. It is the Deceiver, who has inhabited a serpent, who comes to Eve and plants a seed of doubt. “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1 ESV). Eve’s thinking was ready for this deception. She had been truthfully told by Adam, or told herself, that she could eat from any tree except the one tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The idea that she was to not touch the tree was not true. “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die’” (Genesis 3:2-3 ESV). She added words to God’s statement. God never told Adam to not touch the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Those who add to God’s words are lying to themselves and believing the lie. The Deceiver planted the seed of the lie and Eve watered it with her own lies. The result was a superstitious and suspicious belief that God was withholding something good from her. Adam and Eve acted in a rebellious manner and committed idolatry. She ate from the tree and gave some to her husband, who also ate. They placed themselves above God.

God gives good not evil. The Deceiver wants only evil, to corrupt all that is good. The same progression of creativity seen in the Psalm 7 is given by James, who refers to temptation as the idea conceived by evil desires which becomes sin. 

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:13-15 ESV)

Temptation does not have to result in sin or wickedness. Jesus was tempted and did not sin. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15 ESV). God told Cain that sin wanted to own him and that he needed to war against the assault of sin. “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it” (Genesis 4:7 ESV). Temptation does not mean sin will follow. Cain relinquished control of himself to sin because he wanted to retaliate against God for accepting his brother’s sacrifice and not his. People want to sin and allow temptation to gain control of them and inspire rebellious action.

Jesus is adamant in His declarations that sin is ingrained and pervasive, controlling and enslaving every fiber of a person’s being, both physical and spiritual. 

Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. (Matthew 12:33-35 ESV).

Blessing to Cursing

Studies in Genesis 3

And to Adam he said, … “cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:17-19 ESV)

God blesses and God curses. When God created Man in His image He blessed them. To bless means to kneel before and give a gift, as a father would kneel before his child and give them something precious. Here, God creates Man in His image, for relationship with Him, and gives them control over the creatures of the earth, gives them fruitfulness to fill the earth, and gives them the work of bringing the earth under their control.

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.” (Genesis 1:28 ESV)

When Adam rebelled against God, ignoring His specific instruction, God reversed His blessing. He turned what He had blessed into a curse. God’s blessing and God’s curses carry the eternal power of God to carry out and fulfill His decision. But, God did not take away what He had given. He still wants Man to be fruitful and fill the earth and subdue it. Man’s rebellion corrupted and compromised the ability to do that for which Man was designed. God cursed the ground not Adam.

God tells Adam his work, beginning with taking care of the garden which was his home, has gone from joy to pain, from fulfilling to tedious. The word “pain” is the same word God uses to describe the pain of childbirth for his wife and all women who follow.

To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16 ESV)

There is no comparison between the pain and sorrow of having children and that of working. For the woman, the pain is intense but short in duration. For the man, the pain is continuous and lengthy. For the woman, the sorrow of raising children is daily, until they are mature and able to have and raise their own. For the man, the sorrow of growing food attacked by weeds and thorns is a constant struggle, “by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread.”

Life is now hard and unforgiving. Because of their rebellion, what was meant to be cared for with confidence and success now becomes tedious and frustrating. The ground will no longer yield to Adam’s direction and dominion, becoming resistant and rebellious to his direction.

The curse levied against Adam is the exact opposite of the blessing. The sentence takes away the ability to perform and function as he was originally created while leaving the image of God to draw him back to his Creator. God still desires relationship making the pain of work a tool used to draw Man to Himself.

Man and Woman

Studies in Genesis 2

And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.  (Genesis 2:22 ESV)

God has given us the ability to know Him, intimately and intellectually, with the thinking of our hearts. An honest study of God will show the evidence that what He does and what He says, is true. God would cease to be god if He were capable of lying. He does not give an exhaustive explanation of His work of creation but does give people the ability to study and understand the laws upon which creation moves. These laws are as fixed in space and time as He is fixed in eternity.

We do not know why God created the first woman from the first man’s rib. We do not have an explanation for the reasoning behind any of God’s creative action. We can surmise many explanations from the rest of Scripture. Yet, none of the Scriptural explanations will answer the question of why He worked in this order. Why did God create the first man a single male without a female? Every other creature on the earth was created in pairs. The natural law of procreation demands a male and a female. For Him to wait, and then tell us it wasn’t good for man to be alone and that He would make a helper suitable for the first man, strains our desire for a plausible explanation. We want to know why.

God knows what He is doing. He has created the perfect world where all things work together. Even though Man, and the first man, was created perfect, he was obviously incomplete. Perfect does not mean complete. Perfect means having no fault or defects. The first man was created without defect. But he was not complete. God created the woman out of the flesh of the man so Man might be complete. God always finishes that which He begins.

God brought all of the animals before the first man to see what he would name them. None of the animals were designed to help man in the way he needed help, nor to be equal to man. They were subservient to him, just as he was subservient to God. Even though God brought the woman to man it was not in the same way He brought all the animals. Those came perhaps as a parade, most likely in pairs, male and female. God did not parade her before him but presented her as giving a gift, a blessing. Without the woman man would never be complete.

The woman is a helper, a companion, an equal, the other part of Man. Where once there was only a male now there is also female. With God blessing the population of Man will grow from this pair and fulfill the blessing and direction God gave when He first created Man in His image.  Yet, both, together will grow in their completion as they learn about God, about the world and universe in which they live, and about each other.

We know, because God is truthful, that He created the first man out of the dust of the ground and then created the first woman out of a piece of the first man. He gave both His image so that both would have an intimate relationship with Him. All of the people who were born of the first man and woman would also have His image. Everyone who has the image of God is designed to grow to know God both intellectually and intimately. People are also designed to help each other fulfill the purpose given them by God.

Person

Studies in Genesis 2

So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. (Genesis 2:21-22 ESV)

God does something only God can do. He creates. This is not ex nihilo creation. God does not create the woman out of nothing. Instead He takes available material, the first man, whom He had fashioned from available material, dust or dirt, and makes a new person, like the first man yet at same time, unlike him. This act of creation is consistent with the description of God’s other acts of creation.

Adam, the first man, was formed from earth, or dirt. 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 ESV) Here, the word “formed” means to squeeze into shape, or mould as a potter fashions a vessel at the wheel. It is a different word than the one used by God when He built the woman. “And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man” (Genesis 2:22 ESV). In this verse the word “made” means build or rebuild, or to make something continue. It does not mean to add on to an existing thing.

We cannot ignore the word of God when He created Man in His image. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27 ESV). God uses the same word when He created Man as He used when He created the universe, and then the sea creatures. The word “created” means to make something new that did not previously exist using either already created material or creating ex nihilo, out of nothing. Only God can create either ex nihilo or out of existing material He has already created.

The woman is not an extension of the man but one of two persons God uses to begin building the human race. It takes two, a male and a female, to make the population of people grow. Though God could fashion everyone out of the dust of the earth or from the rib of anyone, He does not work this way. He works, and fashions people according to the natural laws of procreation, in a way that requires one know another physically intimately. We are not told whether the first man knew what God was going to do to make a helper for him. As a servant of God the man would be willing to do whatever God wanted done.

God caused the man to fall into a sleep so deep he would not know the pain of the surgery performed. Taking a rib out of a person is a painful procedure. It would have been much easier for God to create the woman out of the dust of the earth. In the surgery is the act of giving oneself completely to another as an act of selfless love to both God and the woman, his helper.

Servant

Studies in Genesis 2

I will make him a helper fit for him.” … But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. (Genesis 2:18, 20 ESV)

There is an implication in the word “help” or “helper” often ignored but for which we must give an account. Man, both male and female, when created by God were given the task of dominion over the earth and all its creatures.  Neither the earth nor the creatures belonged to Man. All belonged to God. It was Man’s task to take care for the earth and its creatures for God. Now, God is fully capable of taking care of everything Himself. He does not need Man to do anything for Him. Yet, God created Man for the express purpose to grow in knowledge of Him. Man grows to know God by serving Him in the fullest capacity of the image of God given Man by doing that for which he was designed.

By taking care of the earth, having “dominion” over it, Man learns about his Creator. Man was not created to demand the earth and its creatures serve him. Man is not designed as a malevolent dictator. That is not what “dominion” means. Some have suggested “dominion” means to rule by treading upon. It is true the word for “dominion” means to tread upon or tread down, as in to dominate. These are all legitimate uses of the word in Scripture. Yet, in Genesis 1, in the context of the creation story, Man, given the image of God, acts and works toward blessing creation, especially all the creatures. To “bless” means to kneel before, as a father kneels before his child, to give a gift even when the child does not know the value of the gift.

Man was created to serve God by serving the earth and all its creatures. No where do we see Man created to be subjugated by other people. Nor do we see the earth and its creatures existing solely to serve Man. The earth and its creatures do serve Man just as Man serves God, but not by force or under compulsion. It is the inherent characteristic of Man, all men, to serve God, and to serve each other. Man was created to serve and to grow in the intimate andc complete knowledge of God.

Our ultimate example must be Christ, not Adam, the first man. When Jesus Christ came He had the morphe of both God and a Servant coming in the likeness of a man.

Though he was in the form (morphe) of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form (morphe) of a servant, being born in the likeness (homoiōma) of men. And being found in human form (schēma), he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:6-9 ESV)

Jesus had those essential characteristics and qualities which make God God and a servant a servant. He is Man as Adam was before the fall, the perfect servant while completely God.

When God creates a helper for the man it is so the man can serve the helper as the helper serves him, and so both can serve God by serving the creation for which they are responsible. To be and do anything less or other than what they were designed to do and be is inconceivable.

Help

Studies in Genesis 2

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. (Gen 2:18, 20 ESV)

It was never God’s intent there be only one person working His creation on earth. He has already told us He created Man male and female. This story is not meant to teach that God instituted a hierarchy in creation with the male of the species Man having more control and authority over the female. He states He created them both in His image and equal in Genesis 1. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27 ESV). We cannot understand Genesis 1-3 without all of Scripture yet Genesis 1-3 could be viewed as foundational to understanding all of Scripture. God’s Word is whole, not fragmented. Jesus and Paul have much to say about the roles of Man, both male and female. I will examine their teaching, especially that of Jesus, at a later time.

God knows intimately what will happen throughout history. He does not make mistakes He has to fix by manipulating the course of history or the details of a person’s life. Those created in His image are intelligent, have a moral—emotional self and self directed will to act. They are a higher creation than the animals. God knows sin is coming to His perfect creation and will corrupt everything it touches. So He tells us, in a way we can understand, that when Man was first created He made male and female equal in His image. This is not a contestable interpretation, though some will try to devalue some of those created in the image of God.

God tells us that the woman, even though created second, is meant to help the man do that which he could not do alone. “Helper” means one who renders assistance vital to the workings of the assigned task. The Authorized Version uses the term “help meet” which means to succor, to run to support with assistance designed to relieve and deliver from want. The first man did not have the ability to do the task all by himself. Man is not designed to do that for which he is designed by alone.

What is woman supposed to help the man with? Man, the male of the species, cannot propagate the species without his counterpart. Man, as a people, cannot fulfill their God directed purpose of filling the earth and subduing it (see Genesis 1:28) if there are only males, and specifically, only one male. There must be a male and a female for there to be children. It is not the first man who will subdue the earth but the children, and the children’s children to the greatest generation that will accomplish and fulfill God’s ultimate design.

The perfect fit and match for the woman is the man and the perfect fit and match for the man is the woman.