Ask Steve: Who is Man?











Question: Steve, can you explain to me, in a biblical definition, who or what is man?

Answer: Man is a creation of God who is made in God’s image, according to Genesis 1:27. He is composed of both a physical body and a spiritual soul. Within the six day creation, God created living creatures, but man is the pinnacle of God’s creation. As one made in God’s image, man reflects the capacity to understand moral absolutes, the existence of God, life, death, and eternal matters. He also has the capacity to understand stewardship and to have dominion/rule over the earth (Gen 1:28), which is something that has not been granted to angels or animals. Man was made for one purpose: to glorify God. Man was created by God to enjoy God, take delight in Him, and have an eternal relationship with Him. He has a responsibility to love God with all of his heart, mind, soul, and strength (Mk 12:30) and, in keeping with the first commandment, to love his neighbor as himself (Mk 12:31).

However, the fall of Adam and Eve destroyed the innate goodness and innocent of man and caused all of humanity to be born with a sinful nature. Men are born spiritually dead, depraved, and prone to an inescapably sinful lifestyle (Rom 3:10, 23). Though men are still crafted in God’s image, the image of God within them has been distorted. They have lost the ability to seek after God and be righteous, both judicially and practically (Romans 3:10). When man applies the redemptive work of Christ in his life, he is re-birthed by the Holy Spirit and given the ability to seek after God and worship Him. This is a progressive recovery of God’s image which is part of the sanctification process. Man fully recovers his God-intended nature upon his future glorification (2 Corinthians 3:18).

It is imperative to define who man is because of the implications it has on his life, including counseling. Man is not an evolved animal, which would rid him of moral accountability to God and give him no sense of real hope of spiritual healing. Every person living today is an offspring of the first two human beings God created (Adam and Eve), who both sinned against God and brought original sin into the world. When this is understand, we see that we are all born sinners since we are all descended from a common ancestry. There is no such thing as a truly good and righteous person who is in no need of God’s salvation. Thus, a human being is spiritually dead, totally depraved, and on their way to God’s eternal judgment when they die, unless they are made righteous by faith in Christ. Christ’s death on the cross is efficacious and is necessary for man. It can save anyone who has been affected by the Fall. In summation, man is made in God’s image, yet his image was distorted by sin. He is depraved and in need of God’s saving faith, which God grants through His Son Jesus Christ alone. Through faith in Him, man is saved from the penalty, power, and presence of sin, and becomes fully human again as God originally intended (morally spotless, impeccably obedient, and holistic).


Recommended Resource: Created in God’s Image by Anthony Hoekema