WHAT IS MAN?


David, the Psalmist, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit over 3000 years ago asked the most perplexing question facing man today. “What is man,” he asked, “that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” Psalms 8:4. The most amazing and mysterious creature that came forth from the hand of the Creator was Man. The Holy Scripture reveal the truth  on how man was created in the image of God and after His own likeness and how He gave unto him “dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Gen 1:26. God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life which resulted into him becoming a living soul. “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Gen 2:7. “Adam came from the Creator’s hand, he bore, in his physical, mental, and spiritual nature, a likeness to his Maker.”[i] Adam and Eve were “fearfully and wonderfully made” Psalms 139:14.

A Perfect Man

At creation God did not speak into existence His crowing creation like every other creation, but He took off His royal robe and diadem, stoop so low and allowed His hand of kindness to get dirty by molding Adam from the dust of the earth. God shaped his eyes, leg, intestine, heart, brain, hands, and every of his other delicate parts. But to this new creation, life was not yet given to him. Adam was lifeless. He could not move, talk, see, feel, or possess the ability to relate with his environment and his Creator. God looked upon His handiwork with love, stooped over him and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and immediately he became a living soul. These combination of Dust and Breath of Life made man a Living Soul. “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Gen 2:7. Adam and Eve were Perfect, sinless, holy beings that came forth from the hand of the creator. They were beautiful beyond description.

Before the fall of man, the tripartite nature of man, Spirit, Soul and Body were in harmony with each other. They were not in conflict as they now are. Man’s spirit was the highest part of his entire being to which soul and body were to be subject. It was through man’s spirit that man was to receive and commune with his creator; for the spirit was originally made to be the highest part of man’s entire being. Christ explained this truth to the Samaritan woman at the well when he spoke to her about worship. He said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24. Man was to worship God through his spirit. Paul also shed light on this truth when he wrote to the church in Rome, “For God is my witness,” he wrote, “ whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son.” Romans 1:9. The spirit of man was to touch the spiritual world of God. For the Spirit of God was to communicate to man through his spirit. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” Romans 8:16. The Spirit of God must bear witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. The soul is the seat of Man’s consciousness. It is the self-consciousness. The will of man, his judgment, his decision, his appetite, his emotion, his intellect, his mind, his passion, and self makes him a living soul and all these reside in the soul. The soul is the personality of man. The soul is what makes man who he is. It communicate with the self-conscious world. The body of man was to receive and interact with the physical world. The body serve as the puppet or the non-corporal element of man. Through the flesh or body man may carry out righteous deeds or evil deeds. The body (flesh) gives man the world consciousness.  Paul’s sequence of spirit, soul, body in 1 Thess. 5:23 was not a coincidence, he wrote, “the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” When the spirit is sanctified by the sanctifying power of Holy Spirit and the Word of God, the mind, will, passion, desire, emotion, feelings, which are part of the soul, will be under the controlling power of the Holy Spirit. Consequently the soul will enable man to make his body an instrument of righteousness. We understand from the Bible that human being is an indivisible unit. Deficiency in one part will cause harm to the other two. Therefore, there exist a great sympathetic relationship among these three faculties of man.

Thus, what we eat, see, feel, smell have direct link to our spiritual life. At the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were created perfect and holy. The spirit was in constant communion with the Spirit of God. His mind, affection, love, intentions were pure and holy. While his body was in constant obedience to the dictate of the spirit. Adam and Eve “bore in outward resemblance the likeness of their Maker. Nor was this likeness manifest in the physical nature only. Every faculty of mind and soul reflected the Creator’s glory. Endowed with high mental and spiritual gifts. . .”[ii]

“Adam was a noble being, with a powerful mind, a will in harmony with the will of God, and affections that centered upon heaven. He possessed a body heir to no disease, and a soul bearing the impress of Deity.”[iii]

Man was “bearing the impress of Deity” and “every faculty of mind and soul reflected the Creator’s glory.” O, what a perfect being coming forth from the Makers hand! Full of beauty and glory. The spirit of man was in perfect communion with the Spirit of God. It was not in enmity with the Law of God. Man’s will was perfectly subjected to the will of God due to a constant communion with God’s Spirit. His passion, judgment, appetite, self, knew no sin. The flesh or body was for the glory of God. The deeds of his body were not unto death but unto life. The flesh was controlled by the spirit because it was in connection with the Spirit of God. Adam was in perfect obedience to the immutable Law of God. He remains’ “the son of God” so long as he was continually “led by the Spirit of God.” Luke 3:38; Rom. 8:14.

Free To Decide

At creation, God gave man the free will to decide. This free will resides in man’s soul. Adam was not created to be a robot or a puppet that can be controlled against his own will by the Creator. A perfect God gave man the perfect freedom to either obey Him or disobey Him. The “LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Gen 2:16-17. This was a commandment of choice. Man was commanded to either choose life or death. Man’s obedience to God was to be a voluntary one.

“God might have created man without the power to transgress His law. . . .  but in that case man would have been, not a free moral agent, but a mere automation. Without freedom of choice, his obedience would not have been voluntary, but forced. There could have been no development of character. . . . It would have been unworthy of man as an intelligent being, and would have sustained Satan’s charge of God’s arbitrary rule.”[iv]

The freedom of choice given to man was to enable him to develop a Christ-like character when the choices made are positive and heavenward. From Ellen White’s comment and the Bible, we understand that man’s free will, though given, made him highly different from other creatures. Adam was left with the choice to eat of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” or not to eat, to rebel or not to rebel against God’s Divine commandment. Jehovah is God of Love. He can never compel us to do anything against our will. Neither Him nor the devil could control our will without our consent. Ellen White has the following to say; “The tempter can never compel us to do evil. He cannot control minds unless they are yielded to his control. The will must consent, faith must let go its hold upon Christ, before Satan can exercise his power upon us.”[v]  “God does not control our minds without our consent; but if we desire to know and to do His will, His promises are ours. . . Through faith in these promises, every man may be delivered from the snares of error and the control of sin.”[vi]

[i]Ellen G. White, The Faith I Live By, p. 29.

[ii]Ellen G. White, Education, p. 20.

[iii] Ellen G. White, The Youth’s Instructor, March 5, 1903.

[iv] Ellen G. White, Conflict and Courage, P. 13

[v] Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 125.

[vi] Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 258.

 

Article was written by ODUNUGA OLUSEYI EMMANUEL

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