Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What is man?


What is man asks Job (7:17)? The Psalmist asks the same question, "what is man that thou art mindful of him" (8:4)?  In Mark Twain's "The Old Man"--- the old man and the young man had been conversing and  the old Man had asserted that the human being is merely a machine, and nothing more.

Man has been trying to figure this question out since the beginning of time. Philosophers of all stripes have tried to answer this question and it has stumped them all. Some philosophers see man in all things such as Confucius when he says, "and remember, no matter where you go, there you are." Sylvia Plath took a philosophical jab at the question when she noted, "I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart.  I am.  I am.  I am."  Walt Witman, took his turn in trying to figure out who we are when he notes in his poem Leaves of Grass, he says, "The whole theory of the universe is directed unerringly to one single individual - namely to You."

So, who are we? why do we exist? why are we here? what is our purpose? It is my belief that only Christianity provides the answers to the questions "who is man" and "what is his purpose?" Christianity answers these questions with clear and unambiguous language. Christianity purports to have God's revelation of Himself and His answers to the the questions of man's purpose. The Church claims to have God's revelation given to us as found in the Bible, all sixty-six books, written over a period of some sixteen hundred years with  over fort different authors.

We find in the first book in God's revelation to us that man was created in God's image (Genesis 1:27). We see purpose for man as he was to care for the earth and all living things (Genesis 1:26-30). We see that man was to live in relationship with his wife (Genesis 2:18) and man was to walk in constant communion with his Creator God (Genesis 3:8).

We were created to live for the glory of our creator. As man moves away from the purpose and design of his Creator man loses his identity and purpose for life. As man moves away from the source of life and light, he drifts closer and closer to the darkness of despair and doom, he moves away from life and lives in emptiness and hopelessness, ever trying to satisfy that inner desire to be happy, contented, and at rest. Man will flounder and fail as he seeks to fill his life with things other than the God of peace and life.

The ultimate failure of man is that he tries to fill the God vacuum with the things of this life---while our creator tells us that we must be in relationship with Him in order to experience true inner rest and peace. Since the fall (man's disobedience to God) the bridge has been burnt, and man has become spiritually dead with no way of rescuing himself. Humanity is lost and separated from the source of life and light.

The central teaching of the Bible is that God has built a bridge between Himself and sinful disobedient man---Jesus is the mediator, Jesus provides redemption for man, and the call in Scripture is to come, look to that bridge (Jesus) and humbly thank God for His provision to restore man and bring him back into relationship with Himself.

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