The Meaning of Man

The Meaning of Man

Who are you, and where did you come from? What is your value? What is your purpose in this world? Where do you go to find the answers to these questions? I suggest we go back to the beginning of our existence, as recorded in Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

The obvious implication of, “In the beginning, God,” is that all of created reality is completely dependent upon God. Our existence is totally dependent on the purpose and desire of our Creator.

Unsatisfied with Biblical answers, man is still questioning and debating his origin. Did God make man, or did man make God? That is, is man in the image of God, or is God in the imagination of man? Is man just an animal, just a clever creature? Did mankind arrive here, accidentally and spontaneously, or did we all evolve from prehistoric slime?

Again, the Bible provides the answers in Gen 1:26-28. Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

The tendency nowadays is to put the six days’ work of creation above man. Some people are more concerned about dogs, cats, trees, and creeping things than about humans. But the order and beauty of this world were created by God for man, not man for the world. The whole meaning of the creation was to prepare a place for the being called Man that God had in mind. There is nothing in the Bible about the evolution and development of man as the “survival of the fittest,” or about the “process of natural selection.” The Bible reveals that we are created spirit, soul, and body, in the image of God.

Nevertheless, man stills wonders about the meaning of his existence.

Job 7:17-18 "What is man that you make so much of him, that you give him so much attention, that you examine him every morning and test him every moment?”

Ps 8:3-4 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?

Ps 144:3 O LORD, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him?

Many people ignore God and have no meaning in their life. They seek personal pleasure and find it too has no meaning or satisfaction. Like Solomon in Eccl 1:2, they feel life is, "Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless." There are additional factors diminishing the value of human life and creating despair.

1. The elimination of public prayer forces people to look to man’s philosophy for purpose. The evolutionary based life sciences such as biology, psychology, and sociology have manipulated us through the public media and the education system. However, we find “survival of the fittest” doesn’t give us much hope, peace, or love.

2. Technology has given us false hopes for the future, blurring the lines of reality, and redefining what it means to have a productive life.

3. The growth of government bureaucracies has enabled human authorities to remove individual freedoms for the so-called good of the many.

4. The impact of today’s mass media and advertising industry has successfully confused the boundaries between necessity and luxury.

5. Artificial inseminations, test-tube babies, abortion, the chemical control of behavior, euthanasia, and genetic engineering have taken human value and dignity to an all-time low.

6. The rejection of God, as to our origin, has affected our world to the point of despair about our destiny. In other words, if this is all there is to life—we live and we die—let’s eat, drink, and be merry. Nothing else matters, for life has no meaning or purpose.

That is why it is important to understand that mankind and everything else was created by God with an intentional purpose to glorify Him. Allegorically speaking, how can a building have any real purpose on its own unless it looks to the architect for its meaning and value? But today, the building, after having stared through the microscope and gazed through the telescope, has proudly declared that it has no architect.

How foolish can mankind be? The only road we can take that will give us any real hope for the future is the path, established by our Creator, that will take us through the narrow gate, Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life.

Matt 7:13-14  "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Did you catch that? Only a few find it. Let’s look again at the meaning for our life.

Gen 1:26-28 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

Gen 2:7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Notice that God tells us that we were not created like the other creatures. God spoke creation into existence, but He formed man and breathed life into him. We have been created after His likeness and in His image. What does it mean to be created in the image of God? What does it mean to be LIKE God?

Likeness means that we have been created similar to God – in His likeness. Image means a reflection, something that reflects the original. Because we are like God, we can communicate with God. God made man in His image and gave him a purpose. Furthermore, God determined how man was to relate to everything else that exists.

1. We have authority and dominion over ALL the other creatures and the WHOLE earth. Our relationship with creation is to rule OVER creation, in God’s likeness, as He rules over US.

2. We have been given a relationship with other human beings that reflects God’s relationship to Himself. Male and female, He made us. Each of us has different functions within our society, but we are equal in value. Likewise, God exists in three persons who are equal in essence, but different in function.

3. We have a relationship with God that reflects His relationship to us. He loves us. We can only love, because He first loved us.

I Jn 4:19 We love because he first loved us.

Because we have been created similar to, and as a reflection of God in His own image, we have abilities, attributes, and characteristics that are similar to God.

1. Like God, we have the ability to reason and think logically. No animal has ever debated the merits of capitalism over communism. There is no such thing as the history of canine philosophy. Beavers still build dams the way they always have, birds still build nests the way they always have. Man is always developing new ways to build, live, and to use his God-given talents.

2. Like God, our unique existence gives us free will, an individual determination, and the ability to know right from wrong. Only humans have a standard of morality that can be discussed and contemplated. Animals react to fear and instinct, and the expectation of reward and pleasure. People realize a moral responsibility to outside relationships such as to each other and to God. People realize that there are consequences to their actions that go well beyond their need for food and avoidance of pain. We think about forgiveness. We think about sacrifice. We think about responsibility to mankind as a whole. We put people in jail with the hope of restoring that person to a right relationship with other people. We consider those who give their lives for others, to be hero’s. We consider those whose who possess high moral attributes as people that we admire. Animals know nothing of these things.

3. Our use and understanding of language and communication is similar to God and reflects His likeness. Tell a five-year-old to “go and get the small green book from the shelf.” The intelligence and concepts that are necessary to understand that simple statement are far beyond those of the smartest adult animals.

4. We have a creative aspect like God. We can see this in music, literature, and architecture. Animals don’t enjoy designing buildings for efficiency as well as beauty. These concepts don’t exist in the animal world. We don’t just grow vegetable’s, we create a garden of flowers and bushes that mimics the creative abilities of our Creator.

5. We have emotions that are a reflection of God. We have the ability to feel love, joy, peace, sadness, grief, anger, and hate.

6. We were not designed to be alone. When we were created, as a reflection of God, we were given a spiritual desire to be united with our Creator. We were created male and female, not solely for the purpose of reproduction, but to exist with one another as a single family under the headship of the Father. God has a desire that every person be united to Him and to each other as one, just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are One.

John 17:19-23 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

We are created by God and given a mandate, which indicates that we are creatures that are responsible as stewards, and are accountable to God. Like God, we are capable of making decisions; and therefore, we are responsible for our decisions. We have God’s authority to rule within the laws of our Creator. However, when we forget God, His Word, His creation, and His purpose, our lives and society take a disastrous turn.

For instance, when we overstress our relationship to nature, we ignore the value of our fellow man, and our communion with God. Animals and the environment become the end to our means, instead of the means to our end. Consequently, we have declared the deity of the dolphins, the monkeys, the spotted owls, and Mother Earth while aborting and killing humans, and declaring God doesn’t exist.

Without God, we worship the earth we walk on, the plants, and the animals. We worship our bodies and each other. We worship our houses and our businesses. We worship our entertainment and our sports. We worship our own intelligence and become our own god.

Without God, our feelings, our philosophies, and our fun destroy the foundation of our very existence and diminish our purpose and meaning. The results of our intelligence and ignoring God have brought us into slavery, hopelessness, and despair.

Therefore, we must recognize the value and purpose of the creation for what it is. It is for our use, and we are to rule over it and care for it. We must not allow the creation to enslave us. We must respect the creation and use it’s resources wisely. We are the stewards of God’s creation. Serving God first and establishing our relationship with Him through Jesus Christ gives to us the freedom to enjoy, use, and conserve God’s creation.

We must stop placing personal value on material things. They belong to God. What we have made with our own hands, is the grace of God in action, because He gave to us the intelligence and the ability to use His creation wisely.
We must recognize our fellow humans are creations of God after His likeness. This means we MUST love one another. There is no excuse for a child of God to mistreat, ignore, or hold unforgiveness against another - regardless of their standing before God. When we mistreat others, we are distorting the image of God in them and in us.

We can only recognize and appreciate who we are, by KNOWING our Creator in a personal relationship. This means that if we don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we are not fulfilling our purpose, and we have only destruction to look forward to. But we can change that destiny, if we place our life in His hands. God loves us and has a wonderful purpose and plan for our life. With God, the Holy Spirit, in control, we will glorify Jesus Christ and enjoy the benefits of eternal life here and forever.

To summarize: God’s glory, order, and the meaning of man is seen in the creation. Man failed to stay in God’s order and began to reflect the image of devil instead of his Creator. Jesus Christ came so that Man can reflect the image of God again, not by evolution, but by Redemption. The meaning of Redemption is not simply the regeneration of individuals, but that the whole human race is rehabilitated, put back to where God designed it to be. Consequently, any human being can have the heredity of the Son of God, the Holy Spirit, put into him, by the redemption Jesus purchased on the Cross.

May I ask you a question? Are you saved? I didn’t ask if you were Baptist, or Methodist, Presbyterian, or whatever. Are you saved? No, I didn’t ask if you were moral or nice. Are you saved? No, I didn’t ask, “Have you been baptized?” I asked, “Are you saved?” Neither did I ask, “Do you believe the plan of salvation?” I repeat, “Are you saved?” It is imperative that you know the answer to this simple question.

We are not saved by the plan of salvation—or even believing in it. We saved by Jesus Christ—and trusting in Him for our salvation. Have you made Jesus your Lord and Savior, and have you yielded your life to Him, beginning with baptism? Have you taken yourself off the throne and enthroned the Lord Jesus Christ? From whence you came is settled—God created you and declared it was good. But, your eternal destiny, is your decision. Are you saved from eternal punishment in Hell by the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ?

If not, you can change that today.