Doctrine of Man: Reflections on Creation
April 25, 2021 Series: Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith
Scripture: Psalm 104
Last week we concluded our discussion on the origin of the soul.
In that series we looked at the three major theories:
- Pre-existentialism (the pre-existence of souls)
- Traducianism (the propagation of the souls from the parents)
- Creationism (the belief that God creates each and every soul)
As our conclusion, we cautioned ourselves to keep two things in mind:
- We must guard against trying to become wiser than what Scripture teaches on any given subject and therefore, we must exercise caution when speaking about such topics; and
- It must be admitted that Bible makes no direct statement respecting the origin of the soul of man – other than in Genesis 2:7, respecting Adam.
Therefore, we must do our own due diligence and study the Scriptures.
See if you can arrive at a conclusion on which theory you prefer.
While we may not be able to have iron-clad certainty, we can leave with these:
- The human race propagates itself according to the law “like begets like”
- That the child does derive its nature from the parents
- Attended and controlled by the agency of God (directive or creative)
- That the child is possessed of both body and soul
- That the soul is not reincarnated
- That the soul is immaterial, spiritual, and not capable of division.
- There are elements of Scriptural support for Traducianism and Creationism.
Today we are going to continue discussing the Doctrine of Man by looking at what is meant when we say that Man is created in the Image of God.
The doctrine of the image of God in man:
- is of the greatest importance in theology
- that image is the expression of that which is most distinctive in man
We will see the fact that man is the image of God distinguishes him from the animal and every other creature.
The Bible represents man as the crown of God’s handiwork, whose special glory consists in this that he is created in the image of God and after His likeness
Scripture Reading -> Psalm 104
We’ve read Genesis 1 several times over the last several weeks. And Psalm 104 augments that reading.
In the hopes that we do not allow it to become “common”, I want to call out some things specifically today that we might tend to overlook.
When we read Scripture, we want to caution ourselves that we do not get so caught up in the reading that we lose sight of the bigger picture.
You see, whenever we think about God, we need to realize that in doing so, we will naturally have the desire to worship Him.
- For how can you think about our Glorious Creator, the One True and Living God without it resulting in worship?
This is why it is so very important that we guard ourselves against using any idol, symbol, or representation when coming to worship God.
It is interesting to stop and consider the order of what we’ve just read and how it impacts our understanding of being made in the image of God.
- Day 1 – heavens and earth, created Light, separated it from darkness
- Day 2 – heavens
- Day 3 – divided the land and seas; vegetation (grass, herbs, trees)
- Day 4 – stars, moon, sun
- Day 5 – sea creatures, and birds
- Day 6 – land creatures and finally….man
Did you notice? The last creation was man.
After everything else was created…God created man.
Now, we might be tempted to jump right in and talk about:
- How man was created with knowledge, righteousness, and holiness
- How man was created in the image of God
- How man the order of creation marks the high dignity and special honor bestowed upon man by God
- How dominion over all of creation was given to man
- How before man was created… was completely prepared specially for Him.
- Everything he might need
- Everything he might enjoy
Reflections on Creation
But, in the words of John Brown of Haddington, we might have an even deeper understanding and appreciation of being created in the image of God if we were:
“to contemplate God’s work of creation in His creatures, in their infinitely diversified natures, qualities, and uses”
With that, let’s go back to the 6 days of creation...
Day 1 & 2 – Think for a moment….
- God created the heavens and the earth
- God created light and then divided the light from the darkness.
- He created light where there was none
- All of this “ex nihilo”…out of nothing. Consider the sheer power!
- God separated the lands and seas
- He created vegetation when there were neither existing nor seeds
- There was no rain, or fertilizer, or anything….
- Have you to stopped to think about the various aspects of water?
- Its fluidity, saltiness, freshness, power, and strength yet softness
- The ability to wash away direct, form streams, erode mountains
- The ability to allow items to sink and float
Similarly with air
- It can be both thick and thin; dry and wet
- It can be gentle or terrible
- Support the wings of a gentle bird or bring great destruction.
Or the Vegetables
- Consider their structure, their growth
- The many different uses -> medicinal, poisonous, nutritious, etc…
- Their ability to break through tough, hard, unyielding soil
- Their ability to replenish dead soil and break life to barren lands
Day 4 – Consider the mysterious nature of these
- stars and the moon
- How they provide light during the darkest times of evening so that we never feel completely alone and lost
- Both can be used to determine seasons and for navigation
- How/ why are they always in consistent locations and never fade?
- How the moon controls/ affects the movement of the oceans
- The sun
- Just the right distance away to warm and not burn
- Always burning but never burning out
Day 5 & 6 – Animals
- Contemplate the many varieties and compositions of the animals
- How the animals are inter-dependent upon each other
- Oxpecker birds as they clean the rhino (and are fed)
- Pilotfish keeping the teeth on sharks clean
- Or the dung beetle keeping the forest floor clean
- Consider the different sounds each makes, how they move, how they protect one another
- Just the sheer variety and uniqueness
Now that wasn’t even scratching the surface…but consider next the creation of man.
God created man and placed him in the garden…to till and to care for…
- Everything he needed for food and drink
- Everything he needed for shelter
- Everything he needed for warmth
- Everything he needed to keep the earth clean and picked up
- Everything he needed to not float off into space
- Everything he needed to live a full life with all the natural laws in place
- With natural rhythms attuned to the cycle of sun and moon
Reflections on Creation / Conclusion
After discussing this, and taking time to reflect upon creation…
- Are we not moved to a deeper appreciation and awe of our Creator?
- Are we not enticed all the more to live for His glory and His honor?
- Are we not excited to fall down on our knees and worship our God afresh?
- Are we not lifted up to the heights of heaven with our praise and worship?
- Are we not humbled and brought low to repentance for our inconsiderateness and thoughtlessness and treating all that He has gifted to us with the proper respect?
Let’s read the Psalm we started with … one more time.
But this time, let’s read it with fresh ears and fresh eyes…and next week we’ll talk about the Image of God in man.
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