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What the Bible teaches about man and sin

The doctrine of man: Creation

Below is a question from the Westminster Shorter Catechism with answers and supporting Scripture proofs. Explanatory notes follow.

What does the Bible teach about mankind? It is important for us to understand this – not only for this life but also for eternity. It is only as we pay attention to God’s truth that we can actually come to know ourselves! Sinners, like a blind man, need to be taught what they look like!


Q: How did God create man?

A: God created man male and female, after his own image1, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness2, with dominion over the creatures3.

1. Genesis 1:27Genesis 1:27
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  

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– So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

2. Colossians 3:10Colossians 3:10
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:  

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– And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. Ephesians 4:24Ephesians 4:24
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. true...: or, holiness of truth  

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– And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

3. Genesis 1:28Genesis 1:28
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. moveth: Heb. creepeth  

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– And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

The creation of man

The creation of man on the sixth day from the dust of the ground was an act of such vital importance that more attention is paid to it than to any other of the monumental creative acts of God in that week. There is more said of man’s creation than of the rest of the creation put together! This in itself illustrates the prominent place that man occupies in the mind of the creator.


I GOD MADE MANKIND AS MALE AND FEMALE.

God’s creation of mankind involved:

1. The initial creation of Adam. In him was created the substance from which the entire human race was to be derived. While in Adam it is true to say that God created a single being, it is also true to see him as the personal embodiment of the substance of all mankind of both sexes. Man was created as a species within an individual. Cp 5:2.

2. The propagation of Eve. Out of Adam’s substance God fashioned Eve, 2:21-22. This I take to have happened on the sixth day of the creation week for the simple reason that by the seventh day God had finished all His works which he created and made, Gen 2:1-3Gen 2:1-3
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

2 1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. created...: Heb. created to make  

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.

The reason for the creation of mankind as male and female was simply for the comfort that man and wife may derive from each other, 2:18; and also for the increase of the species.

It is important in our day just to observe the simple fact that God in creation created two distinct sexes, each with their proper role in life. Anything that serves to remove and destroy those distinctions is contrary to the command of God and His purpose in creation. This affects everything from something as simple as dress (Deuteronomy 22:5Deuteronomy 22:5
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.  

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) and hair styles (1 Corinthians 11:14-161 Corinthians 11:14-16
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. covering: or, veil 16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.  

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) which blur the difference between male and female, to marriage definitions and relationships.


II GOD CREATED MANKIND IN HIS IMAGE.

By this is simply meant that man was created bearing a certain likeness to God, Gen 1:26Gen 1:26
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have 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.  

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. In some way mankind, when first created, resembled God. But how?

1. Obviously not in any corporeal sense because God as a Spirit has no physical being. Our bodies do not resemble God.

2. The resemblance that man bore to God was spiritual. This resemblance was largely lost by the Fall but is restored in regeneration, Colossians 3:10Colossians 3:10
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:  

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, Ephesians 4:24Ephesians 4:24
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. true...: or, holiness of truth  

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. The principal points of this resemblance are described in the catechism answer above:

  • Knowledge. Man was created with a knowledge that was a reflection of the mind of God yet without being omniscient — a property that belongs to God alone. He had all knowledge that was necessary to his happiness and service of God. Man had a knowledge/understanding that was both spiritual and intellectual in character. He knew God and the Law of God, Romans 2:14-15Romans 2:14-15
    English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

    14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) their conscience...: or, the conscience witnessing with them the mean...: or, between themselves  

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    — the only source of the Law written on the hearts of heathen mankind was in creation; Genesis 2:19-20Genesis 2:19-20
    English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

    19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. Adam: or, the man 20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. gave: Heb. called  

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    — this displays a knowledge of the nature and character of each animal.
  • Holiness. As far as the affections of his being were concerned, Adam was pure and holy. They were placed on holy objects. The Law of God was written on his heart and he had power and, initially, a desire to keep it. Man was not created in moral equilibrium but with a positive inclination toward holiness.


III MAN WAS CREATED TO GOVERN CREATION.

1. Man was created in a position of dominance and rule. This is a reflection of his being in the image of God, the ruler of all. Man is raised to a position of being God’s representative ruler with a delegated sovereignty over the creatures.

2. This is a fact that establishes man as a higher order of created being. Man is not an animal — he was created in the image of God to rule over the animal kingdom, Gen 1:28Gen 1:28
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. moveth: Heb. creepeth  

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; The position God gave to mankind infers that he is to rule himself, keeping himself under control. The absence of such self-control is a mark of depravity.

3. This position entailed work and responsibility. Cp Gen 2:15Gen 2:15
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. the man: or, Adam  

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. He was answerable to God for his work in Eden.

4. This is a position that fallen man has sadly abused — his rule over creation has become tyranny. What control he retains over creation is exercised in a selfish and, most often, in a destructive fashion. Just as the redeemed are renewed in knowledge, righteousness and holiness by redemption so man’s sovereignty over creation will be restored to the redeemed at Christ’s return. Cp Revelation 5:10Revelation 5:10
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.  

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.

 

Next topic: God’s covenant with Adam

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