What is Man? - Part 1
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What is Man? - Part 1
The man in the alley screamed, "I am not an animal, I am a man!"
[Darris McNeely] There was a poignant scene in a movie a number of years ago, the movie called The Elephant Man, where the story about a man who was deformed because of a congenital disease that left him literally looking like he had the skin of an elephant. Was tormented, chased down an alleyway by people who could not deal with what he was, and he was cowering in the alleyway, and he screamed back at them, "I am not an animal! I am a man!"
I've always remembered that line from that movie. "I am not an animal. I am a man." Because it helps us to understand what mankind is, and what man is, one of the great questions of life. Man is not an animal, contrary to what many do believe and what is taught. When you look into the scripture and you see what God says about the nature of humanity, what man is, it opens up an understanding and a potential for what we are as human beings far beyond anything we can imagine. Man is not an animal. Man is something far beyond that.
In Psalm 8:4, the psalmist asks the question, "What is man that You are mindful of him? You've made him a little lower than the angels and you've crowned him with glory and honor." That question, that was also asked by the author of the book of Hebrews – what is man, that You are mindful of him? Well the answer is very, very simple to begin to trace in the scriptures. When you go to Genesis 1:26-27, in the account of creation that God gives us about this earth, it says that man is created in the image of God. He says, "Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. And let him have the dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every creeping thing." Man is created in the image of God. That verse, at that point, sets the agenda for what man really is. He is not an animal, he is not created in the image of any animal, he is created in the image of God, and it speaks to a spiritual creation. And it also tells us what our potential is. It tells us, along with many other scriptures, that mankind has the potential to live at a high level today and in the age to come, at a level that is that of God Himself, and to be like God. Because God says that He will be a Father to us.
In fact, the future of mankind is to be the children of God in, ultimately, the family of God. 1 John 3:1-2 offer us a tantalizing glimpse of that because it says that we shall see Him as He is – 1 John 3:1-2 – because we will be like Him. We will be like Him because we will have become spiritually created in His image through character, through choices that we make. In 2 Corinthians 6:18, the apostle Paul quotes an Old Testament scripture that says, "'I will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters,' says the Almighty." "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters." Man can have a family relationship with God as a Father and He will treat us as His sons and as His daughters. That's a family relationship, and that's far more important, that's far deeper, than, again, an animal level of existence.
What is man? Man is created to have a relationship with God and to be formed and shaped ultimately into the image of God and to ultimately come to the point where we see Him as He is. To get to that point, we have to make certain key choices, and we also have to take on the nature of God. Getting to that point requires certain choices. We'll talk about those next time in the series, "What is Man?"
That's BT Daily. Join us next time.