Jun 21, 2009
What is man?
What a question: "What is man?". This is the question the Psalmist asks in Psalm 8. Depending on who you ask, you are likely to get very different answers. Some 'reformed' folk tend to take the position that man is, always was and always will be nothing more than "a worm", scum or dung.
These teachers keep whole congregations in a constant state of introspection, examining and re-examining themselves for sin. They do this because they are convinced that in order to maintain a proper view of God's exalted position and holiness, all Christians must continually view themselves in as lowly and miserable a way as possible. These teachers will interpret Psalm 8 to prove man's lowly place in God's created order.
Is this a Biblical view? ..... I am convinced otherwise. The Bible teaches that man is the pinnacle of all of God's creation.
The Church has been commanded to sing Psalm 8 in order to teach us of our exalted place among all of God's wonderful creation -- not to beat us down and make us feel worthless. We are to praise, honor and glorify YHWH because He has made man "a little lower than God and crowned him with glory and honor" (Ps. 8:5). Did you catch that? The Psalmist, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, affirms the lofty position of man, not the lowly position. He then goes on to sum up the work which God gave man to do in verse 6 when he says, "You have given him dominion over the works of Your hands.". This only affirms what we already should have known from Genesis 1:26, that man was created in the "image" of God and that we were to "rule" over His creation.
So, what is man? Well, the "new man" (the Church), is that new creation of God that is to be all that God has always intended man to be. In Christ we are to be servant-rulers, and guardians. We are to be king-priests. We are to reflect the one in whose image we have been recreated. In short, we are to be like Jesus.
To the extent that the Church fails to see "who we are", we will fail in our mission to transform this world for the glory of God. We will fail to properly reflect the true image of God.
But if we will begin to see ourselves rightly, as the pinnacle of creation, created to serve, rule and guard all of God's works, then we can begin to answer the question: "what is man?".