The Doctrines of Man and Sin for Apologetics, Part 2

man da vinci2. Man is different from God

Many world religions, especially the Asian religions have a monistic view of the world. That is, they believe that all things that exist are the same at the core. All things participate in Being, and God or the gods possess more Being than we creatures. The goal in these religions is either to erase the distinctions between man and the gods, or to be swallowed up into the Great Divine and cease to exist. Regardless of the details, man is not at all or not much different in his essence than God.

The Christian view of God is quite different, in contrast. We believe in what is called the Creator/Creature Distinction (CCD). The CCD teaches that God is wholly other than us. God is infinite, holy, and divine. In contrast we are finite, fallen, and creaturely. God has always been God and always will be God. We are creaturely (created beings), and will always be creaturely, even when we obtain our glorified bodies in eternity.

Since we are finite, fallen, and creaturely, we could know nothing about the infinite, holy, divine God unless he revealed himself to us. And this is what makes the Christian God unique. God not only tells us who he is, but he continually comes down to us to reveal himself. We call this the condescension of God. All through the Bible God stoops down to his creation to show and tell us who he is and how we can be reconciled to him.

In Genesis 1:2 we are told that the Holy Spirit was hovering over the waters as God was creating. In Genesis 3:8 God comes down to confront Adam and Eve about eating the forbidden fruit. In Genesis 7:16 God closes the door of the Ark himself. In Genesis 32:24-32 God wrestles with Jacob and gives him a new name. In Exodus 3:7-8 God comes down to see the suffering of his people before he leads them out of Egypt. Over and over throughout the Bible God comes down to his people, protecting them, speaking with them, rescuing them. This culminates in the incarnation of the Son of God taking on humanity with the birth of Jesus. In this ultimate sense God has come down and revealed himself and reconciled us to God.

The CCD reminds us that God is not like us and his ways are not our ways (Is. 55:8-9). One of the distinctions of Christianity is that we do not make images of God, because those who do invariably make idols in the likeness of other created things (Rom. 1:22-23). But God is so different than us that he forbids the making of idols because they cannot represent him. However, God has revealed himself to us in His Word and through His Son. This means that we can know him, because he has chosen to reveal himself to us.

Some, such as agnostics, like to argue that even if God exists, we can’t know anything about him. Such would be true if it weren’t for the fact that God has revealed himself to us. This is why a clear doctrine of Scripture is so important for Christians. We are able to escape ignorance by acknowledging the Bible as God’s Word to us.

3. Man was designed to represent God on earth

Not only are human beings made in the image of God, but also from the beginning man was given purpose through the tasks given to him in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 1:28-30 reminds us that man was to rule over the earth and cultivate it. That is, Adam and Eve were to develop all the natural resources on earth for their enjoyment, pleasure, and comfort. Everything we have in our modern world today, from the Hubble space telescope, computers, robotic surgery, and skyscrapers, was in the ground when Adam and Eve were created. God gave man the commission to cultivate the potential of the earth. This is a noble calling!

In the next post, we will look at the effects of the fall on mankind.

 

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