Our primary concern in this study is what the Scriptures teach about the creation of the human race, and how mankind relates to God’s plan.
Scientific accounts as to mankind’s origin are sometimes complex and incomplete since they raise many questions. For the believer in God, we are told of mankind’s His creation by the Scriptures as God has revealed the essential facts to us: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them….the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”. God created man, we are told, and as simplistic as this statement sounds, it is easier to accept than all the scientific accounts. Into the human body that He created God breathed the breath of life, and man became a living person. The other specific in regards to mankind, as opposed to all other animals, is the fact that we are created in God’s likeness – body, soul and spirit – and as such we have the built-in desire to seek God even though we are all born with the sin nature: “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”.
The Scriptures teach that the origin of mankind was in Adam who became a living being , and anyone that may have preceded Adam, as described by scientists, is not recorded by the Scriptures, and there is no way of proving that the discovered fossils of human remains, allegedly before Adam, had a spirit as recorded in the case of Adam. Therefore, the Biblical account of the creation of mankind, in our relationship to God as we experience today, is more acceptable over any other scientific account.
In an analysis of the nature of mankind we see two opinions. One point of view is to look at the non-physical part of mankind’s constitution which are soul, spirit, conscience, heart etc. – all differing aspects, but alike, of mankind’s non-physical nature (the “dichotomists” point of view). The other viewpoint is that mankind is composed of body soul and spirit, and the other characteristics, heart and conscience, are functions of the soul and spirit (the “trichotomists” point of view) ; but it should be observed that there are similarities in all of the components of the human body.
Mankind’s physical part, the Body, houses the flesh, bones, and organs necessary for our life functions. It is, however, subject to sickness, death and decay because of the fall of our forefather Adam, and, for all believers, will one day be transformed to the likeness of Christ’s resurrected body . The unbelievers will also be raised to face judgment for their sins .
The Soul , the unseen part of mankind, is focused on the apprehensions of personal life, and can be attracted towards heavenly aspirations, or towards earthly and emotional things such as physical desires .
The Spirit, also invisible, is the part of mankind that seeks communication with God. For the believer, it causes us to worship God and to seek to please Him in all our behaviour. To the unbeliever, rather than seeking God, it attempts to find a god in other earthly things . The spirit is definitely different from the soul but we should not disconnect it from the soul, only the Word of God is able to do so .
Thus we see that mankind is like God and the Angels, having intellect, sensibility and self-will .
ORIGIN AND PROCREATION OF THE NON-PHYSICAL MAN
Since science cannot inform us of our non-physical nature, we may desire to know where these components of our being originate; and there are three possible answers to this question. The pre-existence theory argues that God created all souls and spirits at once and that they are all waiting to be born into the world when bodies are procreated for them; and this is not taught in the scriptures. The creationism view argues that God creates the non-physical parts somewhere before conception or birth at which time they enter the body. This process is said to corrupt the soul (and also defends the sinless perfection of Christ in that He did not partake of Adam’s non-physical attributes); the problems that arise from this are the numerous non-physical traits that children inherit from their parents; and that it is unlikely that God would create sinless beings only to be corrupted immediately by an individual “fall”, as in Adam. God did not create “fallen souls”! The Traducianism(to pass on) view teaches that God created the entire being – physical and non-physical – only once in Adam and Eve, and the entire nature (characteristic) is passed on from one generation to the next, since after creating Adam He ceased from His work of creation . Therefore, this view is acceptable since it shows that the non-physical components are passed on through procreation, and accounts for the fact that we have inherited such from Adam and are all under the condemnation of Adam’s sin .
THE STATUS OF MANKIND
“what is man……You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings…..You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet”, and we also are aware that there are differences in echelon and relationship . Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Head over all, and we all take our places under Him.
God’s intent in creating mankind was to express His love to us and for us to express our thankfulness to Him for such love, or to love Him in return. Our appreciation to Him will be evident in our worship and our love to Him as expressed to others .
God’s intent was, and is, to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, so mankind was created to learn and to execute God’s will. In doing so, we use our self-determination for His glory and honour, rather than for our self-gratification. Therefore, we must be responsible to see that we glorify God in all of our actions; “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man.”.