What Then Is Man?
Author: Paul A. Partz
Note: Creation Moments exists to provide Biblically sound materials to the Church in the area of Bible and science relationships. This Bible study may be reproduced for group use.
Psalm 8:4 asks, “What, then, is man, that Thou art mindful of him?” This Psalm is a wealth of information about who and what man is and his place in the creation. Let’s take a look at it.
While verses 1 and 2 of Psalm 8, glorify God for His greatness and majesty, verses 3 and 4 discuss man. When one looks at the entire creation, man is a very small creature. He is many times smaller than the moon, planets and stars that God has created. What is man, then, that in the midst of all of this size, power and glory, that God Himself who created it all is concerned about man, and cares for him? This expression counteracts the attitude that many have that if there is a God, He is so big that He certainly must not be concerned with us. This view can be seen to be a result of evolutionary thinking because it belittles man and his place in the creation.
Verse 5 really settles this matter. God made man a little lower than the angels. Man is the foremost of God’s visible creation. And note that man is crowned with Glory and majesty.
Verses 6 through 8 describe how man has been made by God to rule over the works of His hands. This adds new depth of meaning to Jesus’ parables which describe us as stewards. Indeed, we have been made to be in charge of administering God’s creation. In a very real sense, then, we can say that we are second in command in the universe after God Himself. Such a statement would cause an evolutionist to recoil in horror – but it is a Biblical teaching. Man is to administer God’s creation, not be shaped, himself, by the creation.
When we see, as we do here, our real place in the creation, we can realize just how far we have fallen. We are hardly able to carry out any but the simplest tasks of administering the creation. And popular thinking today leads people to believe that they are products of the creation, shaped by its forces. Here we see the clear mark of the devil’s workmanship. He has succeeded in convincing mankind that the situation is the opposite of what it really is.
We can isolate many important points about man and who he is from this Psalm and other Scriptural texts. Man is clearly not a product of the forces in the creation, whether or not these forces were guided by God for man’s creation. Scripture specifically rejects naturalism. The position which God gives to man must ultimately be rejected, if we choose to believe that God created His “first officer,” mankind, with the aid of created forces and principles. Man is left a product of that which he is supposed to administer.
While part of our original charge includes caring for the ecology of the creation, those who are saying that we must care for the ecology because we are part of it are working from an evolutionistic position. A far greater reason for caring for the ecology is that God has placed us in charge of it.
The Biblical view underlines man’s intelligence from the very beginning of history. God’s “first officer” is not made in such a way that he is too ignorant to do his job properly. The problem is a moral one. Man is simply rebellious, and by his sin generates his own difficulties. Man is not a victim of his own environment, either as a race or in his personal problems. His difficulties ultimately stem from rebellion.
We can see very clearly here how the influence of evolution, even in the thinking of many Christians, degrades the Gospel. The innocent life of the Son of God was given in payment for sin not for a bunch of animals, but for God’s “first officers.” We are a unique creation. We are both “earthly” and spiritual, as God is. The devil’s victory over God’s highest creatures was a serious matter to God. So, because He yet loved us, though we could no longer love Him, He sent His only Son as our Savior.
Therefore Christians should be first to realize and use their unique position in the creation. We should not work as though we were timid – but as though we are placed by God in direct charge of the creation as His “first officers!”