What is Man?

  • The word Man is a generic word, used to describe humans, in general … so it can, in some instances, be used to refer to women, as well as men.  For example, a man-eating shark will eat women, as well as men. 
  • Scientifically speaking, Man is a physical being with a non-physical mind. 
  • Theologically, Man has a spirit, which gives him life and a mind, as well as a body. 

What does the Bible say about Man?

  • Man is physical.  When the Bible tells us that Man was made from the “dust of the ground”, that simply means Man was made from matter (chemical elements) found in the ground. 
  • However, Man is not only physical.  When the Bible says there is “a spirit in Man” it means Man has a spiritual component that gives him the ability to live and the ability to think, reason, create, love, etc.
  • Man was made “in the image of God”, which is another way of saying that Man (as both male and female) was made after the God kind … as opposed to plants and animals, which were made “according to their kind”.
  • Man is said to have been created “in the image of God”, not because he looks like God, but because he was created to have abilities like God’s, albeit at a vastly inferior level.
  • Man was created in the image of God so that he could relate to God in ways that was different from any other created being would interact with God. 
  • Man was created to have a personal, family-type relationship with God.
  • Man was made to have dominion over the earth, essentially representing God;
  • Man will one day be like God. 
  • Man was made with the potential to become immortal. 
  • Man is not only physical, b/c he has a spirit. 
  • Man, naturally, is a sinner (Romans 8:7). 

What is the main difference in how God made Man as compared to Animals and Plants?  

  • Animals, plants, trees, sea-creatures and creeping things were all made “according to their own kind” (Genesis 1:11-12, 20-22, 24-25) … but Man was made “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:25, 26-27). 
  • This means that whereas plants and animals were made “according to their own kind”, Man was made after the God kind

What does the “image of God” mean? 

  • Some believe it has to do with form and shape, since God is described in the Bible as having a mouth, eyes, ears and hands, etc. 
  • However, the Bible also says that God is “spirit”, which means that God is not made of matter, not physical and has no “body” or “parts”, as Man does. 
  • It seems, therefore, that Man is “in the image of God” in a non-physical sense. 
  • It seems fair to say that Man is in the “image of God” because Man has certain God-like qualities, such as the ability to think reason, plan, design and even create (in a limited sense). 

Why does the Bible describe God with human-like body parts?

  • It seems the Bible describes God with human-like body parts, and even characteristics, for the benefit of Man, so that Man can understand the kind of relationship God wants with humans. 

What does it mean that Man is made of the “dust of the ground”? 

  • To say that Man is made of the “dust of the ground” (Genesis 2:7) means that Man is made of elements of matter that are found in the “dust” (ground or surface of the earth.
  • It is another way of saying that Man is made of elements such as such as iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, magnesium, etc. 
  • It is for this reason that Man is referred to as a physical being, which just means that he is made of physical matter.
  • NOTE:  It is noteworthy that while the earth was created out of nothing, Man was created from material found in the earth, which suggests God created the earth and prepared it to support Man’s life. 

Why do some say that Man is not only physical?

  • Although Man can be described as material (made of matter), there are passages that imply there is also a spiritual dimension to Man’s makeup
  • Note that the passage from Job speaks of “a spirit in man” and “the breath of the Almighty” in the same sentence and remember that Adam did not become a “living being” until the “breath” of life was breathed into him. 
  • This suggests that Man was created to need “breath”, and he has to be able to breathe to live. 
  • It also suggests that the “breath of life” that God breathed into Adam was the “breath of the Almighty” that gave rise to the “spirit in man” that is in Man. 

What is meant by the “soul” of Man?  

  • Essentially, it is that part of Man that cannot be seen, but which is as much a part of Man as his body. 
  • Because Man is physical or material (made of matter), he can be sensed (seen, heard, touched, etc.) 
  • That part of man, which we are able to sense, is referred to as his “body”. 
  • There is a part of Man, however, that cannot be seen, touched, smelt or, in any other way, sensed.
  • That part of Man, which we are not able to sense, is what is sometimes referred to as his “soul”.
  • Consider Matthew 10:28 and note that Jesus makes a clear distinction between a person’s “body” and his “soul”.  The word “both” is used in reference to “soul” and “body” showing that the two are not the same. 
  • Even more definitive, however, is that Jesus makes it clear that something can happen to one without happening to the other, thereby showing that not only are the two not the same, but they can be separated. 
  • Clearly, Man has a soul that is quite distinct from his body, and can be separated from his body. 

What does the Bible tell us about the life of Man?  

  • The Bible tells us that the life Adam had been given was only temporary … and that Man could die.  God had made Man so that he could stop living.  God had given him a life that was temporary.  
  • It tells us also that Man was created with the potential to live forever … Man did not have to die.  Man could receive a life that is eternal. 

Why would God have given Man that kind of life?  

  • Because He wanted to have a special relationship that would last forever.


** If you’d like to see passages in the Bible that support the answers above, go to the page on Man.  


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