The last days of history – Part 1
(1) Who Are We?
Human Personhood: An Overview
Of all the creatures God made, humankind is by far the highest and most complex. Because of pride, however, humans often forget that God is their Creator, that they are created beings and that they are dependent on God. This article examines the Biblical perspective of human personhood.
Human Personhood In The Image Of God
(1) The Bible states explicitly that we as humans were created by God in His image and in His likeness (Gen 1:26-27). Clearly, Adam and Eve were not products of evolution (Gen 1:27; Mat 19:4; Mark 10:6). Because Adam and Eve were created in God’s likeness, they were able to experience and respond to God’s fellowship, love, glory, and holiness (see Gen 1:26).
(2) Note at least three different aspects of the image of God in humankind (see Gen 1:26): Adam and Eve possessed a moral likeness to God, in that they were righteous and holy (cf. Eph 4:24), with hearts capable of loving and of wanting to do what was right. They possessed a likeness to God in intelligence, for they were created with spirit, mind, emotions, and power of choice (Gen 2:19-20; 3:6-7). In some sense, their physical make-up was in God’s image in a way not true of animals. God gave to human beings the image in which He was to appear visibly in the OT (Gen 18:1-2) and the form that His Son would one day assume (Luke 1:35; Phil 2:7).
(3) When Adam and Eve sinned, this image of God in them was seriously marred, but not totally destroyed. (a) Certainly, their moral likeness to God was corrupted when they sinned (cf. Gen 6:5), so that they were no longer perfect and holy, but now had a tendency toward sin, which they passed on to their children (cf. Gen 4; see Rom 5:12). The NT confirms the corruption of God’s image, when it says that redeemed believers must be renewed to the original moral likeness of God (cf. Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:10). (b) At the same time, sinful humans still have aspects of the likeness to God in intelligence, with a capacity for fellowship and communication with Him (cf. Gen 3:8-19; Acts 17:27-28). This dimension of the image of God was also marred but not totally obliterated when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden (cf. Gen 9:6; Jas 3:9).
Components Of Human Personhood
The Bible reveals that human personhood, made in God’s image, is a triunity involving the components of spirit, soul, and body (1 Thes 5:23; Heb 4:12). (1) God formed Adam out of the dust of the ground (body) and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (spirit), and he became “a living soul” (being; Gen 2:7). God intended that by eating from the tree of life and by obeying His command not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, humankind would never die but live forever (cf. Gen 2:16-17; 3; 22-24). Only after death entered the world as a result of human sin do we read about a separation, whereby a person returns to the dust of the ground and the spirit returns to God (Gen 3:19; 35:18; Eccl 12:7; Rev 6:9). In other words, the separation of the body from the spirit and soul (death) is the consequence of sin on the human race and will eventually be remedied only by the resurrection of the body on the last day.
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