Free files for my fellow youth pastor friends…
To start off our discussion on the doctrine of humanity right, try answering this quiz:
1. In order to humanly live as God intended for us, our best example is Adam (before sin). T or F
2. It would be unbiblical to say that humanity is the most precious part of creation to God because His Son is most important to Him. T or F
3. Pick A or B:
A. Before the creation of the world, God’s ultimate desire was that He would have people to love. So He created them and sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for them after they fell into sin so that now those who believe in Jesus can live with God forever and rule over His creation for all eternity.
B. Before the creation of the world, God’s ultimate desire was to glorify His Son, Jesus Christ. Therefore, He created humanity so that Jesus could ultimately be their Savior and King Who would rule over all creation for all eternity.
Let’s see how you did. (Answers: 1. F (Jesus is best human) 2. F (Jesus is not a creation) 3. B
If you’re confused at all or curious to dig deeper into the doctrine of humanity, then keep reading. I can remember the Caribbean Sea crashing against the rock on which I sat while I was thinking of exactly where I was on the map compared to where I was living at the time (in Pennsylvania). The distance was enormous, and I had never felt so small. This seems to be exactly what David was feeling as He gazed into the vastness of heaven, at all the twinkling stars, and the glowing moon (Psalm 8). Not only did he feel small, but he also marveled how the God who created the huge heavenly expanse with merely His finger…could love humanity so supremely. What was humanity created to be? We were created to be image bearers of God, to reflect Him, to be the one’s who spread His glorious likeness throughout the earth (Gen 1:26-28).
What does it mean that man is created in God’s image? Some say that it means man is relational (able to relate to God and others). Others propose it means man is moral (able to live rightly). Many explain that it means man is intellectual (able to make wise decisions). A few teach that man is functionally representing God (able to act and rule like God). Several say that man is structurally imaging God (able to reflect God bodily). What do I believe? I believe that God’s image in man isn’t just some quality, but God has shared Himself with us in that we truly do reflect Him. I see a case for them all. They are all true about Him, so they are true about us.
If we are created in God’s image, then what were we created to do? David says in Psalm 8 that God created humanity to practice dominion over the rest of creation so that we (God’s image bearers) would make His name majestic throughout all the earth. We’re created to rule!
I think the greatest question of all is simply, “Why?” Why were we created as His image bearers, told to rule, with all creation originally put under our feet, and in human form? In Hebrews 2:5-9, we find the answer. The author of Hebrews is reading Psalm 8, and he is applying all of Psalm 8 to Jesus Christ, God’s Son. God created all humanity in His image because He planned for His Son (His exact image) to take on human form. God didn’t send Jesus in human form just because we needed a human sacrifice for our sin, but our all-knowing and all-sovereign God purposed before the beginning of time for His Son to be the human Lord over the cosmos and therefore purposed to create humanity. Therefore being fully human in every way, Jesus is our best example for what it means to live the human life. Look to Him.
God also created all humanity to be rulers on earth because He planned for His Son to be the Ruler over all things. If God knows the future perfectly, why would God put all things under the feet of humanity who will end up in sin? He does so because He has the good, perfect, and powerful ruler planned – His Son. God desires for His Son to be King and ruling over everything, while we reign and rule under Him. This is what it means to be human. Cool huh?