Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Man as the Image of God

When God created Adam, He formed him from the dust of the earth, breathed spirit (breath and spirit are the same word) into him and made him a living soul. God created him with a personality – “mannishness” as Francis Schaeffer would say. The image of God in man is the things that make him a man – that unique combination of mind, emotions, will, and being that form his personality. Some have said that the image of God is man’s immaterial nature – his soul/spirit. I think they are correct as far as the immaterial nature contains the personality. The Bible indicates other creatures have soul/spirits, but only man and God have personalities.

As far as the origin of a person’s immaterial nature, there are primarily three theories – pre-existence, immediate creation, and Traducianism. Pre-existence states God created all souls during the 6 days of creation. Upon conception or during a certain point afterward, He joins a soul with the body. Pre-existence has no biblical foundation and gives the impression of a take-a-number system.

Immediate creation says that God, upon the moment of conception or at some point afterward, specially creates a perfect soul and joins it with the body. Two arguments refute this theory. First, God finished creating in 6 days – He made all that was made and it was very good. Today, He is out of the ex nihilo creation business. Second, why would God create a perfect soul and place it in a totally depraved body? This leads inevitably to an unbiblical dualism.

Finally, Traducianism states that the soul is passed from the parents, not in the genetic make-up, but as some mysterious part of the union of mother and father. Additionally, this is the only theory that requires the presence of the soul at the very instant of conception. This is the view that I see as more consistent with Scripture and with the observation of human nature.


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