Rather than reading the Bible through the eyes of modern secularism, this provocative six-part course teaches you to read the Bible through its own eyes—as a record of God’s dealing with the human race. When you read it at this level, you will discover reasons to worship God in areas of life you probably never before associated with “religion.”
© Charles A. Clough 1995
Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003
Part 2: Buried Truths of Origins
Chapter 3: Creation: The Buried Truth of Man and Nature
Lesson 10 – What is Man?
God’s Description of Man’s Creation;
The Unique Design of Mankind, Part 1
14 Dec 1995
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD
Let’s go through where we’ve come so far and why as we move now into a new chapter we start to move from the doctrine of God to the doctrine of man. We’re still on the creation event; we’ve looked at the doctrine of God, now we’re going to look at the doctrine of man. After that we’re going to deal with the doctrine of nature. We spent a long time going through the implications of Genesis 1-2. You can’t study the Bible at high speed in this area, there’s a lot of implications that carry over into every area of life. It’s back in Genesis with the creation event that a lot of that material is put forward. We want to review the two positions that are possible. There are not 108 religions out there, there’s only basically two. There is the result of the fallen fleshly mind at work, and there is the result of God the Holy Spirit’s intervention into history. We showed that if you look at the objective historical evidence of the Bible you come up with the ex nihilo Creator. If you look at contemporary literature to the Bible, all through the ancient Near East you have this doctrine of the Continuity of Being. We’re not making this up, this is just what is there.
When you look at the records you see that this doctrine of the Continuity of Being occurs not only in ancient myths, it was developed with great finesse in eastern religions centuries and centuries before the west. You have western philosophy tending now toward that direction as the west goes back to what the east built up, and you have modern theology largely going that way. So there’s a vast majority of the people on the planet going that way. The small minority believe this way, and we said that historically you can go back to early primitive monotheism, missionaries occasionally encounter this primitive monotheism in tribes where their mission boards send them. We gave some examples of how they have a memory of a high god that disappeared, something happened, they no longer have fellowship with this high God, many of them have the story of a fall, a man and a woman, sometimes its drinking grape juice or eating rice, or something but a story of the fall. And they often remember the flood, and that is just memories of Genesis 1-10; ancient Israel, the Bible and today the fundamentalists and those who are basically still orthodox in theology.
We’ve looked at these two positions, and we said that when the Bible presents God, the Bible always presents Him as the Creator, and we have to see there are a number of implications with that. So when we study God we look at Him as He has revealed Himself; we always have to think about who He is and what He’s like. We say that He is omnipresent, omnipotent, that He never changes, He’s immutable, He’s eternal, He’s sovereign, He’s holy, that He is love, and we said that He is all-knowing or omniscient. There are many other ways of describing His character, these aren’t the only ways. These are just the selected minimum list of attributes of God to think about. We said there are the so-called incommunicable attributes and communicable attributes.
A question was raised, why is there this difference, what do you mean by the incommunicable attributes. It doesn’t mean we can’t communicate them, it just means that the incommunicable attributes are less like people, are less personal; the communicable attributes are more personal. That will come to the fore as we move into man. We’ve looked at these attributes and tonight I deliberately drew the diagram without the universe, just God. The reason I did that is to remind us that all of these attributes are wholly independent of the universe. God is in no way dependent upon the universe. He does not develop, God does not change His character, He does not become more self-conscious of Himself because He creates. There is not a cosmic improvement in God’s person. God is self-contained, independent, and is not in any way, shape or form, dependent upon the universe. That’s a fundamental lesson, and that’s why we say God is ex nihilo, we don’t just mean that He created out of nothing; we also mean that He is dependent upon nothing outside of Himself. So having said that, now we introduce the creation.
God, at a point, created the universe. Now we have an addition to the picture, but we still maintain the fact that what has now happened with the creation of the universe, that is fundamentally different from God. There’s the Creator/creature distinction. That Creator/creation distinction is what separates Biblical faith from paganism. It is that presence of the Creator/creature distinction that snaps the Continuity of Being, it breaks it apart, it prevents it, it’s an impediment, it’s a wall and it can’t be crossed. There’s no half-God/half-man. People try to do that and in the history of the Bible the writers of the Bible tried to protect us from that.
The book of Colossians was written against the tendency in the early centuries to do that, so there’s always been these little creeping heresies, even in Christian circles, they want to make the crossover between the Creator/creature distinction. Mormonism does this. Their fundamental definition of God is “as man is, God once was, and as God is man one day shall be.” It’s complete progression, it’s the Continuity of Being, it’s the old reappearance once again of the centuries old paganism. It just occurs and pops up in different forms. You just have to recognize it when it pops up. It may pop up over this continent, these people speaking that language, in this new time, but it’s the same old same old, it’s the same old story. And it has the same old weaknesses.
Tonight we move to the next big distinction. This again is a distinction that flies in the face of majority opinion. This is a distinction that cuts us apart as Bible-believing people from our culture; that is the distinction between man and nature. That is a distinction that is denied, fundamentally denied by evolution, man is a continuum with a primate, there’s no difference. Let me illustrate: imagine the following scenario, you are on an expedition to a foreign land, you’ve heard reports that there are these two-legged animals that have attacked and killed people, you have your gun, you set up your camp, and you erect some sort of perimeter defense because people have said there are these animals out here that kill you. It’s night, you hear this noise, this shadow comes out of the darkness and looks like it’s going to assault you, so you take your gun out and kill it. In the dawn’s light you realize this is a humanoid, this is a very human-like primate. Now the problem is, did you kill or did you murder? This is not just a fictional story, what I’m giving is a fundamental riddle, and the riddle cannot be solved on an evolutionary basis, because if the Continuity of Being holds true, then there’s no place to draw the line between hunting and murdering.
This is exactly why in recent weeks we’ve seen this bizarre conference where world renowned biologists are coming and very seriously proposing to the United Nations that human rights be extended to certain high level primates, on the basis of the fact that their DNA is 97% like ours. You see, the logic flows, we’re not talking about some bizarre religious doctrine here, we’re not talking about some abstruse philosophy, we’re talking about something that has very power, practical application. If you can’t tell a difference between man and non-man, you’ve got a big problem when it comes to ethics and human rights; where do you draw the line? The whole abortion controversy is basically over when does a person appear. That’s why we have a big discussion, why the courts have these fights; this is why this conflict, this split in our culture.
It’s over a continuum here, when does a fetus become a person. This is an even more dramatic illustration. If evolution is true, if the Continuity of Being doctrine holds, then there fundamentally is no difference between man and animal—no difference! What we observe as differences are no greater between man and a primate than between a dog and a cat, we’re just different species, we interbreed and our DNA is different, etc., we’re just another class, another set, another subset, we have a few more proteins. That’s the conflict that we’re dealing with, and this is where there’s a cutting edge of Scripture. The Bible will not permit the doctrine of Continuity of Being. It denies it, right here.
So we move out of the Creator/creature distinction to the man/nature distinction. Once again, a highly controversial point we’re making. It may not seem controversial to you because if you’ve been raised in Christian circles all your life you take this as pretty obvious. But I assure you, this is a bone of great contention today, of what man is. So we want to look carefully at how the Bible presents this because we’re going to run into this, just as sure a we’re sitting here this is going to go on and on in our generation, and as the world around us becomes more consistently pagan this is going to become a more encroaching assault on our position.
We want to look at the man/nature distinction. We want to look at the narrative in Genesis 2, we want to look at the data. You may not think of this as data but Genesis 2 is an eyewitness piece of data. It amuses me that people who are so quick in scientific circles to talk about “we base our hypothesis on observations” don’t recognize that… what do you think this is. Isn’t this an observation? Well, not really. Why not? Because that was written by a bunch of old Jews. I don’t care if it was written by a bunch of old Jews, Pythagoras was an old Greek, but that doesn’t disprove Pythagoras’ theorem, does it. Who cares whether they’re old Jews. The point is, is it or is it not acceptable data. What they do is they exclude the data of Genesis 1 and 2 up front because of presuppositionals, there’s a presuppositional agenda to exclude this data, so I object when this data is excluded. On what basis do you exclude this data, this is as much data as any piece of fossil they find in East Africa. This is a material witness to an act of creation.
What we want to look at is evidences in this data for the miraculousness of man’s creation. Genesis 2:7, “The LORD God formed man of the dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Look at the formula because this formula explains a lot about the Biblical nature of man. Just a simple observation, nothing profound, let’s draw it as an equation. What came first, body or spirit? God made the body, so we have body. Then what did God do after He literally formed the body? He gave CPR, He breathed into the nostrils. So we have breath, or human spirit, and then what is it called after those two combine? A living soul.
Just a few tips on these vocabulary terms. We are used to thinking in terms of s-o-u-l, this third term in the list. We’re used to thinking of that in Greek terms. The Greeks used this word for the immaterial part of man. But the Jews didn’t do it that way. The word “soul” is much looser in Hebrew, and it’s just like we use the word person, so and so is a person, the soul is in the body, those expressions. It shows you that they had a physical idea in their head when they were using this word for soul. So be careful, don’t get “too Greek” about how you define these words.
So we have the body that God made, that’s a simple observation. We’re looking at a picture of God, He’s forming the man out of the dust of the ground, He breathes into his nostrils the breath of life, and now he becomes a living soul. But the text doesn’t end there; there are more observations in this data. Verse 15, “And the LORD God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.  And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘From any tree of the garden you may eat freely,’” etc., “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat thereof,” He gives them the command, He gives them the test, He gives them the warning at the end of verse 17, on the day that you eat, mark My words, you’re going to die. Then in verse 18, “Then the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper suited [or meted] for him.” If you look at this text and try to ram it, cram it and jam it into the evolutionary mold, you’ve got a problem.
We said there are three approaches to Genesis, there’s the capitulation approach, the liberals say oh yeah, we believe it’s all literal, we just don’t believe it’s true. At least they’re honest to the text. Then there are the accommodationists, many of them godly people that want to somehow get the Bible together with modern science. The problem is modern science is a moving target so if you’re going to get the Bible together with it you’re going to have to change it every decade. Then there’s the counterattack strategy that’s largely popped up in the 20th century as a result of failures in our apologetic tactics of the 19th century saying we can’t really get these things together, the liberals really are right in one sense that the Bible is so far apart from cosmology that it’s helpless to try to join them together.
The liberals on the one hand say well then the Bible’s wrong, while the counterattack people say no, that’s cause cosmogony is wrong. But we both agree that we have a big problem of trying to reconcile the two together. The people that do try to reconcile them together have fun here, this is a real problem for the accommodationist's strategy in Genesis, as you can well imagine. This whole picture and text of Genesis 2 is so miraculous in its details that it defies any kind of compromising, accommodating, interpretation that this is somehow referring to the process of evolution.
What has been done, it has been seriously suggested that in verse 7 we have a sort of metaphorical reference to evolution, in that God is using the dust of the earth, and from this life began, and it the process of time God made woman. One of the principles of Bible study is context. You know, location is everything for business and advertising. In the Bible context is everything. And if you want to know how to interpret verse 7, and you see the word d-u-s-t, dust, from dust man was made, or from the earth man was made, you’d better check the context to see the proximity of the dust to the finished product. Genesis 3:19 describes the death of man, and if you’re going to say that in Genesis 2:7 you have the evolutionary process up from dust to man, what do you do with Genesis 3:19 when it says when we die we return to dust. Do we devolve? Whatever you do with Genesis 2:7 you have to do with Genesis 3:19. So it pretty well narrows the field that we’re dealing here with an observation of a miraculous fundamental event, God creating man.
If that weren’t the case, and you were able to simply slide and grease your way through, you’ve got another barrier to that approach, because now what do you do with Genesis 2:21-22? “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; then He took out one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh at that place.” A medical doctor once said that’s the first anesthesia administered in history for surgery. Verse 22, “And the rib which the LORD God had taken from man made He a woman, and brought her to the man.” I challenge you to mix that one with an evolutionary process. It’s just foolish, the accommodationist strategy doesn’t work. The liberals saw this a hundred years ago, and were telling them, you guys are wrong, why don’t you just throw out the Bible. No, you are right, the observation was right, it’s just you’re trying to stretch something that won’t stretch.
The fact is that when you interpret the Old Testament like another aid to Bible study, find out how the New Testament authors interpreted that passage. Here’s how you can do that. In some of the study Bibles you’ll see references in the margin to New Testament, sometimes it’s just the subject, but look those references up if you don’t have any other tool. Check those marginal references because they will lead you to New Testament authors that are talking about that passage. So go to the New Testament authors and find out how they viewed the passage, and learn from them how to interpret. We’ll do that.
1 Corinthians 11:7, we won’t get into what the covering of the woman is, but what’s so interesting is that we’re talking about a church problem, a problem in a local church and it’s another one of these neat passages, I’ve often marveled at Paul, he the sort of guy that you couldn’t talk about tooth paste without getting into some sort of a big theological issue, and he’s talking about some social little thing going on in the congregation and he starts pulling up Genesis and creation. Look how he does it. He says in verse 7, “For a man indeed ought not to have his head covered, for as much as he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of the man.  For the man is not out from the woman, but the woman out of the man;  Neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man.” If you just read verse 8-9, how do you think that Paul is interpreting Genesis 2? Not some long process, some instantaneous process. Was Adam supposed to hang around for a million years until his wife shows up? It doesn’t work. 1 Tim. 2 is another passage, sufficient to the point that we have a miraculous piece of observation going on.
Back to Genesis 2 for a few other things in the context. Notice verses 15 and 17 what else this tells us about man. Man was made a living soul, and then there’s this bifurcation between man and woman. But before the woman appears on the scene, notice the sequence in the text, verses 15-17, God took the man and He gave him a calling, the man was given a calling, he was given labor to do, the Bible says the labor is a lot harder after the fall than before the fall, but it was labor. A lot of people think labor started with the fall, that’s not true. God gave work and labor before the fall, there’s honor and dignity to labor. This is something that’s really neglected in our culture of honoring work, or honoring the time it takes to get skills to do a job well, to complete a job, to take pleasure in the work that you have done on a job, basic stuff and it’s missing today. But it was given by God to man before the fall.
Then a warning was given, a tension was set up, a moral choice was put in front of him in verses 16-17, and the implication here is powerful, because notice in verses 16-17 that God has to give directions about certain trees. Here’s Adam, in the Garden, and he has these trees. If you follow the thinking of many theologians in the church, they will tell you that you can interpret nature without special revelation from God, at least before the fall, he did not really need special revelation to interpret nature around him, or general revelation, you don’t need a key to interpret data. But that you have been created by God is sufficient power in order to interpret the data objectively, at least before the fall, after the fall maybe we’ll grant it gets screwed up. Excuse me, but what do you do with this passage. Was Adam, apart from God, able to interpret the trees correctly, unless he was given special revelation about the trees? This may seem like a small point right now, but when we get talking about science and interpretation of data later, this is going to come back to haunt us.
What this passage is teaching is that Adam’s perception of general revelation could not have been correct, even before the fall, without the authority of special revelation, so that he had a control on his data interpretation system. And the data interpretation system is given here, the trees of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:16-17 control Adam’s interpretation of the trees. It is here that the authority of special revelation, the Bible, is said to be higher than the authority of general revelation or just natural data. We’re not falsifying the data, this is not saying the trees aren’t there, the trees are there. It’s just that there are things about the trees that it’s better that Adam learn through special than general.
What was the fall all about? What did Eve try to do in her interpretation of the tree? Eve tried to take over the interpretative process, independently of the authority of the Word of God. That’s where the fall took place, man decides he, by his autonomous mind apart from the Scriptures can correctly interpret reality. That’s wrong. Here before the fall man could not interpret reality apart from the authority of the Word of God. This is an eloquent argument for the Word of God and its superior authority. It is the only key in authority to interpretation of all reality.
God created the universe, and we can only reinterpret it according to His interpretation. He is the original interpreter, because it’s His original design. All we do is we discover what He already has done with it, and if He tells us this is how I do it, we’d better listen, and not spend a century or to going off on these tangential interpretations and saying, well, the data leads me to believe this. No. You are insufficient mentally as a human finite creature to correctly interpret data apart from an omniscience that created that data to start with. This is key.
Then notice something else in this day of gender conflict. In verse 18, a very important point, when you first look at it that the woman is pictured as sort of a tag-a-long, and a lot of women get bent out of shape by seeing this as a tag-a-long. It isn’t. One of the interesting things about the word “help” or “helper,” I challenge you to do this, if you have a concordance look that word up and find out where else it’s used. The remarkable thing about that word is that it’s used elsewhere for God Himself. It’s not a tag-a-long issue here.
What is Adam’s problem? It says his problem, verse 18, is that it’s not good that he be alone. That has powerful implications, it shows you that there’s no such thing as an island, you’ve heard no man is an island and that’s true, none of us are islands, this Lone Ranger hero that somehow is above relationships is a fake pagan idea, sort of like Hercules, he goes around and he’s sort of a semi-god, he doesn’t need anybody outside of himself. That’s false to Scripture. The Scripture says it is wrong for a human to be alone, there’s something wrong, even before the fall. See, all of this is before the fall, and God is saying it’s not good that man be alone.
The woman is a helper fitted for him. The interesting thing is, why did he need a helper? Because of verse 15, he was given labor. The woman is fitted and her role is defined in the narrative here by an assignment God had previously given to Adam. Isn’t this an interesting thing, and we’ll get into this more later on, but there are several observations to sum up here. In verses 15-16 we have a task or a calling given to man. In verse 17 we have a choice given to man, and the choice means that the authority of the Word of God is superior to all forms of perception and reason. And then we are given that the woman is to help and her helping is defined in context to be helping in that calling. So labor is involved, it’s not just romance, it’s labor.
Then also notice something else in the context, just another observation about the high nature of man here. In verse 23 in the original language that’s poetry, and it’s considered by most scholars to actually be sung poetry. That is a song. It’s the first song ever recorded in history. Adam sings when his wife is brought to him. So far from being some sort of a primitive here is a man with a high calling, who supernaturally has been created, a woman created out from him, and in verses 19-20 he linguistically characterizes his environment, he studies it and is using language, and in verse 23 he’s singing. Such a high view of man, right from the start, no evolutionary precursor in here, no development here, this is man as he was instantly created, he was already in charge of all these capacities, a marvelous high view of man.
One other observation, in Genesis 1:27, when God made man and He defined the imaging, notice how He defined it terms of the sexual differentiation. “In the image of God created He him, male and female He created them,” in other words the image-hood of God is not masculine alone. It is both the male and the feminine side together that are called the image of God. All these are observations in the narrative.
We want to come in our notes to the design of man, and there’s four points. The fourth one is very powerful and I spent a lot of time developing that fourth one because that’s critical to a lot of what flows. As we go into the design of man, what we’re doing is we’re drawing conclusions from the text, from this narrative, in light of the following chapters of the Bible.
Here’s what I want you to see. As a Christian here’s one of the things that will rejoice your soul, develop your faith and make you stronger spiritually. If you can see the majesty of our God in how He pulls this thing off that we call history, because when God rules. … For example, something happens, we pray, this person has this situation and they get ministered to by this person who has a need to do that and you start looking at this, God never moves doing one thing at a time, He sweeps through a whole group of people so that people impact lives over here and something happens in this person’s life that has ramifications here, ramifications there, and you say wow, how did He do this?
I have often wondered how does He set up the situation, it’s always been intriguing to me, like a chess game, I’m a piece on it and I never felt being moved and I know the other people didn’t feel like they moved, but it looks like He has a wonderful chess game going on. And the more you see of it the more you glorify God, because you’re seeing there’s a pattern and a purpose to life, it is not chaos out there.
One of the things we want to look for is in the design of man. We’re looking now at the man/nature difference. We want to look at how that man/nature difference impacts history. In other words, this passage we just observed has profound implications about how God is going to work century after century, all the way up to our own time and on into eternity. I’ll read that paragraph, and I’ll show you where to emphasize things and where to maybe put some asterisks.
The first point on the unique design of man, this is the answer to the modern psychologists problem of self-image. If you want a self-image, here’s where it is prior to the fall. This is the image of man; here is what man is all about. How anybody who perceives this in the least way, in a fractional way, can think that he’s just a little piece of debris, you can’t. That’s why I want to encourage you that we’re not debris, no matter how much sin has wrecked our lives, we are not debris. God has built into our lives an indestructible imaging, and we want to look at that.
Point 1: “Of central importance is the truth that man is an image of God in both body and spirit.” Remember we said what does the narrative say about how God made man? It says that He combined body and spirit together. “This truth is the foundation for all revelation. … Yet it suffers from two opposite distortions.”
Watch this. One distortion emphasizes that it’s man’s body that is made in God’s image, and so emphasizes this that it gets off track. “On one hand, there is the distortion of Mormonism which goes like this: ‘as man is, God once was; and as God is, man one day shall be.’ In other words, God the Father, according to Mormonism, is not only the archetype of our body, but He actually has a physical body Himself (and procreated children with His wives!). That’s what Mormonism teaches. That’s why they believe in polygamy, it goes back to the way God Himself behaves, God had many wives, God has it so why not us? The point is that we have an emphasis on the body, an over-emphasis, where Mormonism says that gods, plural, have bodies, that Adam, in fact, was God the Father, Brigham Young said that at one point.
On the other hand, to avoid idolatry Christians usually restrict the image to the immaterial part of man, leaving it unrelated to the form of our body. Every reaction begets a counter reaction. [blank spot] When God created Adam in Genesis 2 what did He have in mind? He would one day become man, isn’t that powerful.
Think of that, this isn’t a primate who lost his banana, this is a creature fashioned in a special way, because God would have to become that creature in the incarnation of Christ. This is a high and lofty view of man and this is why the Genesis narrative is not some accommodating little process taking millions of years. It’s a miraculous process just like the incarnation was a miraculous process. How many million years did it take Mary to get pregnant. When God moves He moves omnipotently and sovereignly, He doesn’t need means, His Word is the means; if He speaks it is so.
Turn to the New Testament to see this connection. Think about this body business, that the body was created so that the incarnation could occur. John 14:9, it’s the passage with Jesus talking to Philip, Philip has this little epistemological problem, he says in verse 8, “Lord, show us the Father,” just give us a vision. What do you suppose was on Philip’s mind? A big Theophany is what’s on His mind. Man, if you could just show up in all Your glory, let’s have a super Sinai experience. Then Jesus comes back with this strange remark in verse 9, “Jesus said to him, Have I been with you so long, and yet you still don’t know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” Philip saw Jesus’ spiritual character but He also saw Jesus walking around in His body. And what Jesus is saying is that I am the Word become flesh, the Word has become flesh and it’s flesh Philip, so you can see Me, I’ve come down to be a creature so you can look at Me, this is your God. So the body is related to God Himself through the incarnation. Adam was designed for Jesus. Whatever happens in Genesis 2 is what happens in the Gospel narratives.
Point 2: We’ve already said in the design of the man that the image of God is related to body and spirit together. Now we’re saying something else, coming out of those narratives. What did God tell Adam to do? He gave Adam and Eve a commission that they should dominate the earth, have dominion over the earth, subdue it, rule it. That’s the mandate given to man and woman. Now what part of the earth is closest to us? In fact, what’s Adam’s name? Adam means red, the same Hebrew word for Edom, red, and it’s red because it was red of the earth, Adam was presumably what we would call a brownish type person because he’s brown and reddish color, and that’s what his name was, that’s why he’s called Adam. The Caucasian authors and painters down through history have always presented Adam and Eve as white and that really is not true because his name betrays that, he’s not white, he’s dark skinned.
So Adam is created, and he is told to subdue the earth, but his body is the [can’t understand word]. What was Adam made out of? Dust. His body. So what part of the earth does he first rule? Think of a little baby, I just happened to be there when my son discovered that his fingers were his, and it’s a big discovery, they’re developing their identity, they’re beginning to rule, they become self-conscious. So we rule out from our own body into the world around us. Angels don’t have this, angels don’t have bodies, they can incorporeal themselves temporarily, only we are these strange things that God has made that are both material and immaterial, and He has told us that we, not the angels, we are to rule the earth, and we begin by ruling our own flesh. Sin causes the flesh to rebel, that’s why the thorns and the thistles, and in a deeper sense that’s why Romans 7 talks about the flesh rebels. Sure it does, because we rebel against God.
On page 35 one of the medieval theologians put it this way and I just had to give you this quote: “The spirit was created for God’s sake, the body for the spirit’s sake, and the world for the body’s sake; so that the spirit might be subject to God, the body to the spirit, and the world to the body.” That last clause, “the world to the body” is the rule of man; that is the dominion of man. Don’t ever let an unbeliever tell you that because you are a Christian that you hold to some little sad sack passive view of man, oh no, man is the lord of the earth, literally. Literally, man is lord, as long as you keep the “l” small. That is the foundation of man.
To show you how powerful that is, 1 Corinthians 15, once again all of these designs back in the Garden have eternal repercussions, and so the second one, just like the first one, has eternal repercussions. Notice in 1 Corinthians 15:24, talking about the mission of Jesus Christ, “Then comes the end, when He [the Lord Jesus Christ] delivers up the kingdom to God even the Father,” look at the way it’s put, “when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.  For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.  The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.
 For He has put all things under His feet. But when He says, All things are put…” then it goes on, but in verse 28, “And when all things shall be subdued unto Him,” where do you suppose that language comes from. It’s the language of Genesis 1:26-28. Verse 28 of 1 Corinthians is the language of Genesis. Do any of you sense what’s going on in this passage; do you see what’s happening? That this is the final domination, the completion of the plan of salvation by Jesus Christ and He is doing what was assigned to Adam, in a vaster way, here in this text. It is so similar to Adam’s mandate that it uses the very language from Genesis 1 to describe that ultimate dominion of Jesus.
This why another name that is given to Jesus in the Bible, we don’t normally think too much of, is the Son of man. Literally what it means is Jesus is the Son of Adam. What does that mean? He does, and lives out, and is successful at pulling off what Adam was assigned to do. Adam, before the fall, the fall messed everything up, the earth rebels, the whole thing goes to pot, but just as death entered through man, “by one man came death,” by one man death will be suppressed and destroyed and erased forever. Man is the central actor so that Jesus, the Word becomes incarnate, and this lordship of man under God’s Lordship extends out to conquer. It’s a wonderful, almost imperial view of man, a very lofty and high view.
On page 35 I give more references, 1 Corinthians 6, that’s a passage that shows that man shall judge angels, not only are we to judge the earth, but our dominion is extended in eternity to include angels, and Romans 8, where nature is just waiting to be redeemed, waiting for man to assume his rightful place again, and the man that will lead the conquest is the Word incarnate, Jesus Christ. Jesus mission is but a fulfillment of this Adamic dominion. So again, the Genesis text is so important because it goes all the way to Revelation in its implication. Everything is set here, the mold is fashioned, and everything is put together so that it all flows.
On page 36, point 3. I spent a lot of time at the beginning of this hour going through the narrative and showing you how Eve was created out of Adam. I said that that’s one of the features of this narrative data that refutes any accommodationist strategy, there’s something supernatural going on here. The Bible says God made animals male and female. Why didn’t He make man that way? He ultimately made him that way, but the Bible tells us that when He made that first body, it encapsulated the male and the female. They were together; they were in one flesh in that one body. Why do you suppose there’s that difference between them and cocker spaniels? Why is man different like that? There’s a reason for that too. On page 36 I say, “Why the special treatment for man? Because man is central to God’s plan of showing forth His glory. God will one day need to save men from their sins. The entire race must be designed to be ‘redeemable’ so that one Savior can somehow die for the many.”
See angels were all individuals, theoretically I guess if you had substitutionary death for angels you’d have to have a million saviors. But by keeping the whole human race together, and this is mysterious, we don’t know why, all the ramifications, but when you get into passages like Romans 5 when you are “in Adam” or you are “in Christ,” it’s not you’re in Adam and Eve and in Christ, it’s only in Adam. In Romans 5 it says “by one man sin came into the world,” it doesn’t say by two people.
So there’s this solidarity to the race. That solidarity apparently has something to do with making the human race savable, so that the entire plan of salvation can occur, and Jesus can die and somehow render salvation corporately to humanity, because Adam is the representative. And he can be the representative because literally from him all else came. Looked at in scientific language today, the DNA of everyone comes out of that one body, not two, there were not two sets of genes that combined, there was only one set of genes that was split, and that was the beginning, so from that every human being, all of our genetic tissue here tonight, if we could get little microscopes and look at it, we are looking at what was there in that one body. Every race, every sex, every different person, was all wrapped up in that body that God made in Genesis 2, racial solidarity.
And it’s a peculiar thing of Scripture and you can kiss it off as a fairy story, as people do, with a condescending little attitude, or you can accept it for what it is, an observation of the way it was created, that when God did this amazing thing in Genesis 2 He had a lot of things in mind. He wasn’t randomly doing this, well I’m bored today so let’s play. That’s not the way God started the creation. He said I will glorify Myself on through the ages into eternity, and I begin here. Very efficient, God doesn’t do just one thing, He does many things when He does one thing.
Next time we’ll deal with the fourth one where we get into the lively side of man, the spiritual side. If you think the first part was amazing, wait till we get to the spiritual side of man.
Turn to Genesis 2:19; I should have pointed that out. Genesis 2:19 is a revelation of something else that’s going on. I made the point in verse 16-17 that the trees were obviously having to be interpreted by God. For example, the poisonous effect, think about verse 17 for a moment, if it’s true on this tree that Adam eats it at time, time T zero, that he’s going to surely die, that is a cause-effect that he could not have observed or known himself unless he did it. Eve followed her high school science class very well, she did a hands on experiment, and she discovered that indeed she does die when she eats of it. That’s data, that is a structure of the tree that Adam could not have known unless God Himself authoritatively interpreted that tree for Adam. Having said that, that does not mean that Adam couldn’t interpret things about the universe around him. He had that capability. It’s just that it’s a relative capability, subject at all times to the authority of God, and His overriding interpretation. And what he has pointed out in verse 19, a very fundamental verse because what that tells you is that man is given the freedom to create. Notice the little phrase in verse 19, He brought the animals to Adam “to see what he would call them;” and whatever Adam called them, that was the name thereof. God allows this area where men can be creative.
Let’s diagram this as a circle, a series of concentric circles. God has certain requirements for our lives, that would be Genesis 2:16, and that would illustrate the do’s and the don’ts of Scripture, where God says you this, I expect you to do that, I don’t expect you to do this, etc. It’s black and white, they know exactly what’s going on, there are directions. But now we also have areas that He wants us to do things and He is not going to tell us how to do it.
Every once in a while you get some people that get so hyper-spiritual they talk to God about what color tie they’re going to put on in the morning. And what this is basically saying is I’m not going to tell you what color tie to put on in the morning, you do it. See, there’s room for this choice in creativity. And God doesn’t interfere with that. Verse 19 is an authorization to be creative. But in the context, who is it that’s bringing the animals to him? And why are the animals being brought to him? Because God has something that He wants Adam to discover for himself.
And verse 19 shows us something about our Christian life, that He brings circumstances that in one sense He could have told us about, but He brings them into our lives that we learn on our own, as it were. Why do you suppose He does that? It’s very interesting, He has a high view of us, in that He expects us to learn from things, and He’s not going to tell us everything.
In fact, there’s a passage in Proverbs that says it is up to God to hide things, it’s up to the king to find them out, and it’s the idea that this hiddenness in the creation, and in life, that He brings these things to test our powers as dominion people, whether or not we’re going to perceive what He is really doing with us.
That’s why there’s a whole core of literature in the Bible that’s called wisdom literature. The Hebrew Canon is divided into Torah, Prophets, and Naviim, the Law, the Prophets, and The Writings. And The Writings are the wisdom part of Scripture. The Hebrew Canon is split in three parts, and all the wisdom parts are like Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and if you look at that it’s almost teaching by riddles, as though God wants to stretch our minds and make us think and come to our conclusions.
So the answer is that there are these areas of the will of God and there’s what we call, I say this with quotes, “there’s a free zone” where we are free to do our thing, but it’s freedom in the sense that ultimately it’s under Him, He’s setting up the situation and we should be submissive in our spirits when we’re looking at this. Adam wasn’t rebelling and calling the animals stupid names, at this point his mind was not marred by the sin, so he was very perceptive. As these creatures would come by, and the text is quite clear, when the creatures came by he was able to look at them and size them up, so he had a brilliant mind at that point.
Anything else on the body side of man? One of the things that’s interesting is, do you realize this is why salvation is not considered to be complete until we attain our resurrection bodies, because the soul that is saved outside of its resurrection body is not a complete product. God made us to have bodies, we’re not like angels that just kind of float around, I don’t know what they do but they seem to be able to change form, we have angels showing up as fire, then we have an angel showing up as a person, now how they can mutate and transform themselves from natural phenomenon into people and back to natural phenomenon is beyond our scope, but they have this capability. Angels can show up as animals, and we’ll go into that, how animals, what we call animals are zoomorphic forms in creation, actually are angel parts because when you look at the throne of God you see these angels that are part bird, part lion, etc., so again it flies in the face of Darwinian evolution, Darwin always wanted to describe biological form to evolutionary adaptation, and that’s not true.
For example, the sheep is a defenseless creature. You tell me how the sheep is a survival of the fittest. A sheep always needs people. That’s why in the Bible the sheep was there right from the start, right from creation, the sheep never would have made it over millions of years, it’s so dumb, stupid and incompetent to take care of itself.
But the sheep, the form and structure of the lamb, is made to depict something of God’s character, such that when He wants to depict His saving gracious nature and His giving to the point where He sacrificed and dies, God always speaks of Himself as the Lamb that taketh away the sin of the world. Why that form, and not … say a goat? Or a bear? Or a cow? Ever think about that? Why the lamb? Because the lamb’s function and form are alive to God’s mind and His plans.
So the angels have wings, and the angels have forms and functions and it looks like what we call animals, just really are made from prior corporeal designs of the angels. I have a veterinarian son, he loves to help animals, operate on them, etc. and I sometimes kid him about the fact that he’s dealing with a bunch of angel parts.
Question asked: Clough replies: The question was do you suppose that Adam’s body was like ours? It’s speculation, but here’s some thoughts about what Adam … one of my suggestions would be that first of all Adam would be medium colored skin, the color of the earth. Second, remember that the antediluvian people, after the fall, were dying, but how long did they live? 900 some odd years, so I would take it from that that our bodies are pretty picayune, if you probably, if you lined us up in a museum, oh, these are the 20th century people, and these are the days of Abraham, and here are the people before Noah, and there’s Adam.
You know the evolutionary pictures you always see of the monkeys getting better and better and they get to be men. I think what you’d see in this museum is here you have this tremendously powerful person and the human race looks pretty sick until you get to us. There must have been a deterioration, I’ve often thought about this, how do you think this body, it ages, I look in the mirror and I see a new wrinkle every day, I see hair turning gray, and you begin to think, hey, I am mortal; when you’re young you never think you’re mortal. But as you get older you become more and more aware of the deteriorating body, and it’s automatic, you’re not doing anything to it, you’re trying to take care of it and it just falls apart.
That’s because we are under capital punishment but we’re under an accelerated sense of capital punishment. Think of what it would be like to live 850 years. Take the Bible seriously and think about this for a minute. Let’s say this was your 850th birthday. We’re in 1996 almost, and we go back 850 years, that means you were born in 1146. If you had lived since the year 1146, how much history would you have personally observed? You would have seen Luther, you would have watched the Reformation, you’d have seen the end of the Middle Ages, you’d have seen the discovery of the Western Hemisphere. You would have talked with Christopher Columbus. You would have a very potent view of history. Is this one reason perhaps why there’s not many written histories until later in civilization, because men didn’t have to write history, if you wanted history just go ask dad, what you couldn’t remember he could.
The point is that we are pretty diminutive versions of that one great awesome person called Adam. Now whether he was physically bigger I don’t know. The only hint that you get is that people that are bigger than us are called giants in the Bible, which means that they must have been bigger, so we probably are normal in size, but we certainly are not physiologically normal people.
Question asked: Clough replies: Let me be careful here, to go back to that. The body is the image of God, because we don’t want to get into worshiping the body.
Question or statement: Clough says: I think the way you have to approach the body is look how God handles it in salvation. God resurrects the body. Jesus rules with a body. In Revelation there He is, the Lamb as it had been slain sits on the foundation. Jesus goes to Thomas, He says “My scars.” Interesting that His resurrection body bears images of history. So our resurrection bodies are almost like… they become kind of like incarnate records of our lives, it doesn’t mean we have scars like Jesus necessarily, but nevertheless, the body exists and it’s not just a corporeal spirit, it’s NOT just a corporeal spirit. The problem with us when we talk about the flesh is we’re always talking about the fallen flesh, the flesh as it now exists after the fall, mortal flesh. But let’s be careful, Jesus had flesh too, and yet He is said to be sinless. And it was His body that was sacrificed on the cross, He as God was also sacrificed, but His body was sacrificed, so the body is worth something. And Jesus, we’ll get into this in chapter 4 on evil and death, but one of the things we want to be careful of, I’ll give you kind of a fore view of the dying of the body, then we’ll get back to the body itself.
If Adam would have died apart from the fall, if death were a natural process for man, then the death sentence in Genesis 2 would be wholly spiritual and not physical too. Okay. Also, if death is a mere natural process biologically, then Jesus’ death on the cross was not a substitutionary death, it was merely a premature death. Jesus prematurely died, say at age 35, instead of dying when He would have died at 75 or 80. That’s not true. Jesus said I give My life, so apparently Jesus in His body could have been immortal, had He not given His body to the Cross. Jesus had no sin in His flesh, so flesh is not necessarily evil.
Jesus says when He’s trying to teach Thomas about the difference between your bodies, these mortal things we walk around in, and the resurrection body, remember He says flesh and blood, but then He talks about His resurrection body and He says “flesh and bones” I have. So there’s some sort of resurrection flesh that takes up space, is able to go through walls, is able to appear and disappear, but nevertheless is flesh, that eats, Jesus was eating in His resurrection body.
And in communion service one of the passages that pastors often use, what does Jesus say, I will not drink of this until I come again. What is He talking about? Drinking. So He’s saying when I come again I will drink, I will celebrate communion forever and ever. He has a body, it’s consuming something. So bottom line is the doctrine of the resurrection of the body sanctifies the value of the body. The body is not simply discarded, salvation is not complete until resurrection occurs, and both the spirit AND the body are saved together.
Now the body in the image of God. All we have to go on is that God says I’ve made that living person in My image, and whenever God shows up in the Bible it’s never as an animal, and you may say I’m being facetious, no I’m not, because throughout the world gods appear in animal forms. The gods appeared in the Ancient East in animals forms, you’ve seen pictures of these Assyrian sphinxes, he sits there and he’s got wings, the Sphinx of Egypt, the head of a man on the body of a lion. Their gods are always doing these kinds of things. But when the God of the Bible shows up He never shows up as an animal. He shows up always as a man. So what we have to say about the body as an image is that the body is shaped so that somehow the way we are shaped expressed God’s character, so that when He makes a metaphor about “My arm shall save you,” it’s not just a random metaphor, but somehow the way our muscular structures are, what our arms do, corresponds to His omnipotence.
Only one of the three Persons of the Trinity has a body, we’re not like Mormons; Mormons believe that everybody has a body, the Father and everyone else. No. Only the Word of God is incarnate, “the Word became flesh,” same word, by the way, “flesh.” It didn’t demean itself. And why this is so important is because there’s always been a tendency because the flesh in fallen form gives us so much problem that we want to get rid of the flesh and a lot of religions do this, they want to get rid of the flesh, they want to put down the flesh, the flesh is an impediment. Gnosticism did that, and they denied ultimately that Jesus had a body.
There were people in the early church that were profoundly offended by the claim that the Word of God became flesh. John, what does he say even for the antichrist, the antichrist denies that Christ has come in what? In the flesh. Why is there such a harsh judgment against the denial of the flesh? It’s because it’s a heresy that says that the physical body as such there’s something wrong about it, there’s something sinful about the human body, there’s nothing sinful about the human body, as such. God didn’t make a sinful thing in the Garden of Eden, He made it with His own hands, He shaped it, our shape as people, as a human being, was made by the Craftsman, not by evolution, like a craftsman who deliberately shaped it with His very hands, see now I’m using hands, Tertullian used the word hands, so it’s a mystery. I don’t know how to express it other than to balance the Scripture we have to honor the shape of the body but we don’t worship the body.