What is Man?

The psalmist asks “What is man that You are mindful of him, mere man that you care for him (8:4)? Indeed, what are humans anyway? The various human disciplines have different answers to describe the essence and purpose of mankind. Anthropology is that branch of science which deals with the study of man.

A perusal of the various secular or humanistic definitions of man would only leave us dumbfounded for as many as the branches of secular knowledge there are, there are likewise the same number, if not more, different definitions of what man is. We will hear quite often the saying that man is the highest form of animal, that we are merely some sort of an advanced species of apes, as popularly posited by Charles Darwin in his book The Origin of Species.

However, fortunately there is also a kind of anthropology which is from the point of view of man’s Creator, and unlike its secular counterpart this kind of anthropology is trustworthy. This is what we call Biblical or theological anthropology. What best way there is to know and understand what man is and his purpose on earth than from the Creator Himself?

The Bible clearly teaches that man was created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26). According to our assigned textbook, Renewal Theology, as man is to reflect God’s being and character, we are to love one another in community as God is a community in the Trinity. Humanity is made up of man and woman together working in harmony to fulfill the purposes of God in this world. Both men and women were created in God’s image and likeness. Obviously, this divine statement rules out the Darwinian theory of evolution as to the origin of man. God has given man dominion over His creation but because of man’s fall into temptation, Satan has become the god of this world. Nevertheless, praise be to God that He sent His one and only Son to redeem mankind and thereby giving Jesus’ disciples to overcome and take back the world God has prepared for man!