Christianity 101: Man and Sin

We are on to part five of our Series Christianity 101, Man and Sin.  This material in based on the book…

You can find the complete series here

Introduction:
What is man?  Are we merely glorified animals?  Are we only the sum total of all our chemicals and their reactions?  Or are we more? 
The question of our identity underlies all we do and all we become.  Are we a product of mere chance or are we a product of creation?
Never was it more important for a Christian to understand what the Bible says about mankind.  Its truth contains God’s anchor in the sea of human speculations.

The Origin of Humanity
Where did man and woman come from? 
What are some verses that answer this question?
Answer:
(Gen. 1) “In the beginning God Created…”

(Gen. 1 26-27) “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…male and female he created them”
Two issues are covered in this little phrase.  The trinity of God and the fact that we are made in the image of God.  In other words we have attributes like God.

Historical Christianity believes God created man in his Image
• Blind chance is ruled out
• We are specifically, the result of careful and purposeful deliberation by the members of the Triune Godhead.
• John Stott said “Our chief claim to nobility as human beings is that we were made in the image of God.”
• The Bible does not claim to tell us how the human race and the universe were created.  It does, however, assert emphatically and unambiguously that God brought all there is into being.
• Nowhere does the Bible attempt to prove God.  It assumes Him.  It supports this belief with the evidence of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.  Such an assumption is not naïve or unintellectual, but rather rests on the strong rational evidence.  (See chapter 2 of book)
• It is helpful to keep in mind that that those who reject the biblical view of Creation also begin with presuppositions and assumptions on which they base their claims.  Most evolutionists core assumption is there is no God. 

Key Question: On what evidence do our assumptions rest?  Let’s take a look.

Adam and Eve Were Uniquely Created
Both Old Testament (OT) and New Testament (NT) writers viewed Adam as a historical person.
• Jesus spoke of the Genesis account.  Read Matt. 19:4
• Paul considered Adam as both a distinct individual and a prototype man. 
       READ Rom. 5:12-14; 1 Cor. 15:22
• These accounts leave no room for mythical or allegorical interpretations of the historicity of Adam and his creation and fall.
Adam was distinct and unique from the rest of creation.  He was to subdue it and have dominion over it.
• In three ways man was set apart from all other creatures:
1. self-consciousness,
2. capacity for intelligent reasoning,
3. Moral and spiritual sense.
Does your dog ask “Is there a God?”
Has a gorilla ever asked what happens when you die?
Only man builds churches.

Body Soul and Spirit
Two elements involved the man’s creation, “the dust of the ground” and God’s “breath of life” (Gen. 2).  It’s the union of the 2 elements that made man a living being.
• Man is surely more than just body.
• Certainly body and soul are separate:  The Physical man and the inner man
• The question is are soul and spirit separate?
• Soul and spirit appear to be differing aspect of the same essence.

What is God’s Image
What does it mean that man was created in the image and likeness of God?
• Does not imply physical likeness of God.
• The Bible uses “anthropomorphic” terms to get across a point that our limited minds can not understand.
What does anthropomorphic mean?
Answer:
Described as having human characteristics
Ascribing human characteristics to non-human things
• The image of God in man has to do with personality.  Free will, self-conscious, rational, capable of discerning right from wrong, feeling, caring and communication
• Intelligent:  Naming the animals, language, building the Tower of Babel
• Moral and spiritual qualities:  Sense of right and wrong
• Individual separateness: I’m not you and neither of us are God.  Therefore God is an approachable individual.

The Choice
Originally, man was created with an inclination toward Christ.  Both Adam and Eve could be tempted but they were not inclined to sin. 
• They deliberately chose to sin.
• If they had not deliberately disobeyed, sin and death and the disastrous consequences for the entire human race would not have occurred.
• Most, if not all, primitive religious traditions have some from cataclysmic “Fall” event.

Anyone have any good examples of this?

• All of these ideas seem to be distorted reflections of (Gen. 3).  Could that be because it really happened that way?

Not talking Robots
Why did God not prevent evil from entering the universe since He knew in advance what would happen?
Answer:
• If he did then we would not be beings made after the image of God with freewill.
• We would be robots.
Each of us has to face the fact of evil in our lives.  God’s redemptive program is all about combating evil.

What were the steps of man’s first sin described in Gen. 3?
Answer:
• Adam and Eve were first tempted to doubt God’s word.
• Then they were led to disbelieve God.
• They believed the serpent and gave into the temptation.
• They disobeyed God’s command and ate the forbidden fruit.

What were the Results?
Answer:
Separation from God
Awareness of guilt

Items that were effected because the fall.
• Image of God was badly marred.  Both spiritual and physical;
• Man lost his original inclination toward God;
• Man’s desires inclined away from God;
• Man’s intellect was affected, his emotions corrupted, and his will enslaved to sin

Total Depravity
Some think man evolved.  Meaning man has improved
Read Rom. 1:18-32.  This passage discusses the descent of man.  The result has been given the term “Total Depravity”.
This term is often misunderstood:
Total Depravity means, the evil principle has invaded each part of human nature.  No one part is righteous. 
It does not mean that man is as bad as he can possibly get.
• Man’s depravity is total in that without God’s grace he would be forever lost and apart from God.

Theologians have generally held three views of the effect of the Fall on the human race.
• Pelagianism: Adam’s sin did not directly affect the human race at all.  Thus no original sin.  This is a heretical view
• Adam’s guilt and corruption passed to all men.
• Semi-Pelagianism: Man lost only his special gift of righteousness that was not his by nature anyway.  He is only half-sick.

Augustine’s Appraisal
The Augustinian view is closest to the biblical view. 
• Read Gen. 6:5
• Read Ps. 51:5
• There is a difference in mans degree of sin but all have sinned.
• The universality of sin has been recorded from the beginning of time.
• You don’t have to teach a child to be selfish

Adam’s Legacy
• Adam was our representative when he sinned. (Rom. 5:12-19)
• All of us have sinned so we are justly condemned for both our sins and Adam’s sin.
• We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners.
• “Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil”  (John 3:19)

Jesus Christ Our “Representative”
The good news is that believers are represented by Christ (Rom. 5:19). 
Through Christ the second Adam we are given a new nature.
• In Christ God did something for us that we could not do.
• We are turned to forgiveness and righteousness
• Scripture teaches of man’s ability to reject sin and receive Christ.  But each person must make the choice.

Seeing with God’s Eyes
From our human perspective, there are great differences in men’s sinfulness,  (Hitler and Billy Graham) but if we contract this with perfection / God we all fall woefully short.
The only way to close the Gap is by accepting God’s free gift.

No “Big Sins or Little Sins”
Factors that help clarify the meaning of sin.
• All Sin is directed against God.  Remember David “Against you, you only, have I sinned” (Ps. 51:4)
• The first sin of Adam and Eve was the prototype.  It broke God’s commandment.  They rejected God’s authority, doubted His goodness, disputed His wisdom, repudiated His justice, contradicted His truthfulness, and spurned His grace.  WOW
• Two aspects of Sin.  Sin of commission. (active sin).  Sin of omission (passive sin)
• Sin will always bring disastrous results.

The Grandeur of the Grace of God
An understanding of what the Bible teaches about the nature of man in Creation along with the devastating effects of the fall helps us comprehend the grandeur of the grace of God.

Any skepticism about the truth of God’s grace stems from an inflated view man or a shrunken view of God and His holiness.

The sobering truth that we exist forever makes it imperative that we give thought to our nature, condition, and destiny while we are still able to do what is needed.

“Who am I?”
• a personality created purposefully by God in His own image
• we have eternal significance in God’s eyes
• Our Souls are worth more than the whole world.
• God has provided a plan for our salvation that He offers to all of us.
• The Choice is ours to respond in faith.

Get the book to go into depth on the subject.

waynem

About waynem

As a Minnesota based photographer and artist I have been greatly influenced by the Upper Midwest. I focus my skills and energies on portraits, landscapes, cityscapes, architectural and fine art work. My best work comes from images first painted in my mind. I mull over a prospective image for weeks or months, seeing it from different angles and perspectives, then finally deciding what to capture. The result is images that deeply touch people's emotions and powerfully evoke memories and dreams. My images are used commercially by companies and organizations ranging from Financial Services firms, mom and pop Ice Cream shops and The Basilica of St Mary to communicate their shared vision and values. Book and magazine publishers have featured my images on their covers. My photographs also grace and enhance the decor of many fine homes.
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