Who is Man?

 In Articles, Ethics, Nature of Man, Original Sin, Questions, Total Depravity

Without a heart transformed by the grace of Christ, we just continue to manage external and internal darkness.

This quote from Matt Chandler perfectly exemplifies our lives outside of the grace and power of Christ, dark. In our faith, who are we? What does the Bible say about identity and man? Who does God say man is?

Man is sin. Sin is death. Man is death. Sad but true. Man is corrupted entirely since the fall of our world. Rooted in the beginnings of our Holy Text, the Bible, namely in Genesis, the curse of the world is laid out only two chapters after it is created blameless, pure and sinless. After the consumption of the forbidden fruit, sin manifested itself into man at its core. Man turned from perfect and holy, to shameful, prideful, imperfect and you guessed it: death. Man is evil, corrupt and sinful, but it gets worse, that man’s sin nature is then passed directly onto the shoulders of its offspring. The sins of the father are the sins of the son, period. No argument. At our moment of conception we must acknowledge that because of our inherently broken world, because of our broken parents, our broken ancestors and so on, that we are doomed from the start. Hope is lost. All hope actually.

If God is truly just, then He would inevitably send man straight to hell, right? If there is not goodness in man, then why does man exist?

Consider it from a Darwinian perspective, if there is not an outside force or being guiding man, than the purpose of man is nothing. If you really evolved from a bowl of stew, then you have no more meaning than a trash can or roadkill. A true tragedy. It now does not matter what the sum of your efforts becomes if you and your children are sure to die. The most authoritative thing guiding the world would be matter. If all you are is matter, then you really do not matter. It’s not significant that you have a name, a family, an education or a job. But there is no hope in this world when you observe the world through this evolutionary process. I think we agree much more hope stems out of even the possibility of an eternal and omnipotent God.

Sodom and Gomorrah is a great example of how to think about man. As Abraham pleaded for his cousin, Lot’s life, he pleaded with God to spare the city from God’s wrath if there were 50 good men, as Abraham says these things, he realizes that there are not nearly that many “righteous” people in Sodom. He negotiates with God, all the way down to 20 before God goes silent on Abraham. Long story short, the entire city was destroyed (Genesis 18:22-33). God destroyed the city because it was entirely evil. In perspective, every town is evil, every town deserves to be engulfed in “sulfur and fire” (Genesis 19:23-24). So then why doesn’t God destroy it all? Why even keep man around? If we are sure to burn, why keep us in existence? God is so gracious and merciful, so much so he stoops down to the lowest of the low, to show man His goodness and power. God’s mercies are therefore ratified through the propitiation of Jesus who connected the same being that spit in his face, welcoming him with open arms. But, let us not neglect those who are not spiritually connected to Christ, they too are completely guilty of sin and death, but the horrible thing is, they may not be apart of God’s elect, which means eternal life won’t be in store for them. Let us pray for our brothers and sister who have not yet experienced a life change, or the deep and overwhelming grace.

Man cannot be connected to God because man is 100% everything that God is not. Every attribute of God can not be associated with any part of man. This is true because God is holy, divine, immortal, infinite and perfect, while man is mortal, finite, evil, and totally depraved. Here is an illustration: who taught my 3 year old cousin to lie? I love my uncle and I completely understand that under no circumstances would he want his kid to lie, especially not at the age of 3, so why would he teach his son to lie? It makes no sense. It makes no sense because neither my uncle or aunt taught him how to lie! So my cousin was born with a deep sin nature, one that was knitted in his innermost being. You have one too, so do I, this concludes at our deepest, realest, and most transparent, we deserve death. We deserve death, and it will come in due time.

This is a tragic article I must say, one which is extremely difficult to write, but to understand who God is, and just how incredible He is, we must understand how completely corrupt and depraved we are. God’s grace and love is proven to be even the more powerful when we understand who we are. So be hurt, be upset, be unsettled, be uncomfortable, about your sin nature and your many transgressions, as I am mine. I will remind you; This is real. This is tragedy. This is man.

Photo from Blake Kurtz

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