1. All evangelicals believe that man is a created being, but we have varied ideas on unrevealed details of how God created.
2. Consider the phrase “God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” If God is Spirit and no man has seen him, then he has no body, hence no lungs; so God did not literally breathe out a puff of air. Therefore the meaning of the phrase is “God made man alive.” Because the breathing made man “a living soul,” we need to know what biblical use is made of this phrase. In Genesis 1:24 the animals are called “living creatures,” which Hebrew scholars say is the same word used of man, “living soul.” So God, who first made living creatures, later by his breath makes man the same kind of living creature.
3. But man is not just a living creature, possessing only a physiological nature common to animals. He is also made in the image of God (which, to author Verduin, means that man reminds one of God because man creates). A Yale biologist, Edmund Sinnott, has emphasized that man’s unique feature is his creative imagination. But are not man’s consciousness of God and man’s awareness of “oughts” and “ought nots” also attributes of His image? James M. Murk of the anthropology department of Wheaton College holds that “three things are unique to man: (1) All his behavior is learned; (2) he has a complex symbolizing capacity enabling multiple abstractions (creative imagination?) and extrinsic symbolic representation; (3) he has a moral sense.”
4. The “dust” of which man was made is the “dust” to which he returns. It is composed of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and other chemical ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more