6. What God Says About Man
“If all else fails, read the instructions of the maker”, says the instruction booklet of a well-known make of stove. When we look around us and see so much hate, war, suffering and injustice all over the world, we tend to despair. Why is it that every man seems to be motivated by self-interest instead of love? Why is there so much selfishness in every man? It is only when we start to “read the instructions of the Maker” that we begin to understand ourselves. We will begin to understand what God's plan for mankind is, and what happened that still causes so much sorrow. But we will also discover God's way to rectify this sad state of affairs.
God's Will for Man
Like the Bible, the Qur'an also refers to the creation of man, e.g.
“We created man from sounding clay, from mud molded into shape.” (Sura 15:26)
“Proclaim! In the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, who created: created man out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood.” (Sura 96:1-2)
Beyond that the Bible reveals a clear purpose for man. God does not create without a purpose. The whole universe, also called cosmos (order), witnesses to that! The true purpose and meaning of an article is best described by the designer and manufacturer. This, in the case of man, by God. God created man as the special object of his love.
Read Genesis 1:26-28.
When the Bible reveals that man was created “in the image of God”, it does not mean that God looks like a human being. God is Spirit (John 4:24), and so no physical resemblance can be meant. Both the man and the woman was created by God in a special way (Genesis 2:7, 20-25). They both formed the image of God in true knowledge (Colossians 3:9-10), holiness and righteousness (Ephesians 4:22-25).
The image of God was visible while they obeyed God. They were commanded to be faithful and fill the earth, to subdue it and to rule over it (Genesis 1:28; Psalm 8:5-8). To all that was commanded was added one thing that was forbidden.
Read Genesis 2:15-17.
By this last command the obedience of man was tested. They had to obey, not because they understood the reason for the command, but because God commanded it. Adam and Eve had to be the image of God in everything they did. They were not to go their own way but had to obey God in everything they did. While man answered God's love with love and obedience, he enjoyed pure happiness. Unfortunately a terrible thing happened that is still destroying happiness even up to this day.
Read Genesis 3:1-24.
On this terrible day sin came into the world through the disobedience of the first man and his wife. The whole of creation was affected. Sin always brings separation:
Every human being from that day onwards was affected. The first-born son of Adam and Eve has the distinction of being the first murderer (Genesis 4:1-16). He “and all his descendants” inherited the sinful nature of his parents. You yourself can witness to that: you have “by nature” the urge to sin. It is hard to do right. Christians call this inherent principle “original sin” (compare Sura 12:53). Like a rebellious teenager, man chose to be independent from God. He doubted God's love (consciously or unconsciously) and stepped out of the God-desired relationship of mutual love. Because he broke his relationship with God, all his “goodness” is from now on motivated by selfrighteousness. And this is in direct opposition to God! He may strive to lead a “good” life according to the general standards of this world, but he cannot expect God's forgiveness unless he is willing to turn from sin and to turn to God. Some people even hope to bribe God by religion and doing “good,” so as to earn a place in God's kingdom. This is an attempt to secure God's favour without realizing that His holiness demands absolute perfection.
Read what God says about man in Genesis 6:5-6; Psalm 14:1-3; Romans 3:10-18; Romans 1:29-32; Galatians 5:19-21.
The Love and Mercy of God to Man
It is wonderful to discover that God does not turn away from man in disgust. He does not destroy mankind. He does not allow man to wander away in disobedience and rebellion. God's love is so completely different from ours. His love is unconditional, becaus God is Love (1 John 4:8, 16). He remains true to Himself. He loves even those who are still His enemies (Romans 5:6-10). God in His eternal love seeks out disobedient man (Genesis 3:9). Again and again He talks about repentance and forgiveness (Jeremiah 3:12-13, 19-20; Isaiah 1:18; Matthew 11:28). He calls man into a special Covenant relationship with Him (Genesis 17:7; Leviticus 26:12; Exodus 29:45; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Revelation 21:3, 7; Hebrews 8:10; Jeremiah 7:23; 11:4). God remains faithful to His promises of blessings and judgement.
Read 2 Timothy 2:13 and fill in the missing words:
God's love did not change because of man's disobedience. He is always ready to forgive, as we have read in the Bible. But He is also holy and just. Sin must be punished. That is why God prepared a new way to forgiveness and assurance, as we will see (Romans 3:21-26).
Test Yourself No 6
Answer the following questions and then compare your answers with the answers given here.
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