Summary: The creation of man
August 22, 2010
The Greek philosopher Protagoras once said that “man is the measure of all things.” In his mind nothing was more glorious or important than man. The Christian can never agree with such humanistic reasoning because God is shown to be the measure of all things, but man’s value can’t be denied. David writes:
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; 4What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him? 5Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty! 6You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, 7All sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, 8the birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, whatever passes through the paths of the seas. 9O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8:3-9).
David recognizes God as the measure of all things, but he also recognizes the extrinsic value of man. What is it that makes him valuable? It’s only in the fact that God placed him in his position and crowned him with glory. Man in and of himself is nothing more than the rest of creation, but because of the will of God we have great value.
We started a study last week through the book of Genesis, and we saw the creation of the world. Genesis chapter two zooms in on the sixth day to show the creation of man in detail.
The Creation of Man
1. God created man and put him in the garden to manage all His creation (:4-15)
4This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven.
Note the difference in God’s name here: up to now He’s been called Elohim which is a generic Canaanite term for god. Now He’s called Yahweh which is a more personal name of God.
Chapter one shows us the chronology of creation from a wide-angle lens, but chapter two tells us the story of creation in an intimate portrait.
God isn’t just the mighty hand, the driving force behind creation; He’s the personal God Who’s interested in His creation on a personal level.
5Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. 6But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground.
God created all the vegetation on the third day, so this verse might be a little confusing. If God created everything on the third day, then what does Moses mean? The “shrub of the field” seems to be a wild plant (a weed) and the “plant of the field” seems to be a cultivated plant (a garden).
We know from chapter three that the ground is cursed to produce thorns and thistles and that man is cursed to eat the plants of the field (3:18).
These verses seem to describe the state of horticulture before sin: there were no weeds and all the vegetation was God’s doing. All man had to do was tend it.
7Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
It’s been said that “He must be excessively stupid who does not here learn humility.”
How were we formed? By God!
Of what are we formed? Dust!
How were we brought to life? God’s breath!
If humility is knowing your place, then we learn here two very important truths about ours: (1) We’ve got no reason to glory in ourselves because we’re only dirt.
Who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it? (Romans 9:20).
God is the Potter and we are the clay. He can do whatever He desires with our lives, and we have no reason or right to question or reject it because we are only clay or dust. Those who get angry over God’s plan in their lives forget their origins.
(2) If we do glory in anything about ourselves, it’s only in the fact that God created us with His own breath (a characteristic unique from the rest of creation). Our value isn’t found in what we do or accomplish (it’s not intrinsic); our value is found in what God has done for us and said about us (it’s extrinsic). This is why human life is so valuable.