What Is Man?
The age old question hangs there in the mind: What is man? What are we supposed to be doing here on earth? Why are we here? What is our purpose?
After looking up into the heavens at the awe-inspiring stardust, King David asked that question. “What is man that Thou art mindful of him? And the son of man that Thou visitest him?” (Psm 8: 4-5).
A time-lapsed photo was taken of a speck of dark space by the Hubble Space Telescope. Thousands of galaxies with billions of stars were captured from the darkness. Its implications are truly mind-boggling and jaw-dropping. Reflecting on the sheer magnitude of the cosmos, we become insignificant; our Creator has left us in awe and wonder.
With such power and might to create the heavens and all therein, why is He mindful of us? In our first state, in comparison with millions of galaxies, we are as nothing, a mere worm, a puff of air inhabiting a fragile shell soon destined to the dust bin of history, and sadly forgotten after the passing of our children and grandchildren. This is old man Adam–lost, alone, and corrupt.
In lieu of the heavens, why would God have anything to do with us? Why did He create us? For David goes on and says, You have made man mortal, unlike the angels, but You “have crowned him with glory and honor.”
From the Grave to the Throne
Wait a minute. Our first nature has us dying and going back to dust ingloriously. And now the Holy Spirit through the prophet David says that we have been crowned with glory and honor. How does that happen? In another place it says, “Man is the glory of God.” In another, man is nothing, a flower that wilts in the sun’s heat. How do we get from the grave to the throne?
What is our purpose? Why are we here? Here’s the answer: God is using mankind to reproduce Himself. That is why we humans are so special to God. We are the medium in which God’s Seed of love will grow and grow into the reproduction of Himself. God’s purpose is to reproduce Himself in us. He desires to multiply Love, which He is, through us.
Without knowing God’s purpose, solving the mystery of God is like doing a jigsaw puzzle without the picture on the box. The pieces are nice and colorful and have names like “faith” and “salvation” and “grace.” But what’s the picture of? How do they connect together? We need Macro-vision and not Micro-vision of God’s things. Knowing the big picture helps us manage the many concepts of God’s plan.
God’s purpose is to reproduce Himself in us. He desires to multiply Love, which He is, through us. We need to look at our neighbor and our brothers and sisters in Christ with new eyes. They are important to God, for He wants to reproduce Himself in them. When we see God’s purpose for our neighbor, then we will love them more.
God’s Purpose Is the Reproduction or Multiplication of Himself
Nature teaches us of His purpose of reproducing Himself. Every living thing in nature is endeavoring to reproduce itself. God created nature to teach us about what God is doing and how He is using us in the process. And the written word of God is the record detailing His plan to accomplish His purpose.
Just like a seed in our gardens, our new life comes out of Christ’s death. He was and is the Seed Son. He said, “Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone; but if it die, it brings forth much fruit” (John 12: 24). Christ is the Seed; we are His harvest of many more seeds ready to be planted into the ground of good and honest hearts (Luke 8: 15).
And we, in turn, will voluntarily give up our old life and allow God’s Spirit to breathe new life into us. We give up our old life that God may reproduce His life and love inside us. Christ also said: “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matt. 16: 25). Man’s old nature hangs on to his selfish desires for his own life, and he will only receive death in the end. But if we lay down our own lives and take on God’s desires for us, then we will receive from Him everlasting life in a new spiritual body. That is the choice. Live unto ourselves and die. Or present our bodies a living sacrifice by taking on His life.
How do we lose our life for Christ’s sake?
I knew a young man some 50 years ago. He was lost. He was drafted into the Army and became a medical lab tech. He arrived at a MASH hospital in Viet Nam in Sept. 1967. He could perform 20 different lab tests, but he only cross-matched blood for the patients, 12 hour shifts, 7 days a week. That is how bloody it was; it never stopped. He started using marijuana to ease the stress and became an everyday, all day, user.
But God used the horrifying fruit of war to plant in his heart a yearning for answers. Why were we here? Why all the death and waste of young men’s lives? For they bled and died before him, and he could not stop the carnage. Where is God in all this? What is happening?
He wanted the truth! But first, survival was the key, and by God’s mercy he survived two rocket attacks and was pulled out of an undertow a day before he was to go home.
He made it back home, enrolled in college, studied literature and religions, and continued to lead a depraved, drug-fueled lifestyle—all the while still searching for the truth! You talk about mercy—God patiently waiting for him to awake unto righteousness.
It was then that the epiphany came: The old self had to die. That was his sign. Whoever told him this truth would have his heart.
He went on a three year search for a religion or philosophy that would show him how the old self can die and leave the body alive. He visited the temples of the Eastern religion; they did not know how to get rid of the old self. He searched and searched, growing more cynical each day.
And he had just about given up when the answer came in April 1971. It was a little house-church with 15 people present. And the preacher with his infectious smile and confidence began to teach Romans 6, as if he already knew what the young man’s sign was.
“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
The young man stopped the preacher. The silence pounded in his ears. “Is this talking about the death of the old self?”
“That is exactly what it’s talking about, the death of our old sinful nature,” the joyful preacher said. He continued reading, “For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now…” But the young man could not hear the words, for they were just sounds now, faintly flowing down a long hollow tube, bypassing his ears. He had heard enough for one day, for he had found his sign…
That young man was me. It took me a month or so to come to grips with the shock I was in. But when I finally surrendered to the Savior according to that first message in Romans 6, the drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, cursing, infidelities, and all the other sins fell completely away. It was an amazing conversion, and I thank God every day for His mercy on me.
What the joyful preacher shared with me that day was repentance that starts at the cross and is the first apostles’ doctrine. To be like the early apostles, we must do what they did. And “they continued stedfastly” in the doctrine of Christ, and they made it their own (Acts 2: 42; Hebrews 6: 1-2).