Friday, December 17, 2010

What is Man? by Dudley Hall

What is man, that you are mindful of him...
Hebrews 2:6 (ESV)

After discussing the nature of Christ in the first chapter of the epistle, the author of Hebrews now addresses the nature of man. This order is proper. No one will ever understand the nature and purpose of mankind without understanding the true nature of God through Christ. The confusion among the millions regarding mankind can be traced to their refusal to first embrace God as the Creator and Sustainer of all things.

What was man's original purpose? According to the verses following verse 6, man was made a little lower than the angels and crowned with glory and honor to represent God in the earth and to subdue creation for his glory. He was far beyond just another link in the chain of random evolution. He had design! He was fashioned by a loving Father-creator who created him for a specific purpose. He was to rule over God's creation.  Lower than the angels in that he was limited to the physical earth and its environs, he was made to represent God in developing the earth to reveal the majesty of intended glory. He was equipped to discover the mysteries in God's person and the treasures in God's creation.

Well, it is obvious that something happened to the plan - sin entered the equation. So, what did sin do to mankind?  "At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him" (Hebrews 2:8). The reality of sin's invasion is all too plain for those who have eyes to see. This man that was designed to rule over creation finds himself bowing down to earthly idols and heavenly bodies. He fears the forces that were intended to be under his feet. He is a slave to the ambitions and appetites that were given to him to enhance and enable his rule. He is a pitiful sham, much like the ancient story of once mighty Samson, who after routing the enemies by supernatural exploits of strength, stands blind and bound to a pillar of the enemy's temple. In this state, man is far from his destiny.

Can he be restored? "But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone" (Hebrews 2:9). We have a representative who has achieved mankind's destiny. There is a man who has not been tainted by sin's influence and is not bound by creation's chains. He has tasted the bitter cup of wrath for man's sin and by the power of an indestructible life has risen from the grave with the keys to death and hell. He now sits upon the throne of God's kingdom and grants to all who believe in him the power to live on earth as he has. Our future is secure because of his past actions and present status. He gives authority to those who are his. Through him, mankind can get back to the assigned destiny.

By grace he has restored us, not as gods to rule in our own kingdoms, but as sons to rule under his authority in our appointed spheres. Whatever opinion might be given for man's dignity in the noisy marketplace of human ideas, there is none that matches the explanation given by God as his word goes forth.

Rejoice in him who now sits as the true man. He is worthy of worship. We can never reach our destiny without relating to him.

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