The “Physiology” of Man
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (NIV84)
God created man in his own image; how does that work? The understanding of the true nature of man is a foundational base upon which much of the Bible is built. People generally think of themselves as Homo sapiens and so they cannot truly understand the reality of our existence.
…the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (NIV84)
This statement describes the actual formation/creation of man. The first thing that happened was that God formed the man from the matter that makes up the earth. This is referring to man’s body, that is, the Homo sapiens animal. Notice that the word used as man’s source material is dust. Man’s body was made from the dust of the earth. God could have chosen any word here and yet he used dust.
Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. (NIV84)
Dust, as a building material, is of little value; not to be considered. This is telling you that your body is unimportant. That which is highly regarded in the world is as nothing to God.
Looking back to [Genesis 2:7] again, looking at the second half, we see the creation of the true man; the man that is in the image and likeness of God. We see in the above statement that God “breathed” into the nostrils of the Homo sapiens male and put his very own nature within the dust made animal man. Also notice that God formed the Homo sapiens animal from the dust of the ground, but then he created the spiritual inner man from within himself. First he formed a body, and then he created the god-like inner man. Remember that in [Genesis 1:26-27] the Bible says that God was going to create man in his image not form him into his image. I would like to point out that what really occurred here was that God hid his actual children in unimportant animal bodies. The important thing here is not the body, but the being that is hidden within.
When the Bible talks about life and death it is almost always talking about spiritual life and spiritual death. The physical death of the animal body is of no importance whatsoever when compared to the eternal death or eternal life of the person within. Any and all talk of life-after-death is always talking about your god-like spiritual person and never about the animal body. Your body is unimportant.
The “Physiology” of God
God is spirit… (NIV84)
God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. (NIV84)
God is not a Homo sapiens animal. He is eternal. He is spirit. God is not made out of dust, or anything else of this creation.
Truly you are a God who hides himself, O God and Savior of Israel. (NIV84)
In the exact same way that God hid the true man inside of an animal body he also hides himself. Man cannot see his true self and he cannot see his Maker. Not with his natural senses.
The Nature of God
1 John 4:16
God is love. (NIV84)
God is love, but the word ‘love’ translated into English is not your ordinary love. The ancient Greeks had different words for different kinds of love. They had a word for erotic or romantic love, another for brotherly love, more like a deep friendship, and then they had this word found in [1 John 4:16] that describes a selfless love. The Greek word here is Agape. In [1 Corinthians 13], we see the biblical definition of Agape. When the Bible says that God is love it is talking about the word as defined in [1 Corinthians 13]. Please take the time to really read and ponder that chapter. Any idea that you may have about God that does not conform to that definition is, by definition, wrong. Let me paraphrase the relevant portion of [1 Corinthians 13:4-7] with respect to God.
God is patient, God is kind. He does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud. 5 He is not rude, He is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs. 6 God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13:4–7—NIV84 paraphrased)
This paragraph perfectly describes God’s true nature. The most important aspect of God’s nature (in my opinion) is found in verse 5 above. God is not self-seeking. When I truly saw that statement for the first time, it explained to me why Jesus Christ is so unusual in the Gospels. The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is the exact representation of God’s true being [Hebrews 1:3] and that means that he lived a total life without doing anything for himself. It is that quality of Jesus that makes him so alien to the casual observer. What I mean is that we can see ourselves in the role of healer and teacher and wise man, but to see ourselves as completely selfless is another matter. It is, however, this selfless nature that must take hold within us, and is what our Christian Walk is all about. God is one hundred percent selfless and it was the act of self-centeredness that caused Lucifer to become Satan the devil. And if you read Genesis 3 very carefully you will see that it was selfishness that brought about the fall of man too.
It’s All a Matter of Faith
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings. (NIV84)
We saw above in [1 Corinthians 13:4] that God does not boast. All of God’s accomplishments are amazing and yet the Bible presents them without fanfare. Usually, the credit is given to some man or another. There is no accomplishment that any man has ever attained that he did so without God. There is no ability that any man has that did not come from God. The Lord God is the Creator and the Sustainer of all good and worthy things, and yet he usually conceals his involvement, choosing instead to encourage his people.
If you have some ability or another, wisdom may reveal the source to you as having come from God. This is why it is the glory of kings to search out a matter. All good things come from God and yet the Lord God does not boast of such things, but rather blesses the objects of his love so as to fill them with a sense of the worth that they provide to God. God builds you up so that you may see him in fullness and joy. This is the way of Agape-Love. I have not God’s wisdom, but I always tried to build up my daughters so that they might find happiness and fulfillment. I do the same with my grandchildren in the same way and for the same reason. I don’t spoil them but rather build them up through encouraging righteousness and goodness. This I learned from my God and Savior. This I learned through following his example.
It is the glory of God to make himself appear less, so as to make you appear more. It is your glory to see and recognize that your more, has come from Him. It is God’s glory to be selfless and it is your glory that you should be selfless too. God is showing you by example how you should be.
All of this is possible because God has hidden himself and has hidden you too. We are susceptible to pride and for that reason God has hidden everything from us that would encourage pride. God has hidden prideful things from our natural eyes. Even so man has found much to fuel his tendency to pride. Man in pride his looks at, his size, his intelligence, his wealth and so many other things. Man takes pride in man. Man is prideful that he is more capable than the other animals, that he is lord over the earth, and so on. If man was really good he would use his lordship to build up everyone and everything around him, but instead, pride seduces him away from selflessness and makes him a self-important fool; having traded eternity for that which is passing away.
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, (NIV84)
This way of Agape-Love should be done in every one of your exchanges. Never exalt yourself, always build up everyone and everything around you while you remain invisible. This is the way of Agape-Love and is expressed through faith. I have faith in my daughters, I have faith in my grandchildren and I have faith in God. I am the weak link; it is God that Sustains. I do not believe in myself, but rather I believe in you, my friend. Help me along my way. Bless me and pray to God to bless me too.
The Revelation of God
Because God has made himself invisible to us (to save us from pride), he reveals himself to us through people. The people that God uses most powerfully are usually the most humble among us [Numbers 12:3] for the reasons I have been explaining. In order for God to shine through a person that person must first get out of the way, and that which shines through is selfless.
Biblically speaking, a person that is prepared to act as God’s representative must be symbolically anointed with oil. Oil, in the biblical world, was burned to provide light. Symbolically this light represents revelation of the truth in a dark and hostile world. The anointed person is anointed with oil to symbolically show that God’s revelation knowledge will shine through that person. Prophets, kings, and priests were all anointed to show the people that God would be working through those anointed people. Moses, the humblest of men, was selected by God to reveal God to the people. Near the end of his worldly life, Moses, knowing that he would soon be leaving, told us this…
The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. 16 For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.”
17 The Lord said to me: “What they say is good. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. 19 If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account. (NIV84)
This prophet that Moses spoke of became known as The Prophet and all Israel awaited his arrival. When John the Baptist came upon the scene the religious leaders of his day asked if he was The Prophet and John denied that he was (John was the first prophet in thereabouts 400 years). When pressed, John revealed that he was sent to prepare The Prophet’s coming [John 1:19-23].
We see in Daniel 9 that The Prophet was also called The Anointed One [Daniel 9:25]. There is some confusion today concerning just what a Messiah is. For example, in Frank Herbert’s science-fiction novel Dune, the messiah is a predicted person that would come and destroy the established order and form a galaxy-wide empire of his own. The idea being that a messiah is a predicted super savior. This is not what the word messiah means in Hebrew. A messiah is one that has been anointed. The Messiah is The Anointed One for that is what the word messiah means. And in the Greek the word messiah is translated as Christ. Jesus is the Christ because he is the Anointed One; he is the Messiah or The Messiah.
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (NIV84)
This symbolic event showed the world that Jesus was the Christ, the Anointed One, and that the anointing did not come to him through any man but rather directly from God. The Spirit of God which was symbolized by oil in the Old Testament was shown here to have come down from heaven in the form of a dove; the anointing came down from heaven to rest upon Jesus, and then this momentous event was acknowledged by the voice of God himself. Jesus is the Christ, or Jesus Christ. The importance of this anointing cannot be overstated. It is one of the most important events in all of creation.
In the letter to the Hebrews, we see this concerning Jesus Christ…
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. (NIV84)
This is perhaps the most powerful and important statement in the whole Bible. If you want to know what sort of person God is then you need only look carefully at Jesus Christ. My favorite Bible writer, Paul, says this concerning Jesus Christ…
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (NIV84)
My favorite Old Testament prophet had this to say about the coming Christ…
Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (NIV84)
This name, Immanuel, literally means God with us. That is what the Christ is.
Now, I want you to consider very carefully the nature of Jesus’ conception. It says here that his mother was a virgin when he was conceived and that the conception was brought about by God. We learn in the New Testament that she refrained from physical union with her husband until after Jesus was born. This is important for two reasons. First being that the true Father of Jesus was God himself, thus making Jesus the Son of God, and the second important reason is that Jesus was not born of the fallen line of Adam. Spiritually speaking death cannot bring forth life. Only the living can bring forth life. To understand this analogy, you must first understand that almost nothing in the Bible is about our natural life. Your body is not important. Though we consider ourselves alive, spiritually speaking, we are not. I am talking about man in general here. To be alive is to be actively connected to God, and after Adam sinned he became disconnected from God. Even though he had animal life, he was spiritually dead.
And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (NIV84)
When Adam did eat from the forbidden tree he did surely die. This is a critical understanding that you must have. At the very moment that Adam sinned, Adam died. How does a dead thing come back to life? Dead is dead. Nothing in our experience can return to life once it is actually dead. This is not just something that is true in our world; it is true in heaven too. When Lucifer broke away from God he died too, and he, evidently, persuaded a third of God’s angels to follow him [Revelation 12:4] and each and every one of them died too [2 Peter 2:4]. So we see that Lucifer, his angels and mankind are all subject to death. The reason that they are still about is because God has not judged them yet. This can be a difficult thing to understand, but you can think of it as being like our own legal system. A person that has been arrested for a crime is presumed innocent until judged guilty and even then they are not judged until a formal sentence has been passed. Mankind has been found guilty of a capital offence, but God has not passed the formal sentence yet. We are currently in a period of legal limbo. The lawyers are filing appeals and motions and such, but the final determination has not yet been made.
2 Samuel 14:14
Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. (NIV84)
We are guilty of a capital offence, so we must die, but God does not take away life when it can be avoided so he devises ways that a guilty person can be restored to him. This brings us back to Jesus Christ, who has two names. We have already explored the meaning of the name Christ. Jesus is the super Anointed One that we must listen to, because he is the perfect example of a godly man, but his first name, as it were, is Jesus, which means Savior. He is the very image of God as the Savior of death-doomed man. As the wise woman said in [2 Samuel 14:14] above; we must die for our sin, but God devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from Him.
It has been suggested that Jesus Christ was martyred, but this is not true. As far as I know every prophet after the Babylonian captivity was martyred, except Jesus. Jesus was killed, but he was not martyred. He offered himself up as a sacrifice for our sin so that through him we might be resurrected from death to life. As Jesus was the Christ, we can understand that God devised a way that we might be saved from eternal death.
It is absolutely critical you understand that Jesus’ death was part of God’s plan even before Adam sinned. Paul writing to Timothy said…
2 Timothy 1:8–10
So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (NIV84)
Notice that verse 9 says that this plan was established “before the beginning of time,” that is, before the creation of the physical universe. Jesus’ death was not some unexpected tragedy, but rather part of a predetermined plan.
Isaiah told us many things about God’s plan of redemption which we can see in his fifty-third chapter.
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (NIV84)
This whole chapter in Isaiah is about Jesus Christ. Read this carefully and understand that Jesus was not as we imagine him to be. Most people wanted nothing to do with him or any of his teachings. Most of the religious leaders of that day wanted him dead. Jesus, the Son of God, did not come to elevate the image of man. He did not come to make man look glorious. He came as a man of sorrows and was familiar with suffering. He was like a street person whom you avoid eye contact with. During his ministry he had no job or source of income. He was supported by lowly and mostly poor women who were at best second-class citizens. As Isaiah says above, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” He sounds pretty pathetic. It is this pathetic, seeming loser, that God used to save us all. Who could have seen that coming? Only those who believed what God had foretold in the Scriptures.
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (NIV84)
This prophecy, made some seven hundred years before its fulfillment, shows us that when the Christ came he would take the guilt of mankind upon himself and suffer sin’s penalty, that is, eternal death. Jesus was born of a virgin so he was not a descendant of the original sin. Jesus was holy and pure and perfect, as testified by God himself [Matthew 17:5]. This perfect Son of God offered himself as our substitute so that through him we might be restored to God.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. 9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. (NIV84)
One of the many aspects of Jesus Christ is that every word that Jesus ever spoke would be fulfilled by God. This paragraph opens with the statement that Jesus did not open his mouth (referring to his execution). Jesus could have uttered the word STOP and everything would have stopped. Look at these next two passages.
While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.
50 Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.”
Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” (NIV84)
I looked up the number of soldiers that make up a legion and found that it was 6,000, so twelve legions would be 72,000 angels. The point being that had Jesus asked, God would have stopped his arrest, right then and there, but Jesus knew that it was necessary that he should be arrested so that God’s will for the salvation of man might be carried out through him.
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (NIV84)
Jesus did not want to be arrested, tortured and killed, but he knew that it was God’s will so he complied in faith. I am pointing this out because I know that it is very important that you know and understand that Jesus’ death was not like what had happened to all of the other martyred prophets. Jesus willingly and obediently allowed it all to happen to him.
Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. 11 After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (NIV84)
Death could not hold Jesus Christ because he had never sinned, and he was not born under the original sin. Jesus was holy and pure and obedient all of the days of his life. So, after he died he was able to throw off death, and rise up into the light, which only illuminated his righteousness. Now, this is fine for the sinless Jesus, but how does that help you and I?
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. (NIV84)
In this verse Paul is quoting from Genesis concerning the union of marriage between a man and a woman, and then Paul is showing us that this marriage union is a metaphor for our union with God, through God’s bridegroom Jesus Christ. In exactly the same way as a man and a woman make vows before God pledging to faithful to one another until death do them part, we accept God’s proposal of “marriage” to Jesus Christ and thereby enter into a holy bond of faith with God that endures forever.
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (NIV84)
Those that believe what God has done through Jesus Christ accept the proposal made by God and die to the world and then are united in death to Jesus Christ in his death, so that as Jesus is resurrected from death to life we enter into a new life (raised from our own death) with him forever. As the wise woman of 2 Samuel 14:14 said, God has devised a way through which we may be saved from certain death. And this brings us back to Abraham’s willingness to obediently offer his only son up to death [Genesis 22:1-12]. As man was willing to offer his only son so God was legally able to do the same.
The name, Satan the devil, literally means our adversary who accuses us. Satan the devil has been pointing out our sins to God saying that God cannot judge him and at the same time let man go free, but Jesus provided a path back to God that can restore man from death. Satan and all those that followed him in death did so by breaking the faith bond between then and God. Jesus Christ provides a way that we might see our sinfulness and put our faith in God who sent Jesus to die for us. In this way Jesus becomes a sin offering to God, that we believe in, and our faith in Jesus is what restores us back to God. In the Garden of Eden, man broke faith with God by doubting his word, but through seeing what God has done through the obedient Christ we can once again have eternal faith in God.
We look out into the world and see the effect of sin. Doubting God only brings pain and suffering, but faith in every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God is life to our bones.
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. (NIV84)