THINGS WRITTEN AFORETIME
Joe Neil Clayton
The Unique Creation
When God said, "Let us make man," He crowned His creation and rested. The trouble is that Man does not know how unique he really is. His most recent effort to obscure his greatness is to reduce himself to his naked animal nature. The evolutionist and the sensualist conspire to pervert the true nature of man. God intended to make man in His own "image." Man looks into a mirror and thinks that he is looking at the "image" of God. This is only a fleshly image. God is a Spirit (John 4:24), and therefore the "image" of God would be spirit, also. Paul teaches that you "put away, as concerning your former manner of life, the old man, that waxes corrupt after the lusts of deceit: and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, that after God has been created in righteousness and holiness of truth" (Ephesians 4:22-24). So, man is created with flesh, but more important, his being is spirit. He is, in this one thing, unique from all of the material creation of God.
His creation as a spiritual being marks man as the object of the favor of God. In fact, in the same verse which tells of the purpose of God to create man, He said also, " let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth" (Gen. 1:26). Then God commanded man to "replenish the earth, and subdue it" (Gen. 1:28). The blessing of God, and His permission to subdue the earth, has opened vistas of ambition for man, many of which he has not yet fulfilled. He is sometimes filled with awe at the prospect of a magnificent God favoring an insignificant man. The Psalmist, David, wrote by inspiration, "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained; what is man, that you are mindful of him? And the son of man that you visit him? For you have made him but little lower than God, and crowned him with glory and honor. You make him to have dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet: all sheep and oxen, yes, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatsoever passes through the paths of the seas. 0 Jehovah, our Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth." (Psalm 8:3-9)
Man sometimes fails to recognize that he is lower than God, and his pride causes him to make fantastic claims regarding his powers to subdue the earth. Just so that he might not be carried away with that pride, the writer of Hebrews quotes this same Psalm, but concludes, " For in that he (God) subjected all things unto him (Man), he left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we see not yet all things subjected to him. But we behold Him who has been made a little lower than the angels, even Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He should taste of death for every man. For it became Him, for Whom are all things, and through Whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings' (Hebrews 2: 8-10). Man may build a tower in Babel, or walk on the moon, but without Jesus Christ he cannot escape the punishment of death for his sins. Only in Christ can man be perfected, and "crowned with glory and honor."
And so, the cynic who sees this unique favor offered by God, asks, "What is the catch?" The thankful, seeing the same privileges, asks, "What may I do to return the favor?" God answers through the words of Paul. "He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before Him in love: having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto Himself, according to the good pleasure of His win, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved ... in Whom also we were made a heritage . . . (Ephesians 1: 4-10." Four things are, apparent in these verses which we can do to "return the favor." We can (1)live holy before Him, (2) serve as sons unto Him, (3) praise the glory of His grace, and (4) be His heritage (compare Deuteronomy 4:20).
We might consider these demands on our gratitude as great, but the truth is that we receive more in grace from God than we can pay equitably. Praise God that He is satisfied with so little, and busy yourself to serve Him faithfully in everything that He asks us to do. When we gain that heavenly home with Him, we will have opportunity to praise Him eternally. Amen!
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XV: 46, pp. 12-13