Kevin Conner makes the following observations from Scripture regarding the true nature of humankind in “Foundations of Christian Doctrine”:
A. Man is a created being
Then God said “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” Genesis 1:26-27.
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. Genesis 2:7.
Job 33:4, Psalm 139:14-16.
B. Man is a Dependent being
Man owes his existence to God the Creator, and so is therefore a dependent creature. He is not self-existent and is in fact dependent on God for his very breath. “For in Him we live and move and have our being”. Acts 17:28.
C. Man is an Intelligent being
Man is a being having reason, imagination, intelligence and the ability to express his thoughts in language. He is far superior to the animal creation who act on habit and instinct. Genesis 2:19-20, Genesis 11:6, Job 35:11.
D. Man is a Moral being
God created man with a free-will, the ability to choose. It is this that makes man a moral and therefore responsible creature. God desired a creature who would respond to Him willingly and freely. God also placed within man a conscience, to distinguish right from wrong.
E. Man is a Love being
This is the very purpose and reason for the creation of man. God is love and love must have an object to love. Love needs to be reciprocated. The answer to the heart cry of God was the creation of man. Man was created by love, for love, and to respond to and reciprocate love.
F. Man is a Tripartite being.
Man is created in the image of the Triune God; spirit, soul and body.
1 Thessalonians 5:13, Hebrews 4:12.
God’s Purpose For Mankind
Genesis reveals for us God’s original intention for mankind. Adam’s rebellion and the entrance of sin thwarted this purpose. It is however reclaimed through the redemptive work of Christ.
God states in Genesis He wanted someone like Himself, to share His loving dominion and care of the universe with. These purposes are fulfilled in the new creation; authority is restored, and the sin-marred image of Adam we represented, has been replaced with the image and likeness of Christ; in Him we have been made “the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). As with so many doctrines, if we go back to Genesis and discover God’s first word concerning a subject, it enlightens our mind to grasp His work in the present. This is often called the “law of first mention”, and sets the precedent for understanding the subsequent development of a doctrine.
God always has a plan and purpose for everything He does. All of His purposes proceed from His Person and are consistent with His nature. Of all the descriptions of God in the Bible, perhaps the most all-inclusive one is the title “Father”. God’s Father-heart compels Him to have a family that He can be Father to. So the first and main reason God created man was for:
As outlined in ‘Foundations of Christian Doctrine”, Kevin J Conner
God’s desire is for a relationship with man. God wants man to know Him personally as Father. God sought out Adam “in the garden in the cool of the day” (Genesis 3:8), to have fellowship with him.
The second reason God created man was to reproduce His nature and character. God the Father wanted His children to bear the family “image and likeness” (Genesis 1:26). God wants man to partake of His divine nature, and to be conformed to the image of His Son:
“by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.” (2 Peter 1:4-7 NKJV)
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Rom 8:28-29 NKJV)
Humankind is to be a representation of God to the created world. Adam was to rule under God and lovingly oversee all of the created world. God’s purpose in His church today is to bring us back to a place where individually and corporately we represent Him in perfect humility and maturity. His purpose is stated in Ephesians 4:12-13;
“His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church), [That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the [full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.” (Eph 4:12-13 AMPLIFIED)
Just as Jesus was able to say without compromise:
“He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9 NKJV)
We, as the Body of Christ, should be able to say with equal conviction:
“If you have seen us, you have seen Christ.”
God also desired to have someone to share in His function in ruling the universe. God wanted man to share in His dominion (Genesis 1:26). This divinely planted drive for dominion has been perverted by sin, and the struggle for power and dominance in every arena of human life is the sad result. Having been restored to a place of potential through our salvation, the Scriptures consistently encourage us not to use our newfound liberty and authority for selfish reasons, but rather in service to others:
“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13)
The fourth reason God created man was to share some of His creative powers. He told Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28). On a spiritual level, the church of Jesus Christ has a similar mission, “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19), reproducing after our kind. God’s Word calls for us to be fruitful:
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” (John 15:16 NKJV)
“Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly…” (Acts 6:7 NKJV)
“Each purpose is progressive and interdependent. Relationship with God is essential for character development. Character provides the basis for effective function, and when these there are in order, reproduction will be the result. God’s purpose for man has not changed and will be fulfilled through the church of Jesus Christ.” Foundations of Christian Doctrine, Kevin J Conner