Why is Man Different?
HOW are we different? WHAT
makes us unlike any other living creature? More important, WHYare we
unique? WE are THE most complex mechanism ever designed. With such a complex creation it was only natural that our Maker send
along His “Instruction Book.”
Source of Missing Knowledge
That Instruction Book, the Bible reveals the missing dimension in knowledge—the incredible human potential. The Instruction Book tells us what we are, why we are, where we are going, and the way to get there! God is a family composed of two supreme Beings (John 1:1).The Eternal God who became The Father and The Word who became the Son, Jesus Christ, a second Being who also is God. God created all things by and through this Being (v 2-3).
The Word first created angels—composed of spirit, though lesser than God and lacking in ultimate creative power. Next, the physical universe, including the earth, was brought into existence. A third of the angels were then placed here on earth. They were put under the rule of the government of God which was administered on earth by the great archangel Lucifer, meaning light bringer.
Under the government of God—which is the administration of God’s way of outgoing love as stated in the Ten Commandments. The earth was initially filled with peace, happiness, and wonderful accomplishment. But ultimately, Lucifer led his angels into rebellion. The government of God was rejected—no longer enforced. As a result, the earth became waste and empty, in confusion and utter darkness.
Later, in six days God renewed the face of the earth (Psalm 104:30). During this creation week of Genesis chapter one, God made physical life forms—the flora and then the fauna—that reproduce themselves.
Man Is Physical
In God’s Instruction Book for man, God reveals much knowledge totally beyond man’s ability to discover for himself-including the knowledge and understanding of what man is, why he was made that way, as well as what he is to become. God created the first man. And He tells us how He made him so there would be no doubt as to what we really are.
COMMENT: Adam was made from and therefore composed of earth—the dust of the ground!
2. After God had formed the man—made all the cells in his body—what did He do to give him physical life? Gen. 2:7.
COMMENT: God blew into the man’s lungs through the nostrils air containing oxygen and the man began to live! Notice that the verse does not say God breathed an immortal soul into the man.
COMMENT: The source of physical life in man and all animals is the same. Not once does the “breath of life” even remotely refer to an “immortal soul” or life apart from the physical body. Otherwise animals, birds and even insects have immortal souls, for they all have the same “breath of life”!
4. After God breathed the breath of life into the first humans nostrils, what did he become? Gen. 2:7, last part.
COMMENT: Man does not have a soul—man Is a soul! The original Hebrew word for soul is nephesh. Bagster’s Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon defines it as “anything that breathes, an animal.” It can also refer to a “person,” or even “one dead, a dead body.” In Genesis 1:21, 24; 2:19; 9:10, 12, 15, 16 and Leviticus 11:46, nephesh is translated “creature” when referring to animals. And nephesh is translated as “dead body” or “the dead” in Leviticus 19:28; 21:1; 22:4; Numbers 5:2; 6:11 and 9:6, 7, 10.
So man is a creature. Man is a SOUL. Animals are creatures or souls, too! The “soul” is merely physical life that is subject to death and decay. The soul of man clearly is material, not spiritual. It does not live forever!
COMMENT: Since man is a soul, and the soul is mortal, then man is mortal- physical, subject to death. That is why the Scriptures call human beings “mortal man.”
6. Was Adam subject to the penalty of death if he broke God’s law? Gen. 2:17, last part. What would he become after death? Gen. 3:19. Was it the body only that would die, or was it the whole man that would die? Same verse.
8. Do all men and animals alike go to the same place at death? Verse 20.
COMMENT: When an animal dies, it is dead. When man dies, he is completely dead, too. Both go to the grave. And all men and animals become dust once again.
9. Now what does Ecclesiastes 3:21 ask?
COMMENT: The Hebrew word ruach, translated “spirit” in this verse, also means air, wind, breath. It is translated 27 times as “breath” in the King James Version. Three examples are Genesis 6:17; 7:15 and Lamentations 4:20. It is also translated 83 times as “wind.” We can see that ruach has a very broad meaning, and may be applied to a wide variety of things whose common denominator is invisibility. It may mean “attitude” as well as “spirit,” and with the word “holy,” it means God’s Spirit.
Solomon asks, since the same event-death occurs to both man and beast, “Who knows whether a man’s ruach goes up or whether a beast’s goes downward?” Although the same death befalls both, the Bible reveals there is a vast difference between man and beast, as we will shortly see—and that difference does not have to do with any “immortal soul.”
12. Is the “soul” something which can be destroyed? Matt. 10:28. Then didn’t Jesus plainly show that the soul of man does not live forever? Let’s understand exactly what Jesus was talking about.
COMMENT: There are those who use this text to support the common belief of the immortality of the soul. Yet this verse plainly says the soul is something that can be destroyed! Whatever this “soul” is, it could NOT be immortal! The New Testament Greek word here, translated “soul” is psuche. The Greek psuche simply means “life,” “existence,” just as does the Old Testament Hebrew word nephesh.
In Matthew 10:28, the word soul refers to life that man cannot permanently destroy—but which God can. What kind of life could this be? Obviously life which God RESTORES by a resurrection!
Man CANNOT permanently destroy a life that God renews by a resurrection.
Although men may kill their physical bodies, said Jesus, true Christians
know that men cannot take from them what God has promised
at the resurrection. But God can permanently destroy all possibility of
Why Created Mortal
The government of God ceased to be administered on earth after the rebellion of the archangel, Lucifer, now called Satan-destroyer, adversary- and one-third of the angels. Later, God created the first human, with the potential of qualifying to replace Satan as ruler of the earth, restoring the government and way of God. But to qualify as successor to Satan, the human successor had to reject Satan’s way and come under the government of God.
God’s master plan for accomplishing His purpose in the human race took form and shape even before man was made. If mortal man rejected God’s government God would make it possible for him to repent, to be reconciled to God and to live God’s way of life, as members of His family!
1. Did the Word volunteer, in advance, to divest Himself temporarily of the supreme power He had possessed from eternity, to be born human for the purpose of death to pay the penalty for the law breaking of man? John 1:1, 14; 17:5; Heb. 2:9; Phil. 2:5-8; Rom. 5:6-9; I Peter 1:19-21; Rev. 13:8.
COMMENT: Since God delegated the actual creation of man to the Word (John 1:3), the Word, when physically born as a human being for the purpose of death, would be giving a life of greater value than the sum total of all human lives. Then He, who never broke God’s law, although tempted in all points just like the rest of humanity (Heb. 4:15), in death could pay in our stead the penalty we have incurred, which is eternal death (Rom. 6:23). Since God the Father has the power of life and death, He resurrected Christ from death to live forever making a resurrection to Spirit-composed life also possible for mankind (Rom. 5:10).
COMMENT: Repentance is accepting God’s rule over our lives through His Law of love. Those who are to reign with Christ must also qualify during this human life by turning from and rejecting Satan’s way, overcoming day by day, and actually living by God’s Law of love.
4. But what about those when called by God the Father who will not repent —those few who refuse to turn from Satan’s way and refuse to come under the government of God —what will ultimately happen to them? Rom. 6:23; Rev. 20:14-15; Mal. 4:1-3.
COMMENT: God wants every human being who has ever lived to have the opportunity to repent and live forever (II Peter 3:9; I Tim. 2:3-4). But God will not force anyone to choose life. Those who refuse to follow God’s way will finally cease to exist. We can now see that God chose to make man first out of physical matter instead of spirit for an important reason. Prior to the creation of man, He had made angels to live forever—not flesh and blood subject to death. And one-third of these angels rebelled against the government of God. But the punishment for those angels is not physical death.
Angels are composed of spirit and therefore cannot die. Since one-third of the angels chose to break God’s law, their punishment is loss of the opportunity God gave them to accomplish His purpose on earth. And their sins have resulted in eternal hopelessness and frustration, their minds being filled with resentment, bitterness and rebellion. Happiness has left them forever!
God planned in advance that if man broke God’s law and refused to repent, he would die—he would be as though he had not been. God will not allow any incorrigible human being to live forever like the fallen angels. This plan reflects the great mercy of God toward man! When called by God man can repent—and go God’s way. And once his course is changed, with God’s help he can pursue a life of obedience to God. He can grow in spiritual knowledge and develop the character of God—overcome wrong habits, weaknesses and faults. And this is all done through the free will and choice of each human mind.
Only man, of all God’s physical creatures, has the seemingly miraculous
ability to think, reason, plan and design, come to conclusions based on
acquired knowledge. Animals cannot comprehend the concepts of good and
evil. Have you ever thought about the vast difference
between animal brain and human mind, and what could possibly account for
Animal Brain vs. Human Mind
The evolutionary theory assumes that humans are animals. But one thing evolution can never explain is the total difference between animal brain equipped with instinct, and the human mind with creative reasoning powers of intellect and devoid of instinct in the strict sense that animals possess it.
Some animals have physical brains as large or larger than man’s brain, and with similar cerebral cortex complexity—but none has the powers of intellect, logic, self-consciousness and creativity.
The physical brain of a dolphin, whale or elephant is larger than the human brain, while a chimp’s is slightly smaller. Qualitatively the difference between them and the human brain is very little—not enough to remotely account for the vastly superior intelligence and output of the human brain. The gap between animal brain and human mind is vast!
1. Were animals created in God’s image—or was each created after its own kind? Gen. 1:21, 24-25. Who was created in the “image” and “likeness” of God? Gen. 1:26-27. Was man to rule over all other creatures? Verse 26.
COMMENT: These verses reveal God’s plan—His ultimate purpose for mankind. When God molded man out of the dust of the ground, he was made in the “likeness”—the outward form and shape—of God Himself! God didn’t make any of the other creatures to be a clay replica of Himself. This unique form and shape was given to man alone. This is because man was created with the potential to enter God’s Family.
Each animal was created with a brain suited for its particular animal kind. But animals do not have the potential of mind and character which God gave only to man. No animal was ever given the gift of mind power—the ability to think, to reason, to make choices and decisions—as was man! It is this very special attribute of MIND AND CHARACTER that separates men from animals!
Animals possess what we call instinct. Their brains are “programmed,” so to speak, by God with particular instinctive aptitudes in their feeding, nesting, migration and reproduction. Beavers build dams, birds build nests, etc. These aptitudes are inherited—they are not the result of logical, cognitive or thinking processes.
For example, millions of birds flock south each year as winter approaches in the northern hemisphere. They don’t stop to “reason” why, they don’t ask themselves whether they should, they don’t “plan ahead” an itinerary for the trip. At a given internal signal—like the preset alarm of a clock—they leave their summer feeding grounds in the north and travel hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles south. Scientists don’t fully understand how or why—they merely observe the operation of this animal instinct.
Each species or kind of bird builds a different type of nest, and feeds on specific kinds of foods. Many migrate at different times to various destinations. But none of these actions is planned in advance by the birds. They merely have the capability and proclivity to do that which God built into the instinct of each at creation.
But man’s mind is vastly different from animal instinct. Man is able to devise various ways to do any one thing or to achieve a predetermined goal. Man can acquire knowledge and reason from it. He can draw conclusions, make decisions, will to act according to a thought-out plan.
Man can design and build different types of houses, using different designs and different building materials. Men also eat different foods, prepared in many different ways. And if a man wants to change his way of life—he can! Man is not subject to instinct. He is not governed by a set of predetermined habit patterns as animals are.
Man can choose—he has free moral agency. He can devise codes of conduct and exercise self-discipline. Man can originate ideas and evaluate knowledge because he has a MIND which is patterned after God’s own mind! Man can devise, plan, and bring his plans to fruition because he has been given some of the very creative powers of God!
Man alone can wonder, ” Why was I born? What is life? What is death? Is there a purpose in human existence?” Man, unlike the animals, not only knows how to do certain things, but he also knows that he knows—that is, he is aware that he has “knowledge.” He is conscious of the fact. He is self-conscious, aware of his own existence as a unique being.
These attributes of mind and character make man God’s UNIQUE physical creation. God has shared some of His own qualities with man. And God expects man to develop and become conformed to the spiritual “image” of God’s perfect mind and character (Matt. 5:48)-just as man now is formed in the physical “image” of God.
“Human” Spirit Makes the Difference!
Man was created to have a very special relationship with God that is nonexistent with animals. Man was made like ‘the God kind’. He was made in God’s image so that he might one day be born into God’s family! God’s purpose in making man after His own likeness demanded mind power in man patterned after God’s own mind. That is why the most remarkable thing about man is his mind. What is it then that separates humankind from the animal kingdom? What gives him this God like power of intellect?
It all comes down to a nonphysical component in the human brain that does not exist in animal brain. It is this nonphysical component that makes man so vastly different from animals. It is what makes man truly unique!
1. Since man does not have an immortal soul within him which enables him to live on apart from his body after death, remember man is physical, does the Bible nevertheless speak of a “spirit IN man”? Job 32:8, 18; Zech. 12:1; I Cor. 2:11.
COMMENT: Many passages of Scripture show that there is a “spirit” IN man! This spirit is not the man—it is something that is in the man. Joined with the physical brain of the man, it forms human MIND. It imparts to man’s brain his unique powers of intellect and personality—the ability to think rationally and make freewill decisions. It imparts the ability to learn mathematics, languages or other types of knowledge such as music, art, carpentry, flying etc.
But that’s all. The spirit that is in man has no consciousness of itself. It is not an “immortal soul.”
2. Is this “spirit in man” clearly distinguished from God’s Spirit? I Cor. 2:11.
COMMENT: The spirit which is in man can be called “human” spirit, for it is in each human, even though it is spirit essence and not matter. It is not a spirit being, or God’s Spirit. It is not a soul.
The human spirit, given to every human being by God, does not supply human life—the human life is in the physical blood, oxidized by the breath of life (Lev. 17:11). But the spirit in man does give the power of intellect to the human brain. This nonphysical component in the human brain does not exist in the brains of animals.
The spirit in man is spirit essence, just as in the material world air is a gaseous essence. But this “human” spirit cannot see. The physical brain sees through the eyes. The human spirit in a person cannot hear. The brain hears through the ears. This human spirit cannot think. The brain thinks. The human spirit gives the power to think far above the level of animals’ brain function.
Whatever knowledge enters the brain through the five senses is instantly stored (memorized) in the “human” spirit within the person, much like a computer stores information. It enables the brain to have instant recall of stored-up knowledge in the spirit, enabling the brain to utilize bits of related knowledge in the process of THINKING and REASONING. The “human” spirit gives the power of intellect to the physical brain in two ways:
1) it gives the brain instant recall of whatever the brain calls for in the knowledge stored in the memory;
2) it supplies the brain whatever energy is needed to cause it to think—that is, to put the pieces of information stored in the spirit together in the process we call “thinking,” “reasoning” and “drawing conclusions.” The human spirit also is the very means God has instilled to make possible a personal relationship between human man and God.
Animals also see, hear, smell, taste and feel, but what they perceive through their senses is not stored as in the human spirit. There is no spirit to cause the physical brain to function in the process of thinking, reasoning and acquiring knowledge.
3. Why has the truth about this “human” spirit in man not been understood by the world today? Rev. 12:9.
COMMENT: The truth about the “spirit in man” is so important that Satan twisted and perverted it long ago. He clouded the minds of men and led them into believing his “big lie” as far back as the time of Adam.
4. What did Satan tell Eve? Gen. 3:4.
COMMENT: Here was the origin of the “immortality of the soul” teaching so prevalent today! Satan told Eve she would “not surely die”—in other words, she had an “immortal soul” that would live forever. Eve believed this lie. And most of the world today continues to believe some variation of that ancient “big lie”!
A Second Spirit Needed
Man has the intellectual capacity to design, to take himself to the moon and back, to invent the computer and to do other marvelous exploits in the physical, material realm. Yet during man’s nearly 6,000 years on earth, he has proved that he cannot solve his problems with fellowmen.
1. What was Paul inspired to write about man’s understanding of the spiritual things of God? I Cor. 2:9-11. What must be added before a man can comprehend spiritually revealed knowledge? Verse 11, last part; verse 14.
COMMENT: Man was made to need another spirit—the Spirit of God! No human mind can have comprehension of spiritual truths on the God plane without God’s Spirit! Even the greatest scientific and philosophical minds simply cannot come to know and understand SPIRITUAL truths with their natural minds. God’s truth is “foolishness” to them. The natural man with his human spirit is limited to material knowledge.
2. Does God reveal there is duality in the creation of man? I Cor. 15:45-49.
COMMENT: Man was created incomplete. The complete creation of man is to be accomplished in two stages: 1) the physical phase, which was completed with the first man, and 2) the spiritual phase, which began with the Second Adam, Jesus Christ. And to accomplish the spiritual phase, man was made to need another Spirit— God’s Spirit.
COMMENT: The human spirit in man and God’s Spirit join together, just as the male sperm cell and the female egg join to make a human, but not yet developed or ready to be born as a human being. God’s Spirit, when it combines with the human spirit in the human mind, does two things:
1) It gives the human the ability to be later born into the Family of God.
2) It gives the mind the ability to comprehend spiritual knowledge—to understand God’s Plan.
COMMENT: The first human beings were freely offered this second and much needed Spirit. Of the two symbolic trees in Eden, the “tree of life” represented God’s Spirit. But our first parents rejected God’s Spirit. They cut themselves and their descendants off from access to God’s Spirit and limited themselves and the human race to material knowledge and understanding, except for those whom God would specially call (John 6:44).
COMMENT: We are now heirs of God (Rom.
8:16-17) not yet an inheritor or a possessor. But,
if God’s Spirit dwells in us, God will, at Christ’s return to earth,
cause us to live forever by His Spirit that lives in us (Rom.
Why We Must Grow Spiritually
God’s purpose in creating man is to reproduce Himself with perfect spiritual character as only God possesses. Man was therefore created in God’s own image and likeness—His own form and shape with a mind similar to His—so God could begin to develop the very character of God in him.
COMMENT: Obviously, we cannot become absolutely perfect in character until the resurrection when God will complete the process by giving each of us a new spirit body with its perfect (I John 3:2, 9) nature that will be like Christ’s and the Father’s. But in the meantime, God wants us to grow in His spiritual character daily by obeying His commandments and overcoming —growing toward spiritual perfection!
COMMENT: We become spiritual embryos when we receive God’s Spirit, We must take in spiritual nourishment. Just as the embryo in a mother’s womb must be nourished with life-giving food so we must be nourished by the Word of God. “The words that I speak unto you,” said Jesus, “they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). Those words are recorded in the Bible—and Jesus said we are to live by every word of God. We drink in these life-giving words from the Bible through reading, studying and being taught by true ministers of God.
COMMENT: In addition to Bible study, earnest prayer is absolutely necessary. We also absorb spiritual nourishment through personal, daily contact with God. When you study the Bible, God is talking to you. When you pray, you are talking to Him. You really get to know God in this manner, just as you become better acquainted with people by conversation.
COMMENT: Christ has given His ministers the responsibility to instruct, teach and counsel the members of the Church. So just as a human mother feeds her child, God’s children are nourished with spiritual food within the true Church.
COMMENT: Finally, when resurrected or changed at Christ’s return, the incredible human potential will have become reality. We will have been born into the Family of God. But since the bodies of those to be resurrected will have already returned to the dust of the earth, how will God restore their former appearance and accumulated funds of knowledge? And what about the character God built within them while alive? The answer to these intriguing questions has to do with the “spirit in man”!
“Recording” Makes Resurrection Possible
There is an old saying, “You can’t take it with you when you die.” There is something more valuable in life that isn’t lost when one dies. And that is the spiritual character that God, the Master Potter (Isa. 64:8), is fashioning in us. In the resurrection, you not only will look just like you do now (without handicaps or blemishes, of course), you will have the same knowledge you acquired in this life—and the same character!
Such men of God as Abraham, Moses, David and Daniel died thousands of years ago. But they will be brought back to life at Christ’s return. Since they were composed of flesh and blood, their bodies have long since decomposed and returned to dust. So how can they exist again as individual personalities? God had to provide some way to preserve their form, shape, appearance, mind and character.
God can bring a person back to life even though a human body disintegrates. It is the “spirit in man” that preserves our form, shape, memory and character. The resurrected body will be precisely like the former, now composed of spirit. God puts in every person a “human” spirit. And this spirit records every bit of knowledge received through the five senses and it records whatever character has been developed during one’s life. The “spirit in man” also records the personality of the individual and the physical makeup of the whole body!
1. But what happens to the spirit in man at death? Eccl. 12:7.
COMMENT: When we die, all consciousness ceases (Eccl. 9:5, Psalm 146:4). The physical brain decays. But the “human” spirit, which is not conscious because it has separated from the human brain which makes consciousness possible, returns to God. It is preserved intact by God until the resurrection! It is the one ingredient that was IN humans which makes it possible for individuals to exist again. Therefore the Bible speaks of the dead as being “asleep” in the meantime (Dan. 12:2).
And so when a person dies, the spirit “recording” returns to God and is “filed” away until the time God will “replay” it to bring about the resurrection of the identical personality to life and consciousness!
To help illustrate how the spirit in man preserves an individual’s physical makeup, knowledge, character, personality intact until the resurrection, consider how recording is now used to preserve both sound and picture. In sound recording, a voice or music is recorded. Your eye can’t see anything that was recorded, yet it’s there. This sound is then reproduced, or resurrected, when played on a tape or cd. Until then, however, it makes no sound whatsoever. But when played, the whole sound comes to life precisely as it sounded when originally recorded.
In the case of a movie on dvd, both video and audio are recorded. It comes back to life in the form of a vivid full-color picture with sound! We have come to take these modern miracles for granted as part of everyday life. Then should it seem too difficult for God to preserve the unique individual by means of the ‘spirit in man’?
COMMENT: We will be composed of spirit, no longer human. We will suddenly come alive with a new body. It will seem like the next second from our loss of consciousness at the time of death, or being changed. We will discover all memory intact. We will look as we did when we were a physical human being. The character which we built within us will be there the flaws will be gone! And we will remain alive forever!
Now we see clearly the great purpose God had in making man UNIQUE. We have within our reach the reality of being a member of the universe-ruling Family of God!
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