His Whence, Why and Whither
These questions have occupied the minds of men for ages. They all admit that he is here, -- "fearfully and wonderfully made," but they differ as to his origin and nature, why he is here, and where he goes when dead. Job thought of the "whither" of man when he said, -- "If a man die, shall he live again." -- Job 14:14. Alexis Carrel, after many years of study, research, and laboratory experiments with human tissues, -- has written a book entitled, "Man the Unknown."
I will make numerous quotations from men of ability, to show the trend of their thoughts when contemplating man. The records of Moses found in the Bible, are the only histories that we have of the creation of man, and the earth, and of what happened thereafter for some time.
Creation of Man
"God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over . . . all the earth. So God created man in his own image; . . . male and female created he them." -- Gen.1:26,27.
Man was the crowning glory of creation, and God did not fail to create a being worthy of the hand that gave him life.
"What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason; how infinite in faculties, in form and moving, how express and admirable! (after all these years of sin, dissipation, and disobedience, man is still wonderful) in action, how like an angel; in apprehension, how like a god; the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals." -- Shakespeare.
"Man himself is the crowning wonder of creation; the study of his nature the noblest study the world affords." -- Gladstone. The Psalmist meditating upon the marvelous works of God in the human frame, exclaimed, -- "I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are thy works." -- Psalms 139:l4.
He was placed as God's representative over the lower orders of being, all creatures being in subjection to him. "Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet . . . the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the sea." -- Psalms 8:6-8.
Man, When First Made
Man in his original state, was a very noble and exalted creature, made in the image and likeness of God, physically perfect, with a mind capable of knowing and doing the will of God. He was "made upright," and was included among the finished works which God had pronounced as "very good."
"Whoever considers the study of anatomy, I believe, will never be an atheist; the frame of a man's body, and coherence of his parts, being so strong and paradoxical, that I hold it to be the greatest miracle of nature." -- Lord Herbert.
Imagine the beauty and physical statue of the original man as he came from the hand of his creator; also the beauty of the earth when it first came from the Great Designer. "Man must be very dear to God because he was formed in his likeness."
Man Did Not Remain As Made
While God "made him upright," since then he has "sought out many inventions," and soon after his creation he sinned, -- disobeyed his Maker, and thus brought a curse upon himself and the earth, and the original plan in reference to man became changed. Instead of perpetual life, his sin brought death upon the race, and to the earth, "thorns and thistles," and a blight over the face of nature. The beauty of the earth has been marred, and, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread." Man is now mortal, dies, passes away and is "forgotten."
"Man passes away; his name perishes from record and recollection; his history is as a tale that is told, and his very monument becomes a ruin," -- Washington Irving.
Man has greatly degenerated through the centuries, both physically, morally and intellectually, so that David in his day was caused to remark, -- "What is man that thou art mindful of him?" -- Psalms 8:4.
The penalty of man's sin brought sickness, suffering, and death, together with blight, ruin and decay upon the face of nature. Man is now in a miserable, degenerate, lost condition.
"Man's a poor deluded bubble, wandering in the midst of lies, seeing false or seeing double; who would trust such weak eyes? Yet presuming on his senses, on he goes most wonderous wise, doubts of truth, believes pretenses, lost in error, lives and dies." -- Robert Dodsley.
Was Man Made or Did He Develop From Ooze?
Many men have theorized about the origin of man, in order to avoid believing the Bible record of creation. The "theory of evolution" has claimed many adherents. This theory does away with the Bible statement that "God created the heavens and the earth," and all that in them is. It presupposes the existence of star dust, nebulae, ooze, or some other infinitesimally small and lifeless material; that through the lapse of time, this slime began to quiver and vibrate, showing signs of life; that the ooze segmented into numerous particles, showing more and more, signs of life and arrangement. In due process of time these particles became molecules; later, these animated molecules became amoebae; these amoebae pushed out at one end what became a tail, and at the other end became a head, -- and thus became a tadpole. The tadpole lost his tail, sprouted four legs and thus became a frog; the frog hopped out of the slime onto dry ground, and after a course of weathering became a dog; the dog ran around for a while and then began to stand up and walk on two legs; the other two legs became arms and this finally became a monkey; after ages of progression the monkey began to look like a man, -- a few specimens of which have been dug up in different parts of the earth, as for instance the "Neanderthal man," the "Java man," and the "Piltdown man." Others have been unearthed in different parts of the world, -- having large jaws and sloping foreheads. These specimens through the process of time lost most of their hair, the skin became smooth; the forehead began to bulge, they got smart, began to talk, and became Homo Sapiens, and that is Us, Man.
This all sounds like a dream of delirium, but it serves to illustrate the theory in a rough way. Darwin was the originator of this theory as described in his book, "The Origin of the Species."
Whence came the star-dust, the nebulae, the ooze? It must have had an origin. Whence came the material or substance upon which this process of development took place? There is much taken for granted and much that remains unexplained when you begin framing a theory like this to avoid believing the statement of Holy Writ, "God spake and it was."
Men have argued and reasoned and theorized as to which was first, the hen or the egg. We see both hen and egg, so we do know that they both exist. Descartes, a French philosopher, said, -- "Cogito ergo sum," "I think, therefore I am." This postulate was the first step in his philosophy. If he does not think, then he is, "non est." Some things we know intuitively, which cannot always be reasoned out.
The Effects of Sin Can Be Removed
God, the creator of man, through his love and mercy has made it possible for man and the earth to be redeemed from the curse of sin and disobedience through the "plan of Salvation," which is the "Mystery of God." 1.Tim.3:16. This plan will be discussed under, "Purpose of the Bible."
The following quotation is part of a poem that was a favorite of Lincoln's, and it presents quite a picture of the man of today, --
"Oh why should the spirit of mortal be proud?
Like a swift fleeting meteor, a fast flying cloud;
A flash of the lightning, a break of the wave,
Man passes from life to his rest in the grave.
Yea hope and despondency, pleasure and pain,
We mingle together in sunshine and rain;
And the smile and the tear and the song and the dirge,
Still follow each other like surge upon surge.
'Tis the wink of an eye, 'tis the draught of a breath,
From the blossom of health to the paleness of death;
From the guilded saloon to the bier and the shroud,
Oh why should the spirit of mortal be proud." -- William Kent.
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