"A Balanced View of Man and His Destiny" E.K. Gedney Series Part 3
by Edwin K. Gedney
(This the third part of a four part series excerpting the work of E.K. Gedney as found in "Our Destiny We Know" a compilation of essays in honor of E.K. Gedney. Entitled "A Balanced View of Man and His Destiny." In that book, this section was taken from Gedney's work "We Believe: A Biblical Anthropology")
The basic data of creation
The first three chapters of Genesis give us the following data:
1. The cause of everything in the cosmos is God. The Bible is very positive that everything was caused by the direct will and action of a supernatural being- God. The universe is patterned, lawful, incredibly rational. It contains life, including living sentient moral beings. The fact that such a cosmos would require a greater being characterized by these qualities to produce it, a concept untenable to material science, is resolved here by revelation.
2. A brief outline of the sequence of events by which things came into existence (Ge 1:1-31). The Bible tell sus nothing about the processes by which this was done. However, it is explicit that the universe did not come about by accident, chance, or some unguided emergence form primitive nergy. If the scientist, by reasoning backward from the present, and by discovering the natural laws involved in the operation of the universe, can recover some of these processes and enlighten us concerning the ways in which God did his work, it can be most helpful. After all God gave man a mind that should enable him to make these discoveries, at least to a limited degree. The trouble arises when man assigns to his discovered processes a self-development that makes the processes the creator rather than the tool by which God worked.
3. The purpose, nature, and destiny of man (Ge 1:26-25).[i] Man is not an accident or a casual emergence. He was produced by God, by some processes not stated in the Scripture, for the specific purposes of being the manager of administrator of God’s creation.
4. The essential nature and effects of sin (Ge 2:16-17;3:1-24). The Fall is presented as the explanation of the present confusion of good and evil in the world. Sin is not a failure to emerge fully from a lower form of animal life; it is a purposeful, willful transgression of the will of God and a violation of his holiness. It cannot be cured by education or psychology but only by the love of God expressed in some form of redemptive work.
5. A note of hope for the ultimate future of man (Ge 3:15,24). In God’s opinion man is worth saving and as we progress through the Bible, we see his process of salvation more and more clearly presented through the sacrifice, the chosen family and nation, and finally the cross of Christ. The ultimate and blessed hope is the appearing of the Lord Jesus to bruise the serpent’s head, to end the evil of this present age, to renew the earth, and to establish a new kingdom of renewed men. This is what all the rest of the Bible is about. All five of these points are important. Only the second can be studied effectively by the methods of science. Knowledge of all of them is needed for a clear understanding of man and the universe and their relation to each other and God.
The Purpose of Man
Man as a product of unguided evolution, or as a waypoint in a very long process of emergence, has no evident purpose except to carry on his race. People today, especially young people, feel frustrated by this lack of meaning for man’s existence. It is only by revelation that a positive reason for man, different from that for the animals is found.
From Genesis 1 we learn that God has created a marvelous universe. Into this he placed life and a host of living forms. Now God desired to place an overseer, or manager, in charge of his creation. This new being was to reflect the nature of God and be his image in the earth. He was to be ruler over the world and the life upon it. God made this being (by what processes and in how long a period of time is not clear form the Bible) and called him man.
Man was made with a large, strong body to give him a relation to the world and its living forms. He was given a mind far beyond that of any other earthly creature. When this strong body and excellent mind could not deal with the problems of running the world, man also could call on the wisdom and power of God to help him. He also had access to the Tree of Life and was free to eat of it.
To be a ruler or administrator, man was given delegated authority over the earth and therefore also a delegated power of choice in making decisions and meeting problems. The image of God in man is not his physical shape of his psychic constitution but his position as king or god of this world. Biblical revelation, then, gives us a reason for man’s existence, and true insight into his relation to the animal world, the natural physical world, and to God and the spiritual world.
[i] (Original reference in work)