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 (Q and A on Biblical Doctrines)
Chapter 5: Man
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Q1 Where does man come from?

Man was created by God: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen 1:27). He granted man special wisdom and authority over the rest of His creation: “For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind” (Jas 3:7; cf. Gen 1:26).

Q2 How did God make him? 

God made man from the dust of the earth (Gen 2:7) and breathed into him the breath of life which turned him into a living being (Gen 2:7). The Bible indicates that, aside from a physical body, man also has a spirit and a soul (Job 32:8; Zech 12:1; 1 Cor 2:11; 1 Thess 5:23; Heb 4:12).

Q3 Which is more important: the body or the soul?

Although we cannot see it, the soul is infinitely more precious than the physical body. Jesus says, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mt 10:28). Apostle Paul adds, “While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor 4:18). Here, the things “which are not seen [and] are eternal” include our soul.

Q4 What happens when we die?

The Book of Ecclesiastes says, “For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun” (Eccl 9:5–6). Death marks the end of a person’s physical existence and is when his spirit returns to God (Eccl 12:7). Importantly, the soul of one who is saved is taken by angels to paradise (Lk 16:22; 23:43). In contrast, the soul of the sinner goes to Hades to await judgment (Lk 16:23, 28); in the future, he will undergo a second death (Rev 21:8).

Q5 Is the soul conscious after death?

The Bible leads us to understand that the soul is conscious after death. For example, it records:

the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, where Lazarus was taken by angels to Abraham to be comforted (Lk 16:22, 25), while the rich man went to Hades, where he experienced torment and pain (Lk 16:23–24).

the souls of martyred saints crying out, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Rev 6:10).

• Jesus telling the robber before they both died, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Lk 23:43).

Q6 What is death?

The word “death” refers to three things:

Death of the body. This occurs when the spirit of a person leaves the physical body—the moment he breathes his last (Gen 35:29; Ps 146:4).

Death of the soul. This refers to the separation of a person from the life of God (Eph 4:18). Hence, a person can be physically alive, but be spiritually dead (Lk 9:60; 1 Tim 5:6). This type of death originated when our ancestors, Adam and Eve, sinned against God in the garden of Eden by eating the forbidden fruit. God had warned them, saying, “...For in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen 2:17). After they sinned, their physical bodies did not perish immediately—for we know that Adam lived up to the age of 930 years (Gen 5:5); however, they lost their spiritual lives there and then. This type of death is more serious because it leads to eternal condemnation. 

Eternal punishment. This means being separated from God for eternity. The Bible describes what will happen when Jesus comes again: “In flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thess 1:8–9). This verse talks about the second death, whereby sinners will be thrown into the fiery lake of brimstone (Rev 21:8)—a place that has also been prepared for the devil and his angels (Mt 25:41; Rev 20:10). This lake signifies eternal punishment (Mt 25:46), where the “worm does not die and the fire is not quenched” (Mk 9:48). Hence, the writer of Hebrews remarks, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31).

Q7 Why does everyone have to die?

The reason is that Adam and Eve sinned against God when they chose to listen to the devil in the garden of Eden. The consequences for them and for mankind were sin and death.

The Bible speaks of the following:

The spread of sin and death: “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners...” (Rom 5:19); “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men,
because all sinned” (Rom 5:12); “For the wages of sin is death...” (Rom 6:23).

The outcome for mankind: “For as in Adam all die…” (1 Cor 15:22); “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Heb 9:27).

The end of death: “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death” (Rev 20:14).

Sin has permeated the world to affect everyone, meaning that man is ungodly by nature (Rom 4:5) and his “righteousnesses are like filthy rags” (Isa 64:6). No one is inherently good or immune from sin (Eccl 7:20; Rom 3:10–12; 1 Jn 1:8).

Q8 What is sin?

Jesus describes sin as a spiritual illness (Lk 5:31–32) brought upon mankind through the actions of our first ancestors (Gen 3). Hence, the Bible is filled with lamentations about the fallen nature of man: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (Ps 51:5); “…The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth...” (Gen 8:21); “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jer 17:9); “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies” (Ps 58:3); “Truly, this only I have found: that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes” (Eccl 7:29).

Apostle Paul describes the manifestation of sin:

            And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

            Romans 1:28–32

Before believing in Christ, many of us would have been guilty of such conduct, living “in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and [being] by nature children of wrath, just as the others” (Eph 2:3).

The Bible also describes sin as a breakdown of man’s relationship with God. It is characterized by his: 

Separation from God: “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Eph 2:13); “Having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart” (Eph 4:18).

Resistance to God: “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed…” (Ps 2:2); “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son” (1 Jn 2:22); “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works…”
(Col 1:21).

Testing of God: “Yet they tested and provoked the Most High God, and did not keep His testimonies” (Ps 78:56); “But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, ‘Why do you test Me, you hypocrites?’ ” (Mt 22:18).

Blasphemy: “...I [i.e. Paul] was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man…” (1 Tim 1:13); “Then [the beast] opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven” (Rev 13:6).

Neglect of God: “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Ps 9:17).

Straying from God: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa 53:6).

Hate of light and love of darkness: “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (Jn 3:19–20).

Gratification of lusts: “For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another” (Tit 3:3).

Conformity to the world: “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Eph 2:1–2); “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (Jas 4:4).

Lack of hope: “...At that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Eph 2:12); “…If the dead do not rise, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!’ ” (1 Cor 15:32).

Enslavement to sin: “…Those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb 2:15); “Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin’ ” (Jn 8:34); “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 Jn 5:19).

Being under the shadow of judgment: “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Heb 9:27).

Finally, the Bible points out that the failure to believe in Jesus Christ is one of the gravest sins: “He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son” (1 Jn 5:10); “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is
condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (Jn 3:18); “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (Jn 3:36).

The Bible calls Jesus the “true Light which gives light to every man who comes into the world” (Jn 1:9). However, mankind is condemned when it chooses to remain in darkness: “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (Jn 3:19); “And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (Jn 1:5). 

Q9 Can a person change his own sinful ways?

Sin is an inextricable part of human nature; a person cannot free himself from it—at least, not through his own means or effort. Apostle Paul, for example, sums up an internal struggle—a struggle of conscience—that we are all familiar with:

            For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

            Romans 7:18–20

The fact is, mankind is under the bondage of sin (Rom 7:14), and the whole world is under the control of the devil (Jn 14:30). Only our merciful God has the power to save us (Mt 1:21), deliver us from the pending wrath (1 Thess 1:10) and bring us safely into His heavenly kingdom (2 Tim 4:18). 

Q10 Why did God allow man to sin in the first place?

When God initially created man, he was good (Gen 1:31): he had the image of God (Gen 1:27) and a pure conscience. He also had free will and the responsibility for his own actions. In this way, we see that God never intended man to be a machine compelled to do His bidding. Rather, He showed man what was good and right (Mic 6:8), explained the consequences of disobedience (Gen 2:16–17), and expected the best from him. Sadly, man abused his freedom and, in doing so, fell short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23).

Q11 Why did He plant the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden of Eden?

Before God created man, evil already existed in the form of the fallen angel, Satan. The latter’s downfall was due to pride and rebellion (Isa 14:12). Wanting Adam to understand the existence of evil and temptation, God planted the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and commanded him not to eat from it. By obeying and resisting, Adam and Eve would have demonstrated their faithfulness and allegiance to God.

Unfortunately, Satan made use of the crafty serpent to tempt Eve. After she succumbed, she led her husband to sin likewise (Gen 3:1–6). From that time, man lost both his glory and spiritual life. Moreover, sin entered into the world, with the consequence that mankind has been inclined towards evil ever since.

Q12 How can we be saved from sin?

To be saved, we need to acknowledge that we are sinners (Lk 5:8); have a sinful nature that needs to be renewed
(Eph 4:22–24); are spiritually dead (Lk 9:60; Eph 2:5); and need to be reconciled to God (Rom 5:10; 8:7; Col 1:21). When we do this, God will grant us the following through Jesus Christ:

Forgiveness: “...I [i.e. Jesus] now send you [i.e. Paul], to open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:17–18).

Reconciliation: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1).

Renewal: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor 5:17).

Life: “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (Jn 20:31).

Q13 What is God’s will for us?

“ ‘Vanity of vanities,’ says the Preacher; ‘vanity of vanities, all is vanity’ ” (Eccl 1:2). This truth applies to everyone: rich or poor, famous or obscure. Life is fleeting, and the end is death: “As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more” (Ps 103:15–16); “Surely every man walks about like a shadow; surely they busy themselves in vain; he heaps up riches, and does not know who will gather them” (Ps 39:6). 

From these words, we are reminded to shift our focus beyond our temporary earthly existence: we must find salvation for our soul. Hence, Jesus says, “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mt 16:26). To gain eternal life, we should believe in Jesus Christ (Jn 3:15–16), obey His gospel (Acts 2:38–39; 2 Thess 1:8) and keep His commandments
(Mt 19:17). These matters constitute God’s gracious will for us.


© 2012 True Jesus Church.


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