GLEANINGS FROM THE SCRIPTURES
What Is Man?
By Keith L. Estes
In the letter to the Hebrews, the writer asks a simple but yet profound question. "What is man that Thou art mindful of him?
David , the Psalmist, asks this question. "When I look up into the night skies and see the work of your fingers- the moon and the stars you have made- I cannot understand how you can bother with mere puny man, to pay any attention to him!"
He found his answer not by looking at man in himself, but man in relation to God. Five hundred years later, the Greek philosopher Protagoras took a completely different approach by offering, "Man is the measure of all things." Today, our culture tends to side with Protagoras.
But the Bible shows that God is the true measure of all things. Adopting that perspective is the beginning of humility, the doorway to all the other virtues.
Scripture constantly emphasizes the relative insignificance and transitoriness of humanity and the rest of creation in comparison to the greatness of eternal God. David asked, Whatis man in comparison to his Creator. What is man that he should merit God's attention and affection?
This lends perspective to so many of the idealistic, even utopian, plans to solve the problems of our world. There's nothing wrong with humans working cooperatively to solve problems. But it's a grave mistake to dismiss faith in God and rely instead on the omnipotence of a corporation, a state, or an international collective. To do so smacks of the same blind pride that brought judgment at the Tower of Babel. It is cause for God to laugh as David said in Psalm two. "What fools the nations are to rage against the Lord! How strange that men should try to outwit God! "Come, let us break his chains," they say, "and free ourselves from all this slavery to God." But God in heaven merely laughs! He is amused by all their puny plans.
If we as individuals are as fleeting as grass, then groups of us, no matter how large, are just as fleeting. We still need the wisdom and strength that only God can supply.
References: Heb. 2: 6-8, Psm. 8: 4-6, 144: 3-4, 2:1-4, Is. 40:6-7, Gen. 11:1-9. The Living Bible, Tyndale House Pub. Wheaton, Ill. and The Word In Life Study Bible- Copyright 1993 by Thomas Nelson Pub.Co. Nashville, Tenn.