I would like to look at some introductory information before we move
into the makeup of material man. Before we look at man, we need to consider
There are many theories of the creation, indeed most civilizations seem
to have their own view of the creation. They vary from a struggle between
earth and water producing creation, to the struggle of good and evil producing
creation. One account even involves a cow. One of the oriental theories
of creation involved a being diving into the waters and bringing forth
a blob of mud and producing things. A look at an encyclopedia will produce
some of these accounts.
Creation according to the Scripture was an act of God. It is a simple
statement of what He did. God did not attempt to prove His involvement
in creation, He just stated the facts as they are. I will list a few texts
that relate to the creation. (Gen. 1:1ff; Matt. 19:4; Rom. 5:12-19; I Cor.
15:45-49; I Tim. 2:13.)
The when of creation is another question. Many believe that there is
need of millions of years between now and the original creation.
The philologist [one who studies literature or language] believes that
it takes ages to develop languages into the forms that we have and would
call for more time. They reject the thought however, that Adam communicated
with God immediately in the garden. They also reject the Genesis account
of the languages stemming from the tower of Babel. (Gen. 11)
Polygenism holds that each distinct species of man came about from separate
creations. I suspicion that the Arian nation movement would believe in
this. Some of them believe that they were a creation of God that was separate
from all other races, and that they were the superior "God blessed" nation.
Pre-adamitism holds that man existed before Adam. Adam was the head
of only a specific group of peoples. This allows for the giants of David's
time and of Moses time.
Bishop Ussher set down and worked through the Old Testament genealogies
and arrived at a dating system for the Old Testament. His system appeared
in the margin of many Bibles in the past. His dating system is not widely
held today. Chafer deals quite well with the information concerning Bishop
Ussher's dating. (Chafer, Lewis Sperry; "SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY"; Dallas,
TX: Dallas Seminary Press, 1947, Vol. II)
Many feel that there should be several thousand years added to the date
of Bishop Ussher. The extra one to three thousand years set forth by some
today allows for some of the scientific facts and is not detrimental to
the Biblical records.
It doesn't really matter how old the earth is as long as it's only a
few thousand years. The problem arises when it is asked that the creative
act be set millions of years in the past.
There are some scientists which demand millions of years for the formation
of parts of the earth however they forget that Adam was created a mature
man - with age. Is it not also likely that God would create a mature earth?
That is, an earth that appears to have age. This would include the fossils
The theory of evolution was laid to rest many years ago by Biblical
scholars. Mr. Carl Sagan decided to make some dollars and dug up all the
old ideas and brushed them off, made them presentable, and now we are covering
the same territory. Many good books on the subject are available.
Why didn't God specify the year in which He created Adam? He gives
detail in other areas of history - Ezra and Nehemiah kept good records
- the genealogies of the patriarchs and prior men of God. Why not "In the
beginning, in the year of Adam 6031 BC, in the 7th month, and the 2nd day,
God created."? Well, maybe we should make that the 1st month and 1st day.
Why didn't God let us in on the date? We don't really know.
If both Evolution and Creationism have to be accepted by faith then
why not accept by faith, the Word of a God that promises to do wonderful
things for you, rather than to accept by faith the word of a theory that
is going to make you the knee jerk response of nature?
How do we use this in everyday life? Almighty God was DIRECTLY involved
in making mankind. If God was interested enough to create man then He must
have a very high level of interest in mankind.
God's interest is illustrated by Allan Knight Chalmers. "There is a
striking word picture in Middleton Murry's 'Jesus Man of Genius'. It pictures
the lonely God at the end of a long corridor behind a great curtain waiting
for man to come near enough so that God could speak to him. In beautiful
prose the author makes you feel the awful tension of man's footsteps sounding
hollowly on the bare floor of the echoing corridor as man dares a little
further toward the deepening gloom of the coridor's end. Time and again
God's aching heart longed for man to pass the curtain that the Word might
be spoken, but always there was fear before the end and the sound of retreating
footsteps until Jesus came. He, daring to pass the veil, let the lonely
heart of God find rest." (Stuber, Stanley I. and Clark, Thomas Curtis;
"TREASURY OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH"; New York: Association Press, 1949, p
A God so vitally interested in mankind that He created, that He sent
His only Son - THAT IS A GOD THAT IS WORTH COMMUNICATING WITH!!!
I have to wonder if the Lord isn't still in this straight of waiting
and waiting for his children to come to talk? He removed the fear, for
we can go boldly before Him, yet many so seldom do. Heb. 4:16, "Let us,
therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace. . . ." Prayer is so rich
- free - yet we fail to do it. It is free, it causes no rash, it has no
calories, it won't tarnish or rust, it causes no stains, and yet we won't
meet with God.
One final line of thinking. In Gen. 2:8 it mentions "man whom he had
formed." God formed man. No one would argue that the birds are considerably
less impressive than man, as life forms go. (Matt 6:26 agrees that man
is more important. God tells us the birds are fed by Him. Matt. 10:31 states
we are "of more value than many sparrows." Verse 28 tells us not to fear
those that do ill to us. God knows when a sparrow falls, 10:29.) If God
is interested in the birds, then He must have a much greater interest in
man. God must care for man greatly - He cares more for us than sparrows,
yet feeds and keeps track of the birds. We have a great value before Him.
We have heard of self-worth, of self-image etc. Our only value is not
in what we see in us, or what others see in us, but in the value that we
have before God. Many today are in trouble because they look to others
for value, when they ought to be looking to their creator.
At the same time God the Son was helping in the creation of man He knew,
He one day would have to go through the agony of the cross for Adam and
his seed. That is love, to create the cause of your future agony! God the
Father knew of the cost to Himself in giving His son for a race of sinners.
One must know that the purposes of God in creating man were of supreme
importance - else why submit to the cost involved? Then to top it off He
has to seek and save the lost, because man turned against Him. Even after
He has saved them, He must then use the tools of conviction, chastisement
etc. to keep the believer on an even walk with Him. Why does He do it?
MATERIAL MAN EXAMINED
Man's body houses his soul and spirit while alive. When his body dies
and is planted in the ground it becomes the seed for his glorified - eternal
body. No, I can't explain it, but we need to consider some of the possible
questions related to man's material make up.
Gen. 2:7 tells us, "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground,
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living
soul." Man was created from the dust of the earth; there was something
missing. God completed the work by breathing in the breath of life.
When God breathed in the breath of life was the life for an endless
existence? From all indications there was some idea in God's mind of Adam
continuing on indefinitely. This is not the same as the eternal life that
is provided now.
The life Adam had would have continued on with, had he not sinned, would
have resulted in his not having to go through death. We are not told the
details of what his existence would have been like had he not sinned. We
since the fall, must go through death to come to eternal life (unless the
Lord comes first).
Our existence seems to show that God had a purpose in creating man.
That purpose is seen in the fact that we are unique from the animals in
a number of ways. Speech, soul and spirit. We must however, by His creative
act depend upon His creation for continued life. We must consume of the
fruit of the dust of the earth to live. ("In the sweat of thy face shalt
thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou
taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." Gen. 3:19)
I read a story some time ago about a parent that had explained this
passage to a little child. A few days later the child hollered at the parent
and said, "Hey Mom. There is a pile of dust under my bed. I'm not sure
if they are coming or going."
WE WILL RETURN TO THE EARTH FROM WHICH WE CAME. You can accumulate all
the cash and homes and toys that you want, but you are still going to return
Chafer mentions that there is a unity between the body and soul - that
there is no sense of distinction between the two. Can we agree with that?
True the soul is linked to the body, in that the soul is basically contained
in the brain, a physical part of the body. I know what he is saying and
I'm not sure that I disagree, however I believe that there may be a small
sense of a division between the soul and body as people age.
I have read of old people that tell that they are 20 year olds trapped
in a worn out body that won't function any more. I have the same sensation
at times. I look in the mirror some mornings and can't believe that old
man in the mirror is I. I'm still about 20 years old and going fine on
the inside, yet the outside is slowing down. I find that my eyes will not
see as well as I remember them working. I find that my fingers are not
as good at working with small pieces as they used to. My mind knows how
the fingers should function, but the fingers will not function as my mind
instructs. I feel that as we age, there may be a sense of division between
the soul and body. Indeed, for the believer there seems to be an anticipation
of a final division so that the soul can function as it desires without
the limitations of the body. Eternity will be great.
Man's body and soul are separable by death, yet we must rejoice in the
fact that they will be reunited one day with some minor changes. The new
body will be a much improved model that won't wear out! II Cor. 4:16 may
sum up what I've been trying to say. "For which cause we faint not; but
though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day."
The outward is perishing while the inward is continuing!
Adam's material body seems to have been subject to death on the long
term basis, otherwise there would have been no need for the tree of life.
The tree of life will be in the eternal state as well, which brings some
to think that the glorified body will be similar to Adams pre-fall body.
(Rev. 22:2 mentions the tree of life in the eternal state.) We will look
at this a little later in this section.
By the nature of our bodies they are constantly rejuvenating. They add
new cells as the old are lost. There is some indication that this process
of rejuvenation is slowed and hindered by the ageing process.
THE FACT WE MUST FACE IS THAT DEATH IS ALWAYS THE WINNER IN THE CONFLICT
in this fallen state of man. The glory is that every person's body will
be raised one day. Both the lost and the saved have eternal existence from
the point of conception. (Jn 5:26-29; Acts 24:15.)
We are told a little about the believers glorified body but we are not
told of the lost persons eternal condition. We know that they will be in
torment and much of that sort of thing, but not much of the physical make
up of things. It may be that the lost person's eternal body will be similar
in nature to the glorified body of the believer. We do not know.
The old body as we have mentioned is a seed for the new body. As the
grain of seed goes into the soil to rot and spring forth in new life, so
our body is planted and rots to spring forth one day unto new form.
A question that often arises in this context is this, "Is it wrong for
a believer to be cremated?" There are some that believe that it is, and
that the Old Testament shows this to be true. They base this on the idea
that destruction and judgment in the Old Testament are often by fire.
The problem with this is the fact that believers have died in house
fires. Believers have been dismembered with limbs left in foreign countries
etc. Sailors are buried at sea and their bodies are completely assimilated
by the ocean. If cremation is wrong then there are many that are in trouble
with their Lord because of circumstances beyond their control. (Those being
burned to death in house fires, etc.)
God can bring forth ALL bodies no matter where they are, no matter how
badly they have decayed, or no matter how they were buried.
MATERIAL MAN AND REDEMPTION
The body soul and spirit are all involved in the wonderful redemption
that God has provided for us! I Cor. 15:42 and following mentions the following
contrast in relation to our bodies.
sown in corruption raised in incorruption sown in dishonor raised in glory sown in weakness raised in power sown a natural body raised a spiritual bodySown as Paul uses it has to do with burial, yet is better than the term bury for bury has a finality to it that sown does not have. Sown has the idea carried with it of new life coming forth, while buried seems to have the idea of finality.
Another term that the New Testament mentions in relation to death is
sleep. This again shows an idea of something that is non permanent. The
sleeping, awaken. When believers die they are not permanently out of business!
We will again have existence, indeed we never cease to exist, only change
plains of existence.
The rapture is the changing point for the believer. If he is dead the
Lord will resurrect his body and unite body, soul and spirit. If the believer
is alive then they will be changed. The how of that change is unknown to
us. Whether there is just an instant change of the body or whether the
person dies and is instantly changed is not clear. I personally would opt
for just an instant change, and not passing through death.
Chafer seems to hold to this view as well, as he mentions that the living
at the rapture will have immortality. He is very specific that only those
living at the rapture will have this quality.
There are a couple of terms for us to consider in relation to man and
MEDIATE SIN is the idea that we receive the sin nature from Adam through
generation, or at birth. This speaks of the sin nature that we have when
we are conceived. It is that natural bent toward sin and wrong.
IMMEDIATE when used in relation to sin is that we all were placed under
the curse of death when Adam sinned. We were in his loins. Heb 7:9-10 may
help you with this idea. We were under the curse of death, but we will
die at a later time.
INTERMEDIATE BODY: Chafer presents a doctrine that might be fun for
you to toy around with. He mentions that God will provide us after death
with an intermediate body. This body will serve us until our soul and spirit
are united with our bodies.
I am not sure that the text he uses to prove this, really proves this,
but it might make for a good study for you some evening when you don't
have anything to do. I have some things that I would want answered before
accepting this teaching. He suggests II Cor. 5:1-8.
Some thoughts that relate:
1. If, when we die God gives us a temporary body to dwell in in the
heavenlies, why wouldn't God just resurrect the old one instead of creating
a temporary one. There needs to be an act of God either way, so why create
a temporary one now and then resurrect one later and dispose of the temporary?
This does not seem to be the action of a logical God.
2. There is no reason for us to need a temporary body in particular.
Chafer mentions that we will be uncomfortable as disembodied spirits and
will desire a body. I cannot speak to the comfort or discomfort of a disembodied
spirt, as yet, but since we are spirit beings in the afterlife, the need
for a body - material - seems illogical. (I will mention that the spirits
that Christ cast out of the demonic possessed man, sought embodiment in
the swine, thus possibly indicating that spirits seek embodiment.)
3. What will happen to all those intermediate bodies that are no longer
4. In relation to his proof text: It would be easier to interpret the
passage along the lines that we are in this life, naked in comparison to
our future heavenly body. Or this may mean that we will never be naked
once the heavenly is put on, as Lenski mentions. This groaning would be
concerning our strong desire for our heavenly body. To say that we are
groaning over the possibility of being naked, or to say that there is an
intermediate body, is to read much into the text!
Lenski views the nakedness as mentioned previously, and sees the body
as the earthly and the glorified body as the heavenly. He mentions "heavenly
life" in reference to the building from God. (Lenski, R.C.H.; "THE INTERPRETATION
OF ST. PAUL'S FIRST AND SECOND EPISTLES TO THE CORINTHIANS"; Minneapolis:
Augsburg Publishing House, pp 1000ff)
5. If there is an intermediate body, when Paul is speaking of the physical
body being the seed for the heavenly, was he speaking of the heavenly intermediate,
or the heavenly glorified? The intermediate body idea seems to be a cumbersome
doctrine to hold.
6. God is a spirit and needs no body. Why would we "have" to have a
In Volume two, page 145 Chafer states that man is "Related in two directions
- to substance and to spirit existence." He mentions this in the context
of creation. God formed the body of material items, then breathed in the
spiritual part of man. Indeed, we are a combination being.
Q. What practical thought can we give to this thought that we are literally
both physical and spiritual beings, at this point in our existence?
1. We might consider whether a person can be drawn to one side to the
exclusion of the other side. Yes, would have to be the answer. Someone
that has allowed alcohol to become a habit is in essence giving himself
over to following after the substance side of himself. There will be little
if any thought to the spiritual. It normally is that time when the alcoholic
gives his mind to the spiritual needs, which he will finally do something
about the physical.
2. On the other hand, can a person give themselves over to the spiritual
to the exclusion of the substance? Yes. It is not uncommon for ministers
and missionaries to give themselves over to the spiritual life and endeavor,
so as to refuse themselves relaxation and a time of healing of body and
We might add at this point, that both saved and lost are thusly related
to both physical and spiritual. The lost are not as concerned with the
spiritual, yet it often comes up in their lives.
By way of practical application you might consider how you approach
different situations of life in your ministry. At particular times the
believer, as well as the nonbeliever, is totally occupied in one realm
or the other. This is not wrong necessarily as we will see, however dwelling
in one area too long can be detrimental.
Consider the person in the hospital with a kidney stone. Terrible pain
- in a hospital you are reduced to the substance side of existence. Literally,
if you have pain and are in the hospital, about all you are concerned with
is the physical aspects of getting out of the place. The emphasis is totally
As you approach a person in the hospital how do you want to minister
to him. What approach might you want to use to be of benefit to him?
Spiritual things may or may not be of interest at the moment. Be tuned
in on what the person is talking about. They will probably let you know
if they want to get into spiritual things. Bring them up if you can, but
do not push.
A short psalm or thought, and a word of prayer before you leave may
be all the spiritual they can stand. Others may want to really fellowship.
Be alert to their needs at the present. (If it is a non-believer feel free
to push as much as you can, especially if they are in bad shape. It might
be your last chance to share Christ with them.)
When we lived in Salem, Oregon, my wife had a friend whose husband had
been sick for a long time. He had had surgery and was not expected to live.
He asked for me to come for a visit. When I got there, he asked me to pray
for him. He was in much pain, but wanted spiritual. I might add that he
did not want me hanging around either. After the prayer, he said something
to the effect, "Thanks for coming." It was evident from his situation and
condition that he did not want to talk about the weather. Others I know
of that are in pain aren't all that interested in the spiritual.
How about super saint - the person that spends 26 hours every day doing
the Lords work and never takes a break. Again - go softly for you treadeth
on thin ice. Any suggestion of slacking off may be taken as "unspiritual."
Possibly a good way would be to try and involve the person in some non-spiritual
activities, and encourage further involvement. Again - do not get pushy
unless you think the problem is serious to health or family.
If you are his leader then consider taking part of his work load away.
He may have to work like a horse to keep up with what you have allowed
him to take on. A pastor must be careful not to overwork those that are
willing to work.
A Biblical thought that suggests that we should not be totally engrossed
in spiritual things could be found in the Sabbath of the Old Testament.
The person was to work the week and rest on the Sabbath. God set aside
a day for resting because He knew it was necessary for man! Just how that
relates to the pastor that teaches or preaches three services on Sunday,
I am not sure. This is probably why so many pastors take Mondays off.
We have many books out on the subject of "Burnout" and it is a very
real problem among Christian leaders. Many have devoted themselves to things
of the Lord for so long with no rest, that they usually find that one day
the need for rest is overwhelming to the point of them not being able to
I must warn also that this is not licence to be lazy either!
Volume two of Chafer, page 145-146 states: "With its incomparable, sublime
simplicity, the Word of God declares that God formed man's body from the
dust of the ground."
He lists the elements as follows: calcium carbon chlorine fluorine hydrogen iodine iron magnesium manganese nitrogen oxygen phosphorus potassium silicon sodium sulphur
If you consider this listing alone, not to think of the intricacies
of the eye, ear or nervous system, you must wonder how something so complex
and complicated can be so simply stated! Yet with the dust of the earth
God CREATED ADAM!
On page 148-149 Chafer mentions concerning the body of Adam and Eve:
"It became a dying, death-doomed body. The fact that, as it was originally
created, it possessed vital organs and was self-sustained as the body is
now sustained, indicates that, apart from such protection and support as
God may have provided, the original or unfallen body was capable of death.
Death was not then inevitable, though it was possible. God imposed the
sentence of death...."
Q. I believe this to be true but can we but a Biblical basis to it for
Dr. Chafer? Gen. 2:16,17 "And the Lord God commanded the man saying, Of
every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; But of the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that
thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." All trees but one were available.
After the fall God was concerned that Adam and Eve would eat of the
tree of life. Read Gen. 3:22-24. It seems that the tree of life had something
to do with continuing life.
Theissen mentions, "Man, it is implied, was created mortal, but had
the privilege of attaining immortality by means of the tree of life." (Thiessen,
Henry C.; "LECTURES IN SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY"; Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans,
1949, p 257)
Rev. 22:2 in telling of the New Jerusalem states: "In the midst of the
street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life,
which bore twelve kinds of fruits...." Rev 22:14 adds some insight for
us as well: "Blessed are they that wash their robes, that they may have
right to the tree of life...." There is a close relationship between the
child of God and that tree of life.
I feel that we can be assured that Dr. Chafers statement is backed by
the texts in Genesis while the Revelation texts indicate that the tree
of life may well have to do with the continuing of life in eternity in
some way. (There is no need for the believer to have right to it unless
it is a part of eternal things.)
Let us consider for a moment our coming glorified body. What qualities
will that body have? Since the only information we have concerning a resurrected
body is the body of Christ after His resurrection, we need to view what
is recorded concerning this. (Phil 3:20,21 tell us that our comparison
is correct.) I will just list some topics with references for your continued
1. Touchable: Matt. 28:9; Luke 24:39ff; Jo. 20:17.
2. Seeable: Matt. 28:10
3. Mobile: He left the grave and went places.
4. Hearable: Matt. 28:9,10
5. Changeable: Mk. 16:12; Luke 24:13ff
6. Disappearable: Luke 24:31
7. Feedable: Luke 24:42,43
8. Transportable: Jo. 20:19
9. Recognizable: They knew who it was. Also Jo. 20:27ff.
How do we make this doctrine useful for everyday life?
1. As we age, we begin to see the body going down hill. We see the hair
loss - the weakening eyes - the lack of ambition - the longer periods of
time in bed - etc. God is planning a body that is not plagued by such frailties!
We will have an incorruptible body one day to replace this mass of chemicals
that is failing us.
2. To the older person this can be a blessing. To the younger it can
be a call to patience with the older folks - they are slow in movement
- a pain in the neck - but one day so is all of mankind, including the
3. There is hope for the physically handicapped as well. He created
me as He wanted me to be, so I should be satisfied with me. Within this
context, I might add to the Christian disabled, there is no reason for
you to get involved with the self-pity and my rights thinking of the disabled
organizations of our day. The disabled and handicapped need to be helped
as much as we can, yet their self pity seems to be a bit much.
My father was paralyzed from the waist down from the age of 21 and never
once went looking for his rights, nor pity. He functioned as best he could.
He did most everything that he wanted to do. He did not wait for people
to make ramps, widen doors etc. He just went on with his life, had two
children, raised them and enjoyed the life God had given him to the fullest.
No, he did not go skiing, but I would guess he would have if he had wanted
4. Our body is made by Him for His use, not our own. We should be caring
for our bodies.