Copyright Rev. Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. 1992



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 his creation.

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 etc.

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 great 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 318)

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? LOVE!


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 to dust.

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.


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 body
 Sown 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 sin.

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 needed?

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 body?

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 mind.

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 upon physical.

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 function properly!

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 study.

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 young person.

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 to.

4. Our body is made by Him for His use, not our own. We should be caring for our bodies.