Concerning Man

In regard to man we ought to think and believe consistently with what the book of Genesis narrates concerning him; namely that on the sixth day of creation God said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping things that move upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth,” (Gen. 1:26-28).

Man is an image and likeness of the one and triune God, and ruler of the living creatures subsisting on the dry land, in the seas, and in the air; and is the very intent and purpose for whom the world was created. It was for the sake of him that God created both the spiritual world of angels and the material world of animate and inanimate objects. He is the most perfect work of God.

God made man in the beginning male and female, one man and one woman. He was in the image of God, typified the one triune God Himself, the man representing the Father, the woman the Son, while the blessing of God which unites them to be one, represents the Holy Spirit. This one and triune man received the blessing and fa­culty to increase and multiply, to fill all the earth, to have dominion over it and living creatures upon it, the fish, the birds, the cattle, and the creeping things. The fulfilment of this blessing has been the work of many ages. Today we see the whole surface of the world filled with human beings, the origin of whom is from the first God­made pair, in accordance with the divine command and God’s first blessing. The command to increase, implying the idea of growth, surely implies that the first man was formed in imperfection, re­ceiviµg blessing and capability to go on to perfection; not perfect, in a very true sense, from the beginning. The prevailing contrary opinion is opposed to the Word of God.

The first man, therefore, being imperfect but capable of progress, such progress and his ultimate perfection could only come through divine guidance and submission to the will of God, man following that will and guidance.

But man had as an adversary the fallen Devil to whom God gave the right to oppose and antagonize man’s progress and per­fection, in order that man, situated between God and the Devil, might be drawn by two opposing influences and that he might follow God of his own free will, renouncing the Devil and, so to speak, as by the training of an athlete, acquiring a disposition that enables him to arrive at his goal of perfection and justly to receive the crown of victory, the crown of eternal glory and blessedness, to the shame, reproach, and grief of his adversary, the Devil.

Since. therefore, the progress and perfection of man must needs proceed not only from the guidance and government of God, but also from the opposition of the Devil and, out of this the free choice and action of man, because of this the book of God gives the account of the guardianship and care which God has for man, the insidious opposition of the Devil, the evil choice and practice of man, and the suffering which has ensued from man’s deception and evil pract­ice from the beginning.

All of this historical knowledge is the beginning and foundation for catechetical and saving knowledge, a. necessary dogma of faith for salvation, as are also other dogmas, which are necessarily con­nected with it. This dogma is called original sin, with which are connected the five articles of the Symbol of the faith, namely, the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh, which give us an account of the work which the Son of God wrought for our salvation and deliverance from the condemnation of original sin. Original sin is disobedience, caused by deception, to the law of God and obedience to the false word of the Devil. Because of this our first parents having sinned, were condemned to a life of labor, pain, and finally to death. This punishment was justly imposed upon the whole human race, and is, with equal justice, set aside through faith in the Savior and obedience. Let us take up, therefore the historical knowledge of this original sin, beginning with the narrative from the formation of man, as given in the second chapter of Genesis.

The narrative in the first chapter of Genesis of the creation of man was given generally and comprehensively: namely, that God made man, in the image of God made He him, male and female made He them. In the second chapter the· creation of man is given specifically and in explanation, namely: “And God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his face the breath of life; and man became a living soul, (Gen. 2:7). According to these divine words concerning the creation of man, man was formed of the dust of the ground in body and soul, which latter before the divine inbreathing was without life, perception, or con­sciousness, and without energy; but thereafter God breathed into the face of man the spirit, or the breath of life, and man became a living soul; that is to say, a soul having perception and consciousness of its own existence and life moved and energized accord­ing to the spirit of this divine life. Therefore body, soul, and spirit, these three, as God established them, constituted the first man, whom the divine Paul calls “of the earth earthy,” because he was formed of the dust of the earth in body and soul, but was made alive by the life-giving Spirit of God.

To the formation of man out of three essences, body, soul, and spirit, the great fathers of the Church bear witness, as is shown in our own work: “The Trichotomous Nature of Man Established, especially through the Great Fathers of the Church.” Here for veri­fication we set down a few out of many testimonies.

The great Basil, distinguishing the inbreathed spirit from the soul, says: “The Spirit exists always and before His inbreathing and impartation. Moses wrote that He was in a bodily form at the time when He gave life to the waters.” (Vol. I, p. 737). “He made the impress, therefore, inbreathing, being not any other than He who inbreathed from the beginning, but the same through whom God gave the inbreathing, after indeed the creation of the soul, but now becoming a living soul. Thus God creates, not with the moving of bodily hands, but with the energy of the living Logos and the impartation of the life-giving Spirit.” (Ibid., p. 729).

The great Athanasius, asking the question, What is man? de­fines him as follows: “Man is an intellectual animal, subject to sensibilities, having been made the recipient of a divine mind and eternal life. Destitute of this he is mortal. Of this man therefore according to his earthborn formation.” (Vol. IV, p. 77). The definition, he says, is of this man who was created of the earth and not of the man who came down from heaven. According to this definition man was constituted with a mortal body, an intellect­ual and aesthetic soul, and a divine mind or divine spirit, the cause of eternal life; inasmuch as divine mind and divine spirit are the same in signification with the holy father, as this passage of his testifies: “The prophets who prophesied of heavenly and future events as present were in possession of a heavenly mind,” (Vol. II p. 1116). The same father, interpreting the passage of Paul to the Thessalonians discloses that the component parts of earth-born man are three, body, soul, and spirit, (See the Trichotomous Nature of Man, p. 61).

Gregory the Theologian, likewise, testifies to the threefold com­position of man, saying: “Since we are double, I say; that is, with soul and body; the one visible and the other of an invisible nature; double also is the cleansing, through water indeed, I say, and Spirit, the one visible and bodily, the other received incorporeal and in­visible concurring. Both that which is true, cleansing to the depths, that which is a reinforcement to the first birth makes men new in place of the old nature and godlike in place of being as they were before, recasting without fire and refounding without shattering.” (Vol. II, p. 368). In this passage first are enumerated the two component parts of man, namely, body and soul. Then mention is made also of the formative spirit, which cleanses the soul and makes us completely new and godlike, that is to say, formed in the image and likeness of God, according to the primeval counsel of God: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”

John Chrysostom also testifies to the threefold constitution of man, saying: “If the word speaks of flesh and spirit, where is the soul? Therefore does it discourse of inanimate things? By no ..,. means. For it also speaks of control over the passions and concerning the soul,” (Vol. X, p. 673). “The soul being the medium of draw­ing the body down to pleasures, the spirit draws it up to God, commanding it to bless Him; that is, to theologize and to glorify God always. Of the three constituent parts Paul also makes mention, saying, “God will sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole body and spirit and soul be preserved.” This is said concerning the spirit of man in him, concerning which again he says: “I will pray in the spirit, I will pray also with the understanding.” Moses had also made mention of body, soul, and spirit; of the body when he said that God took dust from the ground and made the man, of the soul when he said, Let us make man in our image, and of the spirit when he said, And He breathed into his face the breath of life.” (Vol. V, p. 641).

Gregory of Nyssa, commenting on the passage in Genesis, says: “Therefore was not mind, which he (Apollinaris) calls spirit at­tributed to Adam in his formation? For wherein, otherwise, was likeness to God? And what was the impartation of the divine in­breathing but the mind, as we ought to believe?” (Vol. II, p. 1145). Thus speaking in an interrogative manner, Gregory of Nyssa affirms that mind was attributed to Adam in his formation, that this mind was the impartation of the divine inbreathing, and that in this mind, which also called spirit, consisted his likeness to God. Therefore also Gregory of Nyssa accepted the threefold constitution of body, soul, and spirit, the latter called also mind, wherein was the likeness to God. Wherefore when the heretical Apollinaris affirmed that the Lord Jesus passed a threefold nature, namely, that of body, soul, and spirit, he replied that he did, by no means, impugn such an opinion. “If any one should say such things regarding human nature he would make no mistake.” (Vol. II, p. 1240). Therefore the spirit is the completion of the nature of man. Wherefore again he says: “Together with the reasonable soul the spirit is vital, essential, and completes the nature of man,” (Vol. I, p. 1340).

With reference to the tripartite nature of man also Cyril of Alex­andria testifies, saying: “The blessed Moses, commenting on the creation of man, affirmed that God took dust from the ground and made by his omnipotent power the visible form of his body and breathed into his face the breath of life. Thus man became a living soul. The divine inbreathing, therefore, which was bestowed upon man in his formation is not, we say, identical with the soul, as if it were immutable, proceeding from such a nature; but a change im­pressed by the Holy Spirit, was made upon the human soul from the beginning; for all perfection amidst the processes of creation was through the Spirit. Wherefore that living creature begotten in the image of God was made so through the change of the Spirit to his conformation,” (Vol. VIII, p, 584). And comparing the first in­breathing to that of Christ, he says, “But that which the blessed Moses affirmed was wrought from God in His inbreathing upon man, this Christ renewed among us, after His resurrection from the dead, when He breathed upon His own disciples, saying: ‘Receive Ye the Holy Ghost,’ that again we, being re-formed into the divine image from the beginning, might be manifest that we are conformed to Him who made us through the participation of the Spirit.”

Such also is the testimony of Cyril of Jerusalem, who says: “The communion of this Holy Spirit He granted to the Apostles for it is written: ‘Receive ye the Holy Ghost.’ This was a second in breath­ing, inasmuch as the first was obscured by voluntary sins, that it might be fulfilled which was written: ‘He ascended breathing upon the face and rescuing thee from affliction.’ He ascended, whence? From Hades. For so is it narrated in the Gospel, that after the resurrection then He breathed upon them.” (Vol. I, p. 984). In these words Cyril of Jerusalem also testifies as to the threefold constitution of the first-formed man, as well of the regenerated in Christ, distinguishing the inbreathing from the spirit, or the spirit, from the soul, not assimilating them, after the manner of some heretics who distort divinely taught truth.

The God-bearing Maximus, interpreting the saying of Gregory the Theologian, “In the double power of the inbreathing all were breathed upon by the Holy Spirit,” he says: “To be distinguished then in meaning and conception are the vital inbreathing and the Holy Spirit in the intellectual essence of the soul from the carnal inbreathing in the nature of the body, as the fathers say,” (Vol. II, p. 1324). These words signify that the in breathing of God gave to the intellectual substance of the soul the Holy Spirit, but to the nature of the body breath and life in the flesh. So all of the fathers thought, distinguishing as they did the inbreathing and spirit from the soul.

Gregory Palamas, the illustrious Archbishop of Thessalonica, who lived a few years before taking of Constantinople and is numbered with the holy Fathers, tentifies to the triple constitution of man, saying: “The intellectual and logical nature of the soul inasmuch as it was created with an earthly body, received also the life-giving spirit from God through which He holds and gives life to the united body, from which also is demonstrated to those who have under­standing that intellectual love is the spirit of man which gives life to the body,” (Vol. I, p. 1148). According to these words, body, soul, and life-giving spirit, these three together constituted the man whom God created, having taken dust from the earth, with soul and body. Then He breathed into his face the breath of life, and the reasoning living creature was thus prepared to become the ruler of the unreasoning creation.

The voice and the utterance of the Holy Spirit testify that there are three component parts to man, of which the two, soul and body, were taken from the earth, while the third, the spirit, was inbreathed from God. All the great Fathers of the Church are in agreement with this voice the great Athanasius, Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, Cyril of Jer­usalem, Cyril of Alexandria, Maximus, Gregory Palamas, and many others both older and more recent whose testimonies for the sake of brevity we omit. Those who oppose the divine Fathers and these voices of the Holy Spirit evidently speak from the inspiration of the impure and unclean spirit, who speaks out of its own head that which is false through the tongues of deceitful men, who have turned away from the truth.

The earthly man whom God created and made to be alive through His own Spirit God placed in the Paradise of delight to cultivate it and keep it. Paradise was a planted watered garden which God planted eastward in Eden, suitable for the instruction and education of man, having in the midst two notable trees, the tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Lord God gave commandment to Adam saying: “Of every tree of the garden good for food thou mayest eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil ye shall not eat of it; for in the day wherein ye eat of it ye shall surely die.”

When God had regulated and given a law for the life of the first man in Paradise. He proceeded to the creation of woman, saying concerning her the following words: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a help for him suitable for him.” But before God created the help for Adam, He brought before him all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air, that he might call then by names expressive of the nature and activities of each.

Adam was successful in giving an appropriate name to each of them, and observed that he alone did not have a help like to him, while the other living creatures were in pairs, male and female each. And when Adam perceived that he had need of a help, God caused a deep sleep to fall upon him and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, making therefrom a woman and led her to Adam; who, seeing that she was like to himself, said prophetically concerning her; “This now is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman (i.e. wo-man), because she was taken out of her husband. Because of this shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife and they twain shall become one flesh.”

Thus God made man. In the image of God made He him, male and female made He them and blessed them with the blessing to increase and multiply. They lived in the Paradise of delight, pro­secuting their garden labors, which God had taught Adam, eating from the fruits of the trees of Paradise, and withholding themselves from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Inas­much as they did not know and had had no experience of evil, they lived an innocent and happy life. They were naked, but ]Vere not ashamed.

After God had created whatever was necessary for the progress and perfection of man the Devil took occasion to work against man his retrogression and fall, through the serpent, which was the most subtile of all the beasts; who coming to the woman whom Adam had named Eve, said to her: “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of Paradise? And the woman said to the serpent: We may eat of the fruit of the trees of Paradise; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of Paradise God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said to the woman, Ye shall not surely die; for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods knowing good and evil.”

These words the Devil spoke, through the medium of the ser­pent, into the ears of the woman, doing his own work, and departed.

The woman knowing and meditating upon the words of the Devil, which she credulously heard, saw that the fruit of that tree was beautiful and pleasing to her eyes, good to the taste, and beautiful to make one wise as a god, knowing good and evil. She put away from her fear of death, which formerly she held from the divine commandment, and was seized with the desire to be a god with the knowledge of good and evil. Consequently she partook of the forbidden fruit and ate, giving also to Adam, who was near, and they both ate, transgressing the commandment and the law of God. Immediately the eyes of the two opened, they perceived that they were naked, and they sewed fig-leaves and made for themselves aprons. This unlawful deed of our first parents is called original sin, out of which have justly come evils upon the human race, and death. Because God as a just judge has passed sentence upon the guilty after their transgression, and has punished them in accord­ance with the law in force and the principle of justice, as follows.

When there is any transgression of the law it comes to pass tHat God, being righteous, must fulfill the duties of righteous judge and punish each of the guilty in accordance with the nature his guilt. Adam and his wife, becoming aware that they were naked were ashamed, so that when they heard the voice of the Lord God as He walked at eventide in Paradise they were afraid and hid them­selves “from the face of the Lord God in the midst of the trees of Paradise. And the Lord God called to Adam, and said to him: Adam, where art thou? And Adam said: I heard thy voice in Para­dise and I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid myself. And God said to him, Who told to thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat? And Adam said: The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave to me of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord God said to the woman: What is this which thou hast done? And the woman said: The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat,” (Gen. 3:8- 13).

Inasmuch as both, having sinned, made excuse for themselves according to the consciousness which they had of their own evil deed and its guilt, the righteous God announced first the judicial decision against the arch-offencer, the Serpent, whom He did not call to account for the reason that, of purpose, he was the enmy and opposer of the will of God. Then did He pronounce the judicial sentence as belonging to those who have transgressed through deception.

The sentence as pronounced against the arch-offender, the serpent, was this: “Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field: upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life; and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel,” (Gen. 3:14-15). The condemnation placed upon the woman was this: “Unto the woman he said: I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth child­ren; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee,” (Gen. 3:16). The judicial decision upon the man was this: “Because thou hast listened to the voice of thy wife and hast eaten of the tree, of which alone I command thee saying, thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and shalt eat the herb of the field; 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. 3:17-19).

Having pronounced these judicial sentences, God said: “Behold, Adam is become as one of us to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and partake of the tree of life, and eat and live forever; therefore the Lord God sent him forth out of the Paradise of delight to till ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out Adam and made him dwell over against the Paradise of delight, and placed Cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way to guard the way of the tree of life,” (Gen. 3:22-24).

These three judicial decisions which God imposed became laws of nature for the human race, laws of life and laws of the authority and dynasty of the Devil among men. In the sentence against the serpent is the law also of the working of God through which orig­inal sin is healed and the foundations of the kingdom of the Devil are being destroyed. Let us therefore examine the power of these laws in their operation.

First, we note the origin of man upon the earth. His beginnings are in sorrow, sighs, and in great pain, as all women know who experience the pains of childbirth. It is the law of their nature that every woman, having entered into marriage, has it within her nature to bear children and to care for them, experiencing many and great sorrows, even to the surrender of her own life sometimes. The word of God to the first woman who sinned became a law of nature to all women entering marriage. These bear their children and nourish them with many and great sorrows and are in subjection to their husbands.

We observe, in the second place, concerning the race of men that men labor on the land and sea amidst dangers. With many labors and struggles they bring in food and sustenance to their homes for the sustaining of their families, and that many men die in the performance of their duties. Their life even unto death is very labor­ious and sorrowful. Therefore indeed the word of God to Adam became a law of nature for all of the race of men, and because all who experience the sorrows of this transitory life return when they die, to the earth from whence they were taken, in their corporeal substance.

Upon the sin of our first parents and the consequent introduction of the law of death were founded the authority and dynasty of the Devil, who received the right to live within earth-born and carnal men. Whatsoever, therefore, there is of evil among men, and chiefly the greatest of all evils, the authority of the Devil, proceeds from this original sin, as Paul the Apostle testifies, saying: “As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned, (Rom. 5:12). “By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, and through one man’s disobedience death reigned through one,” (Rom. 5:19).

God announces the annulment of these evils through the Seed of the woman, that is, through the New Man, who was to be born of the only woman without the seed of man; so that in the judicial sentence upon the serpent there comes to light the law of energy of God working for the annulment of the counsel of tli.e Devil and that He might establish in its entirety the depth and the completeness of the final intent concerning man, towards which the entire creation looks and the unerring and logical working of God, bringing to a victorious cessation the evil and misanthropy of the Devil and putting him to shame.

Thus, the dogmatic teaching concerning man may be summar­ized as follows:

  1. That man is the work of the one and triune God, the most perfect work towards whom all creation looks.
  2. That he was made in the image of God, one and triune, man and woman, through the blessing of the Spirit of God united to­gether as one. When first the man was made from the dust of the earth in soul. and body he received life from the inbreathing upon him of the Spirit of God, through whom the whole man, and espe­cially the soul, received the image of God. Then was the woman formed from the rib of Adam, in the image of Adam, and both were named man. These received the blessing to increase and multiply and to make progress from imperfection to perfection.
  3. They transgressed the law of life given to them, having been deceived by the Devil, and were condemned to a life very laborious and sorrowful and finally to death. This transgression of the law of life is called original sin, which came to be the door of all the evils among mankind, the foundation also of the authority of the Devil, the dissolution of which God announced would be through the Seed of the woman.

So ought we to think and believe concerning man from the earth. Those who think otherwise are children of original sin, taught by the voice of the Serpent and not by the voice and words of God. But now let us also inquire what ought to be thought and believed concerning the human race.

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