When an artist creates a song, does he or she create anything material? Maybe you could say that sound waves were created, but isn't it more accurate to say that the artist took waves that were already there and fashioned them into a song, thus "creating" a song? By organizing sound-waves into a recognizable order, a song was created, though nothing material has come into being. Almost nothing in first chapter of Genesis has to do with creating material properties. This doesn't mean that God did not create material. What it does mean is that, for the writer of Genesis, something "exists" or is "created" not because it has material properties but because it has order and a purpose. This is also true for the Psalmist who wrote Psalm 8 and asked the question: "What is man?" " When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
And You crown him with glory and majesty!
You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
All sheep and oxen,And also the beasts of the field,
The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea,
Whatever passes through the paths of the seas."
The writer of Genesis would not answer this question the way that a post-enlightenment scientist might attempt too but the way an ancient Hebrew thinker would answer it. Instead of describing the material make-up of a human being, in answer to the question "What is man?", the writer of Genesis, along with the Psalmist, would tell you what a man's role and purpose is in the world, which is exactly what Psalm 8 does above. I recently asked my "Siri" on my iphone saying, "Siri. What is mankind" And this is the answer that I received:
If the Psalmist received a material description to the question "What is man?", the psalmist would push back and say "You didn't answer my question. I asked you 'What is man?" and you simply told me what a man looks like, smells like, and maybe what he does, but you haven't told me what man is." Speaking of unanswered questions, we have a very real problem in our materialistic culture concerning the question "What is man?" Materialism has been the basis for defining existence for quite some time now and it is no longer something we think about, but simply something we accept because it is what we have been taught from birth. And it is only because we don't think about it that we have almost completely missed the widespread contradiction of our culture's current way of thinking regarding the definition of man. A generation ago, if you were to ask a scientist what a man is, as opposed to a woman, you would probably have gotten some definition based upon physicality, that is, you would have gotten a material definition. But our current culture's climate finds a definition like that to be far to rigid. Our current culture would not accept the definition of a man as a man simply based about his anatomy. Now, we are calling a definition like that a "label". Man is not a man because of his anatomy. A man is whatever he feels as though he is. A man can be a seven-year old girl if he (or it?) chooses to be identified as such. Under these new, (one could hardly say "guiding"), principles, I suppose a man could be a Giraffe, a Tree or a Bookshelf if it choose to be. In other words, man has ceased to exist in our culture. And this is not just true for men, as in "males", (I hope I haven't lost you with the vernacular), but it is true for mankind. I am reminded of C.S. Lewis' scene in The Chronicles of Narnia where the talking animals who rebelled against their creator suddenly became "dumb and witless animals". We are being led away to the slaughter of our existence.
The reason I had to ask "Siri" the specific question "What is mankind?" is due to the fact that the answer to my first question went unanswered. "Siri", I asked, "What is man?" and this what I received:
Exactly, Siri. You don't get it. You and the programmers who brought you into existence are bankrupt in your vault of purpose, meaning, and existence. You are selling a generation and a world to come, a bag of trash which will mean the death of countless human beings who believe that they have no purpose, no definition, no meaning, no identity and no concern or responsibility to the world that God brought into existence and loves so much. Maybe Siri should be the one asking us "What is man?" There is an answer that would set her and this generation straight, with the pun very properly in place: Man is made in the very image of God. Male and female, God created them. Two complimentary halves of God's image, Just as heaven and earth are the two complimentary halves of God's creation, coming together as one to produce order and life! Only a little lower than God, they were created. Made to be angled mirrors reflecting God's wise order into creation. And made to bring the praise of creation back to God. Mankind is made to put an end to chaos. Mankind, male and female, are distinct but equally complimentary and necessary halves of God's holy image. Everything else is blasphemy and chaos. If you are sick of the chaos, the meaninglessness, and the lack of true identity in your life, repent and turn to Jesus who will make you into a new creation. Men and women, created by being put in order, to be the very image of God in the world that God so loves. You are more than molecules and chemicals. You are a human being made in God's own image. But apart from Jesus, there is no existence.