TBU: The Bible Unpacked: Comprehensive Edition

II. God’s Creation of People

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Chapter 6  Part II

God’s Creation of People

Most would agree that the most significant part of God’s creation is his creation of people. God not only gives people life and a spirit, he has made people quite unique amongst all creatures. Furthermore, of all his creatures, it is primarily to people that God reveals himself and relates.

Life and Death

God creates people

Ps 119:73  [A psalmist, to God:] Your hands made me and formed me. Give me understanding so that I might learn your commands.  NET

Prov 22:2  The rich and the poor are alike in that the Lord made them all.  NCV™

God creates the various aspects of people’s beings

Ps 139:13  [David, to God:] Certainly you made my mind and heart; you wove me together in my mother’s womb.  NET

Prov 20:12  The ear that hears and the eye that sees – the Lord has made them both.  NET

God gives people life and breath

Acts 17:25b  He gives life, breath, and everything else to all people.  CEV

People’s lives are very brief

Ps 39:5-6a  [David, to God:] You made my life short, so brief that the time means nothing to you. “Human life is but a breath, 6and it disappears like a shadow.  CEV

As many older people would affirm, in a relative sense life is very brief.

Each person is destined to die . . .

Eccl 7:2  It is better to go to a funeral than a feast. For death is the destiny of every person, and the living should take this to heart.  NET

. . . All people die no matter who or what they are

Eccl 9:2  Everyone shares the same fate – the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the ceremonially clean and unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not. What happens to the good person, also happens to the sinner; what happens to those who make vows, also happens to those who are afraid to make vows.  NET

Once a person dies, they do not return

Job 7:9-10  As a cloud is dispersed and then disappears, so the one who goes down to the grave does not come up again. 10He returns no more to his house, nor does his place of residence know him any more.  NET

Note: Blood signifies life – and a person’s life is taken by the shedding of their blood

Gen 9:5-6  [God, to Noah and his sons:] And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. 6“Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.  ESV

Blood sustains life (cf. Lev 17:11, 14) and as such it is often used in Scripture to signify life. The correlation between blood and life is shown here by the term “lifeblood” (v. 5) and by the complementary usage of “life” and “blood” in vv. 5b-6a.

 Questions for Section A

The Human Spirit

God has made people with a spirit

Zec 12:1b  The Lord – he who stretches out the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth, who forms the human spirit within a person – says, …  NET

The spirit is distinguished from one’s body

Matt 26:41  [Jesus, to his disciples:] Stay awake and pray for strength against temptation. The spirit wants to do what is right, but the body is weak.  NCV™

The spirit and the soul are closely associated

Job 7:11  [Job:] Therefore, I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.  NET

Note that some commentators caution against attempting to make categorical distinctions between the spirit and the soul. Having said this, “spirit” is typically used when speaking of the will and thoughts, whereas “soul” is more prominent when speaking of emotions and desires or of the person themselves.

The spirit and soul are at the core of one’s being

Prov 20:27  A person’s spirit is the lamp of the Lord; it searches through all of one’s innermost being.  ISV

Lam 3:20  [Jeremiah:] My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.  ESV

The spirit and soul are linked with one’s emotions

Eccl 7:9  Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.  ESV

Job 30:25  [Job:] Have I not wept for him who was in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the poor?  NKJV

The spirit and soul are linked with one’s desires

Isa 26:9a  [Isaiah, to God:] My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.  ESV

The spirit is involved in one’s thinking

Ps 77:6-7  [A psalmist:] I remember my song in the night and reflect on it. My spirit searches for an answer: 7Will the Lord reject me for all time? Will he ever accept me?   GW

1Cor 2:11a  Who knows the thoughts that another person has? Only a person’s spirit that lives within him knows his thoughts.  NCV™

The spirit is fundamental to one’s attitude and actions

Prov 18:14  A person’s spirit sustains him through sickness – but who can bear a crushed spirit?  NET

Job 32:18  [Elihu:] I am full of words, and the spirit in me causes me to speak.  NCV™

People are dead without their spirit

James 2:26  For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.  NET

People’s spirits and souls exist after death

Acts 7:59  They [Jews] continued to stone Stephen while he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!”  NET

Rev 6:9-10  [John, describing a vision of a scene in heaven:] Now when the Lamb opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been violently killed because of the word of God and because of the testimony they had given. 10They cried out with a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Master, holy and true, before you judge those who live on the earth and avenge our blood?”  NET

Here John is recounting a vision involving believers in heaven, who had died.

 Questions for Section B

The Uniqueness of People

Note that some of the points made in the previous section on The Human Spirit also point to the uniqueness of people amongst God’s creation.

God has made people in his own image

Gen 1:26-27  Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.” 27God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.  NET

That God has made people in his own image is evident in that they reflect such things as his personal traits – e.g. aspects of his character and intellect – and that they have a spirit (as discussed in the previous subsection). Additionally, it is noteworthy that although God essentially is spirit, some descriptions of God speak of him in terms of a discernible human-like form (cf. Ezek 1:26-28; Dan 7:9).

People have an able mind, with which to think and reason intelligently

Job 38:36  Who has put wisdom in the heart, or has imparted understanding to the mind?  NET

God has given people a mind with the ability to understand things.

Acts 17:2-3  And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.”  ESV

People have the moral capacity to know good from evil . . .

Gen 3:22  And the Lord God said, “Now that the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil, he must not be allowed to stretch out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”  NET

. . . People can choose between good and evil

Ps 37:27a  [David, exhorting his listeners:] Turn away from evil! Do what is right!  NET

Isa 7:15  He will be eating milk curds and honey when he learns to reject what is evil and to choose what is good.  NCV™

Note that this tells of a coming child, understood by many people to be ultimately speaking of the Messiah (cf. v. 14; Matt. 1:21-23).

People are of much more value than other creatures

Matt 10:31  So do not be afraid; you are more valuable than many sparrows.  NET

Matt 12:12a  How much more valuable is a person than a sheep!  NET

God has made people ruler over all other creatures

Ps 8:6-8  [David, to God:] You appointed them [people] rulers over everything you made; you placed them over all creation: 7sheep and cattle, and the wild animals too; 8the birds and the fish and the creatures in the seas.  GNT

People are to care for other creatures

Prov 12:10  A righteous person cares for the life of his animal, but even the most compassionate acts of the wicked are cruel.  NET

People are to act responsibly towards all creation

Hab 2:17a  [God, to the Babylonians:] For you will pay in full for your violent acts against Lebanon; terrifying judgment will come upon you because of the way you destroyed the wild animals living there.  NET

The Babylonians’ desolation of the forests of Lebanon (cf. CEV, GNT, NLT) and their destruction of animals contravened humankind’s responsibility towards nature – and they would be punished for it.

 Questions for Section C

Epilogue: God’s Self-Revelation to People

See also:

People cannot in themselves perceive or know God

Job 37:23  [Elihu:] The Almighty—we cannot find him; he is great in power; justice and abundant righteousness he will not violate.  ESV

1Cor 1:21a  For God in his wisdom made it impossible for people to know him by means of their own wisdom.  GNT

God reveals himself

1Sam 2:27  A man of God came to Eli and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Did I not plainly reveal myself to your ancestor’s house when they were in Egypt in the house of Pharaoh?  NET

1Sam 3:21  Then the Lord again appeared in Shiloh, for it was in Shiloh that the Lord had revealed himself to Samuel through the word of the Lord.  NET

God reveals himself by what he does

Ezek 20:9  [God:] I acted for the sake of my reputation, so that I would not be profaned before the nations among whom they lived, before whom I revealed myself by bringing them out of the land of Egypt.  NET

By delivering the Israelites out of Egypt, God revealed himself to the surrounding peoples.

God’s creation perpetually evidences and reveals God to all people . . .

Rom 1:19-20  [Paul, referring to wicked people:] For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.  ESV

. . . God’s ongoing control over nature likewise testifies to him

Acts 14:17  But he has always given evidence of his existence by the good things he does: he gives you rain from heaven and crops at the right times; he gives you food and fills your hearts with happiness.  GNT

God’s provision through his regulation of nature is evidence to people of his existence and reveals his goodness.

God is revealed in his acts of judgment and of salvation

Ezek 35:11b  [God, to the people of Edom:] I will deal with you according to your anger, and according to your envy, by which you acted spitefully against them [Israel and Judah]. I will reveal myself to them when I judge you.  NET

Ps 106:8  Yet he [God] saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power.  ESV

God is revealed and known through Jesus Christ

See also:

John 17:6a  [Jesus, praying to God:] I have made you known to those you gave me out of the world.  GNT

1Jn 5:20  And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us insight to know him who is true, and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. This one is the true God and eternal life.  NET

Note: God reveals his plans and will

Amos 3:7  Certainly the sovereign Lord does nothing without first revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.  NET

Acts 22:14  He [Ananias, addressing Saul] said, ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will, to see his righteous Servant, and to hear him speaking with his own voice.  GNT

 Questions for Section D

Pray for persecuted Christians