Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 8, 1959
NUMBER 35, PAGE 6-7b

The Nature Of Man

Lloyd Moyer, El Cerrito, California

The Psalmist asks, "What is man, that thou art mindful of him?" A serious study of this subject is sadly needed in our day. Without a proper answer to the question concerning the nature of man, our concept of Christianity cannot be correct. I believe that a failure on the part of mankind to understand the nature of man is the basis of just about all religious error.

There are two extremes in the thinking of theologians concerning this matter. One: Is to spiritualize everything. Denying that anything is matter or material. Man just thinks it is so. This is Christian Science (?) Doctrine. Two: Is to materialize everything. That man is wholly mortal. Denies the spiritual nature of man. Carried to its logical conclusion, this doctrine, makes God just a glorified man. This is the basis of Mormonism. It is Materialism. It is a false way.

Determine the Nature of God and we will determine the nature of man, and be in a position to properly evaluate Christianity and accept its functions.

The Materialistic View Of God

"As man is, God once was: and as God is, man shall be:" "God has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man". These two statements serve as a basis of the Mormon religion. And in reality all materialists must accept this concept. If man is "wholly mortal", and at the same time made "in the image of God", it follows that God would have to be "wholly mortal". But let us examine some of the passages which are used to substantiate this theory.

(Gen. 1:26) "And God said, Let us make man in our own image." (Acts 17:29) "We are the offspring of God". While in the flesh Jesus said, "He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father." From these and similar passages the materialist will conclude that God is in form exactly like man. He will use the following passages to prove his conclusion. (Gen. 32:30) "Jacob said, I have seen God face to face." (Ex. 24:10) "And they saw the God of Israel." (Ex. 33:23) "And God said, and I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen" (Isa. 59:1) "The Lord's hand is not shortened neither his ear heavy..."

It is argued that man can see God. But can cannot see a Spirit. That God has a face, hands, ear, back parts, etc. And that man is made in the image of God and man is material therefore God is material as surely as is man.

I call your attention to some passages which prove that God is not flesh and bones.

Jno. 4:24, "God is a Spirit."

Lu. 24:39. "A Spirit hath not flesh and bones."

Therefore, God hath not flesh and bones.

Heb. 12:9. "God is the Father of Spirits."

Jno. 3:6. "That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit."

The spiritual man is the part of man that was created in "the image of God." The Materialists will ask what about these passages which says they saw God and he has a face, hands, and ears?

It will not avail anything to quote such passages as (1 Jno. 4:12) "No man hath seen God at any time." or (1 Tim. 1:17) which shows that he is the "invisible God".

They will want to know why these "contradictions" appear in the Bible.

To answer these objections and teach the truth on the nature of God we must show that God uses what is called Anthropomorphisms. This simply means attributing to Divinity the characteristics of humanity. Paul states this in (Rom. 1:18-22) Here Paul shows that God "manifested" himself, or made himself known by the things that are made. God simply used visible things in approaching man. God adapted himself to man's ability to comprehend. Paul says that man took these materialistic manifestations of God and made God like unto them. He plainly says that this is Idolatry. Paul thus indicts the Mormons as idolatrous people. They have made God like unto man.

I have often wondered why the Mormons take only the material attributes that please them. Why do they ignore such statements as "He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wing shalt thou trust" (Psm. 91:4) Since they insist that when the scriptures says that God has a face, hand, and ear that it means that God has these; why does it not likewise mean that He has feathers and wings when the Scriptures so states?

God could not possess a physical body and be everywhere. Yet the Bible teaches that God is present everywhere. (Psm. 139:7-10) (Jer. 23:24) "Do I not fill heaven and earth?" Let us avoid becoming idolatrous people. May we never attempt to make God in man's image.

Some one might ask, "What does Good look like?" I freely admit that I do not know what God looks like. And, furthermore, I am not too much concerned about the matter. I read that, "It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as He is. (I Jno. 3:2) (Not as we are now, but as He is.)

This proves that God or Christ is not now as man is because if it were so then it would have appeared what we should be. But since it has not yet appeared what we shall be and we shall be like Him as He is. It follows clear as day that He is not like that which appears (form like unto man). Also Paul says, "It is sown natural (material) body, it is raised a Spiritual body" (1 Cor. 15:44) Since we are to be raised a Spiritual body and shall appear as He is it is crystal clear that He is a Spiritual being. God has a Spiritual Body.

Man Is The Offspring Of God

Since this is true and God is a Spirit, it follows that His offspring must be spiritual. There is a part of man that is Spirit. This is the part of man that was created in the "Image of God." In order to avoid this the materialists have argued that "spirit" is "breath" of man. Let us see. There is a rule of grammar which allows the use of the definition of a word instead of the word itself and the sentence will still make good sense. (2 Cor. 7:1) . . . let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and breath." (I guess we should gargle Listerine or buy Clorets) But again, (Jno. 13:21) "When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in breath". (Do you suppose Jesus had Asthma?) Let us try once more (1 Peter 3:1-4)... even the ornament of a meek and quiet breath . . ." (Do you suppose this means that the Christians wife should not snore?) I think this takes care of their "breath" argument.

The Spirit Or Inner Man And The Material Or Outer Man

Paul very plainly sets this forth in (2 Cor. 4:16, 5:1-9) ". . . Though the outer man perish, the inner man is renewed..... (Rom. 7:22) "For I delight in the law of God after the inner man" (Eph. 3:16) "To be strengthened with might by His spirit in the inner man." Paul mentions "departing from the flesh". (Phil. 1:21-24) Peter talks about the "hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible" (I Peter 3:4) This is rendered "immortality" in (Rom. 2:7) Thus, the spirit of man, or the inner man is immortal. It is the "offspring of God." "God is the Father of Spirits." Since God is immortal so must His offspring be immortal. Speaking of those who lived before the flood, God said, "I will destroy them" (Gen 6:13) Peter says, "The world that then was, being overflowed with water perished." But Peter also says, that they are still in prison. (1 Peter 3:19) How could God have destroyed them and they perished and yet be in prison? It cannot be explained if man is "wholly mortal." But it is easy when we realize that man is both physical and spiritual. The body and the spirit. God did destroy the physical bodies of those people but their spirits are reserved in prison. There are many passages which show that the spirit of man lives on after death. (Luke 20:27-28, 1 Thess. 5:10, 2 Cor. 12:1; Rev. 6:9.)

God is interested in the salvation of the soul. (Matt. 16:26.) "What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" May we all strive to save our soul. (Jas. 1:21.) ". .. receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls." (1 Peter 1:22) "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth ...." We must receive the Word and Obey the Truth if we are to save our soul. God help us to cease to be materialistic and think more of the physical man than we do of the spiritual man. From the trend of many churches I fear that they have become materialistic because of the money spent for facilities to care for the physical man. And the programs designed to appeal to the delights of the physical man. I said in the beginning of this article that without proper understanding of the Nature of man and God, one could not have a true concept of Christianity; I fear that many of our brethren do not have a proper understanding of God and therefore do not understand the mission of the church.