The Doctrine of Man

By Norman Manzon




We believe that man was created in the image of God. Adam sinned and consequently experienced not only physical death but also spiritual death, which is separation from God. All human beings are born with a sinful, corrupted nature, and sin in thought, word, and deed. Man's state of sin has so infected his will that he is unable to choose God's provision of redemption in Messiah Yeshua without the work of the Holy Spirit in his understanding. (Genesis 1:26,27, 2:16,17, 3:6, 6:5; 8:21; Exodus 33:19; Psalm 14:1-3; Isaiah 53:6, 64:6; Jeremiah 17:9, 31:33; Mark 7:20-23; John 2:24,25, 3:3-5, 6:44; Romans 3:23, 5:12-19, 9:1-18; Ephesians 2:1-10)  *Full AMC Statement


Each of the four sentences in the Statement will serve as a major division in our study.

I. Statement Sentence 1: "We believe that man was created in the image of God."

A. "Man"

1. Why Not "Humanity"?

The AMC has chosen to entitle the above section of its beliefs statement, Man, a title with a plainly male connotation. This goes against the grain of many, particularly since there are perfectly acceptable synonyms, such as, Humanity or The Human Race. This is a social issue; but how does it stand in terms of biblical accuracy?


The issue revolves around the Hebrew word adam, which, until recently, was almost universally translated as man in Genesis 1:26, and Man or Adam in Genesis 5:2:


Genesis 1:26: And God said, Let Us make adam in Our image, after Our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea . . . . 


Genesis 5:2: He created them male and female, and blessed them. And He called their name Adam (Man) in the day when they were created.


In both scriptures, male and female corporately are called adam. In these and numerous other Hebrew scriptures, adam is used in reference to the entire human race.


Adam is also used often to refer to individual people when the designation of male or female is irrelevant to the thrust of the statement. For example, in Numbers 19:11, we read, He who touches the dead body of any man [Hebrew: adam] shall be unclean seven days. Of course, the statement does not just refer to the bodies of dead men, but of dead women, also.


Without a doubt, then, as far as English usage is concerned, adam may be translated humanity or the human race as well as man in Genesis 1:26, and humanity or the human race as well as man or adam in 5:2. However, a theological problem arises when people try to avoid or eliminate the translation man altogether.


2. What's the Problem?

The Hebrew word adam is used

  1. to designate or name the entire human race;
  2. to designate any individual in the human race;
  3. to distinguish the male from the female;
  4. as the first male's proper name.

The man and the woman were corporately called adam, and Adam was retained as the man's proper name when the woman's name was differentiated from the man's. This is understandable on at least two counts:

1. The man was created first, and then the woman was created from a part of the man.


21. And Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept. And He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh underneath. 22. And Jehovah God made the rib (which He had taken from the man) into a woman. And He brought her to the man.

~ Genesis 2:21-22 ~


2. Because the man was the source of the woman, the man, not the woman, is viewed by God as the federal or representative head of the human race. This is seen in at least two ways: Even though it was Eve who was the first to sin,

  1. judgment did not fall until after Adam sinned (Genesis 3:6-7); and
  2. death came upon the race via Adam's sin, not Eve's: For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:22).

To sum up:

  1. God created the first human to be a man, not a woman.
  2. The man was the source of the woman.
  3. Therefore,
    a. adam is the word used to designate the entire human race;
    b. Adam was retained as the proper name of the male when the names of the male and the female became differentiated;
    c. The first man, Adam, is viewed as the theological head of the human race.

It is clear, then, that God wants the human race to be viewed as proceeding from, theologically headed up by, and represented by Adam, the male. This has nothing to do with male chauvinism or abuse or suppression or lack of respect or appreciation or love of the female in any form, but with the order that God established; and in this day and age in which the enemy of our souls seeks to blur, and even erase, the distinctions between male and female, and has virtually destroyed the concept of male headship in the family in much of the Western church and in other parts of the world, the spiritual attack against the use of man in reference to the human race must be resisted.


Man is a perfectly legitimate way of referring to the human race, and conveys a biblical truth that must be supported and strengthened in the thinking of many.

B. "Man was Created."

Adam and Eve were created by direct acts of God, not by any evolutionary process. (For a refutation of the Evolutionary Fantasy, see Section II E of the author's Evidence study.) Two major differences between the Evolutionary Fantasy and the creation account are:

  1. Evolution requires uncountable intermediary stages, but Genesis 2:7 says, And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
  2. According to evolutionists, the evolution of man from dust would require hundreds of millions of years; but according to Scripture, God created Adam within the confines of one literal 24-hour day. Gen 1:27: And God created man in His image . . . . 31. . . And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

The Hebrew for the sixth day is yom ha-shishi (literally, day the sixth).


Dr. Fruchtenbaum writes, "The word yom or "day" by itself can refer to a long period of time, in fact, more than twenty-four hours . . . . However, when the word yom is used with a numeral, it can mean only twenty-four hours.... [T]he numeral following the word yom automatically limits the time period to twenty-four hours, a literal day. One would need to read evolutionary hypothesis into the text to interpret it as a longer period of time. The additional phrase evening and morning merely re-emphasizes the fact that this is limited to twenty-four hours." (Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Arnold G. Radio Manuscript # 186, "The Seven Days of Creation," San Antonio: Ariel Ministries Press. Pp. 14-15.)


Man was created 1. directly from the dust of the ground, and 2. within the confines of one literal twenty-four hour day - two facts that render evolution a falsehood. Furthermore, there is no indication in Scripture that the creation account is to be interpreted any way other than literally.


To round out the picture of the creation of man, God created the man to be a bipartite being, that is, having a body and a soul. Genesis 2:7: And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

C. "Man Was Created in the Image of God"

1. Image and Likeness

Genesis 1:26-27. 26. And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness . . . . 27. And God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him. He created them male and female.


God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness. The question arises as to what the difference is between image and likeness.


The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (God, Image of) states, "In Genesis 1:26, Genesis 1:27, the truth is declared that God created man in His own 'image' (celem), after His 'likeness' (demuth). The two ideas denote the same thing - resemblance to God."


Strong's Concordance also gives resemblance as a common definition of the two words.


The Hebrew words for image and likeness, then, each have as their root meaning the idea of resemblance, and mean virtually the same thing. Note that in Genesis 1:26, image and likeness are used, and in the very next verse just image is used. Image and likeness appear to be used interchangeably in Scripture, and when they are paired together as in 1:26, it is simply for emphasis.


2. Was Man's Body and Spirit Created in the Image of God?

We've seen that God created man a bipartite being with a material component called a body and an immaterial component designated in Scripture as soul or spirit. (There is much overlap and interchange in the use of the two terms.) Now, God is a Spirit (John 4:24), and does not have a material part. It therefore stands to reason that it is in the realm of spirit, not body, that man was made in the image of God.


To summarize, thus far,

  1. Image and likeness each convey the idea of resemblance.
  2. God created man's spirit, not man's body, in His image and likeness.

To put the two together, God created man's spirit to resemble His own. It must be pointed out, however, that the resemblance goes only so far. God exists from eternity past, is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent, and man never has and never will resemble God in these ways.


3. How, Then, Does Man's Spirit Resemble God's?

Though the human spirit is separate and distinct from God's, it is in the realm of spirit that man shares common ground with God. But animals have spirits (Ecclesiastes 3:21), and angels are spirits; yet Scripture never indicates that either of them was created in the image of God. There are also other features that animals, angels and man have in common with God, yet it is only man who is said to have been created in the image of God.


What feature or features, then, does man have in common with God that renders him alone created in God's image? Let us do a study of key features of spirit and see how they distribute across the four classes of beings that either are spirit or have a spirit. We'll discuss them and then chart them out.


4. Distribution of Key Features of Spirit Across the Classes of Beings that Are Spirit or Have a Spirit

  • Life. All beings with spirits possess life.
  • Emotions. It's obvious that some of the more complex forms of animals exhibit emotions. Dogs, for example, exhibit a wide variety of emotions. Angels, men and God exhibit emotions as well.
  • Instinct. "Instinct" is defined in different and conflicting ways. It seems to me, however, that the most common understanding of "instinct" is that it is an innate, irresistible impulse that results in behavior that serves to satisfy fundamental biological needs, such as, the attainment of food and the procreation and protection of offspring. Some say that humans have instincts, but we, among earthly creatures, have the ability to override the deepest of biological drives. For the purposes of this study I think it best to stick with the strictly "mechanical" and irresistible definition of "instinct." According to this definition, animals alone, among all living beings, possess instinct.
  • Will. Animals may seem to possess a will, but they do not: They possess instinct. Persons possess a will, which Webster defines as the faculty or power of conscious, esp. of deliberate action. The conscious and deliberative faculties of will differ radically from the automatic impulses of instinct. Angels, men and God possess wills, but animals do not.
  • Intellect. Whereas animals are said to have varying degrees of intelligence, their intelligence does not rise to the level of intellect, which is the capability of dealing with concepts in the abstract. Animals do not possess intellect, but angels, men and God do.
  • Future Eternality. The spirits of animals are never said to have future eternality, but the spirits of angels and men are; and God who is Spirit, has future eternality.
  • Moral Choice. Inasmuch as animals function solely by instinct and not will, and are not endowed with intellect, they do not have the capacity to make choices based on moral convictions. God, of course, has this capacity, and men and angels were created with this capacity.
  • Capacity to Engage in Worship. Animals do not have the capacity for worship. Angels and men have the capacity to offer worship, and God has the capacity to receive worship.
  • Capacity for Communion or Fellowship in the Holy Spirit. Animals do not have the capacity for fellowship in the Holy Spirit either with God or with each other; and although angels appreciate the works of God (Job 38:7), and were created with the capacity to worship Him and are called sons of God as are men (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:6-7), Scripture never intimates that they have ever entered into communion or fellowship with God or with each other, or were intended to. Harmony with God, yes; but not fellowship with Him. Worship of God, yes; but not fellowship with Him. Not so with man. John 17:3 speaks of fellowship between believers and God, and 1 John 1:7 of fellowship among the saints. In John 17:3, Jesus prayed that those whom God had given Him would know intimate spiritual communion with the Father and with Him: that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent (John 17:3). The Greek word for know here is the same word used in Matthew 1:25 of the intimate conjugal union that Joseph entered into with Mary after she had borne Jesus. In 1 John 1:7, John says, But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another . . . .
Let's see visually how the above attributes of spirit sort out among the four classes of beings that either have spirits or are spirits:

At least some animals

INTELLECT Intelligence, but not to the level of intellect X X X


Only one creature was created with the capacity for communion or fellowship in the Spirit, and only one creature was said to have been created in the image of God: man. Man's capacity or potential for fellowship in the Spirit is a reflection of the divine image in that God, who is Spirit, is capable of intimate fellowship.


It seems conclusive that the distinguishing feature that renders man, alone among creatures, created in the image of God is his capacity for intimate communion or fellowship in the Spirit.


5. The Purpose of the Image of God in Man

Not so coincidentally, as we have seen in John 17:3, the actual knowing of God in communion of the Spirit is the very essence of eternal life. That bears repeating: The actual knowing of God in communion of the Spirit is the very essence of eternal life. Therefore, although Scripture does not succinctly declare it, it certainly does seem that God created man in His image and likeness so that we might know Him for eternity in that holy and blessed state called eternal life.


It is because of man's capacity or potential to know God and one another in eternal intimate spiritual communion that God sent Messiah to die for his sins (John 3:16); and it is as man enters into Christ at salvation, who is the uncorrupted image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15), that his capacity for intimate communion with God and other believers is activated and realized, having been renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him (Colossians 3:10).

II. Statement Sentence 2: "Adam sinned and consequently experienced not only physical death but also spiritual death, which is separation from God."

A. "Adam Sinned"

The sin of Adam consisted of breaking a direct command of God. God forbade Adam to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and he ate (Genesis 2:16-17; 3:6).

B. "and consequently experienced not only physical death but also spiritual death, which is separation from God."

1. Physical Death

One consequence of Adam's sin was that he and the entire human race (with the exception of Enoch and Elijah and those to be raptured) were to experience physical death. God pronounced this curse upon Adam in Genesis 3:19: For dust thou art, and to dust you shall return.


That he would have lived forever had he not sinned is brought out by the fact that God drove him out of the Garden so that he would not partake of the Tree of Life (Genesis 3:22-24), lest he . . . eat, and live forever (v. 22).


That Adam's sin is the root cause of all human physical death is brought out in Romans 5:12: Therefore, even as through one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed on all men inasmuch as all sinned, and also in 1 Corinthians 15:22: For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all will be made alive. (It is true that Eve was the first to sin [Genesis 3:6]; but death passed to the human race through Adam because he, the man, is the ordained head of the human race as can be seen by his primacy in creation [Genesis 2:9], by God's creating the woman to be his helper [2:18, 21-22] and by the fact that God gave him, not the woman, the task of naming the animals [2:19-20].)


2. Spiritual Death

Another consequence of Adam's sin was spiritual death, the separation of man's spirit from God in the context of time (as opposed to eternity, when spiritual death takes on the aspect of eternity after physical death, and is called eternal death).


What characterizes spiritual death is the absolute absence of fellowship with God. God warned Adam that this would happen in the day that he sinned: Genesis 2:16-17: 16. And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, You may freely eat of every tree in the garden, 17. but you shall not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. For in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. Adam did not die physically on the day that he sinned, but he did experience a terrifying breaking of communion with God:


6. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7. And the eyes of both of them were opened. And they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made girdles for themselves. 8. And they heard the voice of Jehovah God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. And Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Jehovah God in the middle of the trees of the garden.

~ Genesis 3:6-8 ~


The fact that spiritual death came upon the entire human race is seen by the fact that not only Adam, but Eve, as well, went into hiding from God. It is also brought out in Ephesians 2:1, in which Paul referred to the previously unsaved Ephesians as having been dead in trespasses and sins.

III. Statement Sentence 3: "All human beings are born with a sinful, corrupted nature, and sin in thought, word, and deed."

A. What is Sin

Sin is not a physical or spiritual substance or any other kind of substance. Sin is any spiritual condition, thought, word or deed that is contrary to the moral perfection of God.

B. "All human beings are born with a sinful, corrupted nature"

Some of the clearest statements in Scripture to this effect are:

  • Jeremiah 17:9: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
  • In Romans 7:23, Paul speaks of the law of sin being in my members.
  • In Ephesians 2:3, he spoke of the lusts of the flesh, and of fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the thoughts.
  • Galatians 5:19-21: Now the works of the flesh are clearly revealed, which are: adultery, fornication . . . hatreds . . . jealousies . . . .


Jeremiah 17:9 locates the sin nature in the immaterial part of man, and many translations of Romans 7:23, including the Analytical-Literal Translation, render members as body parts, indicating that the sin nature seeks to exercise control over the entirety of man's body.


In regards to Galatians 5:19, Albert Barnes comments, "It is evident here that the word σὰρξ sarx, 'flesh,' is used to denote corrupt human nature, and not merely the body; since many of the vices here enumerated are the passions of the mind or the soul, rather than of the body." (Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible).


Psalm 51:5 indicates that man has the sin nature from the very moment of conception. King David declared, Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.


Though the scriptures immediately following have a different focus, there are elements in them that also reinforce the points made herein.

C. "and sin in thought, word, and deed."

This statement is true of the believer as well as the unbeliever as the sin nature is retained in the believer even until death. In Romans 7, it is Paul the believer who speaks of the law of sin being in my members (v. 23). The believer has been given power over the sin nature, but he retains the sin nature, nevertheless.


The scriptures in the preceding section focus on the sin nature itself. The following scriptures are among the many that focus on the outworking of the sin nature in man's thoughts, words and deeds.


1. All Humanity Sins

Psalm 14:2: Jehovah looked down from Heaven on the sons of men, to see if there were any who understood and sought God. 3. All have gone aside, together they are filthy; there is none who does good, no, not one.


Romans 2:1: Therefore you are without excuse, O man, everyone who judges; for in that in which you judge another, you condemn yourself, for you who judge do the same things.


Romans 3:9: we have before charged both Jews and Greeks all with being under sin.


Romans 3:23: all have sinned . . . .


2. All Jews Sin

Isaiah 53:6: All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, each one to his own way; and Jehovah has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.


Isaiah 64:6: But we are all as the unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as a menstruation cloth.


3. All Gentiles Sin

Romans 1:21: Because, knowing God, they did not glorify Him as God, neither were thankful. But they became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 


4. All Christians Sin

John said to believers, If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8)


One Christian group that the author is aware of has declared that Christians are free of outward sin; but Scripture declares differently. All people sin, whether Jew or Gentile, whether Christian or non-Christian.


5. All Sin in Thought, Word and Deed

Romans 3:9-10: 9. for we have before charged both Jews and Greeks all with being under sin, 10. as it is written: "There is none righteous, no not one; 11. there is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God."

IV. Statement Sentence 4: "Man's state of sin has so infected his will that he is unable to choose God's provision of redemption in Messiah Yeshua without the work of the Holy Spirit in his understanding."

In Romans 7:18-24, Paul places himself in the hypothetical position of one who attempts to satisfy the righteous requirements of God's Law through the power of his will apart from the Spirit of God:


18. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwells no good thing. For to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I do not find. 19. For I do not do the good that I desire; but the evil which I do not will, that I do. 20. But if I do what I do not desire, it is no more I working it out, but sin dwelling in me. 21. I find then a law: when I will to do the right, evil is present with me. 22. For I delight in the Law of God according to the inward man; 23. but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin being in my members. 24. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

~ Romans 7:18 ~


In reference to the sin nature, he says, in my flesh dwells no good thing (v. 18), and that because of the sin nature he is unable to perform any act that is pure and righteous: For I do not do the good that I desire; but the evil which I do not will, that I do (v. 19). By extrapolation, because of the sin nature, no man is able to perform the righteous act of choosing God's provision of redemption in Messiah Yeshua through the unaided power of his own will.


In verse 24, Paul laments his pitiable condition: O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? He then answers His question in Romans 8:2: But the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.


It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that one may rise in victory over the sin nature and choose God's provision of redemption in Messiah.


That is why Jesus said to Nicodemus, (John 3:5-6) 5. Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.


And again, in Titus 3:5-6: 5. not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6. whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior . . . .


Salvation is solely by means of the Spirit of God, and not by any effort that we can exert. It is the Spirit of God that fills our hearts with the faith to believe in Messiah and to choose God's provision of redemption in Him:


8. For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: 9. not of works . . . . (Ephesians 2:8-9).


And choose we must, as is implied in the exhortation, believe the Gospel (Mark 1:15).


But as many as received Him, He gave to them authority to become the children of God, to those who believe on His name . . . . (John 1:12).

* If you were blessed by this study, please consider linking to it. Thank you. * 


                           ~ DONATE ~            ~ HOME & LIBRARY ~          ~ TRANSLATE? ~

                              Scriptures used by the author are generally in the New King James or New American Standard translations.
                             Scriptures in quotations by Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum are in the American Standard Version.
                                 Scriptures quoted by others may be in other translations.


                            ~      ~      ~

Bible Study Project is currently seeking 501(c)3 status at which time
it will resume issuing tax deductible receipts for U.S. donors.
However, donations are still much needed, particularly for
the sponsorship of BSP literature in foreign languages,
and would be much appreciated! 
Please pray about this.
Thank you.


© Norman Manzon 2011 - 2023
All rights reserved.


Copying and Republication Guidelines