One of the most profound of questions is the one posed by the Psalm, “What is man?” [Psalm 8:4].  Mankind stands alone in this world.  We share this earth with innumerable plants, animals, birds and fish, but man is truly unique – one of a kind.

     He is unique in his existence.  In the sea and rivers are fish innumerable, some plain, some complex, some tiny, some huge, but they are all varieties of fish.  The same is true of the animals and birds. But man stands alone.  He may have differences but not, for example, like a minnow and a shark.

     He is unique in his faculties.  The rest of creatures live by God-given instinct.  We do, too, but we also have the power of reason.  Man can reason logically or illogically.  He has eyes to appreciate beauty, ears to enjoy music, and a mouth to speak (he has no natural sound like a dog or cat).  He has hands to labour and create, a brain to reason, and a heart to love or hate.

     He is unique in his works.  We share this planet with a multitude of living creatures.  Apart from an occasional trail or burrow, they leave little evidence of their presence.  Not so with humankind.  We build cities, roads, factories etc.  The landscape is marred by his presence.  The water is contaminated, the ground poisoned, the air polluted, chemically and morally with planes and TV waves etc.

     He is unique in his actions.  No animal seeks world domination.  They have no conspiracies, crusades or wars.  They do not make weapons of mass destruction, swords, knives, guns and bombs.  It is a wonder that God does not blast the world into oblivion, but He is a God of Love.  “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16].


     Humankind was made from the dust of the earth in “the image of God” [Genesis 1:27].  His body is from earth, but his soul reaches to heaven.

     With the creation of the animal kingdom, God spake, and each one was made “after his kind” [Genesis 1:25].  But man was made after divine consultation within the Trinity. “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” [Gen. 1:26]. Man is a masterpiece of God’s creative ability.

Take, for example, the human brain.  At about three pounds weight, it is “the most orderly and complex arrangement of matter in the universe.”  One cubic inch of it contains 100 million nerve cells interconnected by 100,000 miles of fibres with 120 trillion connections.  Well did the Psalmist exclaim, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” [Psalm 139:14].


     A problem arises.  When the Psalmist asks, “What is man?” he uses the word “enosh.”  This is not a man in his strength but a mere, miserable, mortal man.  How weak he is!  The earth rumbles, and his buildings fall.  The wind blows, and his ships sink.  The seeds of pestilence are in the air, and man takes ill.  He may not think it, but he is not very strong.

     God made humankind and gave them a set of laws – an instruction manual to guide their behaviour.  But sadly, we have all broken his laws. Why?  Because there is a devil.  He cannot make you sin any more than a fisherman can force a fish to take his lure. But he sure can make it attractive!

     The result? “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”  [Rom 3:23].  Poor fallen man “walking according to the course of this world” [Ephesians 2:2].  So great, so dignified, yet so depraved, he has become the plaything of the devil. The only hope he has is in Christ. “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”  [Romans 10:13].