What Is Man?


Where is the significance in anything? The honest existentialist wishes he knew the answer to the questions, “What is man?” and “Who cares about me?”

Psalm 8:4-8  

If one looks at life only through natural eyes, discouragement can set in quickly. Like a creeping fog, feelings of isolation and insignificance can overtake even the most centered and grounded of human beings. From feelings of despair, and through the eyes of naturalists, arose the philosophy of existentialism. Sounding positive at first—a focus on the uniqueness of the individual in a huge universe—existentialism quickly devolves into a “Why does it matter?” view of life. If man is so unique that he is totally unconnected and isolated, adrift in a sea of equally unique but unconnected humans, then where is the significance in that? Where is the significance in anything? The honest existentialist wishes he knew the answer to the questions, “What is man?” and “Who cares about me?”

Another deep thinker asked that question several millennia ago—and immediately discovered the answer. Actually, because he was a man who looked at life predominantly through spiritual eyes, he asked the question rhetorically. He already knew the answer, but he asked and answered as a form of praise to God. Yet in David’s words of praise we find the stark facts about the isolation—or the significance—of man, depending on one’s view. Verse 3 of Psalm 8 sets the stage: the universe is so vast, the planets so huge, the stars so numerous, what possible significance could man have in the scheme of things? It’s an excellent question, one every believer should ask and learn to answer. The existentialist’s answer is simple: None; no significance. The Biblicist’s answer is also simple: Plenty; man is the direct object of God’s thoughts and care (verse 4). Man’s true identity is rooted in the fact that, though among the smallest of God’s created objects, man is the only one created in God’s image. That’s it—immediate significance forever.

Humankind is the only of God’s “kinds” with which he chooses to be intimate. God’s mind (thoughts) and heart (care) are continually directed toward his human creation. Feeling isolated and insignificant lately? Go out tonight, look at the heavens, and then remember: God’s thoughts and care bypass the heavens to get to you.

God’s Promise to You: “It is right for you to know my thoughts and need my care.”


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