The pressures and problems of modern living are driving many people to a restless search for meaning and purpose in life. We have seen something of who God is; what about us? Why do we exist? Why are we here? Does human life have any meaning or purpose? The first thing to get clear is that man does not merely ‘exist’. He is more than an accidental accumulation of atoms which all happen to fit together into a convenient package we call ‘a human being’. The Bible tells us that he was specifically created by a wise and holy God. God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27). Man is more than a highly developed animal or refined ape. He is as different from other creatures as animals are from vegetables and vegetables are from minerals. In terms of size, man is minute compared with the sun, moon and stars, but God has given him a unique and honoured place in the universe.
This is seen in one of God’s first commands to man: Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground (Genesis 1:28). Man became God’s personal representative on earth, with authority over all other living creatures.
But man was also given special dignity. Being created ‘in the image of God’ does not mean that he was made the same size or shape as God (we have seen that God does not have ‘size’ or ‘shape’) nor that man was a miniature of God, possessing all his qualities in small quantities. It means that man was created as a spiritual, rational moral and immortal being, with a nature that was perfect. In other words he was a true reflection of God’s holy character.
What is more; man gladly and constantly chose to obey all God’s commands and as a result lived in perfect harmony with him. Man had no ‘identity crisis’ then! He knew exactly who he was and why he was in the world, and he obediently took his God given place.
But not only was man totally fulfilled and completely satisfied with his position in the world. God was satisfied with man! We know this because the Bible tells us that when his work of creation was complete, with man as its crowning glory, God saw all that he had made, and it was very good (Genesis 1:31). At that point in history; perfect people lived in a perfect environment in a perfect relationship with each other and in perfect harmony with God. This is hardly the situation today! What happened?