The Glory, Dignity and Dislocation of Man (with some signposts to Man's Healing)

Updated: 6 Sep 2008

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The Glory, Dignity and Dislocation of Man (with some signposts to Man's Healing)

Genesis Chapter 1:1-5, 26-31, Chapter 2:4-9, 15-25, Chapter 3:1-8


Myth? - 2 meanings

  1. a sacred story of the origin of universe and mankind
  2. a fictitious story, believed by many - but it never really happened.

    Need to be careful which meaning we are using. Eg, "urban myth" ("you only use 10% of your brain" or "you can run your car on water" - BOTH WRONG!) is the 2nd meaning. Now just about every culture has its Creation myth (Greek, Chinese, Jewish-Christian, Norse, etc.) & how are we to understand them?

Greek Myths

Eros makes everything from the Egg of Night, from chaos. Later, lesser gods made man from clay, and Eros breathes life into them. Sound familiar? Or Pandora, the woman who opened the forbidden box and released all evil into the world (yet even here, there was Hope, the last thing to be let out of the box). Sound familiar?

Chinese Myths

Pang-Gu the first, in a cosmic egg, with all elements intermixed. Separated earth & sky, wet & dry, male & female, light & dark, Yin & Yang. His exploding body formed everything else, and his fleas became the people of earth! Sound familiar? "Pan-gu." from Wikipedia. Or Huang-Di, who created man of earth, and waited for world's breath to bring them to life. Or Nu-gua, the goddess who made men of mud. Sound familiar?

Norse Myths

Odin and his brother gods made the world from the dead body of Ymir, the primordial giant. One day, Odin, Hoenir and Lodur were travelling across the barren earth and came across two trees with life-less twisted trunks. Odin shaped each of the trees into a man and a woman, and gave each of them breath. Hoenir gave them a soul and the ability to reason. Lodur gave them warmth and the fresh colours of life. The man was called Ask and his wife was Embla, and they proceeded to create the race of men.

Parallels with Genesis are striking

(though of course there are many differences)

Why more than one account of creation? Which is correct? Why say "Genesis is the true one"? The true account of which the others are but corrupted copies?

A panoramic look at the first chapters of Genesis (like from a mountain look-out) - the good, the bad and the ugly.

Chapter 1

Light from Dark
Land from Water
Living from Non-living
Animals from Plants
Man from Animals ("Let us make man in our image") love... ...and communicate

Chapter 2

In God's Image
Man is like God yet unlike God
Able to know, love & communicate Truly, yet not fully
Creative Yet must use what God has made
With real freedom to choose Yet with boundaries "you shall not" v17
The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil

Chapter 3

Horrible Results
They are afraid of God now (v10) They are afraid of self - "they knew that they were naked" v7 They blame each other - v12 They must labour, suffer pain, and finally die (v16-19)
spiritually dislocated psychologically dislocated - they knew shame sociologically dislocated physically dislocated
lost communication with Love himself and gained real guilt. who now has unbroken peace of mind? No one is wholly true to themselves. and see its horrible development in ch. 4 - hatred, murder and violence - right up to now - right where we live. It's not bad government; it's not bad education; it's mankind gone bad weeds, pain, death, the very earth cursed
"The curse is come upon me..."
the image shattered...
Thank God, his image is still there, though rusted & dirty. Man is still worth something, He is still great (eg, art, science, discovery)

Signposts to Healing (there is hope!)

The final answers to our spiritual, psychological, sociological and physical dislocation.


History in two Verses

  In Eden, sad indeed that day,
  My countless blessings fled away;
  My crown fell in disgrace.
  But on victorious Calvary
  That crown was won again for me;
  My life shall all be praise.
  Faith, see the place and see the tree,
  Where Heaven's Prince instead of me
  Was nailed to bear my shame.
  Bruised was the dragon by the Son;
  Though two had wounds there conquered One,
  And Jesus was His name.
  (William Williams, Pantycelyn,1717-1791, "the sweet singer of Wales")

Honour and Shame

"'You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,' said Aslan. `And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth.'" --- C.S.Lewis - Prince Caspian, ch. 15

The Joy of Obeying

"Where can you taste the joy of obeying unless He bids you do something for which His bidding is the only reason?" --- C.S.Lewis - Perelandra, ch. 9

Plagued by the Question

"Modern man is deeply plagued by the question, `Where do love and communication come from?' Many artists who pour themselves out in their paintings, who paint bleak messages on canvas, many singers, many poets and dramatists are expressing the blackness of the fact that while everything hangs on love and communication, they don't know where these come from and they don't know what they mean. The biblical answer is quite otherwise: something was there before creation. God was there; love and communication were there; and therefore, prior even to Genesis 1:1, love and communication are intrinsic to what has always been." --- Genesis in Space and Time - Francis A Schaeffer p12

Man's Mannishness

"But there is one thing that he did not lose, his `mannishness', his being a human being. Man still stands in the image of God - twisted, broken, abnormal, but still the image-bearer of God. Man did not stop being human. ... Modern man does not see man as fallen, but he can find no significance for man. In the Bible's teaching man is fallen but significant." --- Genesis in Space and Time - Francis A Schaeffer p70, 71

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