What is Man?

How important are we? Really, how big a deal are human beings? That all depends on your worldview, doesn’t it?


If your worldview is one of naturalism, human beings are no more important than any other collection of physical matter in the universe. There is no way that an honest and consistent naturalist can call one stack of chemicals worth more than any other stack of chemicals. Thus, in that worldview, if it remains consistent, humans are worth exactly the same as a dog, a tree, a rock, or a cloud. Sure, we can do a different kind of work and show advanced thinking, but none of that is intrinsic value.


On the other hand, many people in the world come from a humanistic perspective. These have given themselves a high position in their estimation of worth. We look at our lives and we assume that we are the center of the universe. We determine that we have the right to shape our own lives, our own moralities, and our own version of what we will call truth. We say that all that fits our liking is good and all that opposes it is bad. We clamor for open-mindedness so long as the things others believe do not challenge our own morality.


But those who have a biblical worldview must see things differently. All throughout Scripture, those who know the God of the Bible understand that the Lord, he is the one who determines all that is true and right. God is the one who made us. God is the one who commands us. God is the one who determines morality. God is the one who lets us know what is our value. And all of creation around us is designed to show us the glory of God.


Psalm 8:3-4


3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,

4 what is man that you are mindful of him,

and the son of man that you care for him?


The psalmist in the verses above makes a proper judgment of himself as he looks at the universe around him. He sees the heavens. He looks at the sun, moon, and stars, and he realizes his smallness. The psalmist neither assumes himself to be the reason the universe exists nor does he assume himself to be a collection of randomly united chemicals. Instead, the psalmist sees the vastness of space, lets that remind him of the majesty of the Creator, and wonders aloud how God, in the midst of such a creation can still value mankind.


In that thought is the answer to any question of human value. We are worth something, not because of chemistry or function, but because God has valued us. The Lord has looked upon us and granted us worth. He created us for a purpose, and his purpose is what makes us special.


Thus, the naturalistic worldview is not true, for we have worth. The humanistic worldview is not true, for our worth is not self-determined. The proper worldview is a sense of awestruck humility as we realize that, in the midst of a massive and glorious and intricate universe, the Lord looks at us and cares.