What Is Man?

Volume I, Issue 1

“What is man that thou are mindful of him?” asked the Psalmist.

In Calvin’s Catechism of 1538, John Calvin writes concerning the Biblical teaching of man:

“Man was first formed to God’s image and likeness, that in his adornments, with which he had been resplendently clothed by God, he might look up to their Author and might worship him with fitting gratitude. But since, relying on the very great excellence of his own nature, and forgetting its origin and ground, he tried to elevate himself beyond the Lord, he had to be deprived of all God’s benefits on which he was stupidly priding himself, so that stripped and bare of all glory, he might recognize God whom he, rich in bounty, had dared despise.”

“Therefore, all we who take our origin from Adam’s seed, when God’s likeness is wiped out, are born flesh from flesh. For although we consist of soul and body, we savor of nothing but flesh. Consequently, whatever way we turn our eyes, we can see nothing but what is impure, profane and abominable to God. For man’s prudence, blind and entangled in limitless errors, ever wars against God’s wisdom. Our depraved will, stuffed with corrupt feelings, hates nothing more than his righteousness. Our strength, weakened for every good work, madly dashes off to wickedness.”

From ‘Calvin’s First Catechism, A Commentary’, by I. John Hesselink, Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1997, pg. 9.

Thank God for God’s grace who did not leave us in an estate of sin and misery but sent Christ as man to redeem us from this estate!