Questions that Get to the Heart of Life

computer-tomography-62942_1920In his book, Seeing with New Eyes, David Powilson offers some very helpful diagnostic questions to uncover the ways we find life and significance apart from God.

On these questions, called “X-Ray Questions”,  Powilson writes

“The questions aim to help people identify the ungodly masters that occupy positions of authority in their heart. These questions reveal ‘functional gods,’ what or who actually controls their particular actions, thoughts, emotions, attitudes, memories, and anticipations.”

Consider these questions as a way to get to the bottom of your heart, to identify and confess the sin and “functional gods” you might be looking to for life, worth, and significance, but more than that, to be at the point where you come to the end of yourself and find the loving, grace-filled arms of God meeting you in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I would suggest using these as part of a daily, weekly, or monthly review of where you are in relationship to your goals and aspirations for your devotional life and walk with God.

1. What do you love? Hate?

2. What do you want, desire, crave, lust, and wish for? What desires do you serve and obey?

3. What do you seek, aim for, and pursue?

4. Where do you bank your hopes?

5. What do you fear? What do you not want? What do you tend to worry about?

6. What do you feel like doing?

7. What do you think you need? What are your ‘felt needs’?

8. What are your plans, agendas, strategies, and intentions designed to accomplish?

9. What makes you tick? What sun does your planet revolve around? What do you organize your life around?

10. Where do you find refuge, safety, comfort, escape, pleasure, security?

11. What or whom do you trust?

12. Whose performance matters? On whose shoulders does the well-being of your world rest? Who can make it better, make it work, make it safe, make it successful?

13. Whom must you please? Whose opinion of you counts? From whom do you desire approval and fear rejection? Whose value system do you measure yourself against? In whose eyes are you living? Whose love and approval do you need?

14. Who are your role models? What kind of person do you think you ought to be or want to be?

15. On your deathbed, what would sum up your life as worthwhile? What gives your life meaning?

16. How do you define and weigh success and failure, right or wrong, desirable or undesirable, in any particular situation?

17. What would make you feel rich, secure, prosperous? What must you get to make life sing?

18. What would bring you the greatest pleasure, happiness, and delight? The greatest pain or misery?

19. Whose coming into political power would make everything better?

20. Whose victory or success would make your life happy? How do you define victory and success?

21. What do you see as your rights? What do you feel entitled to?

22. In what situations do you feel pressured or tense? Confident and relaxed? When you are pressured, where do you turn? What do you think about? What are your escapes? What do you escape from?

23. What do you want to get out of life? What payoff do you seek out of the things you do?

24. What do you pray for?

25. What do you think about most often? What preoccupies or obsesses you? In the morning, to what does your mind drift instinctively?

26. What do you talk about? What is important to you? What attitudes do you communicate?

27. How do you spend your time? What are your priorities?

28. What are your characteristic fantasies, either pleasurable or fearful? Daydreams? What do your night dreams revolve around?

29. What are the functional beliefs that control how you interpret your life and determine how you act?

30. What are your idols and false gods? In what do you place your trust, or set your hopes? What do you turn to or seek? Where do you take refuge?

31. How do you live for yourself?

32. How do you live as a slave of the devil?

33. How do you implicitly say , ‘If only…’ (to get what you want, avoid what you don’t want, keep what you have)?

34. What instinctively seems and feels right to you? What are your opinions, the things you feel true?

35. Where do you find your identity? How do you define who you are?

Gospel within the Gospel

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In preparation for our upcoming sermon series at Christ Church Mansfield on Luke 15 I came across this magnificent quote, explaining how to read and understand the parables of Jesus, from Kenneth Bailey.

A parable is not a delivery system for an idea.  It is not like a shell casing that can be discarded once the idea (the shell) is fired.  Rather a parable is a house in which the reader or listener is invited to take up residence.  The reader is encouraged to look out on the world from the point of view of the story.  A “house” has a variety of windows and rooms. Thus the parable may have one primary idea with other secondary ideas encased within it.   It may have a cluster of theological themes held together by the story.  Naturally the interpreter should only look for the themes that were available to the first century audience listening to Jesus.  What themes are set forth in this marvelous “Gospel within the Gospel” as it has been called for centuries?” Kenneth Bailey, The Cross and the Prodigal, p. 87

The Very Natural Gospel

Jesus Healing Work – Restoring the World Back to Normal Again

In my reading and studying for our sermon series on the Gospel of Mark at Christ Presbyterian Church in Mansfield, (You can check it out for yourself if you want: The Way of Paradox: Following the Right-Side Up King in an Upside-Down World) I keep coming across great quotes and ways of expressing an unavoidable theme – that the miracles of Jesus are not the suspension of the natural order, but the reversal of the unnatural order back to what should be natural wholeness, health and restoration.

Here’s one from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible on Mark 7:31-8:26

“When Jesus heals people such as this deaf man, we tend to view these miracles in the Gospels as interruptions of the natural order. Yet given the promises of the Old Testament to restore the world to the way it was at the very beginning, miracles are not an interruption of the natural order but the restoration of the natural order. We are so used to a fallen world that sickness, disease, pain, and death seem natural. In fact, they are the interruption. Jesus’ supernatural miracles are a return to the truly natural.”

Tell me, is this how you read and understand the miracles in the Bible? If not, why not?

If this way of thinking is new to you, I’d love to know and hear what thoughts or questions you may have. Take 30 seconds, leave a comment and let’s talk about it.

Make the Most of Bible Reading for 2015

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It’s a New Year, and I’m willing to bet many of us have made it a goal (or a resolution) to read more. For those of us who call ourselves Christians, at least one of these books is probably the Bible.

This is good, and important. The great 20th century theologian, J.C. Ryle said, “‘True Christians delight to read the Scriptures, because they tell them about their beloved Savior.”

We should read the Bible to be able to know and delight in our Savior, Jesus Christ. We also need to read it to know how to live as God’s people in God’s world.

And if you’re like me, and have tried to read through the Bible, you probably have more examples of failures and frustrations than successes. Now over the years, I have read through the Bible. I have taken time to study it, on my own and at seminary. But it is still a challenge to make my way through a regular and disciplined approach to reading the Bible.

This year, I have created a system to help get myself, and our church – Christ Presbyterian Church in Mansfield, TX – along with anyone from our wider community – both online and in Mansfield, TX – to hit the New Year strong with a quick “win”.

We are reading through the entire Bible in 32 days. Think we’re crazy? Probably. But here’s what this means.

We have taken the most significant chapters and episodes throughout the Bible, and singled them out in a 32 Day Reading Plan, so that in just over one month, we can not only create the habit of regular Bible reading and meditation, but also cover the entirety of the storyline of Scripture, from beginning to end.

Below you can find the links to the resources we are using to helps us get through this goal. Once we finish, we will then look at other ways to continue the new habit of reading Scripture – whether it’s utilizing a “Read through the Bible – Old Testament and New Testament in a Year” type plan, or simple “Read the Bible Book by Book” (both available through the Bible App from Youversion).

Let me also encourage you to find some partners in your goal of reading through the Bible. Whether it’s available through your church home, or simply done with some friends, get with one or two others and share what you are reading, learning and how you are applying the Word of God in your life? If you need help with this, and you are in the area, we’d love to help you at Christ Presbyterian Church (email us at info@cpcmansfield.org).

You can also do this online, by using the hashtag #grow2015 and our @cpcmansfield address on Twitter and Facebook, and we’d love to interact with you, engaging your thoughts, insights and questions as you read with the rest of us.

Let’s read the Bible to know, see and savor our Savior, Jesus Christ, and grow in what it means to live as His people in His world, together.

For the 32 Day Bible Reading and Prayer Guide, and Questions to Ask resources, go to http://cpcmansfield.org/#/resources.

To see my example of putting the questions into practice, click https://www.evernote.com/l/AAOfENoBpAhGBZKhaHWjYyDLsDlNDg2U86c

God is a God of Stifling Freedom, or Beautiful Limitations

1“The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:15-17 ESV)

In one of the earliest chapters of the Bible, we come across this verse. What are we to make of it?

For starters, we should probably lose the notion that God is a detached, impersonal, and uncaring “being” in regards to the world. Notice that right after God created everything (Genesis 1), He makes man to “work and keep” all that He has just made. Man was given responsibility to cultivate the “garden” – the arena of all God’s creation activity.

Next, we need to see that God is not a  stuffy buzz-kill.  God gave Adam nearly unrestricted access to everything in creation. There was only one thing that was off limits. Not 10. Not a 187 point referendum on what was acceptable or unacceptable. Not a litany of voluminous pages of do’s and don’ts. One. One simple restriction.  Far from being overly panicky about rules and regulations, we see God as someone who is generous and fairly liberal in what He finds acceptable or unacceptable.

This leads us to consider why the one restriction. Many people have speculated over this for centuries. While there’s much to be said about the distinctions between the two trees in the garden (Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil), I think it’s safe to say that whatever the reasons are for the restriction, the essence of it is whether or not man will listen and heed God, or his own wisdom.

And that my friends is the essence of creation and sin. God was not interested in merely having someone do His bidding – like a robot, and automaton, or simple cog in the machinery of creation. Nor was he interested in letting all of His creation simply go and dow whatever they wanted, or felt right, or thought would be good.

God created everything, man included, for relationship. And the basis of that relationship is trust. Man was given only one restriction in the Garden to see, ultimately, would he trust in God, or himself.

And that is a beautiful and glorious limitation. Far from stifling our freedom, we are free to express ourselves and enjoy all of creation, as we trust in the God who created it and commissions us to cultivate it. In that trusting relationship, there is freedom, joy and life!

But apart from that trust, we have the world we currently live in. Where we need more laws, rules, regulations to keep everyone and everything in line; where boredom and drudgery sap our joy, and where life is exchanged for the status quo of death, destruction and dysfunction.

Which world would you rather live in? One of “stifling freedom” because we all want what we want, no matter the cost or who it affects? Or one of “beautiful limitations” based on listening, trusting and obeying the Word of God?

Great deal on ESV Study Bible – Best Single Volume Resource on Understanding the Bible!

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So if you haven’t already, pick up a copy today! And maybe buy one or two for those in your life who are looking, or wanting, to be able to read and understand the Bible for themselves.

How do you base your morality? and What is the bible? (Part 1)

I was recently asked a question by a friend that made me stop and take some time to think before I responded.  Essentially, his questions broke down into three main questions, with the third having a list of passages that could prove problematic for anyone who would want to base their morality on the Bible.  Image

1) How do you base your morality?

2)  If it’s based on the Bible, which is supposed to reveal the character of God, how can you (or, do you) pick and choose which parts to follow or not?  

3) Take the examples of God not only allowing, but sanctioning even commanding the murder of whole people groups (ethnic cleansing?), including women, children and non-combatants (Canaanites).  How is this “moral” and what does it reflect about God’s character, as well as the character of those people who seek to reflect His character?

I am going to post my answers to these question in two blog posts.  The first (this one) will address the first two questions, and the next post will address the third question.

Q: How do you base your morality?  

A: I would say that I base my morality on the gospel – the Good News (literal meaning of gospel) that God does for me and the world what the world and me can’t do for ourselves – as revealed in the Bible, not on the Bible itself.  For more, see next question.

Q: If it’s based on the Bible, which is supposed to reveal the character of God, how can you (or, do you) pick and choose which parts to follow or not?  

 A: The Bible does in fact reveal the character of God, but it is not simply a collection of God’s characteristics in the abstract.  It is about His character in action.  What we know of God is first and foremost revealed to us by Him.  It is not merely conjured up or developed from the human mind (whether collective or individual); the direction is not from the human to the divine, but from the divine to the human.   This means that what we know about God is set in the context of recipients who are themselves not-God.  

But more than that, what we know of God is also set in a context of sin, or what one philosopher describes as “vandalism of shalom” – Hebrew for peace, meaning universal human flourishing and a webbing together of all humans and all things in a rich state of affairs where natural gifts are employed and needs are met. In a phrase, the context we live in is a world that is “not the way it’s supposed to be.”  (Cornelius Plantinga, Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary on Sin).  In this context, all humanity is both complicit with and impacted by sin; we are at one and the same time both victims and victimizers (borrowing from Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace).  And before you dismiss this statement by saying, “I have not harmed anyone or done anything wrong/bad/evil,” ask yourself if you really believe that you are so completely disconnected from others in this world that your actions do not impact – whether directly or indirectly – the lives of others. This is what theologians refer to as “sins of commission” – those things we do that are wrong, unjust, and harm others – or “sins of omission” – those things we leave undone that are right, just and seek the welfare of others.”  Voltaire famously said, “No snowflake feels guilty in an avalanche.”  We are caught up into a system of human relationships where our actions or inaction impact others, and most of us are simply oblivious to this reality.  Just watch The Place Behind the Pines or Crash for modern cinematic examples of this fact.

Now, so far I have described the context of human life and sin in a horizontal dimension – the impact we have on our fellow man.  If you take that as your only dimension, the problems we face are bad enough as it is.  But if we take the world we live in as a product of a Creator’s design, delight and intent, then we have to add a vertical dimension to the horizontal.  How we live then, not only impacts our fellow man or the environment, but also our relationship with One who created us.  If we can turn the world we live in and create an environment that is not the way it’s supposed to be, what would the One who created it in the first place think of our actions and inaction?

In a word, displeasure.  But that sounds too shallow, or calm.  Afterall, you and I experience more passion when someone disses a band we like or a movie we loved.  Could you imagine someone actually threatening, abusing and destroying another human being you deeply cared about? Or a work of art that was a labor of love and you spent countless hours developing? If He created the world, and us to live in it because He delighted to do it, then we can and should assume that our attempts to live life in ways that thwart or disrupt that creational intent for peace and human flourishing would invoke God’s anger.  Now if He were angry at what had become of His creation, He has a couple of choices: a) scrap it all and start over, or b) put in place a plan to “redeem” (buy back, purchase, reclaim ownership) and “restore” (fix, repair, make new again) His creation.  

This is exactly what the pages of the Bible in the book of Genesis tell us.  Genesis 1-3 is the historical account of God’s creating all things, declaring them good, commanding His crowning jewel of creation, man, to live in a state of love and trust with Him and carry out his task of doing in creation what God had done for creation – manage and cultivate it with benevolent care and peace-full intention.  When man instead breaks that state of love and trust (yes, I have the Pearl Jam song playing in my head as I write that), God inserts himself into the situation and interjects His solution – a promised redeemer and rescuer for all creation (cf. Genesis 3:15).  In the meantime though, all of creation lives under a curse – the inevitable outcome of choosing to love and trust in self instead of living in dependence on God and carrying out our original intention as humans made in His image.  

Ultimately, this promised redeemer comes and is God’s very own Son, Jesus Christ in the pages of the New Testament.  But up until the coming of the Jesus, we have foretastes, or appetizers, of the redemption that God would bring about. This occurred through select individuals (Noah, Abraham, Moses, David) but also through the establishment of a whole people group, the nation of Israel.  Their charge and responsibility was to be a blessing to all the nations.  Their method or way of doing this was by living as a distinct and unique (meaning of holy, set apart) nation among all the nations. Genesis 12, what could be labeled as the Israelites Charter for Existence, tells us such:

“Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

– Genesis 12:1–3 (ESV)

 This is why I say that I get my morality from the gospel as revealed in the Bible, instead of the Bible itself.  The Bible is a collection of recorded works that describe who God is but also what He has done and is doing, in this world to fix the problems, right every wrong, and ultimately wipe every tear from every eye.  I can derive my morality, or ethical lifestyle choices from the Bible to be sure, but only in the context of the gospel, because that is ultimately what the Bible seeks to communicate.  It is not a moral play book, or a divine guide for a good and happy life, sent down from on high to educate and provide the steps needed to live a certain way.  It includes that, but it is not merely that.  It is first and foremost a revelation from God to us, highlighting who He is, who we are, what’s wrong with the world, and how He intends to put it back right.  This allows one to see the connectedness of all scripture and how each individual part (verse, passage, book, genre, collection, testament) fits together to make a composite picture, or mosaic, of the character in action (God) and the implications for His creatures (man, included).  

So, I don’t pick and choose which parts of the Bible to follow; I follow them all, in the context of the overall picture of Bible, which could be summarized as: 

Creation (Gen. 1-2) – Fall (Gen. 3:1-14) – Redemption (Gen. 3:15-Rev.19) – Consummation/New Creation (Rev.20-22).

 

Are there any Non-Biblical witnesses to the events claiming to be historical found within the Bible? Recommended Resources

The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United St...

The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United States Library of Congress, demonstrating printed pages as a storage medium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have the joy and honor of leading a weekly bible study with a great group of men.  Often there are other questions that don’t quite fit into the scope of our topic/passage for the day.  I received such a question today:

“Are there any other non-Biblical sources that help support the historical claims found in the Bible?”

Below is my response with several links to websites and books dealing with this question! Enjoy!

======

Hey guys,

Here are some resources I either use, or found and might use in the future, dealing with your question: “Are there any other non-Biblical sources that help support the historical claims found in the Bible?”
Click on the links and check them out for yourself.  And tell me what you think of these if you end up getting your hands on them and start reading through them!
Always a pleasure guys!
Chris Gensheer

Website/blog: 
http://michaeljkruger.com/ – this guys is a NT Textual Critical Scholar and I value his perspective on all questions pertaining to “canon” (what books should be considered Scripture) and how it was formed (compiled, agreed upon) and various historical resurfacing of apologetic questions.  Good go-to site for specific questions.
http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2011/02/extra-canonical-sources.html – overall, a great apologetic website.  This link in particular will take you to a good answer to your question to me earlier today!
Books:
Backgrounds of Early Christianity by Everett Ferguson – this is my #1 go-to source for general, broad-stroke background information about things referenced in the Bible.  Great as an encyclopedia for helping to reconstruct what the original audience of the books in the Bible/NT might have thought or realized.
The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel – I read this early on in my Christian walk.  Great resource for apologetics in general, but more along the lines of the historical validity of Christ, not just the philosophical justification for belief. Great book.
Understanding Scripture ed. by Wayne Grudem, C. John Collins, and Thomas Schreiner.  I used this book in preparation for my Ordination exams and found it very useful and helpful.  It is an edited volume of multiple contributors, tackling various aspects of the Canon/Bible.  Great to actually read through, while also a good reference work.
Can I Trust the Bible? by Darell Bock – I used this in preparation for my Ordination exams and found it (and the R.C. Sproul book below) very helpful.  Disseminates a lot of information in compact form.  I liked it.
Canon Revistited by Michael Kruger – a more recent, very popular book.  He has a way of explaining really complex things simply on his blog, and while I haven’t read this particular work, I would expect that same trend to continue here.
The Evidence for Jesus by R.T. France – a book I have not read, but saw the Stand to Reason blog reference it as a good source.  Also, it seems to deal with your principle question of, “Are there any other non-Biblical sources that help support the historical claims found in the Bible?”  May be worth checking out.
Jesus Outside the New Testament by Robert E. Van Voorst – another book I have not read, but saw the Stand to Reason blog reference it as a good source.  Also, it seems to deal with your principle question of, “Are there any other non-Biblical sources that help support the historical claims found in the Bible?”  May be worth checking out.

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Reading the Bible in a Year – Day 1: Thoughts from Genesis 1:27-28

I am going to blog through my “Read the Bible in a Year”, year (Henceforth known as RTBY.  Attempt might be a more apt word.  Nonetheless, its day 1 and I’m off to a great start!

Part of today’s reading covered the account of Creation, found in Genesis 1-2. No matter how many times I read (and re-read) these chapters, I am always struck by the simple and profound nature of Genesis 1:27:

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

In one simple verse, we are told that God created man in His image, yet it was a plural image. Not only does this set up the theological understanding of the Trinity (God is One God, in Three Persons), but also the anthropological understanding of the human need for community.

Just as the first man was created in the image of God, meaning, created in/for/by community (with God), man continues to exist in a state of need for/in/with community (with fellow man), [or as will be made clear if you keep reading in Genesis, with woman].

It also sets up the radical and counter-intuitive notion that community is more than a social group.  Most of us tend to orient ourselves to other like-minded individuals.  We associate with people who are mostly, well, like us.  Because it easy to like “us”.  Its harder to like “them” (whoever “them” are).  But here we are told that man was created in the image of God, and that image had both a male and female aspect to it.

It seems that there is some level of diversity within the God-head.  There was also a level of diversity with the creation of the original man.

None of us can perfectly reflect God apart from others. That’s the critical, and often missing piece, in what passes for contemporary, Christian spirituality. This does not diminish the importance of the individual, but it does relativize the ultimateness of the individual only.

We were created by a community, for a community.

But it goes on from there to speak to one other important aspect. Just what was the first man supposed to do, exactly? Was there some purpose to what some have called the acme, or apex, of God’s creative work? None of the other episodes of God’s creation get a poetic narration from the Creator Himself as man does here in v. 27. Surely, there must have been something of a reason for such a grand display of joy at this point in time?

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” – Genesis 1:28

The answer is that man was created with a mission to fulfill. Man was created to image God in God’s creation.

This doesn’t just mean that we sort-of look like God to everyone and everything around us. It means that we continue to do the things that God was up to those first few days of creation, namely, forming and filling.

We form good “stuff” out of the “stuff” we find around us (unlike God, who simply forms “stuff” out of nothing), and we fill the “stuff” of creation with more good “stuff”. All the while pointing it all back to the One who did all in the first place, and put us here to do it.

I spend time on this because I often here Christians speak of mission in the context of evangelism.

Only evangelism would be more accurate.

Surely evangelism is important; I am not denying or minimizing that at all. But “mission” is something that is inherent in our being created in the image of God, not just in our nature being sinful and fallen and in need of redemption.

Mission exists before the Fall. If you don’t believe me, read Genesis 1-2 for yourself and ask yourself why you read about stuff man was supposed to do, when sin had not yet entered the world (that would be Genesis 3).

Let me leave you with some thoughts for reflection:
1) If you and I were created in the image of God, entailing the importance of community for our lives, how highly would you rate the need for community in your life today?

2) If you do think highly of community, do you value the diversity that community itself entails, or do you simply find only like-minded, similar-thinking, affinity-based social groups that share your same biases on nearly everything? Remember, God created us in His image – male and female (diversity within community).

3) As creatures, created in the image of God, how might you live differently today knowing that what you do was meant to reflect back to the One who created you, designed you for this world, and seeks to make Himself known as both Creator and (eventually in the Biblical story) Redeemer? How might this affect your relationships at home? Work? Church? Community? How might this affect the way you think about issues surrounding your community?

Let me know your thoughts!

PS – For those who like more of this stuff, here is the Study Note for Genesis 1:27 from the ESV Study Bible (which, if you’re looking for a good Bible, that has helpful side-note, foot-note information, this would be it.)

Gen. 1:27 There has been debate about the expression image of God. Many scholars point out the idea, commonly used in the ancient Near East, of the king who was the visible representative of the deity; thus the king ruled on behalf of the god. Since v. 26 links the image of God with the exercise of dominion over all the other creatures of the seas, heavens, and earth, one can see that humanity is endowed here with authority to rule the earth as God’s representatives or vice-regents (see note on v. 28). Other scholars, seeing the pattern of male and female, have concluded that humanity expresses God’s image in relationship, particularly in well-functioning human community, both in marriage and in wider society. Traditionally, the image has been seen as the capacities that set man apart from the other animals—ways in which humans resemble God, such as in the characteristics of reason, morality, language, a capacity for relationships governed by love and commitment, and creativity in all forms of art. All these insights can be put together by observing that the resemblances (man is like God in a series of ways) allow mankind to represent God in ruling, and to establish worthy relationships with God, with one another, and with the rest of the creation. This “image” and this dignity apply to both “male and female” human beings. (This view is unique in the context of the ancient Near East. In Mesopotamia, e.g., the gods created humans merely to carry out work for them.) The Hebrew term ’adam, translated as man, is often a generic term that denotes both male and female, while sometimes it refers to man in distinction from woman (2:22, 23, 25; 3:8, 9, 12, 20): it becomes the proper name “Adam” (2:20; 3:17, 21; 4:1; 5:1). At this stage, humanity as a species is set apart from all other creatures and crowned with glory and honor as ruler of the earth (cf. Ps. 8:5–8). The events recorded in Genesis 3, however, will have an important bearing on the creation status of humanity.