Rex D. Edwards is a former vice president for religious studies at Griggs University.



“Let each man think of himself as an act of God.”—Philip J. Bailey
“We are the miracles; the great inscrutable mystery of God.” —Thomas Carlyle

1. Man is a creation of God (Gen. 1:26, 27; John 1:4; Ps.139:14; 8:5).

His ancestry is anchored in God, of which Genesis 1 is both a declaration of truth and a repudiation of the following errors:

  • “In the beginning God” denies atheism with its doctrine of no God.
  • “In the beginning God” denies polytheism with its doctrine of many gods.
  • “In the beginning God” denies fatalism with its doctrine of chance.
  • “God created” denies evolution with its doctrine of infinite becoming.
  • “Heaven and earth” denies pantheism, which makes God and material identical.
  • “Let us make man” denies spontaneous generation.

2. Man’s creation marks the origin of the human race (Gen. 3:20).

  • The whole human race descended from a single pair (Gen. 2:28).
  • The marriage of Adam and Eve started pro-creation (Gen. 2:18; Mark 10:6; Matt. 19:4-6).
  • The descent of humanity from a single pair constitutes the natural brotherhood of every member of the human race (Acts 17:26; Heb. 2:11).

3. Man was created with self-determination and intelligence (Gen. 1:28).

  • Dominion invested him with supremacy over all created works (Gen.1:26; Ps. 8:6-8).
  • He had freedom of choice, with a conscience—“the judiciary of the soul”—to judge between right and wrong (Rom. 2:15).
  • He has three faculties: intellect (soul knowing), sensibility (soul feeling), and will (soul choosing) (Rom. 7:18).

4. Man was created with a threefold nature (Gen. 2:7):

(1) Natural—a body with an appetite and emotions: “the dust of the ground”
(2) Immaterial—life that proceeds from God, not creation: “breath of life”
(3) Conscious—reason, conscience, faculties, capabilities: “a living soul”

This tri-fold distinction is corroborated in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 and Hebrews 4:12.

5. Man was created a moral being with a spiritual nature (Gen. 1:26).

  • He possessed childlike innocence, not confirmed holiness (Eccl. 7:29).
  • He was fitted for communion with God (Gen. 3:8).
  • He enjoyed God’s divine presence and teaching (Gen. 2:16).

6. Man was created with conditional immortality (Job 4:17).

  • His body was created mortal to avoid immortalizing sin (1 Cor. 15:45). The “tree of life” was the means of preserving the body’s youth, but he made a contrary choice and brought sin and death on all men (Gen. 3:6, 24; Rom. 5:17, 19).

7. Man’s redemption was secured by God’s initiative (Gen. 3:9, 15).

  • The gift of life is available through Jesus Christ (John 3:36; 11:25; 1 Cor.15:22).

“In these two things the greatness of man consists, to have God so dwelling in us as to impart His character to us, and to have Him so dwelling in us that we recognize his presence, and know that we are His, and He is ours. The one is salvation: the other, the assurance of it.”—Frederick W. Robertson


“There is but one thing more dangerous than sin—the murder of man’s sense of sin.”—Pope John Paul II

1. Sin is a universal fact (1 Kings 8:46).

  • Old Testament writers confirm (Ps.14:1-3; 130:3; 143:2; Eccl. 7:20).
  • New Testament writers affirm (Rom. 3:22, 23; 1 John 1:8, 10).

2. Sin is defined (Rom. 7:7, 8, 18; 1 Cor. 6:9, 10).

  • Negative aspect: an ideal which we fail to reach (James 4:17).
  • Positive aspect: a law which we break (1 John 3:4; Rom. 3:20; 4:15).

There are seven categories of sin:
(1) Choosing intentionally or deliberately to sin (1 John 5:17).
(2) A mental assent to temptation (Rom. 7:7-11; Matt. 5:27, 28; Prov. 24:9).
(3) Neglect of known duties or opportunities (James 2:14; 4:17; Matt. 23:23; 25:43-46).
(4) Doing the wrong things out of ignorance (Lev. 5:17-19; Luke 12:48; 1 Tim. 1:13).
(5) Doing the right things (good works) for the wrong reasons (Matt. 22:23; Isa. 64:6; Phil. 3:3-9).
(6) Our inherited sinful natures (Ps. 51:5; 58:3; Rom. 5:19- 20; Phil. 3:20-21; Eph. 2:3).
(7) A law, principle, or constant force making us slaves to sin (Rom. 3:19, 20; 7:14-24).

“Sin has four characteristics: self-sufficiency instead of faith; selfwill instead of submission; self-seeking instead of benevolence; self-righteousness instead of humility.”—E. Paul Hovey

3. Sin originated with the devil (John 8:44).

  • He led an insurrection against God in heaven (Rev. 12:7-9; cf. Eze.28:14-18; Isa. 14:12-14).
  • Satan gained access to earth (Rom. 5:12; cf. Gen. 3:4; Matt. 13:25, 29).
  • He deceived the whole world (Rev. 12:9).
  • He led all men into sin (Rom. 3:23).

4. Sin separates us from God (Isa. 59:1, 2).

  • Spiritual death: severance of the soul from God (Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:1).
  • Physical death: irrevocable banishment from God (Matt. 25:30; Rev. 22:14, 15; Luke 16:19).

5. Sin not only estranges; it also enslaves (John 8:31-34; Rom. 6:17; Eph. 2:3; Titus 3:3). It is twofold:

  • Outward acts and habits (Gal. 5:19-21).
  • Inward deep-seated corruption (Matt. 12:33-35; Jer. 17:9; Mark 7:21-23).

6. Sin can be overcome (1 Cor. 10:13; Rev. 21:7; Eph. 3:17).

  • Avoid contamination by irreligious elements (James 1:27; 1 John.5:21).
  • There is one unredeemable, unpardonable sin (Matt. 12:32; cf. Eph. 4:30; Ps. 51:11).

“The recognition of sin is the beginning of salvation.”— Martin Luther

7. Sin convinces us of our need for a Savior (Acts 2:21; Mark 2:17; Isa. 1:18; Matt. 28:20).

Christianity is a rescue religion. “Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul, / As the swift seasons roll! / Leave thy low-vaulted past! / Let each new temple, nobler than the last, / Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast, / Till thou at length art free, / Leaving thine overgrown shell by life’s unresting sea.”—Oliver Wendell Holme

IV - The Mystery of Death

“A few more years shall roll, / A few more seasons come, / And we shall be with those that rest, / Asleep within the tomb.”—Horatius Bonar

1. Death is a reality (Ezek. 18:4; Rom. 6:23).

Man is doomed to die twice:
(1) The result of Adam’s sin (1 Cor. 15:22).
(2) The result of our sin (Rom. 6:23).

2. Death is defined as (Eccl. 9:5, 6):

The equation of life (Gen. 2:7).
The termination of life (Eccl. 12:7).

3. Death has a location (Eccl. 9:10).

Job affirmed that he would wait in the “grave” (Job 17:13).
Peter argued that even King David was not in heaven (Acts 2:29, 34).
Lazarus was in the grave for four days (John 11:17).

4. Death is described as follows (John 11:11-14, 43, 44):

  • Death is the absence of consciousness (Eccl. 9:5).
  • The mind ceases to function (Ps. 6:5; 146:3, 4).
  • In death, God cannot be worshiped (Ps. 115:17; Isa. 38:19).
  • There is an unawareness of what happens on earth (Eccl. 9:10).
  • All human emotion ceases at death (Eccl. 9:6).
  • There is no second chance in death (Isa. 38:18).
  • Death is described as a “sleep” (Ps. 13:3; Job 7:21; 1 King 2:10; Acts 13:36). “Sleep” is an appropriate metaphor for death because:

(1) It is a state of total unconsciousness.
(2) It is a temporary state.
(3) It implies an awakening.

5. Death is not final (Isa. 26:19). There will be a resurrection (Matt. 27:52, 53). Note four facts:

(1) They had been in the graves.
(2) They had been sleeping there.
(3) Now their graves were opened.
(4) They came out of their graves.

  • The dead remain inactive until the resurrection (Dan. 12:2).
  • All receive their reward at the resurrection (John 5:28, 29; cf. Rev. 20:12, 13).
  • The general resurrection of the righteous takes place at Christ’s Second Coming (1 Thess. 4:16, 17; Rev. 20:6).
  • The wicked will be raised at the end of the millennium (Rev. 20:5).
  • Then immortality will be awarded (1 Cor. 15:51- 54).

6. Death will have an end (Rev. 20:14).

  • Paul promised victory over it (1 Cor. 15:55).
  • Christ’s promise (1 Cor. 15:22; John 6:40).

“Every parting gives a foretaste of death; every coming together again a foretaste of the Resurrection.”—Arthur Schopenhauer

Rex D. Edwards is a former vice president for religious studies, Griggs University