THE

SHORTER CATECHISM

EXPLAINED


QUESTION 10. How did God create man?

ANSWER: God created man, male and female, after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, with dominion over the creatures.


Q. 1. Upon which day of creation was man made?

A. Upon the sixth day, Gen. 1:26, and 31, compared.

Q. 2. Why was the creation of man delayed, or put off, to the sixth day?

A. To discover the great regard God had to man's happiness and welfare, in that he would first furnish the great house of the creation for him, before he brought him into it, Psalm 8:6-8.

Q. 3. Was there any more solemnity observed in the creation of man, than in making the rest of the creatures?

A. Yes; for as to the rest of the creatures, he just commanded them into being; but when man is to be created, a council of the Trinity is held about his formation. Gen. 1:26 -- "Let us make man."

Q. 4. Why so much solemnity about man's formation beyond other creatures?

A. Because man was to be God's viceroy in this lower world, the only image of his Creator, in his formal perfections; and it was the purpose of God, though not then revealed, that the second person of the Godhead was to become man.

Q. 5. What is it that constitutes the human nature, or nature of man?

A. A true body and a reasonable soul united together.

Q. 6. Of what was the body of man formed?

A. "Of the dust of the ground," Gen. 2:7; hence God is resembled to a potter, and man to the clay, and a potsherd, Isa. 64:8, and 45:9.

Q. 7. What should this teach us?

A. To remember we are dust, Eccl. 3:20; to admire the condescension of the son of God in coming into our tribe, and assuming a human body, 1 Tim. 3:16; to consider that we are in God's hand, as the clay is in the hand of the potter, Jer. 18:6; and that, in this our fallen state, we are to return to the dust again, Gen. 3:19.

Q. 8. How was the first woman formed?

A. Of a rib taken from the man's side, Gen. 2:21, 22.

Q. 9. Of what was this a figure?

A. Of Christ and the church, Eph. 5:31, 32.

Q. 10. In what respect was the formation of the woman a figure of these?

A. In as much as the church was, as it were, taken out of the pierced side of Christ, when the Lord God caused the deep sleep of death to fall upon him; first, typically, in the sacrifice; and then actually, in his decease which he accomplished at Jerusalem.

Q. 11. Why was marriage instituted of God before the fall?

A. To show that it belongs to the law of nature; and that mankind, as such, have a title to it. Heb. 13:4 -- "Marriage is honourable in all."

Q. 12. What is the other part of man's nature?

A. A reasonable soul.

Q. 13. How was the soul of man made?

A. God "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and he became a living soul," Gen. 2:7.

Q. 14. Why is the creation of the soul of man thus expressed?

A. To show, that as the Lord is "the God of the spirits of all flesh," Num. 27:16; who creates them immediately, and by himself, without the intervention of second causes, Zech. 12:1; so he has an absolute dominion over them, and can call them back to himself when he pleases, Eccl. 12:7.

Q. 15. In what does the soul of man differ from the body?

A. The body is a corporeal, but the soul is a spiritual and immaterial substance.

Q. 16. In what does the soul of man differ from the spirit or life of a beast?

A. The spirit or life of a beast goes downward to the earth, and perishes at its death, Eccl. 3:21; but the soul of man, being rational and immortal, "returns to God who gave it," Eccl. 12:7.

Q. 17. How do you prove the immortality of the soul of man?

A. (1.) From the great price paid for the redemption of the soul, which had ceased for ever, without a ransom of infinite value, Psalm 49:8. (2.) From the promises of eternal life, and the threatenings of eternal death, Mark 16:16. (3.) Christ tells us, that they who kill the body cannot kill the soul, Matt. 10:28. (4.) Christ, and his dying saints, commit their spirits, or souls, into the hand of God, Psalm 31:5; Luke 23:46; Acts 7:59; and the soul of the thief went to paradise, with the soul of Christ, that day they died, Luke 23:43. In a word, if the soul perishes with the body, the saints of God would be of all men the most miserable, 1 Cor. 15:19.

Q. 18. What should this teach us?

A. To be more concerned for the salvation of our souls than for all things in the world: "For," says Christ, "what is a man profited, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Matt. 16:26.

Q. 19. Why did God create man male and female?

A. For the propagation of mankind, Gen. 1:28; and mutual helpfulness to each other, chap. 2:18.

Q. 20. Why were both the man and the woman called Adam, Gen. 5:2?

A. To intimate that their original was of the earth; that they were both of the same nature; that the promises and threatenings concerned them both equally, Rom. 5:12; and to teach us, that notwithstanding this, the man was the representing head of the covenant, 1 Cor. 15:22.

Q. 21. After whose image did God create man?

A. After his own image, Gen. 1:26, 27.

Q. 22. Did this image of God lie in any outward shape of man's body?

A. By no means: for God is a pure Spirit, without bodily parts, John 4:24.

Q. 23. What then was the proper seat of it?

A. The soul of man was the painting table, on which this image of God was expressed and delineated, Gen. 2:7; James 3:9.

Q. 24. In what did the soul of man bear a likeness to God?

A. In its spiritual and immortal nature; and in the faculties of the understanding and the will, with which it was endued.

Q. 25. In what did the image of God, which was drawn on man's soul, chiefly consist?

A. In knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, Col. 3:10; Eph. 4:24.

Q. 26. What knowledge was man endued with at his creation?

A. A perfect knowledge of God, of his will, and works, so far as was necessary to render him happy, and fit for universal obedience.

Q. 27. What righteousness had man at his creation?

A. Not an imputed, but an inherent righteousness; which consisted in a perfect conformity of all the powers and faculties of his soul, to the pure nature of God, and the moral law written upon his heart, Eccl. 7:29.

Q. 28. In what consisted his holiness?

A. In the lustre and beauty of his perfect knowledge and inherent righteousness, shining both in his heart and life.

Q. 29. Was the will of man, in a state of innocence, absolutely indifferent to good and evil?

A. No; God set man's will only towards good; yet it was movable to evil, and that only by man himself; to whom God gave a sufficient power to stand in his integrity, if he had pleased, Eccl. 7:29.

Q. 30. What was the necessary consequence of this image of God drawn upon our first parents?

A. The immortality of the whole man, and dominion over the creatures.

Q. 31. Would they have been immortal if they had not sinned?

A. Yes; for it was only in case of sin that death was threatened, Gen. 2:17.

Q. 32. How could their bodies have been immortal, when made of the dust?

A. The perfect purity or holiness of their souls, would have preserved their bodies from sickness, death, and corruption, Rom. 5:12 and 6:23.

Q. 33. In what did man's dominion over the creatures consist?

A. In his princely power over the inferior creatures, by which he could rule and use them as be pleased, for God's glory and his own good, without any injustice, Gen. 1:28, and 2:19, 20.

Q. 34. Where did God put the man when he had formed him after his own image?

A. In the garden of Eden; a place eminent for pleasantness, wherein nothing was wanting, either for necessity or delight, Gen. 2:8, 9.

Q. 35. What may we learn from the holy and happy state in which man was created?

A. The unspeakable difference between man's former and present condition: formerly, in a state of innocence, man's understanding was a lamp of light, his will lay straight with the will of God, and his affections were pure and holy, free from all disorder and distemper; but now, the very reverse: so that we may say, "How is the gold become dim! how is the most fine gold changed!" Lam. 4:1. "The crown is fallen from our head! wo unto us that we have sinned!" chap. 5:16.


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