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The Grasshopper and I

October 19, 2009

In one of our church’s small groups the study for the night was the doctrine of man.  Since the word “anthropology” was in the title of the chapter, our group leader asked us all what that was the study of.  One of our men quickly quipped, “the study of bugs”.  Laughter broke out all around the room, for we know what a good sense of humor this man has.  Of course, we quickly returned to the topic at hand.

The author of our study (Brian Borgman, “Faith and Feelings,” Crossway) is a fine pastor-theologian and his work in this chapter on man are no exception.  Man, according to the Bible, can experience four stages of living: 1) As he was before the fall into sin; 2) Now as a fallen sinner; 3) Potentially, as a renewed creation in Christ; and 4) If a renewed creation, then man is promised that he will be a perfected creature once again when he sees the Lord.

As originally created by God, man was the culmination of the Lord’s creation work-week.  He alone is said to bear the “image of God” out of all created things.  And though marred by his rebellion into sin, this “image” remains in all humans (see James 3:9 where I take “likeness” to be essentially the same of the “image of God”).  Borgman is certainly correct to speak of man (male and female both) as “the crown of his [God’s] creation”.

The Psalmist David gave expression to this truth of the majesty of man in Psalm 8 (but take note:  the theme of this psalm is “the majesty of the Lord” as evidenced by the fact that the psalm begins and ends with this thought:  verses 1 and 9 thus serving like parenthesis to enclose this theme within the whole of Psalm 8).  “You [God] made him [man] little less than God [wow!] and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him lord over the works of Your hands; You put everything under his feet” (vv. 5-6, HCSB).

To this point, my guess is that you are nodding your head in agreement because you really like what the Bible has to say about man.  Good!  Then we need to hold just as firmly to a second key truth the Bible presents about the nature of mankind:  we are as insignificant as grasshoppers as well:

[God] sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers.

Now grasshoppers are amazing creations of God.  I think of their jumping ability if I think of them at all and discovered that if we could jump to the same degree as does a grasshopper in relation to its body length, we would be able to leap some 40 yards.  Other than this, though, they seem to be just another bug in a world filled with zillions of other bugs.  Not really significant or noticeable.

And it is this last thought that seems to be in Isaiah’s mind when he compares man to God.  We are truly talking about a serious category difference here.  God, seating as King over all—man, by comparison, a grasshopper.  Would that we today were truly possessed by this truth!  It would crush our pride and humble us to the dust–and we would be the much better for that!

Our eyes might then be focused upon the majesty of the only truly majestic One:  the Lord Jesus Christ.

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