Our Blog

The Core: Humanity

Posted by Colby Kinser on


We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image, but they sinned when tempted by Satan. In union with Adam, human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath. Only through God's saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, reconciled and renewed.

God created the primogenitors of the human race, Adam and Eve, in His image (Gn 1:26-27). In the most basic terms, bearing His image means that we are like Him in a unique way that allows us to represent Him to the rest of Creation (Ps 8), but the idea of being “in His image” cannot be reduced to just a few attributes in which we resemble Him. Bearing His image allows us to relate with Him unlike any other creature (Gn 1:28-31). Image-bearers are uniquely able to: be commanded (Gn 2:15-17), be in a covenant with God (Gn 15), know both good and evil (Gn 3:5), and battle against Satan (Gn 3:15). Image-bearers have the exclusive capacity to fall (Gn 3:5-6, 16-19), but they also have the exclusive capacity to worship God (Gn 4:4). Bearing God’s image makes murder particularly sinful (Gn 9:6). Both males and females can fully bear His image (Gn 1:27), and their complementary nature to each other reflects the complementary relationships within the Trinity. Commensurate with the image is the responsibility to be co-regents with God to rule over the rest of His creation (Gn 1:28), cultivate it (Gn 2:15), and steward its members (Gn 2:19). The extravagant gift of His image imparts to us special value.

Humanity fell when Adam and Eve, tempted by Satan, acted contrary to a command of God (Gn 3:6-7), and so the image in us was vandalized, but not destroyed (Gn 9:6; Jms 3:9). Our fall involved more than our morality. Our capacity to choose righteousness also fell (Rm 6:20; 7:19; 1 Cor 2:14). It’s not just that we choose evil, but that we are incapable of always choosing good or responding to discipline rightly. The fallen are “lost” (Rm 3:23; Eph 2:12), estranged from God (Gn 3:23), destined for eternal wrath (Rm 1:18; Rv 20:10, 15), and unable to save themselves (Rm 7:18). The grand scale of our fallenness speaks to the grander scale of the grace that saves us.


All descended from Adam are “in Adam” (Rm 5:12), and therefore are in his fallen state (also known as “union with Adam”; Jn 3:6). In the same manner that we say the righteousness of Christ is imputed to those in Him, sin is imputed to those who are in Adam. Adam was a covenant head of the human race, representing the entire race before God. Therefore, his sin is all our sin.

As a result, we are all sinners by nature (Eph 2:3). But we are also sinners by choice, consistently and freely choosing sin instead of good (Rm 7:18). Our sinful nature prevents us from always choosing good, but we presently use our remaining capacities to choose sin nonetheless. Therefore, we are still culpable for our sin even though we are born lost (Rv 20:11-15). That our nature is sinful means every attempt to make oneself righteous by trying harder will end in futility.

The substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus (notably while bearing a fully human and sinless nature) offers to those who believe rescue from the kingdom of darkness and entrance into the wonderful light of the Kingdom of God (1 Pe 2:9; Acts 4:12). Without this rescue, a person remains fallen and will suffer eternal punishment. We are also rescued from the bankruptcy of the Law of sin and death (Rm 3:20; 8:2), the power of the flesh (Rm 7:13-25), and the jurisdiction of Satan (Jn 14:30). Moreover, we are reconciled with God (Rm 5:10) and the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us (2 Cor 5:21). Furthermore, we are renewed daily to new life (Rm 6:1-11; 2 Cor 4:16) as a new self (Col 3:1-17; 2 Cor 5:17) into the image of Christ (Rom 8:29; Col 3:10) by the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit (1 Cor 3:16; Rm 8:11).

Tags: theology, humanity