How did God Create Man?

Not open for further replies.


Puritan Board Sophomore
Westminster Confession of Faith

Chapter IV
Of Creation

2. After God had made all other creatures, He created man, male and female,(4) with reasonable and immortal souls,(5) endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after His own image;(6) having the law of God written in their hearts,(7) and power to fulfil it;(8) and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change.(9) Beside this law written in their hearts, they received a command, not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil;(10) which while they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures.(11)

Larger Catechism
Q-17. How did God create man?

A-17. After God had made all other creatures, he created man male and female;(1) formed the body of the man of the dust of the ground,(2) and the woman of the rib of the man,(3) endued them with living, reasonable, and immortal souls;(4) made them after his own image,(5) in knowledge,(6) righteousness, and holiness;(7) having the law of God written in their hearts,(8) and power to fulfill it,(9) and dominion over the creatures;(10) yet subject to fall.(11)

Shorter catechism
Q-10. How did God create man?

A-10. God created man male and female, after his own image,(1) in knowledge,(2) righteousness, and holiness,(3) with dominion over the creatures.(4)

Question 1. Is man a trichotomy or a dichotomy and does it really matter?

Question 2. Man's fellowship with God in the Garden was it formal or informal?

I am teaching a class on Question 10 of the W.S.C. on 7/11 and would like your input.

[Edited on 7-1-2004 by Irishcat922]


Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member

I believe that man is dichotomous, and I believe that is the majority orthodox report, since while the Bible mentions "soul" and "spirit", it never does so in a way that makes the functions or purposes of each disctinct. There have been postings in the past that have basically come to this conclusion:

I'd suggest looking at them, and then pasting over areas that you want to go more in-depth on (both threads are relatively brief and could probably use more thought).

As far as WSC 10, may I suggest that you do a bit of study on the difference of man's estate in Romanist theology and Protestant theology. Rome has a very different view of Adam's creation and his endowment by God. You want to look up "donum superadditum." In short, what Rome teaches is that what man lost through the Fall was a supernatural gift of original righteousness that did not belong properly to his being as man but was something extra added by God ([i:182a44d6a3]donum superadditum[/i:182a44d6a3]), with the consequence that the Fall left man in his natural state as created ([i:182a44d6a3]in puris naturalibus[/i:182a44d6a3]): he has suffered a negative rather than a positive evil; deprivation rather than depravation.

Here is a good section from Cornelius Jaarsma of Calvin College:

According to the Roman Catholic view, the image of God is something added to human nature. Man is a unity composed of an immortal soul and a mortal body which together constitute the whole of his humanity. By nature man has mental and physical powers by which he lives harmoniously with himself and the world, but which by themselves do not make him religious. The image of God on the other hand, is an added gift (donum superadditum) given to man over and above his natural gifts; this is a gift of grace by which man becomes godlike and hence religious. Having the image of God, therefore, is not essential to being a human being; according to the Roman Catholic, man is not intrinsically a religious being.

The Reformed view, in contrast, holds that the image of God is essential to man's humanity. Man is a religious being in very essence. He is of God, a Son of God. He can never cease to be a Son of God. But as Son of God he can turn from God. In the fellowship of God he has knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. Apart from God, he is still image of God, he is still a religious being, but without knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. Man is either a worshipper of the true god or an idolater. And this is because man is a religious being. This conception of the person as religious being will keep recurring in our study.

The disagreement between Roman Catholic and Reformed theology at this point is relevant to our study in at least two ways: in the first place, according to the Roman Catholic view it is possible to describe human nature and its processes apart from any reference to man's religious nature, so long as we restrict ourselves to the "natural level." This thesis is contrary to the approach we have adopted in this book. In the second place our Scripture passages, our immediate self-consciousness, and the best insights of modern psychology alike testify that there is a basic unity in human experience which is hard to reconcile with the Roman Catholic scheme of body-soul-donum superadditum.

Gordon Clark also has a helpful comment:

In support of the distinction, Thomas had already (Q. 93,Art. 1) argued that where an image exists, there must be likeness; but a likeness does not necessarily mean an image. Now, the Roman church developed this, which so far is innocuous, into something that contradicts important parts of the Biblical message. Their present view is that the image itself is rationality, created because, when, and as man was created. But after man was created, God gave him an extra gift, a donum superadditum, the likeness, defined as original righteousness. Man therefore was not strictly created righteous. Adam was at first morally neutral. Perhaps he was not even neutral. Bellarmin speaks of the original Adam, composed of body and soul, as disordered and diseased, afflicted with a morbus or languor that needed a remedy. Yet Bellarmin does not quite say that this morbus is sin; it is rather something unfortunate and less than ideal. To remedy this defect God gave the additional gift of righteousness. Adam's fall then resulted in the loss of original righteousness, but he fell only to the neutral moral level on which he was created. In this state, because of his free will, he is able-at least in some low degree-to please God.

Obviously this view has soteriological implications. Even though the neutral state was soon defaced by voluntary sins, man without saving grace could still obey God's commands upon occasion. After regeneration, a man could do even more than God requires. This then becomes the foundation of the Roman Catholic doctrine of the treasury of the saints. If a particular man does not himself earn a sufficient number of merits, the Pope can transfer from the saints' accounts as many more merits as are necessary for his entrance into Heaven. One horrendous implication of all this is that although Christ's death remains necessary to salvation, it is not sufficient. Human merit is indispensable.

Finally, I would STRONGLY suggest reading WIlliam Cunningham's [u:182a44d6a3]Historical Theology[/u:182a44d6a3], specifically Vol. 1, p 496 ff.


Puritan Board Sophomore
Thanks Fred that article by Jaarsma is excellent I downloaded it and the one by Clark I will read them in thier entirety I'm sure they will be very helpful. I don't have W. Cunninghams Hist. Theo. But I will look it on the web and read that as well. Thank you.
Not open for further replies.