WCF 4.2

The Westminster Confession of Faith

2. After God had made all other creatures, he created mankind, male and female, with immortal souls that could reason, endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after his own image. They had the law of God written in their hearts and power to fulfil it, but with the possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change. Beside this law written in their hearts, they received a command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. While they kept this, they were happy in their communion with God and had dominion over the creatures. (WCF 4.2)

As noted in WCF 4.1, there is something very different about humans from the rest of creation. That is because humans or “mankind” - as the confession puts it - was created special from the rest of the created order. So what makes us special? The confession here present five things.

1. We are created equal, but different

When the confession uses the term ‘mankind’, we must remember that that term includes males and females (Gen 1:27), which is to say, the pinnacle of creation was a pair. And this pair was commissioned with the wonderful task to act like their creator in that they were to create, fill the earth and rule over all the creatures (Gen 1:28). This is a wonderful thing, male and female, though different, were created equal so that we could work together and not alone or against one another.

2. We are created set apart

One of the things that God gave to us to fulfil this commission was ‘reason’, which is to say that we were gifted with the ability to think before we speak, to love and not simply reproduce etc… Unlike the animal kingdom we have an immortal soul (Gen 2:7) so that when our bodies are returned to dust, our souls or spirits go before the one who created it (Eccles. 12:7), where either heaven or hell awaits (Matt 10:28). It is a terrible mistake to say that a human is like an animal and will simply disintegrate after life on this earth. We have been created and commissioned and gifted to act as our creator, and then when our time is done, we have the wonderful privilege to return to him and - for those who have trusted the gospel - live in the fullest expression of what we were created for; life with Him (Gen 1-2, Lk 23:43).

3. We are created to reflect an image

Every single human is made in the image of God (Gen 1:26), which is to say we were fashioned in such a way that we reflect the one who made us. That is why every single human being on the face of the planet - from the womb to the tomb - is special and should be treated as such. That is why sin and death is so horrendous because when we see the image of God acting contry to nature, we are witnessing an active rebellion against God himself. That is why when we see people doing wonderful things like feeding the poor, protecting animals from poaching, and making sure the most vulnerable are protected something in us naturally says that’s good.

4. We are created with a “tattooed” heart

Unlike any other creature, humans have a conscience that is keenly aware of what is right and wrong. That is because each image bearer has the law of God written on our hearts (Rom 2:14-15). Before Adam and Eve fell, this knowledge was perfect and could be kept. After the fall, this knowledge remained but has been impaired to a disastrous degree and can no longer be fulfilled by any of us (Rom 3:23).

5. We were created to trust God

There’s no other creature on the face of the planet that was told to trust God in the face of testing (Gen 2:17, 3:8-11, 23). When God created humans, he placed a tree in their habitat and commanded them not to touch it, so as to test their faith in his word. While they trusted him, they enjoyed fellowship to a degree that we could never imagine. And that is still the case today, though not perfectly seen, faith in what God says and trusting him will only ever bring blessing. Like with our first parents, problems only start when we cast off his word and aim to be our own gods.

Published: May 18, 2024

Updated: May 18, 2024