What Is Man?

Are human beings God in a physical body as New Agers believe? Author of the best selling book The Secret, Rhonda Byrne, declares that “You are Spirit in the flesh. You are Eternal Life expressing itself as You…. You are all power. You are all wisdom. You are all intelligence. You are perfection.” Humans are all powerful?  Wow. That’s quite a claim. But is what she says true? Are humans actually God in a physical body?  Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason answers the age old question, “What is man?” from a biblical perspective. He writes:

Three thousand years ago, an ancient sage gazed at the world and asked the most important question anyone could ask about our corporate humanity:

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him…? (Ps. 8:3–4)

Indeed. What is man? What does it mean to be human? You cannot answer a single question of consequence regarding human beings without answering that question first. Everything vital, meaningful, and moral about us hangs on its answer. It is the quintessential query regarding the nature of human existence.

Is gender fixed or fluid? Is homosexuality natural or perverse? Is there a right to abortion? What about capital punishment? Or sexual slavery? Or social justice? The answer to each of these questions depends upon an answer to a prior question: What is man?

There are three ways to respond. Here is the first way, the response of naturalism—the religion currently governing science. According to pop “Science Guy” Bill Nye, “We are just a speck, on a speck, orbiting a speck, in the corner of a speck, in the middle of nowhere.”

“We emerged from microbes and muck,” Carl Sagan declared. “We find ourselves in bottomless free fall…lost in a great darkness, and there’s no one to send out a search party.”[i]

And they are right, of course. In a world without God, humans are nothing but cogs in the celestial machine, cosmic junk, the ultimate unplanned pregnancy, left to build our lonely lives on the “unyielding foundation of universal despair,” as atheist Bertrand Russell put it. Nihilism—bleak “nothing-ism.”

There is a more cheerful alternative, though: the New Age answer to the question “What is man?” There is a God, according to Rhonda Byrne, and he is you. In The Secret, her celebration of human divinity, she writes:

You are God in a physical body. You are Spirit in the flesh. You are Eternal Life expressing itself as You…. You are all power. You are all wisdom. You are all intelligence. You are perfection.[ii]

So the secularists have given us two options. Either there is no God, or there is and we are Him. Cosmic debris or divine perfection. In either case, we are alone—solitary nothing or solitary everything. Scylla or Charybdis.

Our ancient sage, though, provides a third answer. No, we are not God, but we are not garbage, either. There is another alternative, a path between those two monsters. It is also one that makes complete sense of our deepest intuitions about what it means for us to be human. View article →