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THEOLOGY > Man > Man's Original State > Intellectual Astute 


The first man was not dull of mind; rather, he was keen in his mental capabilities. His rational faculties were fully functioning, without the debilitating effects of the sin that would come later. Adam was not a grunting anthropoid, with limited comprehension and reasoning capacity; he was not the proverbial caveman who was just beginning the long evolutionary development of cerebral faculties that would culminate in increased intellectual aptitude. Rational facility was not a development but a gift, not the result of human evolution but of Divine creation.

Being made in the image of God, it is appropriate to conclude that Adam’s mind in some manner mirrored the mind of God, and the mind of God is not devoid of knowledge nor of comprehending ability; so Adam’s mind was not a blank slate but was endowed with the necessary concepts, forms, and universals to make reasoning and decision making at the very moment of his creation. In other words, Adam’s mind in some sense reflected the Mind of God.

It would seem that Adam’s mental state must have had two dimensions: one, he was endowed at his creation with a body of knowledge (see: Innate Knowledge and Innate Knowledge of God); and two, he was equally blessed with reasoning ability or the capacity intuitively to understand a situation utilizing the body of knowledge that he was given.

Scripture affirms that man inherently possesses knowledge:

Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion (Gen. 1:26);

But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding (Job 32:8);

He has set eternity in their hearts (Eccles. 3:11);

men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18);

what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them(Rom. 1:19; NASB, “that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them”);

although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God (Rom. 1:21);

they did not like to retain God in their knowledge (Rom. 1:28);

knowing the righteous judgment of God (Rom. 1:32);

who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them (Rom. 2:15);

having their own conscience seared with a hot iron (I Tim. 4:2);

their mind and conscience are defiled (Tit. 1:15).

Man’s original knowledge must have related to three areas: knowledge of God; knowledge of the world; and knowledge of others. This body of knowledge enabled Adam to fellowship immediately and directly with God, and to understand the Lord’s directives and prohibitions; it equipped him for the immediate task of naming the animals and the continuing responsibility of ruling over the earth; and it prepared him for the initial and ongoing communication and relationship he had with Eve and their later children, as well as with the rapidly developing population of the earth.

As Paul wrote to the Ephesians, so to the saints and faithful brethren at Colosse, he gave directives for the Christian life in terms of putting off (“since you have put off the old man,” 3:9) and putting on (“and have put on the new man,” 3:10). In connection with the new man who is to be put on continually, Paul provides some information regarding this new person that is to become more dominant in the life: “And have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Col. 3:10). Note the points: one, the new man is characterized by knowledge; two, the knowledge is a renewal; that is, it must be the replacing of something that was lost; three, the knowledge is according to the image of God, that is, God is characterized by knowledge; and four, the knowledge is associated with creation.

All of this is surely designed to remind the reader of the state of man at the time of creation and the resulting loss when the Fall occurred. In God’s redemption of man that which was lost because of what transpired in Eden is restored because of what happened at Calvary. Instead of creational knowledge, the believer is the recipient of a redemptive knowledge that accures by way of a continual renewal.

Man’s original creational knowledge was not derived by means of observation or experience, for Adam, at the point of his creation, was capable of conversation, reflection, learning, and producing coherent names for the animals. When Eve was brought to him, his statement reveals comprehension of what was happening and of the significance of the moment. He was not a primitive finding it difficult to organize his random thoughts and struggling to articulate his feelings.

God’s endowment of man with the intellectual life instructs us as to the prominent position the intellect (knowledge, reason, belief, faith, facts, content, interpretation) plays in living, and especially in terms of the relationship between God and man which is a relationship anchored in knowledge of and belief in the Truth, as well as practice of the Truth (see: Truth). The Truth is neither irrational nor ephemeral but resides initially within the mind of God and then is communicated by means of propositions from the mind of God to the mind of man. This is to affirm that Truth does not reside in reason but is the result of Revelation (see: Source of Truth).

In order for the Revelation to be effective, God created man capable of receiving and understanding His Revelation, whose content is Truth. Thus, reason is not denied, but is understood to be the ability to understand Revelation—reason is the servant of Revelation (see: Revelation). Without Revelation, reason serves no function; for without Revelation every aspect of life is irrational. Revelation is the presupposition of all knowledge.

Regarding Revelation and the intellect, Clark writes: “Now, one of God’s gifts is the Scripture. In it he addresses the intellect. The purpose of the intellect is to think and to understand; the purpose of the Bible is to be understood” (Lord God of Truth, 46).

This reservoir of knowledge, coupled with the ability intuitively to grasp a situation, totally and completely separates man from the animals. In a number of areas man’s intellectual astuteness manifests a radical distinction between Adam and the animal creation, areas such as the ability to think logically, the use of abstract and complex language, creativity in the arts (paintings, literature, music), inventiveness in the fields of technology and science, and a sense of eternity in the heart coupled with a belief that death is not the end. In all of these varied dimensions Adam is not like the animals; he is not from them; and he is not struggling to escape left over animal remnants from aeons of evolution. Rather Adam is dissimilar and unique, set over against the animals and set above the animals. Any attempt to connect man to the animals in any sense denies the distinction between the two taught by the Scriptures and undercuts the superiority of man over the animals (see: Created by God and From the Dust).

Men are not animals, and animals are not men. A humanistic biology that confuses the two or merges the two is to be rejected (see: Question of Evolution).

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