The Biblical Dichotomy of Humanity
The Bible is very simple in its anthropology. The doctrine of man, revealed in Scripture, finds all people unrighteous before God (Rom 3:10). Thus, the doctrine of man is closely conjoined with the doctrine of sin.
When one surveys the biblical account of humanity, there is a dichotomy revealed. The Bible shows us Adam, the first man, who had a taste for evil. The consequence for him was the immediate death of his soul and subsequent death of his body. He lost the image of God and took on the image of the devil. The advantages afforded to him, while in right relationship to God, were forfeited.
Adam lost dominion and became a slave to sin and Satan (Rom 6:6). Sin is the will of the devil, and Adam loved evil despite its ruinous consequences (Jn 3:19). His failed fellowship with God put him at enmity with his Creator. Adam was a rebel, and through procreation, he and Eve produced evil offspring. All people are conceived in sin (Ps 51:5), and they are guilty of Adam’s original sin (Rom 5:12), while in the womb of their mothers.
All people inherit the sin nature (Eph 2:3), and they are born children of wrath. They are prone to evil from the beginning because every intent of their hearts is only evil all the time (Gen 6:5). They are born under sin, in bondage to sin, as slaves to sin. Sin reigns in their minds, hearts, affections, emotions, along with their will and works.
What is described here as the plight of man is not understood by natural man because there is none that is wise (Rom 3:11; 1 Cor 2:14). There is not even one who understands that none is righteous before God (Rom 3:10). Despite the light of nature, which makes each one morally and ethically responsible before God, man is unwilling and unable to do good, by the assessment of God. There is none who does good, not even one (Rom 3:12).
In this state of spiritual death there is none who seek for God (Rom 3:11). In selfish sin, every man seeks his own pleasure and profit.
Sin is the universal state of all humanity (Rom 3:23; 5:12–21; 6:23. No man has ever avoided this state of being dead to God, except Jesus Christ, who avoided Adam’s sin at His conception and birth (Is 7:14; Mt 1:20). He also did not sin in practice (Heb 4:15), being the impeccable Son of God, while in the flesh of man.
It was Jesus Messiah who produced the dichotomy of humanity. He brought grace and truth into the world (Jn 1:14, 17), and by His grace, a holy nation was manifest (1 Pet 2:9). As the second Adam and federal Head of a new race, a second people were found in Him (Rom 5:12–21; 1 Cor 1:30).
Christ died to redeem this people of God’s own possession (1 Pet 2:9), saints set apart from the mass of sinful humanity. These had been set apart in God the Father’s election of them before creation (Eph 1:4–5; Rev 13:8; 17:8), but now their separate identity was made clear, although it had been prefigured in Old Testament Israel.
Christ is the true Israel of God (Is 49:3), and His body, the church, also bears this name, “the Israel of God (Is 49:6; Gal 6:16).” The church, remnant people from both the Jews and Gentiles (Rom 11:5), is not only elect and redeemed, but they are also regenerated by the Holy Spirit (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Pet 1:3).
It is God’s Spirit, employing God’s Word, who calls out God’s elect people from every nation of humanity. The dichotomy of humanity is separated, by those who have the Spirit of the Son of God indwelling them, and those who do not have the Spirit of Christ (Jn 3:36; Rom 8:9, 11; 1 Jn 5:12). It is Christ who has made the unjust to be just by his blood and grace (1 Pet 3:18).
New creatures in Christ (2 Cor 5:17), given new life in Christ, by the Spirit giving them faith (Phil 1:29), is the catalyst that takes one from the domain of darkness in this world of sin and transfers him or her into another kingdom (Col 1:13). In this, the kingdom of this world loses one of its own, by the transfer and transformation of that soul in the kingdom of God’s beloved Son.
Finally, this biblical dichotomy of humanity is seen in the terms the Bible uses for both groups: unrighteous and righteous (Mt 5:45; 1 Jn 1:9); chaff and wheat (Mt 3:12; Lk 3:17); goats and sheep (Jn 10); children of the devil and children of God (1 Jn 3:10); vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy (Rom 9:22–23); etc. The last question is, “To which realm do you belong?”
Spokane Valley, Washington
January 16, 2022