It is Custance's contention that Man has a threefold nature (not surprising, perhaps, when it is considered that Man was made in the image of a triune God) and lives in three realms: the spiritual, the physical, and the intellectual. He further argues that each son of Noah was entrusted by God with a particular responsibility relating to that - Shem, to Man's spiritual need; Ham, to the physical; and Japheth, to the intellectual. I could hardly do justice in one post to Custance's arguments in support of this, which span about 300 pages, but a cursory look at history tells in favor of it. Consider: the three major religions of the world (Islam, Judaism, and Christianity) are all Semitic in origin. It has been discovered that the vast majority of basic (and ingenious) inventions were created by Hamitic people, who, Custance postulates, were the first to spread and subdue the earth. And philosophy was cultivated by races of the Indo-European stock, most notably the Greeks.
Custance does not try to say that individuals of each stock can only focus on that one part of their lives. But he shows the way each race as a whole has carried the responsibility for the part of Man's nature that was entrusted to it, and further shows how the relations between Shem, Ham, and Japheth down the ages have been used as a vehicle for the workings of God. In laying out his arguments, too, Custance bears witness to the glory of God's prime creation, Man, even as he has been corrupted by sin. It is the belief of some that Christianity - or any religion at all - robs Man of his greatness; but while it is true that one of the basic doctrines of Christianity is that we are nothing outside of Christ, yet it is also true that in another way, Christianity exalts Man more than any other religion or "non-religion". He is created in the Image of God. He is a little lower than the angels, but crowned with glory and honor. He is capable of unimaginable things, good and, fallen as he now is, bad. He is a creative genius. His soul was made for God. He lives in time, but God has set eternity in his heart. It was for Man, that creation which God pronounced "Very good," that Christ was slain before the foundations of the world.
Man is all this, and more. Day to day it is difficult to see; one does not easily look at a stranger and remember that the image of God resides in them. Sin has done its corrupting work, and continues to do it. But the difficulty does not lessen the reality of the fact. Sin is not of the essence of Man, and by that I mean that when it has been stripped away, Man does not cease to be Man. Oh, no! In His essence Jesus was Man, but he was not sinful. Man as created is a glorious being, and even now that glory, derived from His Maker, remains.
O LORD, our LORD, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!
- psalm 8
- psalm 8