That is a question we will always be trying to answer. A praise Psalm of David, about creation and our role in it, has at least some insights.
How great is His name in all the earth??!! I think this is one of the great puzzles of atheism. How can you look at the earth, sun, moon, stars and beyond, and not recognize the absolute truth that their is a design (and designer) behind it all?? The sheer fragility of life on our planet, all the systems that have to work together in order to sustain even the most basic forms of life, much less the abundance of life that stirs awe and wonder even in our secular age. So much so that now it is acceptable in our secular, non believing world to worship “Mother Nature” but not God the Father.
But we do believe. And we can wonder, as David does here, at the power of God shown through us at our weakest and most fragile points. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. Babies and infants are quite the show of God’s beauty, strength and skill, aren’t they? They are created, formed, and born in such a short time, using God’s design of human sexuality and the mothers nurturing womb. They are born with basic survival instincts, and a strong voice to help their chances. They are born with intelligence, and a quick appreciation and love for the beauty of all the things God created. It is not until later, when we have eaten from that tree of knowledge, that we lose our awe and wonder for all that is so wondrous to see. We get blinded by our own ambition, and get filled up with ourselves instead of the love of God. No, babies and children are quick to learn the love of God, as Jesus demonstrated to us – “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:1-4 ESV
We should all look at the work of God, from the finger of God, and be humbled by the position He has put us within His creation. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? And yes, what are we, that He would descend from Heaven in our form, to walk among us, to suffer with us, to die for us?? Out of all His creation, all the wonders of the world and the universe, what makes us special?? “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26-27 ESV. I don’t know why, but He made us in His image. Out of all He created, he made us in His own image, put us at the top of His creation, came and walked among us when we had proven unworthy of the position He gave us, then died on a cross to save us. Go figure.
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Yes, He gave us dominion over all His creation, and we almost immediately broke the vision He had for us and His creation in the Garden. When Adam and Eve ate from the tree forbidden by God (the ONE thing forbidden, of course, we go straight to) our dominion and power over all the earth was broken along with everything else. We still have dominion, mind you, but our dominion is over a world broken by us. Therefore, it is a greatly diminished dominion and power. But the second Adam, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, will return. It is at that time, His second coming, that our full dominion over ALL things will be restored. That will include dominion over death – “and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” Hebrews 2:15 ESV
And Christ will have taken his final, rightful throne – “who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.” 1 Peter 3:22 ESV.
So, What is Man? I at least know this much, that we were made in God’s image, only confirmed by the sending of His own son to save us.
“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”
Psalms 8:1-9 ESV