It matters a great deal how we answer this question: What is man?
Is humanity merely a cosmic hiccup, the result of random forces with no real purpose or destination? Or is man a special being created in the image of God for a unique purpose in the world?
The dividing line between these two views is displayed sharply in the following two quotes:
“The universe has turned its face against man; it was bored with him and man will eventually die out like the dinosaurs and be forgotten.” H.G. Wells, author and historian (20th century)
“What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet.” Psalm 8:4-6
Adopting either view has enormous implications — for oneself, for the family, for society and public policy, and for education.