David declares "Surely every man awalks about as a phantom." Psalm 39:6
How can he make such a bold pronouncement and does this really apply to me? The word that David uses here for phantom is the Hebrew word tselem. In this context it means phantom, but this is not the first place that this word is used.
In Genesis 1:26 we find the first occurrence of this word when God says "Let Us make man in our "image." We were made to look like God, think like God and act like Him. We were made in His image. Unfortunately for most of us this means that we only have His form.
This is sort of like meeting a young man or woman that is the spitting image of their father or mother. Yet as you talk with this person it becomes quite obvious that they are nothing like their parents. Their perspective is different, their values are different and they are taking a very different path.In this way there is a physical resemblance but the resemblance is only skin deep.
The bible says in Romans 3:23 that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." God's character is goodness and righteousness. His defining act is the love revealed through His Son at the cross.
God's internal traits are inherently at odds with our nature. Thus David is correct in pronouncing the natural state of man: a phantom. Without surrendering to His saving grace we are naturally just distorted images of our father.