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Lesson 44 of 50 - Theology (part four of ten)
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Anthropology - .mp3    
     

Theology (part four): Anthropology, the Study of Man; Origin; Nature; Fall

 

Creation of Man
God planned the creation of man and said,

                “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule.”                       Genesis 1:26

The word for image in the Hebrew is tselem and the word for likeness is demuth.  These two words are basically synonymns in the Old Testament (5:1; 9:6).   Tselem means a shaped or fashioned figure or image.  Some people have tried to see this word referring the physical aspect of man.  Demuth refers to the abstract idea of something being similar.  This word has been used to try to identify the immaterial part of man.  The combination of these two words is an attempt to communicate the complex nature of reproducing a replica of the eternal God in the created world.  The focus of this verse is to introduce man as a unique creation made to be like God so as to be able to related with God and interact with God in a very personal way.  Human dignity comes from this very idea.

The image of God in man means these things:

  1. Man’s body is used to express the image and likeness of God that is in man.  Man does not simply live in a body the body is part of the man and it will be resurrected into an eternal, spiritual body when man continues to exist for eternity.
  2.  Living existence is part of man’s creation.  Since God is living so is man.  Idol worship of stone and gold then is absurd.
  3. Free will of man is like God’s freewill in that man can use his intelligence and ability to make decisions and control the outcome of the world he was given dominion in.
  4. Since the original man was like God he could relate to, interact with, understand and be at peace with God himself.

Sin did not erase, destroy or eliminate the image and likeness of God in man (1 Cor. 11:7).  Sin did not undo the creation of man.  The image of God was polluted or corrupted in a limited fashion which caused man to loss perfect relations, interaction, understanding and peace with God.  Even after the fall of Adam, mankind continued to be an intelligent being with freewill that could express themselves through their body and have dominion in their creation.  Man could still interact with God but all of these aspects of man had been damaged.

Man was an instantaneous creation by God himself.  Evolution is a false philosophical theory that will continue to be undermined by difficult and impossible scientific facts as technology and knowledge continue to advance.  Scripture does not support evolution in the context of these verses.  The Bible does not allow for man to evolve from the animals.  It is very clear that Eve did not evolve since she was a second creation of God.  We can test the meaning of “dust” from Genesis 2:7 when it says “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the earth.”  Could this be an allegorical reference to man’s evolving from an animal?  The meaning of dust in the mind of the author is not allegorical since in Genesis 3:19 Adam is told that when he dies he will “return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”  If dust were an allegorical reference to evolution from animals then men should be turning back into animals when they die.  The very fact that men return to dust when they die is an unavoidable indicator that the early verses of Genesis are literal and not allegorical.

Where Does the Life and Soul Come From?
Obviously, the first man’s entire being came from God at the point of creation.  But, when Adam had a son the Bible says:

                “When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image.”  Genesis 5:3

It is clear that the physical body comes from the parents but what about the immaterial part of man?  Where does the soul of a baby come from?  Here are three possible answers for this question, but only one that is acceptable:

  1. Preexistence – In the beginning God created all human souls.  These souls are then assigned to a body.  Forms of this view are held by Greeks (including Plato and Origen) and Hinduism.
  2. Creationism – God creates the perfect soul and puts it in the body which then corrupts the soul giving it a sin nature.  The problem with this is that God continues to make perfect souls which continually become sinful.
    1. Creationism at Conception - God creates the soul at the moment of conception and unites it with the body.
    2. Creationism at Birth – God creates the soul and unities it with the body when the baby takes its first breath.
  3. Traducianism – The soul is transmitted along with the body through natural generation.  The body and the soul, or the life of man, comes from the parents.  In this view God created only the original parents and since then life and flesh has come through parents one generation at a time.
    1. Hebrews 7:10
    2. It is easy to understand the sin nature of man if our lives, soul and body, are the products of Adam seed being handed down through the generations.
    3. Psalm 51:5 – “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”

The Nature of Man
Man is made of material and immaterial parts:

  1. Material – brain, internal organs, skin, physical heart, hair, fingers, etc.
  2. Immaterial – mind, thought, will, desires, emotions, personality, conscience, consciousness, immaterial heart, memory.

A man is made of these two parts.  The make up of a man is a difficult thing to understand.  Many times we think of man as being a spirit being living in a body that possesses a soul or some form of trichotomy: spirit, soul and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23 and Hebrews 4:12)  Other verses seem to teach simply two parts: material and immaterial.  The difficulty in clearly understanding the make up of man reveals that a man is not simply a body or a mind or a spirit but that humans are all of those things formed into one unity called a man.  In a sense it can be as difficult as understanding the Trinity.  Paul uses these words to describe the make up of man: soul (psyche), spirit (pneuma), flesh (sarx), body (soma), heart (kardia) and mind (nous).  Together these words make up man.  Defining these words separately the way Paul uses them gives some insight into the make up of man but we soon realize they often overlap in their meaning.  Below is a list of the immaterial parts of a man:

  1. Soul – The living part of man (Gen. 2:7). the soul departs at death (Gen. 35:18; Jer. 15:2).  It is the center of spiritual and emotional experience (Job 30:25; Psalm 43:5; 2 Kings 4:27; 2 Samuel 5:8; Jeremiah 13:17).  The word can refer to the whole person and even to dead bodies (Leviticus 21:1-3; Numbers 6:6; 9:6)
  2. Spirit – Only used to refer to the immaterial part of man.
  3. Heart – Refers to the center of physical and immaterial life including the man’s intellect, emotions, decision making and spiritual life.
  4. Conscience
  5. Mind
  6. Flesh
  7. Will

Another way to organize the make up of man is as spirit, soul and body:

                “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.  May your whole spirit, soul and        body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”                   First Thessalonians 5:23

  1. Body – The material part of man that interacts with the physical world.  We live in a body.
  2. Soul – This is who we are.  This is the living part of man but the soul is not separate from the body because neither are independent of each other: worry changes the physical chemistry in the brain, but brain damage results in memory loss in the soul.  The soul contains these aspects of man’s immaterial nature:
    1. Mind – The home of truth, logic and reason.  Romans 12:2 indicates this is the primary area for producing spiritual maturity.   (Psalm 119:27; Romans 14:5; Colossians 3:2)
    2. Thought
    3. Will
    4. Desires
    5. Emotions
    6. Personality
    7. Conscience
    8. Consciousness
    9. Heart
    10.  Imagination
    11. Memory
    12. Senses
  3. Spirit – The part of the soul that relates to God (Psalm 51:10-11; Romans 8:16; Ephesians 4:23).  According to Hebrews 4:12 the Word of God can separate the soul and the spirit.  Because the spirit and soul are both immaterial parts of man they are often used as synonyms.

Three Phases of Salvation
A man’s spirit is saved at the point of faith in Jesus Christ.  A man’s soul is saved during his lifetime on earth as he renews his mind to the word of God.  A man’s body is saved at the resurrection and he enters into the state of complete sanctification or glorification.  A believer today is saved spiritually, is being saved daily in his soul, but some day in the future he will be saved physically (1 Cor. 15:20-26; 50-57).  These three phases of salvation also match with the Lord’s teaching at the Last Supper:  The bread and the cup spoke of the work of salvation that is in our past when we accepted Jesus’ work on the cross for our salvation.  The foot washing spoke of the daily fellowship and growth during our lives.  The meal was a foreshadowing of the marriage supper of the Lamb that occurs when we are taken into his presence spirit, soul and body (Rev. 19:9).

Salvation: Spirit, Soul and Body

 

Spirit

Soul

Body

Phase

1

2

3

Time

Past

Present

Future

Occurrence

At the Point of Salvation

In Time Throughout Our Life

An Eschatological Event

Human Part

Your Spirit is Saved

Your Mind is being Renewed

You Body will be Resurrected

Statement

You Are Saved

Your Are Being Saved

You Will Be Saved

Work of God

God the Son at the Cross

God the Holy Spirit in Time

God the Father in the End

Last Supper

Bread and Cup

Foot washing

The Meal – Marriage Supper
of the Lamb

Doctrines

Justification, Redeemed,
Sanctified

Maturing, Growth,
Living Sanctified

Glorification, Complete Sanctification

Salvation

Positional

Temporal

 

Scripture

“Who has saved us and called us to a holy life.”
2 Tim. 1:9

“He saved us, not because
of righteous things we had done.”      Titus 3:5

“For it is by grace you have been saved.”  Eph. 2:8

“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Rom. 12:2

“Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”    Phil. 2:12

“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken
hold of it.” Phil. 3:13

“For you are receiving the
goal of your faith,
the salvation of your souls.”
1 Peter 1:9

“Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed”
Rom. 13:11

“Shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”  1 Pt.1:5

“He himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”
1 Cor. 3:15

“For in this hope we were saved . . . if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”   Rom. 8:24-25

“we may also share in his glory”  Rom. 8:17

 

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