Anthropology is the study of human nature. Biblical anthropology focuses on the Bible’s revelation about humans, especially our original design (Creation), our present abnormal state (Fall), and the effect of our salvation through Christ (Redemption). We are looking at two aspects of man in this study first his physical aspect (soma) body, the material part of man, physical creation and soul (psyche) the immaterial part of man were we get our word psychology from.
We have seen in our previous studies how the world was now fully prepared for its human inhabitants, who would have dominion over it. Man is the peak of creation the highest form of creation. Mankind rules creation as God intended, not by animal strength, (some animals are stronger) but by the power of their mind and personalities and their right a co-regents. Men and women have “God consciousness” which animals do not have. No animal feels guilt of moral or spiritual sin, man does. No animals “consciously glorify God, and enjoy him forever”. They do not build places of worship, they do not seek after spiritual things. Man is uniquely different. The Biblical Account of the Creation of Man Gen. 1:26-27; 2:7.
In these verses our uniqueness and superiority are expressed. The creation of man stands at the principle of creation.
1. We have two accounts of the creation of man Gen.1: 26-27, 2:7. Here we find that mans body was made of the “dust of the earth”. This physical part of man was the material of which the physical universe around him was created. It became subject to death when man fell from God in the Garden of Eden.
2. The immaterial part of man occurred when God breathed into him the breath of lives physical life and spiritual life. In his body he is related to the physical world and in his soul he is related to the spirit world, even God himself.
3. “Let us make man in our own image” man was a replica of God himself, he resembled his creator. This is not said of other creatures.
4. Man was given dignity and “made a little lower than the angels”.
5. The image makes man unique from all animals. He is given dominion over the birds, animals and even earth itself.
6. Once the spark of human life is lit it can never be extinguished.
7. At the physical death the soul and body are separated but will be reunited at the resurrection of the body.
8. The soul and body are so closely entwined; this is why we have psychosomatic illnesses. This seen in the medical world.
9. The human body became a vehicle for sensations, feelings, pain, muscle, force etc.
10. God is a spirit into a man.
Day Six –The Origin of Man – Man the Completed Creation Gen. 1:26-30
Vs 26-27 “And God said “Let us make man in our image, and after our likeness: let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created He him, male and female he created them.”
Let us”. When God said, “let us” he was not speaking to to the angels but to the other two members of the Godhead. Billions and billions of years before time God had decided to do this and he prepared the Lamb of God as a sacrifice for man before time (1 Peter1:20; Revelation 17:8). Now in time the ancient plan is announced, recorded and implemented. The highest complex creation of God was made and given dominion over all the rest of creation. Although man would have the “breath of life” like animals (Genesis 2:7; 7:22) and have a “living soul.” Animals were also said to have a soul like (1:24; 2:7) however man’s physical, mental structure was more complex than all the rest of the creatures. Man was directly and uniquely made in God’s image.
The Physical Origin of Man
Vs 26. “Make” (Hebrew = asah) man in our image. The image is not physical as the Mormons believe. God moulded mans body, he equipped it with nostrils, with lungs, and the entire breathing apparatus, as well as bones and organs and other bits and pieces, but was lifeless. It was completely formed but it needed energised. It must be activated, the lungs must begin to breathe, the heart must begin to pump and circulate blood, and all the metabolic functions must begin their operations. But life can only come from life. Since God was the only self existing Being only He could give life. So God imparted life and breath into man. At his point man became a living soul.
The Origin, Development and Departure of the Soul
The origin of the soul
There are three main theories:
1. Pre-existence – This is not a Biblical teaching. The soul pre-existed before man’s physical creation. Origen (185-254A.D.) held that the soul went through many reincarnations (not physical ones as Hindus believe) in which it had incurred sinfulness. His views were not very different from Plato (Transmigration of the soul). Mormons and other cultists hold this view but it is not Biblical. God had foreknowledge of every human soul, He is all knowing but did not create souls until Genesis chapter one.
2. Traducanism – Latin meaning “from birth”. The soul is generated from birth, from the parent. The soul is “traduced” from the parents by the process of generation or the act of pro-creation; it passes down form the parents.
3. Creationism –“Ex nihlo” immediate creation from God. It includes inherited tendencies from parents. By a special act God creates each individual soul.
4, Both – some believe that both 2 and 3 are combined in the creation of a soul. Regardless which one a person believes life is very precious and should not be touched (aborted) unless absolutely necessary.
No matter what view is held original sin is imputed to us because we are Adam’s race. David said, “Behold I was born in sin and shaped in iniquity”. All the views above believe that the physical part dies and needs to be resurrected again. The immaterial part is the real person, when they should departs they die.
The Way It Was
The Body: – It was formed= Hebrew “Jatsar” meaning to mold something from something (i.e. Jer 18:2 from dust.)
The Soul: – God “created” = Hebrew “Barah” meaning to make something from nothing (Gen.1: 2, 5:1-2, Isa 43:7).
The Soul: – Was created in God’s image= Hebrew “Tselem” meaning shadow image or essence (Immaterial. After conception the fertilised ovum is an embryo (first 8 weeks), a foetus afterwards.
Genesis 2:7 the word breath is “neshaen” meaning life. It is also in Isa. 57:16. At the point of birth God gives soul-life. The real person is located in the soul.
1. He was Trichodomous:- Body, soul and spirit (1 Cor. 2:14; 1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 4:12).
2. Now he is Dichotomous: – Body and soul. Spiritually he is dead to God and needs to be “born again” (Jn 3; Eph. 2).
3. Adam’s sin caused immediate spiritual death (Gen. 2:17; 1 Cor. 2:14)
4. Christ’s obedience and death brought spiritual life to those who believe, they become alive to God.
Man alone can reason and act upon his original thoughts “God is spirit and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” “God is not a man that he should lie”. “To what shall you liken me”
“Create” (bara) (Vs 27). God both made and created mankind. God “formed man from the dust of the ground” (Gen. 2:7). He took the smallest particle of which the earth, “the basic elements being nitrogen, oxygen, calcium etc). The first man is of the earth, earthy” (1 Cor. 15:47).
The Image “Our image” this is what makes man different from all other created beings. Man has an eternal spirit, has morals and spiritual attributes. Man has human emotions, such as love, hate, and jealousy. No other thing is said to be made “in Gods image.” No other animal has dominion over the earth as man does. The word “create” is repeated 3 times in reference to man and woman. He is a special creation. He created matter from nothing (vs 1), he created conscious life from nothing (vs 21) and he created man form nothing (vs 27). According to the Bible, the first man was perfect, made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26). Luke goes so far as to call Adam the Son of God Luke 3:38). Some of the attributes God shares with man are language, creativity, love, holiness, immortality and freedom. Man alone can reason and act upon his original thoughts. No animal, plant or matter has personality as man does. Animals do not have reason they have instinct or react to certain problems or stimuli. Animals do not create as man does it conforms to behaviour patterns. Animals do not love, they may learn to mimic it by instinct but they have not that capacity. They do not have personality. Man has love, immortality, language, freedom, creativity, holiness and a desire to find God animals don’t. All these attributes, and many more man possesses or may possess because he is human, made in the image of God. These separate him from the animal kingdom. They can be summed up in the phrase: Man, like his Maker, has a mind, soul and spirit.
“Man became a living soul” Soul is the Hebrew word “nephesh” meaning breath in the physical or biological sense. It is the life principle. The Greek word is “Psuche” were we get the word psychology form. When it is used to refer to the non-material being of man it designates some relationship to his body or earthly circumstance. Soul is also used to refer to animals but spirit is not. The prophets who heard the voice of God and communed with him are always said to be animated by the spirit (but not the soul” (James Montgomery Boice -page 151) It is the Soul that is saved, the whole person is the soul that is saved, the whole person.
The Soul consists of Six Areas
All of these six come into major decisions i.e. Marriage, vocation, sex, money, friendships etc
1. Mentality – The ability to think to process data and information. The ability to record and write to understand. This is the rational area of the soul. It is though this that we begin to develop as we understand words beginning with mamma and dada, bird, bee etc. Slowly we develop our souls. This is inherited through the soul (scientific), reason, intellect and learning. The Mind of man He is a thinker, an inventor, a creative mind that reflects God.
The agnostic scientist has a problem: ‘What is mind? The neurophysiological and anatomical intricacies of the brain, are the most complex of all computers. The nerve pathways by which we perceive, the physiological differences between sleep and consciousness; assimilation of data, memory, recall are wonderful and beyond comprehension. The brain is a superb, intricate, physicochemical computer constructed by a master Designer. That it is prone to disease and damage is no fault of the original design, but has come about because of sin. But that is not all. Man is a special creation. He is different. Because he is made in God’s image he has an original, thinking mind. He is a free agent, and therefore responsible for his actions to his neighbours and to God. Furthermore, the Christian has the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 3:16; Psalm 139:1-4; Heb. 4:13). Satan blinds the mind of those who do not believe.
The Origin of speech
In Gen. 2-4, we have a record of the words spoken by the first humans mentioned in Scripture: Adam, Eve and their eldest son Cain. These utterances are not illiterate or ‘baby talk’. How did they learn to speak God taught to speak. How does a newborn baby learn to speak? It is now accepted by linguists that speech is innate, or inborn. That is, speech happens because the infant is human; it is part of his heritage. Try to stop a child from learning a task. Unless he is mentally retarded, profoundly deaf or severely emotionally deprived, it cannot be done. Even deaf children learn to ‘talk’ in their own nonverbal language. If a child does not use the language he hears around him, he will construct one of his own—so-called ‘idiogtossia’. Young children easily learn two languages at once, and keep them separate. They may have difficulty with three.
The Mentally retarded and the image of God. All except Joshua, and ‘your little ones who you said would become a prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good or evil, (they) shall enter there, and I will give it (the promised land) to them, and they shall possess it’ (Deut. 1:39; Isa. 7:15).
2. Conscience – Morality/ moral conscience. (1 Tim. 1:15; Heb. 10:22). Animals do not have morality or the freedom and responsibility that man has. Man knows he is responsible and is accountable for his actions animals do not. Man knows what it is to be obedient or disobedient and the consequences. Believers know they are to be “conformed into the likeness of his Son” (Rom.8:29).
3. Will – The ability to decide. The ability to make choices. The decider of the soul. Sadly man today makes many bad, evil and destructive choices personally, collective as a government or body of people, or extreme religious views.
Animals have instinct men consciously choose to do things. This is the decider of the soul. Adam was created only a little lower than God (Psalm 8:5), as a free spiritual being. A responsible moral agent with a thinking mind and powers of choice and action, able to commune with God and respond to him, he could love and worship God—or if not, as he chose. Man could rebel against God. Tragically Adam and his wife choose to believe Satan and yielded to temptation. At this point the image became marred.
Man now misinterprets freedom as independence. Satan’s lie was to trick man into believing that to be independent of God was to be ‘free’. But there is no such thing as freedom. We are all slaves, either to Christ or to Satan.
Since the Fall, man remains a free agent in the sense that his decisions and conduct proceed from his inner character and not from external constraint. But because his very nature is now sinful, his decisions and acts are sinful too. When we do a wrong it is because we have been tempted by our evil desire, ‘and desire, when it is conceived gives is birth to sin’ (James 1:14-15). Our best good is defective in the sight of God. Even our righteous deeds are as filthy rags (Isa. 64:6). for a corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit (Matt. 7:18). No wonder that Paul cried out, ‘I know that nothing good lives in me, that is in my sinful nature. For I have a desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out … .What a wretched man I am. Who will rescue me from this body of death?’ (Rom. 7:18-19, 24)
Mans desires freedom but it is only the Son of God who can set completely free. No matter how much so called freedom a nation get even if it is liberated from a tyrant it is still in bondage. Men desire the wrong kind of freedom it is freedom to sin and not be held accountable that they want. Civil liberty campaigners demand freedom from censorship, easier divorce, woman’s rights, gay liberation and the like.
Only Christ can set men and women free: ‘It is for freedom that Christ has set us free’ (Gal. 5:1; John 8:16). He gives complete freedom—free once and for all time. All mankind was born into the slave market of sin except Jesus He was a free man and only a freeman could legally purchase a slave. Jesus Christ paid the redemption price and bought us out of the slave market of sin by the giving of himself as a ransom for us. This sets us free and it is for “for freedom” we have been set free. “He whom the Son sets free is free in deed.” Nothing can bring us into slavery again we belong to Him forever, we are the property of the god’. So Paul was able to call him ‘the Lord’s freeman’ (1 Cor. 7:22; 9:1). The cost of freedom was the death of Christ. Peter says, ‘You, my brothers were called to be free, but do not use your freedom to indulge your sinful nature’ (1 Pet. 2:16).
Modern man has got it all wrong. Freedom is liberty, not libertinism. We are called “into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom. 8:2). Adam was created free but became enslaved to sin. All men and women since have been in bondage. Christ came to set men free, ‘Whose service is perfect freedom’. The yearning for freedom is part of the image. It remains unsatisfied unless the slave is redeemed by Christ.
4. Emotions – Our emotions cause us to cry at a sad film or situation, to admire a sunset, to be grieved, to have feelings. This is the capacity for feeling. It adds colour to man i.e. Joy, happiness, laughter, and an emotional bond, anger. These are the moral and spiritual qualities of the soul and are invisible. We cannot see them but we see the results of them. The affections that can be sympathetic, show feelings, show anger, frustration, pity and sorrow. When a person lives on their emotions they end up psychologically damaged.
5. Self Consciouness. This is awareness of self existence. Man knows he is a distinct individual unless he has destroyed some brain cells through drugs, and too much alcohol, etc.
6. The Sin Nature. This the distorter of the soul. It is inherited through the soul (Psalm 1:5; 1 Tim. 2:13).
Spirituality- Man was made in Gods image in order to fellowship with and have communion God, who is Spirit (John.4:24). Man shares a body with other forms of life but only he possesses a spirit that makes him aware of God and communes with him. God does not love plant life and animal life as he loves man. He gave His Son to die for man in order to have a relationship with him. He feels for man, grieves for him and intervenes in history too make individual men and women all that He determined they should be. We are gods unique creation and he values us highly. He values the human soul of the highest value “For what should a man give if he were to gain the whole world and loose his own soul.” Sadly this image is shattered. There is an inward desire for spiritual knowledge. He knows there is something more than the physical. Satan takes advantage of this and manufactures false religions, philosophies, and has men seeking feelings, emotions and pleasures that are not bona fide.
Man is in the image of God not in a bodily, biological form since God is a Spirit and man is earthly. Although the body is not included in the image it is nevertheless very important since we will have a resurrected body, it is a very special part of man. Mans language and creativity are important parts of the image, are impossible without a body. God decided to share with man dominion and authority over the animal kingdom (Genesis1:28), an activity in which the whole man, body as well as mind, is involved. Our Lord Jesus, the Son of God honoured the human body by becoming flesh and dwelling among men (John 1:14, Hebrews 2:14). Since Jesus took on himself the form of man it is sinful to consider Adam sired by a shambling ape.
Man is more than an animal
Man is not an animal in the fullest sense he is above the animals he is not an angel but a little lower than the angels but will be higher than them in the resurrected body. Since the creator created both man and animals we see the marks of the divine artist on both. Physiologically and anatomically man is human. He has human characteristics and has a genetic code just a animals have. Evolutionists call him a human primate.
The Genesis account recognizes important similarities between man and the animals. Of man we read “God formed man of the dust of the ground … .” (Gen. 2:7). And of the animals, “Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field.” (Gen. 2:19). Animals are described as “living creatures” (Gen. 1:20), and man a “living being” (Gen. 2:7), the Hebrew word ‘naphesh’ (breath) being used for both. Concerning the effects of the flood we are told, “Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing … men and animals, and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped out.” (Gen. 7:22-23).
In Genesis 9:4 “life” (naphesh) is in the blood. However breathed-in life (naphesh) is not the essential factor which distinguishes man from animals. God regards man differently from the animals. The Bible account is primarily concerned with the relationship between God and man. Man was created by God, in his image, for God’s joy and glory, and exists only in the context of God. It is because God is (Heb. 11:8) that man has being (Acts 17:28). Although the earth and animals have a place in God’s economy, but essentially, the world was created as a place for man to live (Rom. 8:19-22).
Development of the Soul
The Body: – Heredity, physical likeness and deformity can occur though heredity.
The Soul: – This is the main means of the person’s development.
a) Words and communication. We develop though learning and understanding through words, they bring knowledge.
b) The Senses. They also help in our development; sight, touch, hearing smell and taste. Each of these is like a picture and gives a million words. Some people like Helen Keller had only touch and smell (took the place of sight). Fruit reminded her of home. Daisies reminded her of fields and her teacher. And she developed into a very intelligent person. When one or more of the senses are missing the others compensate in an amazing way.
The soul: – is the “ego” or “I” of man. It is his character and personality.
The soul: – is the living being, self, life, person, desire, emotion and passion.
The soul: – is the animated area of the person.
The Soul: – can expand its intellect, but when a man is born again his capacity for spiritual things immediately begin to grow. That is why Peter tells us to “Grow in grace and truth”.
N.B The soul can be marred psychologically. Mans intake of evil and sinful thoughts can mess up his thinking, feelings and being. Too much drugs, alcohol, can damage brain cells (the thinking area). In treating such an individual we must deal with the confession of sin first, then the process of healing begins if it is not too late. God heals and uses medical science and good pastoral counselling.
It’s the Soul that is Saved
The body houses the soul (2 Cor. 5:1-4; Zech. 12:1; Dan. 7:15; Phil. 1:26).
The soul develops in the body. I.e. intellect, conscience, awareness.
The soul is saved at the point of salvation (Mk. 8:36-37; Heb. 10:39; 1 Peter 1:9; Psalm 19:7.).
The value of a soul. It is more valuable than any thing on earth or in the cosmos. (Matt. 16:36; 1 Peter 1:19-19).
Departure of the Soul
When the soul leaves the body that is the point of death (James 2:26).
The separation is not the end of existence as “After death, the judgment” occurs.
All souls that lived and died without Christ will appear before the judgment seat of God and the books are opened (Rev. 20:12-15).
The real issue is the “new birth “ bring born again by the Spirit and one is has an entrance into the Lambs Book of life.
N.B At death the believer leaves the old sin nature behind and they go to be with Christ “which is far better.” Sin cannot enter into heaven.