ANTHROPOLOGY – THE DOCTRINE OF MAN
Introduction: ―What is man? Asked the psalmist centuries ago. This is one of the questions that bother the mind of men especially those who do not know the teachings of the Bible concerning man‘s origin, man‘s nature, his fall and the consequences of the fall. These are the aspects we shall examine in this study.
A. MAN’S ORIGIN:
The Biblical view of man‘s origin is that he is the product of God‘s direct and special creation, Genesis 1:26-27. Man is the result of careful and purposeful deliberation on the part of the Trinity. Man was distinct and unique from the rest of creation. He was to subdue it and have domination over it.
B. MAN’S NATURE: From Genesis 2:7, we see that man comprises three parts
- The body i.e. flesh, bone, blood which were made from the dust.
- The spirit which was breathed by God into man‘s nostrils.
- The soul. Man became a living soul. This is the part which connects the body with the spirit.
This will he treated in greater detail later.
C. THE FALL OF MAN:
Genesis chapter 3 gives us the full account of the awful tragedy of the fall of man. Though the story does not tell us how sin entered the universe, for Satan had already sinned and cast out of heaven. Ezekiel 28:1-15, Isaiah 14:9-14, it tells us how sin entered the human race. Man, created by God and placed in the Garden of Eden fell from his sinless condition.
Six downward steps are very clear about the fall of man.
- Eve listened to Satan Genesis 3:1
- She talked with Satan verses 2, 3
- She listened to Satan‘s denial of the word of God verses 4,5
- She believed Satan‘s lies verse 6
- Adam and Eve agreed with Satan‘s suggestions verse 6
- They both tried to cover their sin verse 7.
D. THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE FALL:
As a result of the fall, man lost his original inclination toward God and became a perverted creature, inclined away from God. The tragedy of the fall went far beyond Adam and Eve. It extended to the whole human race. Romans 5:12. This has brought the whole world under the judgment of God. Romans 3:19, and because all men are apart from Christ, they are rebels against God – children of disobedience, subject to His wrath. Adam was our representative when he sinned therefore each of us, by doing as Adam did, agreed with decision to rebel and disobey God.
E. MAN AS A TRIPARTITE BEING
Just as the Bible teaches that man comprises three parts, psychologists also believe that man is made up of the conscious mind, the subconscious mind and the unconscious mind, (the id, the ego and the supper-ego). Two of the passages that clearly teach this are I Thessalonians 5:23, Hebrews 4:12.
- THE BODY OF MAN
This is the physical part of man and it can be easily identified by the five senses, sight, (eyes) hearing, (ears) smelling, (nose) talking, (mouth) touch. The body has no power of its own to decide what to do or not, it only carries out the instruction received from inside. This may explain why the body will not be judged by God. Ecclesiastics 12:7.
- THE SOUL OF MAN
The soul gives man self-consciousness. It is the part of man between the body and the spirit yet it is not a mixture of two. The soul is the seat of Emotions, Intellect and Volition (will). It is the battle field between God and the devil. The Lord died on the cross to redeem souls. It is the main obstacle to Christian growth that is why the Bible says we have to gain and exercise authority over it Luke 2 1:19, I Peter 1:9. It must be forced to bow and yield to the spirit. It is the soul that rules the lives of unbelievers and immature Christians.
Characteristics Of Soulish Christians
- They always show their superiority in clothing (I Timothy 2:9-10, I Peter 3:3-4; speech (James 3:13, II Corinthians 10:7); Deeds (Philippians 1:12-19).
- Look for understanding in their minds instead of experience with God.
- Self-righteousness II Corinthians 10:12-13, 17-18.
- Are easily moved because they are governed by emotions.
- Holding tenaciously to their own opinion. I Timothy 4:1-3; Colossians 2:16-19.
- Not rooted and grounded in truth Ephesians 4:4, 3:17; Colossians 2:6-7.
- Unable to grow on spiritual things. Ephesians 4:15; I Peter 3:18.
3. THE SPIRIT OF MAN
The spirit gives man God-consciousness, the ability to communicate with God. It is the seat of Conscience, Intuition and Communion therefore it is the part of man which resembles God most. God‘s plan is the Holy Spirit, making a union with the human spirit, to govern the soul, and both would use the body as the means of expression (John 12). But in many lives, the spirit is unable to function; it is imprisoned by the soul. The more the spirit is allowed to rule the soul, the more spiritual and responsive to God we will be as Christians. This is why the soul must be completely subdued and compelled to yield to the spirit. The agency for dividing soul and spirit is the word of God. Hebrews 4:12.