Anthropology

Posted: August 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

Anthropology is the study of man. As it relates to Scripture, anthropology looks at what God says about man, including his character, his current state in relation to God, and our very own nature. Scripture is clear that God is perfect and perfectly holy, while man is incredible wicked and deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9).

Image of God

In Genesis, God says that man was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). What does this mean exactly? It would be far too difficult to list every way man is like God or created in His image, however to list a few ways man has been created like God would be that man has a moral accountability to God and an inner sense of right and wrong (Grudem 445-46).
God does not have a physical body, but is a Spirit (John 4:24). Man does have a physical body yet is also spiritual; God enables men to have spiritual life. As God is eternal, man will not cease to exist.
God is the source of all knowledge (Daniel 2:22; Psalm 139:6). “He knows everything (Pink 21).” Man can also think and use logic which is a way man is like God. Our mental aspects are like God, which includes knowledge, emotions, and creativeness (Grudem 447).
Man is relational. God is relational. God desires a relationship with His creatures and creation; since man was created for God (Revelation 4:11). However, God did not need man, He was perfectly content with His relationship with Himself, meaning the Trinity (Genesis 1:26-27). Yet, man has relationships with his family, Church, coworkers and associates, and customers, etc…(Grudem 447).

Nature of Man

As Jeremiah 17:9 clearly states, men is incredible wicked and deceitful. It is only by God’s grace that man does good things. Grace meaning, God giving man what he does not deserve, so the ability to carry out true goodness. So, what is man composed of? Scripture uses “Soul” and “Spirit” interchangeably, so it would be incorrect to say man has a body, soul, and spirit (John 12:21; John 13:21 Luke 1:46-47; Hebrews 12:23; 1 Peter 3:19) (Grudem 473-77). Man must be a dichotomy; that is both a body and a soul (or spirit).

Sin

What is sin? Without just saying the things sin is (examples would be murder, adultery, lying, etc…), what is the definition of sin. One of the great evangelist, John Wesley wrote his mother asking her what sin is, her response is helpful, “Take this rule: whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes relish of spiritual things; in short, whatever increases the strength and authority of your body over your mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may be in itself (Harris 120).” Mrs. Wesley is echoing what Paul said in 1 Corinthians, whatever we are doing, we should be glorifying God, if not, we are committing sin against God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Wayne Grudem has a good explanation also, anything that fails for man to conform to God’s law (Grudem 490). This is sin.

Original Sin

Original sin is that every human being is born into sin. No human, no matter how old or young, has a corrupted nature and is a sinner (Romans 5:12-14; Psalm 14:3). The consequence of original sin is that no one person deserves to spend eternity with God, but everyone deserves hell and torment forever, since we failed to give God glory one time (1 Corinthians 10:31; Romans 6:23).

Personal Sin

Does a Christian’s status change when they sin? No, our legal stance before God remains unchanged, by God’s grace merited through Jesus Christ. However, that is not to say that our relationship with God is not hurt (Ephesians 4:30). Hebrews makes it clear that God does discipline His children to become more and more like Himself; which is His will for us (Hebrews 12:6; 1 Thessalonians 4:3).

Complementarism

Complementarism is the view that states man and woman are both created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27) but are created different and has different roles. Man is not greater than woman, and likewise woman is not better than man. They have different roles but are complementary to one another. A man is blessed to find a good wife (Proverbs 22:18; Proverbs 31:10, 28-30). Just as the Trinity has different roles (God is like the commander in Chief, Jesus’ role was to humble Himself til the point of death to save some men, and the Holy Spirit is man’s helper), man has the “headship” in marriage and the woman is the helper (which is perfectly good because the Holy Spirit is also a helper so this should not be looked down upon at all) (Genesis 2:18). The woman was created for the man, which rightfully implies that man is the one leading (1 Corinthians 11:9). Wives are to submit to their husbands as they submit to the Lord (which gives wives freedom to deny their husband’s request if the Husband is in the wrong) as the husband is the head of the wife (Ephesians 5:22-24). Husbands are to love their wives, as Christ loved the Church; that is to take care of them and to be willing to die for them (Ephesians 5:25)! To close this section, Wayne Grudem writes, “The creation of man as male and females shows God’s image in (1) harmonious interpersonal relationships, (2) equality in personhood and importance, and (3) difference in role and authority (Grudem 454).
While man is incredible wicked, even from birth, it is neat how God made man and woman different to glorify Himself but in such a way that man and woman complement one another and were also made for one another.

Works Cited
Grudem, Wayne A. Systematic Theology: an Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000. Print.
Harris, Joshua. “Half a Poison Pill Won’t Kill You: How Do I Cope with the Temptations of Media?” Not Even a Hint. Sisters, Or.: Multnomah, 2003. 113-30. Print.
Pink, Arthur Walkington. The Attributes of God. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2006. Print.

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