INTRODUCTION TO ANTHROPOLOGY
There is scientific evidence that the human soul has weight. In 1907
Dr. Duncan MacDougall placed dying patients on a very sensitive scale just
before they died. At the point of death there was an immediate weight loss
of from 3/8 to 1 1/2 ounces. He did this experiment on six people. Of the
six bodies there were four that showed this weight loss. He also tried
the experiment on fifteen dogs, and not one of them changed weight at the
point of death.
So there. We do have souls and they vary in weight. I wonder if that
indicates that a weight problem in this life is transferred into the next
We can't use such a short experiment to definitely prove that the human
being has a soul, however if you believe that the Bible is God's Word to
man, you can know that there is a soul within man. Indeed, many of the
religions of the world view man's makeup as containing a soul and/or spirit.
As we enter into a study of anthropology, we are going to be studying
man. This section is somewhat unique, in that it is the only subject of
theology which laps over into the secular world of study. Anthropology
is a secular subject as well. Unsaved people are interested in the study
of anthropology as well as the Christian. The secular view of man will
be different to some extent because their basis will be the theory of evolution,
while the Christian's basis for study is the Bible.
Secular anthropology will view man as descending from a long evolutionary
cycle, while Christian anthropology's view of man comes from the creator
of that man, God.
Within the secular scheme of study there are many divisions of study.
I would like to show a chart which shows some of these divisions and their
relation to the overall system of study.
ACADEMIC AREAS | | |-------------------------------------------------------| | | STUDY OF THE STUDY OF THE HUMANITIES SCIENCES | | |--------------| NATURAL SOCIAL | | |----------------------------| STUDY OF BEHAVIOR SOCIAL STUDIES | | |------------------|--------------------| STUDY OF STUDY OF STUDY OF MAN | THE MIND SOCIETY | |-----------------------|---------------| ARCHAEOLOGICAL PHYSICAL BIBLICALMost of you have heard of the Alex Halley book and movie, called "ROOTS." We are all interested in our roots. We desire to know about our fathers, our grandfathers, our great grandfathers etc.
We are about to really study our roots. We are going to look into the
origin of man. As I approach the doctrine of man I'm left to wonder if
I have anything to say. I don't even know about myself much less about
mankind. Now, the doctrine of "SIN" - that is another story. I have some
knowledge of it and can speak with a little authority.
In short ANTHROPOLOGY is the study of man, or the science of man. We
will get into a more detailed definition in a few moments. There are two
sources or approaches to the study of man.
We can study man from the approach of human philosophy as most of the
world approaches the subject, or we can look at what the Word of God tells
us about man, and draw conclusions from that source.
From our Christian perspective it is most logical to look at both, and
hold to what the Lord has given to us in the Word.
There is value in looking at the secular philosophical approach to anthropology.
Let us take a brief look at these benefits.
1. They have some things that would help us understand the lost world.
Of course we don't want to accept evolution as a belief, but we can certainly
learn of the basic thought of this system so that we can talk intelligently
to an evolutionist about his spiritual needs. His spiritual need does not
change just because he is an evolutionist, but when we talk to him of God,
there are some hurdles we must overcome.
2. There are, I'm sure, some facts that they have within their area
of study that might help us understand how the world system operates. This
again translates into a help when talking to the lost. It also helps us
understand why the world system is the way it is. If we understand their
system we won't need to become disgusted with the lost when they act the
way they do.
We have already noted the main difference between the Philosophical
and the Biblical approach. We will contrast these two in a few minutes,
but for now let it suffice to say that:
The philosophical approach is from man and man's thinking which is not
as clear as the Lord had desired it to be. Man's thinking is clouded by
sin and the fall. This approach deals with only the emotional and intellectual
part of man and does not usually deal with the immaterial part of man.
God has no part in man's origin, career, or destiny as they understand
anthropology. To them there is no God.
The Biblical approach is based on the Word of God and is the thinking
of Almighty God. This gives the approach all of the validity it needs for
the Christian. This approach deals with all areas of man, both material
and immaterial. It covers moral, spiritual and eternal. What is said in
these areas is, by nature, truth because it is revelation from God.
There are a couple of terms that we need to think about at this
point. EXTRA-BIBLICAL ANTHROPOLOGY is the study of man based on man's
experience, history and intellect. INTRA-BIBLICAL ANTHROPOLOGY is the study
of man based on what God has revealed about man in His Word.
Extra-biblical anthropology gives to us such teachings as Evolution
and humanism. Both are based on man's ideas and concepts about what we
are and what we can do. By the very nature of the teaching it leads to
the materialism of our day. If we are only man, and can only enjoy this
life, then we must assuredly enjoy it to the hilt. If I am only in this
life, then I will enjoy all that I can gather together to the hilt, and
not worry about others. I AM CENTRAL TO MY THINKING! Recognize any of this
in the world today?
If this is true, and we know that materialism has a strong hold on the
church, then we might wonder just how effected the church is with extra-biblical
anthropology. Indeed, one of the last sections of this study is on humanism
and its inroads into the Christian community. (Topic number d04250-d04300.)
It should be recognized that the Bible does not approach man as a textbook.
You do not find a I and II Man in the table of contents of the Bible. The
Bible does not lay out a systematic set of information. We need to go into
the Word and glean what it says about man as we go. There is no systematic
anthropology found in the scripture.
The Bible has much to say about man, and it has much to say to lost
man if he will listen. His listening, however is usually the problem.
If a lost man will recognize the fact that the Scripture has some authority
over them, and will follow it's precepts he may enjoy a good life here
on earth, and be a moral upright being. His eternal destiny will not be
affected however. He will ultimately spend eternity in the Lake of Fire.
While we are thinking about the authority of the Scriptures we might
make brief mention that the Scriptures are authoritative in all that they
say. In what it says about science, it is correct. In what it says about
man, it is correct. In what is says about medicine it is correct. The point
however is that it is not a science textbook, nor is it a pre-med text
book. The point is this. When the Bible speaks on a subject It is correct
and we should have complete trust in it.
We should realize that the Bible speaks on some areas relating to man
that the extra-biblical system does not address. Such things as: The true
origin of the universe; The true origin of man; Man's original state; Man's
fall from that state; The new birth; The real cause of death; The bodily
We need to notice that the Word of God does not change and that it is
presenting the same view of man that it did when it was first written.
It should also be noted that the extra-biblical system is constantly
changing it's view as to the origin of man. There are many views of the
creation of the universe that have been presented through the ages. None
have been proven correct and many of them are barely plausible.
This constant flux is because of the fact that the people that come
up with these schemes have nothing except other men's ideas upon which
to base their thinking. They have no real basis upon which to build, while
the intra-biblicist has the Word of God to base his thinking on.
CHRISTIAN ANTHROPOLOGY - the study of man's origin, fall and course,
based upon the Biblical record.
Let us see how Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines anthropology.
"1:the science of human beings; esp: the study of human beings in relation
to distribution, origin, classification, and relationship of races, physical
character, environmental and social relations, and culture 2: a part of
Christian teaching that concerns the origin nature, and destiny of human
beings....." (By permission. From Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary
copyright 1991 by Merriam-Webster Inc., publisher of the Merriam-Webster
(registered) Dictionaries.) We are interested primarily in the number two
definition. It is of interest that Webster recognizes that there is a very
definite difference between the two types.
Anthropology, in short is the "science of man." We will look briefly
into some of the other areas of anthropology, but for the most part will
look at the origin, nature and fall of man.
"1. The science treating the physical, social, material, and cultural
development of man, including his origin, evolution, distribution, customs,
beliefs, folkways, etc." ("FUNK AND WAGNALLS STANDARD DESK DICTIONARY";
New York: Funk and Wagnalls Inc., 1976)
The term comes from the merging of two Greek terms: "anthros" meaning
man and "logos" meaning study.
"The word "anthropologos" first appeared in the works of the Greek philosopher
Aristotle and meant 'treating of man,'". (Funk, Wilfred Litt.D.; "WORD
ORIGINS AND THEIR ROMANTIC STORIES"; New York: Bell Pub., MCML, p 234)
As we have seen the study is viewed in two ways:
1. Human philosophy. This information is based on all of man's experience
and thinking and reasoning. The result of this form is Evolution and Humanism.
2. Biblical perspective. This is based squarely upon the Bible, and
then includes information from extra-biblical that may substantiate and
enhance intra-biblical anthropology. The result is a true view of man which
is based on Biblical creationism.
INTRA-BIBLICAL EXTRA-BIBLICAL 1. By nature, centered on the Excludes the Word of God Word of God. completely. 2. A philosophy created by God. A philosophy created by man. 3. Creation by God. Evolution. 4. God centered. Man centered. 5. Deals with original state of Offers no information. man. 6. Deals with man's fall. Offers no information. 7. Deals with real cause of death. Offers no information other than, it's the course of things. 8. Deals with the new birth. Offers no hope. 9. Deals with proper morality. Offers "do your own thing". 10. Deals with a future life. Offers no afterlife. 11. Gives absolutes in morals. Demands no absolutes in morals. (Which is an absolute) 12. Correct and unchanging in Changes with the times and state which it was written. the writers. 13. Man has value before God. Man has only what value he can find for himself. 14. Deals with the creation of Deals with the evolution of man. man.
Now, let us move to four improper theories of man's coming into existence:
1. Evolution: Most people today know what evolution is. It is the thought
that man evolved from a long process of life getting better and better.
The life would be some primordial gluck that decided to become alive. Life
then evolved into something intelligent, then into fish, then into animal,
then into man and we have been getting better every since. So why are some
of us so bald if we are getting better, or is baldness the next best step
forward for mankind?
2. Theistic evolution: Notice that they allow God into this one, ever
so slightly. God created, and left it all to evolve with his guidance over
the millions of years that it took. He allowed natural processes to bring
life into existence and then evolve into man.
3. Progressive creationism: "Creationism" is included in this title
to give an air of respectability to evolution. In this thought God created
life, then allowed millions of years to pass between the stages of intervention
by Himself. You know, those missing links that the evolution always talks
about - God stepped in from time to time to give evolution the needed boost
to the next level. This is why there is no link between monkey and man.
Evolution got to the monkey, and God stepped in and somehow brought about
4. Abiogenesis or Spontaneous generation: This thought tells us that
man just began to exist - no creator - no creation. Cambron mentions, "...there
was no creator of man, but that man simply came into being without a cause
and began to exist fulfilling the nursery rhyme, which reads: Where did
you come form baby dear? Out of the nowhere, into here!" (Cambron, Mark
G. D.D.; "BIBLE DOCTRINES"; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1954, p 155)
There is a fifth point if you are a TREKY. (A TREKY is one that enjoys
the Star Trek television series.) In the Star Trek series there is what
they call the Genesis Machine. NO, YOU SAY? WELL, PROBABLY NOT.
THE PROPER - BIBLICAL VIEW
Man was brought into existence by God. Gen. 1:27 shows the fact of creation,
Gen. 2:7 shows the how of creation, and Matt 19:4 shows Christ giving validity
to that account. Let me list a few other points concerning the creation
1. He BECAME a living thing (Gen. 1:21). He wasn't living beforehand
and then suddenly change form. It was a creation, not an evolution.
2. Paul states that Eve was taken from Adams side. This was a sudden
action as well as supernatural, thus probably Adam's own creation was probably
sudden and supernatural. (as opposed to thousands of years) I Cor. 11:8.
3. Paul states that there are different kinds of flesh. One for animal
and one for man (I Cor. 15:39). Man did not come from the fish.
4. God states that man was created, then the woman was created. The
theist would have to have all males up to the time of Adam, then have woman.
This does not seem logical to have man only in the evolutionary process
until a point in time when woman is introduced.
As we move along in our study of man, we might consider whether we can
have a complete Psychology of man (psychology is the science that deals
with the mind and the behavior that it causes in man) that is derived from
the Bible. Anyone that has read the Bible would have to say no. The Bible
is complete, and correct in what it says concerning psychology, however
it is not, nor was it meant to be a psychological text book.
God did not set the Scriptures down to address man's overall psychology,
but to address man's spiritual needs. The next question is this, "Can a
psychologist form a practice using principles found in the Word of God?"
To a point this is possible. He can use principles from the Bible if the
person is a Christian. If the person is lost then the person may, or may
not follow the remedy, nor will he have the Holy Spirit to assist him if,
indeed he follows the remedy.
There have been men that have practiced in the following manner. They
first of all find out if the person is saved. If they are Christians they
proceed from a Biblical standpoint to minister to their problems (problems
that are usually related to sin). If the person is not saved they are given
the Gospel, and the opportunity to accept Christ. If the response is no,
then the treatment is basically the usual secular psychology, with the
Word used as much as possible.
Others have noted many "Biblical" principles wrapped up in the "REALITY
THERAPY" of Dr. Glasser. His principles worked well in many patients, even
though he was not (to my knowledge) a believer. Biblical principles can
work in an unsaved person if they allow them to be applied. Indeed, the
fact that some unsaved people live great moral lives, is proof that Biblical
principles work, whether the lost or believers follow them.
Today one of the attacks upon the Word is leveled at the fact that not
all of it is inspired. Many today now believe that the Word is inspired
only in those areas where it is conveying spiritual truth. Where It touches
on science, psychology, and what have you, it may contain errors. This
is how believers can hold to the quasi evolutionary systems that they believe
in. In the area of science (creation) the Bible has errors, so they insert
their own philosophy.
How do we answer the charges that the Bible contains errors in the area
of science, etc.? We need to understand that the Bible is not written as
a science, psychology, or history book. It is written to reveal the answers
to man's spiritual problems, and to give them a moral standard to live
by. It is, however, in areas where it speaks on these subjects, without
error and is true.
For example you can read secular history books and find many examples
where the secular world has "found errors in the Bible" because there was
no proof of the Word's statement. As the years go by archaeologists have
proven over and over that the Bible is the correct version, rather than
the secular history.
We, as believers, accept these things by faith, so why not share our
faith in Christ and His word with the people around us. Heb. 11:3 states:
"Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of
God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."
If we accept it by faith then we should be up front and tell them that!
We should also remind them that they are accepting what they hold on faith
Much of science is still accepted by faith. An example of this is the
flow of electrons in a wire to produce an effect such as light or sound.
They do not know if it is really electrons in the wire, nor do they know
if what ever is flowing, flows from negative too positive, or positive
too negative. They have formed the theory that it is the flow of electrons
from positive to negative, and they can demonstrate the results yet they
cannot prove their theory. Probably, it is true but, they must accept it
by faith. Even then they debate about the direction of current flow.
The whole matter of evolution is likewise acceptable only on the basis
of faith. There is little proof for the system, and anyone that holds to
its teaching must have faith in the teaching, or they could not hold to
Man could not have evolved from mud, because he is a personable, rational,
moral and religious being. How can anyone believe that man which is personal,
rational, moral and religious came from a primordial blob?
If you mentioned to someone that you believed the Genesis account of
creation and they said they didn't; that it was only a fable of the Old
Testament, how could you answer that person?
Take them to Matt. 19:4,5 and read the account of Christ's answer to
the Pharisees, "He answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that
He which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said,
For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to
his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?" This puts them at odds with
not only the Genesis account of creation, but also at odds with the Son
Of God, Jesus Christ, who gave his view. Christ held that the creation
account was historical and reliable. At this point let him argue with Jesus
Christ! I would like to list some references that view creation as fact:
Ex. 20:11; I Chr. 1:1; Ps. 8:3-6; Mk. 10:6-7; Lu. 3:38; Ro. 5:12-21; I
Cor. 11:9; 15:22; 15:45; II Cor. 11:3; I Tim. 2:13-14; Jude 14.
How do we make this practical? A study of man and his creation. How
will you present this to a group and help them live better Christian lives
1. The Extra-Biblical theories which have been set forth are truly revolutionary
and breathtaking. It is wonderful that man can know so much about himself
with absolutely no scientific evidence.
Intra-Biblical anthropology is a simple statement of fact by the creator
of the universe about how He created. Surely He would be the one that knows
how He did it.
There are some new theories which attempt to merge the two views, however
man always ends up in the drivers seat of these new thoughts.
2. Man is a created being made by a very powerful God. (The ramifications
of this are immense.)
3. We are created beings. Not only are we created beings, but we are
responsibility to the creator. When you create a cake, it is there for
you to do with as you desire. God created us, and we are here for HIS purposes,
not our own.
4. We are created in His image. We have a responsibility to know what
He is, so that we can become more like Him.
TRUTH FOR LIFE:
God took the time to create man and in essence ME so I must assume I
have value before Him, else, why would He have bothered. If I have value
before Almighty God then I have value to myself - I am worth something!
I have no value aside from the creator - thus my creator should be very
important to me! If I have value, that value comes from my creator, thus
what is my response? I should: Submit to his Word; Serve Him; Share Him;
And speak with Him.
I have often wondered if David Brainerd had realized some of these truths,
if he would have had a different outlook on life. I would like to quote
a short portion of his diary on the day of his commissioning as a missionary.
It shows a man that had very little concept of value before God. True,
his negative thoughts were generated by his honest hate of sin within himself,
yet I must wonder if he felt that he had any value before His maker. "Spent
much time in prayer and supplication: was examined in reference to my Christian
experience, my acquaintance with divinity, and some other studies and my
qualifications for the important work of evangelizing the heathen, and
was made sensible of my great ignorance and unfitness for public service.
I had the most abasing thoughts of myself; I felt that I was the worst
wretch that ever lived: it pained my very heart, that anybody should show
me any respect. Alas! me thought how badly they are deceived in me! how
miserably would they be disappointed if they knew my inside! O my heart!
And in the depressed condition I was forced to go and preach to a considerable
assembly, before some grave and learned ministers; but felt such a pressure
from a sense of my vileness, ignorance, and unfitness to appear in public,
that I was almost overcome with it; my soul was grieved for the congregation,
that they should sit there to hear such a dead dog as I preach, I thought
myself infinitely indebted to the people, and longed that God would reward
them with the rewards of his grace. I spent much of the evening alone."
(Edwards, Jonathan; "THE LIFE AND DIARY OF DAVID BRAINERD"; P 25-26
He had so much of this worthless feeling, yet today most Christian's
don't have any of that feeling.
God's Workmanship by G. Campbell Morgan
"We are God's workmanship. That is where the song of hope and comfort
begins. I would be frightened of the first, because when I say I am his
I am not talking for effect; I am talking out of my life, deeply. Even
today I say I belong to him, and I am almost ashamed because I do not feel
there is anything worth his possessing in me. But wait a minute -- we are
his workmanship" That means he is working on us. There is the suggestion
in it of artistic beauty. We are his workmanship, not yet perfected, but
in process. The figure of the potter helps me. The wheel is moving swiftly
with the aid of the potter's foot on the treadle, and he gives speed or
slowness as he wills to the revolving wheel. What is on the wheel? Clay.
There is no beauty in it, but it is the stuff the potter wants. And humanity
is just the stuff God needs and that is why he created man for an infinite
purpose we have not yet begun to see. Now watch the wheel revolving! The
clay is taking form and fashion as the wheel turns. Then he takes it off
and puts it into the fire. Then it is taken out and he lays on the colors,
puts it in the fire again, and when the potter is done the vessel is for
beauty and for use." (Stuber, Stanley I. and Clark, Thomas Curtis; "TREASURY
OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH"; New York: Association Press, 1949, p 472-473)
May we realize we are clay in God's hands! May we realize any value
we have is in His creative and shaping hands? As He molds us - we gain