There is only one divine prototype of God. There is only one being that God created in “His image.” Within this special creation there is the potential for tremendous accomplishment or horrific failure. Within this special creation there is the possibility of immense growth or immense stagnancy. No other being has purposely rebelled against God and still had God graciously promise to give him so much.
No other created being can be Satan’s child one day and God’s child the next day. There has never been nor will there ever be such a magnificent and such a depressing existence like the subject of Man. The Bible was written for mankind and it contains much information about Man. Therefore, it is our privilege to study “Anthropology”– the doctrine of Man.
What is Anthropology? Anthropology is the study of Man. The word “anthropology” comes from two Greek words: “Anthropos,” which means man, and “logos,” which means a word, speech, saying or discourse . When we combine the two words–“anthropos” and “logos” to form “anthropology,” the meaning is a discourse or study of Man.
What are the two types of anthropological studies?
In today’s world there are primarily two kinds of anthropological disciplines which really have, little in common.
Anthropological Discipline #1—Philosophical Anthropology.
This is the type of anthropology that is primarily taught in colleges and universities. It attempts to study and observe mankind so that it can form various conclusions in an attempt to develop the best possible life. Philosophical anthropology is human reasoned theory and philosophy, much of which is based on pure speculation. It includes religion in its consideration, but tends to leaven God and His Word out of the picture on such important issues like origin, purpose and destiny. Philosophical anthropology exalts man, not God.
Anthropological Discipline #2—Biblical Anthropology.
This is the type of anthropology that should be taught in universities, colleges and churches. Biblical anthropology is divinely revealed revelation from God. It is totally factual and true. It is a study based on God’s Word. Biblical anthropology exalts God and not man. It deals with objective, not subjective information. There are several differences between philosophical anthropology and biblical anthropology:
- One is from Man, the other is from God .
- One uses Man’s writings, the other uses God’s Word.
- One deals with the intellectual, emotional and temporal , the other includes these themes but also deals with the spiritual and the eternal.
- One is a composite of theory and fact, and the other is all fact.
What are subjects that true biblical anthropology studies?
Subject #1—It will study mankind’s origin.
Subject #2—It will study Man’s material and immaterial character.
Subject #3— It will study Man’s relationship with God.
Subject #4—It will study Man’s fall.
Subject #5— It will study Man’s sin.
Subject #6—It will study Man’s destiny . A true anthropology will touch base with and study every one of these critical matters.
Is the Bible a science book?
The answer to this question is, no! The point we must always remember is that the Bible is God’s Word to mankind given by God to reveal everything God wants Man to know, and to point Man in true paths. Whenever the Bible touches on any “scientific” subject, the Bible will always be true and accurate.
What particularly makes the Bible so unique to the study of anthropology is that it presents information about man which is far beyond any knowledge or study of a human being. For example, the Bible gives facts as to how Man was created. It gives information regarding different types of death, both physical and spiritual.
The Bible gives accurate information concerning future eternity , including discussions regarding the resurrection of the body, glimpses of eternity–both positive and negative and how God views man. No other anthropological study can deal with man at this level.
There is scientific information found in the Bible, but there is also supernatural information found in the Bible. Perhaps one of the more profound statements ever made on this question was made by Matthew Fountaine Maury, a scientist who was called “the pathfinder of the seas.”
In an address he made in the laying of the cornerstone of a university in 1860, he said these words:
I have been blamed by men of science, both in this country and in England, for quoting the Bible in confirmation of the doctrines of physical geography. The Bible, they say, was not written for scientific purposes, and is therefore of no authority in matters of science. I beg pardon!
The Bible is authority for everything it touches. What would you think of the historian who should refuse to consult the historical records of the Bible, because the Bible was not written for the purposes of history? The Bible is true and science is true. The agents concerned in the physical economy of our planet are ministers of Him who made both it and the Bible.
The records which God has chosen to make through the agency of these ministers of His upon the crust of the earth are as true as the records which, by the hands of His prophets and servants, He has been pleased to make in the Book of Life.
(To be continued.)
Pastor David E. Thompson is pastor/teacher at Texas Corners Bible Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan with a nationally syndicated radio show reaching all across the United States. Pastor Thompson may be classified as a true systematic Bible expositor and communicator of God’s Word. He carefully expounds books of the Bible in a way that is contextually, exegetically, grammatically, historically, and theologically accurate to the text and relevant to the time. He is also an very skilled in New Testament Greek