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PART 8: MAN IN HIS PERFECT STATE.

10-July-2019 by Timothy Wanjohi

'The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life' – Job 33:4.


 

The first seven parts dealt with Theology, which is the study of God. What naturally follows is the study of man, Anthropology. The revelations of God are given in order that they might be understood by man. Without a proper understanding of the self, man will never have a proper perspective of how to approach God. God has chosen as a result, to reveal man to himself from a point of history to an eternity in the future, as revealed in the inspired Scripture.

 

Westminster Longer Catechism Q 17: How did God create man? A: After God had made all other creatures, he created man male and female; formed the body of the man of the dust of the ground, and the woman of the rib of the man, endued them with living, reasonable, and immortal souls; made them after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfil it, and dominion over the creatures; yet subject to fall.

 

Berkhof in Systematic Theology, pg. 181 makes a crucial difference between Anthropology and Theological Anthropology, which is a device I find necessary for this study. He says:

‘We should not confuse the present subject of study with general Anthropology or the science of mankind, which includes all those sciences which have men as the object of study. These sciences concern themselves with the origin and history of mankind, with the physiological structure and psychical characteristics of man in general and of the various races of mankind in particular, with their ethnological, linguistic, cultural and religious development, and so on. Theological Anthropology is concerned only with what the Bible says respecting man and the relation in which he stands and should stand with God. It recognizes Scripture only as its source, and reads the teachings of human experience in the light of God’s Word.’

 

This is a crucial point for me because this is where I part ways with extraordinary ‘Christian’ psychologists like Jordan B. Peterson, who I have linked before in previous posts numerous times, and will probably link again to make a point, in future posts. He sees the Bible as an archetype and not as a literal book. You can watch his Biblical Series Lectures to know what I am talking about.

 

His approach to the faith is purely psychological, although sometimes I can sense that he knows better, but I can see him suppressing the truth about the spiritual world especially when he gives his ghost stories and the like in his other testimonies, which are available online for all to see.

 

The point is there is a new school of thought which only treats Genesis and the Bible as a whole as poetry or folklore or types. John MacArthur said that when deciding when to join a church or a fellowship, in order to save a lot of time, just ask them their view of Genesis. If it is literal, you can stay and listen further. If not, move on swiftly. I agree. And for this, people like Jordan B. Peterson are in danger of hellfire.

 

There are also those who still hold the name of Christian and yet espouse what is called Theistic Evolution. It is important to note that this is a view that holds considerable favour with the Roman Catholic Church. But I would be hard-pressed to deny that Evangelicals are joining suit.

 

The theory of evolution basically states that man progressed from anthropoid apes and evolved into what is now man. The continuity between the animal world and man is a major theme in this theory. But for this theory to stand what is found in man must have been potentially present in his ancestors. There should be no new thing added to it. The implication here is that sense of morality and spirituality which man has but is lacking in animals.

 

This is where Theistic Evolution comes in, to reconcile religion and science so-called. God is brought in as a mediate between the organic and the inorganic, and as it develops it becomes that God endows the body man received from lower animals, with a soul.

 

At this point it is important to categorically state that this is a fallacy. It is not consistent with what Scripture teaches, and secondly it has no factual basis in scientific literature. Already we can see that this is not a subject that will be devoid of controversy. By no means will this blog be exhaustive in addressing it. But I trust that it will motivate you to do more research on your own.

 

One reason we should learn about man is because he was the only creature said to be made in the image of God. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.”

 

In 1 Corinthians 15:39 the Bible says that “All flesh is not one flesh; but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.” Of the flesh of men the Scripture makes a distinction that God breathed into the breath of life (Genesis 2:7).

 

As a development from this another reason ensues as to why we should learn about man. It is because of his purpose. When God made man in His image, and breathed into him the life-giving spirit, there was an end goal to this.

 

Wayne Grudem in Bible Doctrine, The Essentials of the Christian faith, pgs. 188-189 says, ‘God created us for His glory. God speaks of His sons and daughters as those “whom I created for my glory” (Isaiah 43:7; cf. Ephesians 1:11-12). “Therefore, we are to do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). We glorify God when we please Him and enjoy Him (Psalm 16:11; 27:4, 73:25-26; Romans 5:2-3; Philippians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; James 1:2; 1 Peter 1:6, 8; Isaiah 62:5, Zephaniah 3:17-18).’

 

In the image and likeness of God means that man was created to be a spiritual man (Genesis 2:7). Animals cannot relate with God because there is no soul in them. A question was asked, “Will dogs go to heaven?” To the dog lovers like I the answer is no. We have to accept them as creatures made for this life, and nothing more.

 

Created in the image of God also means that man was made without any sin. After he was created God said everything He had made was very good (Genesis 1:31). In fact the only thing He said was not good was man being without a wife (Which was not a sin), which he later reconciled through Solomon. “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a GOOD thing, and obtains favour from the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22). You will find in the Bible that everything that is seemingly left unaccounted for is resolved later.

 

When the Bible says that man is created in the image of God, it also speaks to man’s authority. God vested all creation on earth under the leadership of man. He was to be a representative of God on the earth (Genesis 1:26-28; 9:1-2; 6-7; Psalm 8:4-9).

 

Being made in the image of God also means that man is therefore immortal. Although when he dies his body returns to the dust (Genesis 3:19), the soul returns to God (Ecclesiastes 12:7). Man has a beginning, but he will live forever.

 

Of course the difference between immortal and eternal being that the latter only applies to God, seeing it is the absence of time altogether, we are to understand that man’s immortality stems from the eternity of God (Genesis 2:7).

 

The only reason Christ was able to incarnate into this world in the form of a man was because man was made in the image of God (John 1:14; Romans 8:3; Philippians 2:6-8; Hebrews 2:14-18; John 10:33-36). The evidence is in the pattern of creation. Creatures and plants bring forth after their kind (Genesis 1:21; 24; 25).

 

‘Kind’ is a scientific term found in the taxonomic hierarchical arrangement of classifying biological organisms on the basis of their shared characteristics. We studied this in primary school science class. You can view more about it here and in similar studies as such.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxonomy_(biology)

 

For example, God told Noah to bring the animals into the ark after their kind (Genesis 6:18-20). I also told my fellowship once that the reason I believe that Christ referred to hypocrites numerous times as snakes (Matthew 23:33), was because associating them with Satan, we can find that serpents also bring forth after their kind. In the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3), Satan came in the form of a serpent.

 

Man as a two part being will have his soul separated from his body at death as we saw in Genesis 3:19. But during the resurrection the man’s soul will be re-united together with his body (1 Corinthians 15:50-54).

 

The terms ‘soul’ and ‘spirit’ as my teacher Jeffrey Khoo put it in the Fundamentals of the Christian faith, pg. 49, are used interchangeably (Genesis 41:8, Isaiah 26:9; cf, Psalm 42:1, 2, 6, Matthew 10:28; Matthew 27:50). They both refer to the non-material part of man (Hebrews 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; cf Genesis 2:7; Matthew 10:28; Luke 1:46-47; 2 Corinthians 7:1).

 

Man is a dichotomy (Two-part being) and the reasons to validate him as a trichotomy (Three-part being) are invalid. To explain the origin and the difference between these two views, read Berkhof, pgs. 191-192. In recent times, there have been two more views, which are the philosophical views of absolute Materialism (Sacrificing the soul to the body) and absolute Idealism (Sacrificing the body to the soul).

 

But here, I will address passages that seem to contradict the dichotomist view and its rebuttals. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 says, “And the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved entire, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the Word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

 

Berkhof pgs. 194-195 says:

  1. It is a sound rule in exegesis that exceptional statements should be interpreted in the light of the analogia Scriptura, the usual representation of Scripture. In view of this fact some of the defenders of trichotomy admit that these passages do not necessarily prove their point.
  2. The mere mention of spirit and soul alongside of each other does not prove that, according to Scripture, are two distinct sub-nuances, any more than Matthew 22:37 proves that Jesus regarded the heart and soul and mind as three substances.
  3. In 1 Thessalonians 5:23 the apostle simply desires to strengthen the statement, “And the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly,” by an epexegetical statement, in which the different aspects of man’s existence are summed up, and in which he feels perfectly free to mention soul and spirit alongside of each other, because the Bible distinguishes between the two. He cannot very well have thought of them as two different substances here, because he speaks elsewhere of man as consisting two parts, Romans 8:10; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 7:34; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 2:3; Colossians 2:5.
  4. Hebrews 4:12 should not be taken to mean that the word of God, penetrating to the inner man, makes a separation between his soul and his spirit, which would naturally imply that these two are different substances; but simply as declaring that it brings about a separation in both the thoughts and intents of the heart.

 

Because of the pagan origin and inconsistency with Scripture on the teaching of trichotomy, although various Christian giants throughout history have held to it, I thought this to be important to mention in this specific blog. We are not to espouse worldly teachings on what Scripture has taught or implied otherwise.

 

Westminster Confession IV: 2—‘After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after his own image, having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfil it: and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being led to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change. Beside this law written in their hearts, they received a command, not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which while they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures.’

 

The first seven parts dealt with Theology, which is the study of God. What naturally follows is the study of man, Anthropology. The revelations of God are given in order that they might be understood by man. Without a proper understanding of the self, man will never have a proper perspective of how to approach God. God has chosen as a result, to reveal man to himself from a point of history to an eternity in the future, as revealed in the inspired Scripture.

 

To God be the glory.


Timothy Wanjohi is founder and teacher at timotheist.com and at Standing on The Word Fellowship. He took up blogging in November, 2018, as a 30 year old man, but he has been serving in the Lord’s service since the time he was 16 years old.





3 Comment(s)

  • Betty

    Posted on 13-July-2019

    Glory to God! May God continue using you to minister. God bless you pastor Wanjohi!

  • Jeremiah

    Posted on 12-July-2019

    It's fulfilling to come to the understanding that it's only man that is in the image of God and that's why Christ incarnated as a man. Going through this study again; I always feel like am going through it for the first time. Thank you my brother for the diligence in helping me understand myself in the light of how God has revealed.

  • Eva

    Posted on 10-July-2019

    Very profound.
    Needs more time to study and digest.
    Blessings Timo.

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