Anthropology

Chafer


Anthropology is the science that deals with the origins, physical and cultural development, biological characteristics, and social customs and beliefs of humankind.  It is also a major division of Systematic Theology and Lewis Sperry Chafer offers a condensed view of anthropology in his volumes on Systematic Theology:

- As a modern science in secular education, Anthropology deals only with man's development and accomplishments, without regard to Biblical revelation.  It is taught only from an evolutionary point of view, including nothing relative to spiritual values or man's destiny.  Biblical Anthropology offers a much wider view, and it contemplates important considerations. 

- From a Biblical perspective, the origin of man is accepted as declared in Genesis and as incorporated in all subsequent Scriptures that man is a direct creation of God.  Denial of the Genesis account is a denial of part of God's revelation.  Chafer further believed that such denial follows with a fostering and sustaining of unbelief respecting every word that God has spoken. 

- Man was made in the image and likeness of God, and this is the unqualified declaration of the Bible.  So, we can learn something about God's character by studying His creation, apart from the portion of man which was related his fall into sin. The comparisons used must be restricted to spiritual characteristics--not physical or divine comparisons. 

- The material part of man was a direct creation from existing substances. 

- The immaterial part of man was breathed into him as the very breath of God, and this is how man became a living soul. 

- The fall of man was accomplished by the design and influence of Satan.  The sin which caused the fall of man was suggested by Satan, and it was the identical form of sin which Satan himself had followed when he rebelled against God.  Satan fell from his high place in creation, acting independently of God through disobedience, repudiating all divine right and authority over himself (Gen. 3:5, Isaiah 14:12-14. 

- The fall and its penalty are imputed to the whole human race. The penalty is spiritual death, and it is transmitted mediately from parent to child, while the penalty of physical death is imputed immediately from Adam to each individual member of his race.  As a result, each member of the race was seminally in Adam when the first man sinned, and therefore each member shared in that sin.  This imputation of Adam's sin to his race is a real imputation, not a judicial one.  This divine principle is clearly indicated in Hebrews 7:9-10.  As a priest, Levi was supported by the tithes of the Jewish people.  Yet, when Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, Levi was also paying these tithes, because he was a great-grandson in the loins of father Abraham. 

- God has moved in the direction of a cure for man's position which he lost in his fall into sin.  This cure may be received on definite terms.  Each of us disobeyed God and sinned in the beginning, while we were still in Adams loins, and now we are called upon to obey the gospel of God's grace. In the present age of grace, the salvation which God offers ensures eternal fellowship with Him in the highest glory, and it cannot be compared to the position of innocence from which Adam fell. 

Owen Weber 2012