In Titus 2:1, Paul instructs, “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine.” Theology is the foundation of our faith. Throughout this year, we will be sharing some articles with you that have been penned by our board members. A few of them have taken much time to research and write about an area of systematic theology. We hope this will be an encouragement to your faith. This month, Bro. Gene Krachenfels has written an article on Anthropology–The Doctrine of Man.
Just a few minutes into a conversation one can tell a great deal about a person’s outlook on life and eternity. The difference between a Biblical and secular worldview is significant and few subjects bear a greater difference than that of Anthropology or the study of man. As believers, we are grateful to find God’s Word gives ample instruction as to our origin, nature, condition, and remedy.
The Creation of Man
Genesis 1:26-27 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
True saints of God accept the Genesis account of creation, which includes the origin of mankind, as literal. God in His wisdom chose to establish man as the pinnacle of His creation. Our chief purpose was that we might worship God in the beauty of His holiness and keep His commandments (Psalm 29:2; Ecclesiastes 12:13). We were created unlike any other being in that we were made with a natural and moral likeness to God which involves our self-awareness in relation to God and this world. Everyone is born with the inherent knowledge that there is a God, there is a difference between right and wrong, and that we are accountable to Him (John 1:9; Romans 1:18, 19; 14:12). This truth is evidenced on a daily basis in the thoughts, words, and deeds of every person who has ever lived.
The Fall of Man
Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Though Adam, the father of the human race, was created an eternal being with a holy nature, he was susceptible to temptation. This is evidenced when he, by his own choice, disobeyed God’s divine command and ate fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This singular act brought about his being expelled from the Garden of Eden and plunged the entire human race into sin (Genesis 3:22-24; Romans 5:12). This in no way implies, as some inaccurately claim, that God is the author of sin, as sin was already in existence with the presence of Satan in the Garden.
The Death of Man
Genesis 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
When considering the Biblical account of Adam’s fall and the resulting curse, there is some confusion about the death of which God spoke. It is obvious Adam did not experience physical death at the time of his disobedience. In Genesis 5:5 we read Adam was nine hundred and thirty years old when he died. This fact in no way invalidates God’s very clear declaration of judgment to Adam and Eve for violating His command. The death of which God forewarned Adam was spiritual death. Simply put, death means separation. Physical death is physical separation from this world, spiritual death is spiritual separation from God, and eternal death (also referred to as the second death, Revelation 20:14) is eternal separation from God. When Adam and Eve sinned against God by eating of the forbidden fruit, their fellowship was broken as illustrated by their attempt to clothe themselves and to hide from the presence of God. It was at that point they died, being separated from God spiritually, and thus experienced the death He warned them about. This is the state of every person born into the world since that time: alienated from God, hopelessly lost, and in bondage to sin. However, we are grateful the story of man’s fate doesn’t end there.
The Hope of Man
1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
Because everyone is born a sinner we are all in need of a Saviour. Despite one’s fallen condition, no one need suffer eternal separation from God. The Good News for all, whatever their sinful condition, is that the Lord has provided a means by which anyone may obtain forgiveness for their sin. God’s plan for the redemption of lost mankind is through His Son (John 14:6), therefore God has commanded His saints to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every creature (Mark 16:15). The only hope of eternal life for anyone, wherever they may be in the world, is to acknowledge their lost condition, repent of their sin, and receive Jesus Christ as their Saviour (Acts 17:30; Romans 10:9, 10). This does not eliminate (or eradicate) the Adamic or fallen nature of man, as some claim, but as new creature’s in Christ we can have victory over sin through Him (II Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:12-18). A lost world needs to hear of the Living Saviour. More details on the topics of Sin, Salvation, the Savior, and Sanctification are covered under other doctrinal studies.
If this has been a blessing to you or you would like to share your thoughts with Bro. Krachenfels, you can contact him via email here.