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The Doctrine of Anthropology

by Christopher Warrington

I BELIEVE in the historical account of Genesis which records that the human race originated by the intentional and purposeful creation act of God (Gen. 1:26, 2:7, 21-22) when He created both male and female in His image (Gen. 1:26-27, 5:1). Though both male and female display different characteristics of God and are unable to display the full image of God (IOG) alone (Gen. 2:18), both sexes shared in the IOG which they passed down to all generations of humankind (Gen. 5:1-3) thus making us all equal inheritors of the IOG endowed with value and worth (Gen. 9:6; Jas. 3:9).

I BELIEVE that a human being is made up of both the material (body) and the immaterial (soul/spirit) (Mt. 10:28, 2 Co. 4:16, 5:1). I BELIEVE that Scripture describes our current existence on earth as a time when the material and immaterial are unified as one and that upon death the material will be shed (2 Co. 2:5-8) and the immaterial will either go into Hades (Jn. 3:16), or if it is covered by the redemptive work of Christ on the cross (1 Co. 15:22), it will have an intermediate existence in heaven (Lk. 23:43, 1 Th. 4:13–17) until the 2nd coming of Christ when the immaterial will be unified again with a resurrected and purified body (1 Co. 15:44, 48, 54; Php. 3:21).

I BELIEVE that the immaterial, the human soul, is created by God sinless and flawless at the time of the person’s conception. This seems to be most consistent with the Genesis account of God breathing the breath of life into Adam (Gen. 2:7), the continued accounts of God breathing life into humanity (Ec. 12:7, Is. 42:5, Heb. 12:9) and the fact that God is a holy God who does not tempt anyone (Jas. 1:13).

I BELIEVE that it is the human soul through which we reflect the likeness of God and thus we are set apart from the rest of creation (Gen. 1:25-27). Since we reflect the IOG we are structurally different from creation in that we can reason and communicate in an abstract manner (Gen. 2:20, Prov. 15:22), as well as make moral choices (Gen. 2:16-17, Ro. 7:14-25). We are also functionally different in that we were setup to be God’s representatives on earth to rule and care for His creation (Gen. 1:26, Ps. 8:5-6). We are relationally different in that we are able to have free and responsible relationships with each other (Ro. 13:8-10) and with God (Mk. 12:30), thus reflecting the unity of the Trinity (Jn. 17:21-22). And finally, we are teleologically different in that we were created to glorify God by allowing the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit to make us more Christ-like in our actions (2 Co. 3:18, Ga. 5:22, 27).

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