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"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV


Bible Doctrines: A Study

by Dr. Reve' M. Pete

Anthropology: The Doctrine of Man

Man was created in the image and likeness of God. (Genesis 1:26) Man is spirit, soul and body. (1 Thessalonians 5:23) The anthropomorphic aspects of man, (his ability to see, hear, smell, etc.) reflect some of the aspects of God. (He sees, hears, smells, etc.1) Man was given dominion over all the earth. The image and likeness of God is spirit, soul and body (man) having dominion over the earth.

The word image (Genesis 1:26) comes from the Hebrew word tselem. It means representing the original in an imprecise manner. The word likeness comes from the Hebrew word dhemuth. It means pattern. Therefore, man is an imprecise representation of the original pattern. That pattern was God. Since God is Spirit, a Personality, a Unified Being and Trinity2, man is one being in three elements: spirit, soul and body. This is the likeness of God.

The spirit of man is the breath of life (Genesis 2:7). It is the invisible, immaterial and powerful part of man. It is the means by which he became a living soul. Man's spirit reflects the fact that God is Spirit. It is the means by which he communicates with God. (Proverbs 20:7; 1 Corinthians 14:2)

The soul is the person of man. It is the life element. Man's soul contains his personality. Personality is a combination of intelligence, mind, will, reason, individuality, self-consciousness and self-determination3. The word soul used in Genesis 2:7 comes from the Hebrew word nephesh. It means the inner person or self. Nephesh refers to the person of man. The New Testament (Greek) word for soul is psuche. It means the immaterial part of man held in common with animals.

The soul came into existence as a result of the spirit entering the body. (Genesis 2:7) Therefore the soul is the bridge between manís spirit and his body. Man's soul reflects the fact that God is a Personality.

The body completes the three-in-one aspect of man. It is the means by which he interacts with the material world. This is demonstrated by the fact that God placed man in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and keep it. (Genesis 2:15)

God created man similar to, yet different from Himself. (James 3:9) Man is what God would look like if He were a man. (Hence Jesus4.) This explains the anthropomorphic aspects of man (i.e. seeing, hearing, smelling, etc.). Man has these abilities because God has them. By telling man he was created in His image and likeness, God was telling man how to understand the spiritual. (Romans 1:20) Man understands spiritual things in terms of natural things. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

Man exercising dominion over all the earth is God's imprecise picture of Himself to the world5. Man exercised dominion over the earth by naming every living creature. (Genesis 2:19) Man exercising dominion over the earth is a living picture of God. This is the image of God.

This is why graven images used to represent God are strictly forbidden. (Deuteronomy 4:15-23; Isaiah 40:25; Exodus 20:4) They can never represent God because they are inanimate and dumb (dead). They are inaccurate representations God. Jeremiah called them falsehood and errors -- lies. God is alive, intelligent, speaks and moves. Man is alive, intelligent, speaks and moves. Man is an imprecise picture (image) of God. Man is the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 11:7)

God instructs not to put one's trust in man. There is no help in him. (Psalm 146:3,4; Jeremiah 17:5,6) Help is found only in God. (Psalm 146:5-9; Jeremiah 17:7,8)

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Man is Male and Female

Man is male and female. (Genesis 1:27; Matthew 19:4) The dominion that was given to man was given to the male and the female. (Genesis 1:28) God commanded the male and the female: be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth. (Genesis 1:28) The male and female do this by becoming one flesh. (Genesis 2:24, 25; Matthew 19:5,6)

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The Fall of Man

The Fall of Man is Adamís disobedience to the commandment of God. (Genesis 2:16, 17; 3:6) The Bible says the serpent deceived Eve but not Adam. (1 Timothy 2:14) Adam knowingly and deliberately disobeyed God. This is the true definition of sin. Jesus called it iniquity. (Matthew 7:21, 23)

The results of Adam and Eve's sin are:

  1. Spiritual death. (Genesis 2:17)
  2. Women bear children in sorrow. (Genesis 3:16)
  3. The woman is subject to the man. (Genesis 3:16)
  4. The ground is cursed. (Genesis 3:17,18)
  5. Exhausting physical labor to subsist. (Genesis 3:19)
  6. Physical death. (Genesis 3:19)
  7. Sin entered the world. (Romans 5:12)
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Bible Doctrines

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