Anthropology: Part 4 -- By: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 101:401 (Jan 1944)
Article: Anthropology: Part 4
Author: Lewis Sperry Chafer


Anthropology:
Part 4

Lewis Sperry Chafer

[Author’s note: In this issue of Bibliotheca Sacra one more article, of several yet to come on Anthropology, appears. This theme is a study of one of Systematic Theology’s most complex and difficult fields of discipline. The material is drawn from the Bible and is vital to the right understanding of man, the highest of God’s earthly creations.]

{Editor’s note: Footnotes in the original printed edition were numbered 7–14, but in this electronic edition are numbered 1–8 respectively.}

III. Man’s Estate at Creation

2. The Immaterial Part of Man.

c. The Derivation and Perpetuation of the Immaterial Part of Man.

Attention has been given to the truth relative to the origin of the immaterial part of the first man; it being revealed that he became a living soul by the divine in-breathing of lives. The problem which now arises is concerned with generation or perpetuation of human life. The divine plan for humanity is that two original beings-male and female should “be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth” (Gen 1:28). It is thus indicated that to Adam and Eve, as to their posterity, procreative power is given which not only generates the body of their offspring, but accounts directly for the existence of their immaterial natures. Nevertheless, there are varying theories advanced-three in all-as to the origin of the immaterial part of each member of the Adamic race. These theories call for consideration.

(1) The pre-existence theory.

The advocates of this hypothesis claim on rational grounds and quite apart from Biblical authority that, whatever may have been the original derivation of the immaterial part of man-whether created or eternally existent-, it is subject to reincarnation or transmigration from one embodiment-extending to the lowest forms of creature life-to another.

This theory, though embraced with various modifications by men who could avail themselves of Biblical truth, owes its origin wholly to heathen philosophy. It is a leading tenet of Hinduism and is represented in modern form by Theosophy. An early theory assigned a human soul to the pre-existent Christ. Of this system the Encyclopaedia Britannica asserts: “In theology, the doctrine that Jesus Christ had a human soul which existed before the creation of the world-the first and most perfect of created things-and subsisted, prior to His human birth, in union with the Second Person of the Godhead. It was this human soul which suffered the pain and sorrow described in the Gospels. The chief exposition of this doctrine is that of Dr. Watts (...

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