Anthropology Part 1 -- By: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 100:398 (Apr 1943)
Article: Anthropology Part 1
Author: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Part 1

Lewis Sperry Chafer

[Author’s Note: Beginning with this issue this course of studies in Systematic Theology changes from Angelology to Anthropology, which general theme will be continued in at least eight succeeding issues of Bibliotheca Sacra. This entire division includes: the creation of man, his estate, his fall, and the doctrine of Sin.]


Anthropology-the science of man-is approached from two widely different angles, namely, that of human philosophy and that of the Bible. The former is extra-Biblical and avoids every feature of Scripture revelation. The latter is intra-Biblical and confines itself to the Word of God and such corroborating human experience as may give confirming witness to the truth disclosed. The one is conceived by man and, reflecting his philosophy of human life, is offered as educational discipline in secular schools of learning. The other is a revelation from God in that sense in which all Scripture originates with Him and presents a record which proud man is loathe to accept. It is indeed suggestive as to the attitude of modern education generally toward divine revelation that no place is accorded to revelation in its philosophies. Over against this, the Anthropology of Theology, while giving due attention to that which man has asserted, embodies only such truth as God has declared in His Word. In the Bible, it will be discovered that abundant material of a positive and dependable nature is available. The Word of God presents final information on this complex theme. A still more vital distinction obtains between these widely separated anthropological disciplines. With reference to the immaterial part of man, extra-Biblical anthropology is only a penetration into the emotional and intellectual aspects of human life, or that which is psychological; while intra-Biblical anthropology

enters into the deeper realms of things moral, spiritual, and eternal. Extra-Biblical anthropology assigns no place for God in matters of man’s origin, career, or destiny; while intra-Biblical anthropology, being an induction of divine revelation, asserts far-reaching truths in all these fields. As a subject in modern education, anthropology, though but recently developed, claims the same importance as the kindred sciences-Biology and Psychology. It incorporates the theories of evolution and is materialistic in character. Aside from the underlying fact that these two anthropological disciplines deal with the study of man, there is little in common between them.

The definition of anthropology as given by Encyclopaedia Britannica is: “That branch of natural history which deals with the human spe...

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