Anthropology: Part 5 -- By: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 101:402 (Apr 1944)
Article: Anthropology: Part 5
Author: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Part 5

Lewis Sperry Chafer

[Author’s note: Continuing the extended series of articles in Bibliotheca Sacra on Anthropology, this division, which will be followed by several more, presents features of theological truth which, though complex, are both vital and practical.]

III. Man’s Estate At Creation

2. The Immaterial Part of Man.

d. Elements Which Comprise the Immaterial Part of Man.

(4) Flesh.

This the fourth psychological term to be named which the Bible employs introduces a reality which is even more complex than any other. The word flesh (σάρξ) is subject to a threefold usage in the New Testament, and when these are distinguished, some light will fall on this easily misunderstood theme. In some instances the term flesh refers only to the material part of man, in which case it has no psychological implications whatever. It is equivalent to its synonym, body (σῶμα). In his Pentecostal sermon, Peter, referring to David’s expectation that Christ would be raised from the dead, states: “Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption” (Acts 2:30, 31). In both instances where this term is used in this passage the meaning is restricted to the substance of the body. In 1 Corinthians 15:39 the Apostle extends its meaning to include the substance of all forms of living creatures. The term is several times joined with the

word blood, as “flesh and blood,” and with weighty significance. Though used of the human body (Eph 5:29) and of Christ’s body (John 1:14; 1 Tim 3:16; Heb 5:7), it is in this specific use no more than a synonym of body.

In its second meaning it refers to humanity’s relationships and classifications. Bearing this sense the term flesh appears many times in the Old Testament. Quoting Isaiah 40:6–8, Peter declares: “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but ...

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