Anthropology: Part 6 -- By: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 101:403 (Jul 1944)
Article: Anthropology: Part 6
Author: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Part 6

Lewis Sperry Chafer

[Author’s note: This article continues the discussion of the most vital features of Anthropology. Other discussions are to follow which enter into the nature of sin, its effects, and the judgments of God upon it.]

III. Man’s Estate at Creation

3. The Environment of the First Man.

The description of the environment of the first man is recorded in Genesis 2:8, 9, 15, which reads: “And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” It may be assumed that when Jehovah planted a garden in which was “every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food,” the prospect was as pleasing as could be secured by means of material things. The attractiveness of the garden was in harmony with all else that God had created and concerning which He had said it was “very good.” The evidence points unmistakably to the fact that a poor environment tends to encourage all manner of evil. The situation in which the first man was placed could not by any reasoning have been a contributing cause of his failure. What remains of this wonderful garden is only a poet’s dream. Vondel (1654), the greatest of Holland’s poets, in his greatest work, Lucifer, represents Apollion reporting to Beelzebub of his visit to the Garden of Eden thus (translation by Leonard Charles van Noppen):

I have, Lord Belzebub,
The low terrene observed with keenest eye,
And now I offer thee the fruits grown there
So far below these heights, ‘neath other skies
And other sun: now judge thou from the fruit
The land and garden which even God Himself
Hath blessed and planted for mankind’s delight.

I see the golden leaves, all laden with
Ethereal pearls, the sparkling silvery dew.
What sweet perfume exhale those radiant leaves
Of tint unfading! How alluring glows
That pleasant fruit with crimson and with gold!
‘Twere pity to pollute it with the hands.
The eye doth tempt the mouth. Who would not lust
For earthly luxury? He loathes our day
And food celestial, who the fruit may pluck
Of Earth. One would for Adam’s garden curse
Our Paradise. The bliss of Angels fades...

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