THE CONSTITUTION OF HUMANITY The informal Case Study:
Cover these questions before you begin:
1. Do you think that man has an immaterial and material part?
2. If so, what is the immaterial part?
3. When does a person gain this immaterial part (e.g., conception, birth, "age of accountability?")
After this, you are to go through the different theories about the constitution of man covered in class. (Refer to your notes.) Be sure to explain the significance of the body.
Finally, you are to explain the different theories concerning the creation of the soul. Demonstrate the relevance of this topic to the current issue of abortion.
The Constitution of Man
Words that the Bible uses with reference to the constitution of man:
Body = swma soma= 1 Corinthians 6:19
Soul = yuch psuche = Matthew 16:26
Spirit = pneuma pneuma 1 Corinthians 2:11
Mind = nouj nous dianoia dianoia =Romans 12:2 -Mark 12:30
Heart = kardia cardia = Mark 12:30
Flesh = sarx sarx = Matt. 26:41
Gut, bowels = splagcnon splagchnon = Philippians. 1:8
Two Main Alternatives:
1. Physicalism (Naturalism or Monism)
2. Dualism (Trichotomy or Dichotomy)
Definition: Gk. monos, "one" or "alone." The teaching that the spirit, soul, and body are all essentially the same or that the spirit and soul do not exist without the body. This often goes by the name "soul sleep."
Adherents: Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Scientists, Christadelphians, J.A.T. Robertson, neo-orthodoxy.
Dualism: The understanding that the constitution of man is pluralistic in nature, since there is an intermediate state of existence to which the immaterial/immortal part(s) of man goes to await the resurrection
Adherents: Most of Orthodox Christianity
Trichotomy: Gk. trikha, "three parts," and temno, "to cut" The teaching that man is made up of three essential parts: body, soul, and spirit
Body: All that is physical.
Soul: Reason, emotions, will, memories, personality, dispositions.
Spirit: The seat of our being, that which relates to God.
Adherents: Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, Watchman Nee, Bill Gothard, C.I. Scofield
Dichotomy: Gk. dicha, "two parts" and temno, "to cut." The teaching that man is made up of two essential parts: material (body), and nonmaterial (soul/spirit)
Material: All that is physical
Non-material: Spirit, soul (used interchangeably)
Adherents: Augustine, John Calvin, Hodge, most of historic orthodox Christianity
Conditional Unity: This position affirms both the essential unity of the material and immaterial part of man and the existence of an intermediate state. A person does not have a body and a soul, but is a body and a soul, neither of which alone make up the whole person.
Adherents: Millard Erickson, Anthony Hoekema, Charles Sherlock
Positive Implications of Conditional Unity:
1. The Bible speaks of a unified self in terms of both judgment and redemption.
2. When man fell, he fell as a whole person.
3. When man is redeemed, he is redeemed as a whole person.
4. Our physical condition is intricately linked to that of our soul/spirit. When our soul/spirit is troubled, it has direct and immediate effects on our body.
5. The condition of our soul is intricately linked to our physical condition. When we are unhealthy, fail to get proper exercise, or are chemically depressed, our spirit/soul suffers.
Views Body/Brain = (are the same)
Views Body/Brain ≠ (are not the same)
Gnostic Dualism: Man's constitution is physical and spiritual. The physical body is a burdensome, temporary and material confinement out of which we long to escape.
Adherents: Many uninformed Christians who have not taken Humanity and Sin through TTP.
1. Produces in some cases an unbalanced view on what it means to be human.
2. Creates a negative view on physical pleasures that God gave man as gifts (sex, food, etc.).
3. Causes people to believe that this life does not really matter.
4. Devalues the physical by placing it secondary to the spiritual.
5. Disillusions people about the nature of their eternal existence.
When does ensoulment take place?
Pre-existence Theory : This theory teaches that people's souls/spirits are eternal and, therefore, preexist the creation of their bodies. The sin nature can be attributed to the former state of existence in which the person sinned.
Adherents: Origen, Delitzsch
Creation Theory: This theory is that God Himself creates each person's soul individually, and then places the soul in the body.
Adherents: Grudem, Hodge, Berkhof, Calvin, and Roman Catholics
Traducian Theory: Comes from the Latin tradux, meaning "inheritance, transmission." This theory teaches that the soul is created in and with the body by the parents. While God is the ultimate creator of all things, he uses people intermediately or as secondary causes.
Adherents: Tertullian, Luther, and Jonathan Edwards
Imago Dei: (Lat. "image of God"). Refers to the fact that humanity carries a unique resemblance to God
Do humans carry dignity as God's image bearers?
Do humans alone carry the image of God? What about animals? Do they have the image of God?
What affect did the fall have on the image of God? Did humanity lose this image after the Fall?
How should the fact that man is created in the image of God affect the way we treat one another?
The Image of God characteristics:
Personality: Like God, people are individual beings with self consciousness.
Eternality: Like God, people will exist into eternity.
Relationality: Like God, people have a capacity and drive for relationships.
Volitionality: Like God, people have the freedom and ability to make volitional choices according to their will.
Rationality: Like God, people have the ability to think, contemplate, and reflect on abstract ideas, future plans, and past events, advancing toward a more beneficial existence through problem solving.
Spirituality: Like God, people are spiritual beings possessing an immaterial part of their constitution.
Physicality: Unlike God, people have a material part of their constitution that is corporeal. But like God, people have senses that come as a direct result of our physicality, such as man's ability to see and to hear.
Morality: Like God, people are inherently moral creatures, understanding that there is good and evil (although this was gained as a result of the Fall).
Dominionality: Like God, people have been given authority to rule over creation, using all its resources for their benefit, enjoyment, and survival.
How did the fall affect the Imago Dei?
1. Man fully retains the imago Dei and only misrepresents it through personal sin.
2. Man fully lost the imago Dei. It is restored only in Christ.
3. The imago Dei has been retained in all men, but marred by sin. It is restored in Christ.