Understanding anthropology (the study of man)

Understanding  anthropology (the study of man)

The soul (O.T. NEPHESH (Heb) x754), N.T. PSYCHE (Gr) x58 denotes breath, the breath of life, possessing the natural life of the body, a body that breathes, eats etc sometimes associated with blood (OT),in Genesis, a person (body and soul), (Matthew 2:20, Luke 12:22, Acts 20:10, Rev.12:11) i.e. a living human being      ( Gen.2:7, 42:21, Lev.5:2, Psalm 7:2, Rom.11:3, 16:4, 1 Cor.15:45, Phil.2:30, 1 Thess.2:8), but it also denotes the immaterial, invisible part of man, which continues after death of the body (Gen.35:18, 1 Kings 17:21, Psalm 16:10, Matt.10:28, Acts 2:27, 1 Kings 17:21), the naked (spirit) (after death in 11 cases, 2 Cor.5:3,4, Rev.6:9), the person (Acts 2:41,43, Rom.2:9, James 5:20, 1 Peter 3:20, 2 Peter 2:14, Gen.12:5,13, 14:21, Lev.2:4,7:21, 17:12, Psalm 120:2, Ezek.18:4, 27:13, Luke 9:24,25, Heb.6:19, 10:39,13:17,James 1:21, 1 Peter 1:9, 2:25, Exod.30:12, Lev.17:11,26:15, 1 Sam.1:26, Job 32:2 (self), Isaiah 53:10,1 Tim.2:6, Heb.10:38 (of God), 1 Peter 4:19, 2 Peter 2:8). It is the seat of all consciousness, the thoughts, feelings, appetites (Gen.42:21, Num.21:5, 1 Sam.1:15, Rev.18:14, Psalm 107:9, Prov.6:30), the emotions-what we sense and feel i.e. state of mind (Psalm 42:11, Matt.26:38, but so also is pneuma (“spirit”- John 11:33, 13:21, Acts 17:16,18:25, 19:21, 1 Peter 3:4)-perhaps alluding to man’s higher faculties, what we desire, including our will, moral action and purpose, and includes knowledge ( i.e. heart-what motivates us), (Matt.11:29, Luke 1:46, 2:35, Acts 14:2,22, Psalm 84:2, 139:14, Prov.19:2, Is.26:9, Matt.22:37, Acts 4:32, mind (Eph.6:6, Phil.1:27, 2:5, Heb.12:3, Num.21:4, Deut.11:13).  We love with our souls (Song 1:7) and are to love the Lord with heart, mind and soul and so obey (Deut.10:12, Psalm 103;2, 119:167). The soul sins. (Psalm 24:4, Micah 6:7). The soul is what is converted (Psalm 19:7), the soul can be restored (Psalm 23:3), it thirsts for God (Psalm 42:2, 84:2) RUACH (Heb x350-wind or spirit or breath) is the animating principle and what survives death, PNEUMA (Gr) in NT x220-The inner (new) man Luke 21:19, Matt 10:39 (“life”), 1 Peter 2:11, 3 John 2). Soul sometimes refers to animals “creatures” throughout the early chapters of Genesis e.g.Gen.2:19, 9:10, Rev.16:3, but more often persons. Even God is said to have a soul (Isaiah 42:1). Christ as a whole person, body and soul offered himself (Isaiah 53:10). So in summary the soul stands for the whole of the invisible but nevertheless real part of a person-his or her needs, appetites, feelings, what motivates them (the heart), his knowledge, his spiritual life and what survives death and enters eternity. Christ as a divine person (second person of the trinity) was unique in taking upon himself a human soul and body yet remaining essentially divine as stated in Philippians 2:7,8), the fulness of the Godhead dwelt bodily!

When it comes to the spiritual battle within the regenerate believer it is soul or spirit ( a right spirit Psalm 51) versus fleshly lusts (1 Peter 2:11) but remember these lusts do not reside in our physical bodies but rather in the old totally depraved man that once dominated our lives. But our soul may be filthy (2 Cor.7:1). Our spirit is distinct from the Holy Spirit (Rom.8:16) for which the word PNEUMA is always used but it is also used for angels (Heb.4:7,14), evil spirits and Satan himself (Eph.2:2, 1 John 4:3,6). The wicked do have a spirit which is dead to God.

Heb.4:12 suggests the extreme difficulty of distinguishing between soul and spirit alike in nature and activities. Spirit is generally higher, the life principle given by God and the soul the resulting life which animates the body but it too is associated with feelings (1 Kings 21:5, John 13:21).Both soul and spirit rejoice in God (Psalm 35:9, Luke 1:47).

Man is body and soul (Matt.10:28, Luke 12;20, Acts 20:10 (“life” =soul), or body and spirit (Luke 8:55, 1 Cor.5:3, 7:34, James 2:26).

Soma (body) and pneuma (spirit) may be separated but pneuma and psyche (soul) can only be distinguished (1 Thess.5:23)

Much gleaned from Vine’s “Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words” and Strong’s Concordance.

Trees rejoicing?

As I watched the millions of green leaves in a tall tree rustling in the breeze yesterday, they appeared to be clapping.

The inanimate creation does, it seems, respond to its creator! viz:

“Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof.
 Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein:
then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice  before the Lord:
for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth:
he shall judge the world with righteousness,
and the people with his truth” (Psalm 96:11-13).

To this Paul agrees in the New Testament : “ For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.  For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,  because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now ” (Roman 8:18-20).

All creation and especially we who are part of the new creation await the renewal of all things at Christ’s return, the ultimate fulfillment of this, the most joyous Old Testament feast, when God dwells with men.

Spiritual fishing


Habakkuk 1:14,15. ‘ And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them? They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag: therefore they rejoice and are glad.’

The above verses speak of the two main ways human beings catch fish-namely with a net and angling with a single line.

In my retirement, through a Christian brother at church, I have taken up a hobby I only dabbled at  as a boy but have always been keen on, and that is fishing or angling. Net fishing is carried on commercially. In angling, the aim is to get the fish to bite at your lure or bait so that he is hooked and then reel him in-your prize is usually a single fish. In net fishing you may enclose many fish all at once as the disciples did on the Sea of Galilee in John 21:1-22. They caught 153 in all! “ Jesus controls fish”-Rev Carl Haak. Jesus knows where the fish are even single ones (and one with a coin stuck in its mouth-Matthew 17:27) and makes us a promise in Matthew 4:19, ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.’ Did He mean as anglers or net fishermen? The answer is both!

On the day of Pentecost Peter threw out the gospel as a wide net in Jerusalem and enclosed a massive haul of over 3,000 men. It was as though Jerusalem was a well-stocked fishery with many just ready to be caught! Not long after this, Philip on the Gaza road, angling on the Lord’s instructions caught a prize Ethiopian Eunuch to add to the growing Gentile church (Acts 8).

What lessons can we use from the practical work or hobby of angling and net fishing and from the evangelistic accounts in the New Testament? Most of us are anglers-we are not ordained men, we do not preach to large numbers. We go about our daily lives hoping to attract one or two to take the bait that our lives throw out to them by word and deed. How are they attracted? God must draw them (John 8:44). They may be made thirsty by our salty lives, drawn to the light we shine or made jealous that we truly know God.. The aim is to see them converted and landed when they become confessing members of a true church.

Necessary for successful angling:

  • Knowledge of where the fish are and what kind
  • Knowing the right bait or lure to use.
  • Having the equipment-rod, line, hook.
  • Skill in fishing e.g. casting.
  • Patience
  • The providence of God: only he can bring fish and bait together and make the fish bite. There is much talk about whether our “luck” was in on a given day but nothing happens by chance, actually God controls everything (Romans 11:36).

Now what if you are a fish not yet caught in the net or by an angler of the Kingdom of God? First, acknowledge that you don’t want to be caught! By nature you hate God and love sin! But, look out for the bait or the net, a Christian may speak to you, if you have a Bible read it starting in John’s gospel. Be prepared to go to church to hear the gospel message of Christ’s death and resurrection for sinners or listen to it on the radio or watch a sermon on U tube. The gospel is the power of God to save men, to catch them like fish but unlike fish they are ultimately very glad they were caught so as to become God’s friends and beloved children for ever with eternal life.


  • Lord enable us to be successful fishermen!

God enables the godless

When Assyria were at the gates of Jerusalem they boasted of their conquests but like all natural men, as practical atheists, they believed they did it all by themselves! How wrong! “Hast thou not heard long ago how I have done it,
and of ancient times that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass,
that thou shouldest be to lay waste fenced cities into ruinous heaps.” 2 Kings 19:25. The breath and all accomplishments of all men is in God’s hands and it adds to their sin that he is not acknowledged whether by unbeliever or believer! Nebuchadnezzar is a prime example, “The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?” Daniel 4:30. Ultimate example? The cross of Christ! Accomplished by murderers but enabled by God. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.” Acts 4:27,28.

Response to the Plague


Bacteria that causes Bubonic Plague

Thomas Brookes the Puritan, while others fled to the country, stayed to minsiter to his flock in North London during and after the summer of 1665 when thousands were dying of Bubonoc Plague (100,000 died by August). Here were his “Divine maxims” that he shared widely in a work called “A Heavenly Cordial.”

1. Outward circumstances do not necessarily indicate God’s pleasure or displeasure with us.  Jesus gave His disciples a crucial lesson regarding this point. “As [Jesus] went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:1-3)

Oh, this is so important! Bad circumstances don’t always mean God is upset with a person. Sometimes the “worst” of men escape the plague, and the “best” of men are taken away by it. So, we must not assume that God is angry with us if we catch a disease, just as we must not assume God’s pleasure if we escape it! God’s ultimate approval or disapproval is based on one thing only: A person’s relationship with Jesus Christ.

2. Plagues do not change God’s affections toward His people.
Do not listen to the voice of the evil one which may whisper to you, “If God really loved you, you wouldn’t be suffering like this.” That is simply not true. Many saints throughout the ages have suffered horrible illnesses, but nevertheless the Apostle Paul’s words still stand.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:35,37)

3. Pestilence and plagues can only reach the outward man. They cannot reach our souls.
The very worst that any disease can do is kill our bodies, but if we have a relationship with Jesus Christ our souls are safe and cannot be touched by any virus! Therefore we must not fear that which can kill the body and do no more, rather, the plague should cause us to turn our eyes toward God.

[Fear Him] who has the power to throw both body and soul into hell. (Matthew 10:28)

4. No Godly person dies from any calamity until God’s work in them and through them is finished.
God knows the days of our lives.

In your books were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:16)

He prepares good works in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10), and no Christian ever dies until the things that God has for us in this world are complete.

5. If a Christian dies by disease, they receive no loss but only gain!
That is what the Apostle Paul is talking about when he says,

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21)

All that pestilence and disease can do to the believer is bring them to glory. And though the godly man may not be delivered from the plague, he shall certainly be delivered by the plague! Brooks writes, “The death of the body destroys the body of death…death cures all diseases [for the believer] at once!” And if a Christian dies from the plague, “the chair of pestilence shall be to him a chair of State, by which he shall be brought into the presence of the King of kings.”

It is only with such a view of the devastating plague, that a man like Thomas Brooks could find the courage to boldly remain in London and minister to others. Brooks was a great example for us, especially now while we are dealing with our own pandemic. He concluded his short treatise with these words, “If a godly man dies of the pestilence, he shall never be haunted, tempted, and buffeted by Satan anymore; he shall never see a cloud, a frown, or a wrinkle in the face of God anymore…it shall free him from all his sins, sorrows, tears, temptations, oppressions, oppositions, and persecutions.” Oh, what a comfort that should be to all of us right now! If we trust in the Lord Jesus Christ we have nothing to fear.


Man in God’s Image?





We have spoken before about the image of God in man, an issue where I believe Answers In Genesis and the Christian Institute  and all its main speakers are in error.

They believe  man is made in the image of God because of his mind, appreciation of beauty etc. Just because we are rational and spiritual that does not put us in the image of God. Satan, the demons and the antichrist to come, are, and will be, rational, moral (though wicked) beings too. I believe it is correct to say man was made originally in the image of God who is Spirit! We all have immaterial but real souls. But back to rationality-sin is at basis irrational yet man is sold under it and a slave to it. Our innate rationality has become irrationality because of the corruption of sin. Hence idolatry worldwide covering every man-made religion.

If we are made in the image of God you are implying we are in the image of Christ because Scripture teaches that Christ is the image of God. What that image is, Scripture clearly delineates, but basically it is righteousness and true holiness-Adam had these qualities but when he sinned he took on him the nature of and the image of Satan (Jesus said as much to the Pharisees)-don’t you believe this? How can you say anything of God’s image still dwells in fallen man? It is not rationality. It is not spirituality-our spirits are naturally dead, separate from God! No, the image is totally marred and defaced. The prohibition of murder is based on what man WAS originally, not what he has become! I urge you once again to avail yourself of the material on our church website here: https://cprc.co.uk/articles/imageofgod/ with messages here: https://cprc.co.uk/imageofgodresources/