Understanding The Bible
Clarence E. Mason's "Anthropology"


Return to Syllabus

Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible


    1. Material
      Chemical truth of Genesis 2:7
      Man lives and is sustained physically by unceasing appropriation of materials which come directly or indirectly from the "dust of the ground" (1 Cor. 15:47; 2 Cor. 4:7; Gen. 2:7; 3:19).

      Material and immaterial are two distinct factors, yet perfectly and marvelously harmonious and adapted (Jas. 2:26; 2 Cor. 5:6-8; 4:16; 2 Pet. 1:13-15; Mt. 10:28).

    2. Immaterial

      1. Image and likeness

        1. Man was created by God (Gen. 1:26-27; 5:1-2; 2:7, 21-25; Mt. 19:4). b. Man was created in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26); man became "a soul of life" (Gen. 2:7). Hence, there is endless life, eternal existence, whether in weal or in woe.

          View 1. God's image
          This does not mean physical likeness (Dt. 4:15; Jn. 4:24). Three New Testament verses seem to explain usage of the word "image" (Col. 3:10; Eph. 4:23-24). The image of God, therefore, would consist in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. It would be a moral likeness, not a physical one. Personality, rational self-consciousness, is that intended to be understood.

          View 2. God's likeness
          In the view indicated above, likeness and image would be synonymous. However, image has to do with the attributes which make up per­sonality--intellect, sensibility, volition—and likeness has to do with character, which in Adam's case (before the fall) was positively good (Gen. 1:31). In the fall man lost God's likeness, but he retain­ed His image. His likeness was a moral likeness.

          Image is transmitted (Gen. 5:1-3; 9:6; Jas. 3:9; 1 Cor. 11:7).
          a. Fallen man bears image of God.
          b. But man has been so injured that only redeeming grace can rescue him.

          Image = personality likeness to God--intellect, sensibility, will, conscience.
          Likeness = moral likeness to God, untainted by sin.

      2. Dichotomy and trichotomy
        The first of these views makes soul and spirit synonymous, and concludes that man is composed of two parts only, material and immaterial. But we at PCB are trichotomists, believing man was created a trinity (spirit, soul, and body) by the Triune God (1 Cor. 15:44; 1 Thes. 5:23; Heb. 4:12; 1 Cor. 2:14; Jude 19).

        Soul - individuality of man. Distinguishes man from inanimate nature.
        Spirit - the outbreaking of God into the creature, the life-principle derived from God.

        Body = world-consciousness
        Soul = self-consciousness
        Spirit = God-consciousness

        Physical man - man as nature now constitutes him and as sin has affected him.

        Spiritual man - man as grace has reconstituted him and as God's Spirit dwells in him.


Return to Syllabus


"Mason's Notes"

(formerly Philadelphia Biblical University, Philadelphia College of Bible.)
Copyright © 2012 to present,
All rights reserved.

Cairn University

200 Manor Avenue
Langhorne, PA 19047
United States of America
"Mason's Notes" Study materials on this website are made available here free, through the generosity of Cairn University, and may be copied for use in Bible study groups, in limited numbers, providing that no charge is made for them.  No further distribution or use of these materials is allowable under U.S. or International Copyright Law without the express permission of Cairn University.