This online institute is designed to give a brief analysis and discussion of all scientific disciplines through the lens of a biblical world view. +++ SDG +++

Friday, December 9, 2011

SMBI #29 Anthropology

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #29
            Welcome back class. We hope you have enjoyed your trip through the Biology wing of the institute.  Before you make your way across the quad to our Geology wing, please enjoy a brief moment of enlightenment in our anthropology lab.  This lab is the newest addition to our Biology wing and will prove very interesting.  So what is Anthropology and how can it be of any help in clarifying my biblical worldview? Well, let’s take a look.

            The field of Anthropology is so diverse it could have its own wing.  We however choose to discuss it in the realm of the study of life (biology).  The term "anthropology" from the Greek (anthrĊpos: “man” or “mankind” and logia: words of “discourse” or “study”) was first used in 1501 by German philosopher Magnus Hundt.  While this field of study has four main areas—physical, cultural, linguistic, and archeological—it further divides into over a dozen other categories.  Some of the basic questions today's Anthropologist seeks to answer are: "What defines human life and origins?"; "How are social relations among humans organized?"; "Who are the ancestors of modern Homo sapiens?"; "What are humans' physical traits?"; "How do humans behave?"; "Why are there variations among different groups of humans?"; and "How has the evolutionary past of Homo sapiens influenced its social organization and culture?"

            The reason this vast topic is being handled in one little article will become clear when we answer a few questions of our own. What is the underlying world view behind the bulk of the questions above? There are clearly evolutionary assumptions even in the way some of the questions are asked.  Will your worldview affect how you approach these questions? Most certainly, if you "believe" that we are genetic descendants of a chemical happenstance, three to five billion years ago.  Then to research these questions, you must take an atheistic (no god), or deistic (god is not involved) position not allowing for the possibility of the supernatural to be a part of what you study.  This position also requires a random purposelessness that seemingly contradicts the simple to complex nature of a purpose-driven evolutionary system.  On the other hand, if you have a biblical worldview, many of the questions become either easy to answer and require no research, have no answer because they contain false assumptions, and the remaining can be adequately handled as subsets of other fields of study.  Let’s examine the questions above from a biblical worldview.

             "What defines human life and origins?" For the life half of the question, love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul and strength and your neighbor as yourself.  For the origins half, see Genesis chapters one through eleven. This is an eye witness account of the Creator Himself.  "How are social relations among humans organized?" Created prefect, broken by sin, redeemed by Christ.  "Who are the ancestors of modern Homo sapiens?" Adam and Eve. "What are humans' physical traits?" Ask a medical doctor. "How do humans behave?" Poorly.  "Why are there variations among different groups of humans?" Because God created us to be able to genetically adapt to our environments with less than one percent of our genetic material. Beyond that he created us all 99% identical because we share His image. "How has the evolutionary past of Homo sapiens influenced its social organization and culture?" That which does not exist has no influence.

            I realize I have "tongue in cheek" over-simplified some of the answers above, but there is some truth to all those answers.  Am I saying Christians should not be anthropologists? No, we need good Christian soldiers in every field of study.  Know that if you approach this field of study with a biblical worldview, you will have a very difficult time.   There is however the field of Christian Anthropology which acknowledges and embraces a biblical worldview—not to mention all of the good anthropology that takes place in the realms of archaeology, linguistics, and cultural studies. Most of the things that biology does not answer in this field are better left to the topics of philosophy, psychology, and theology which are topics to be covered in yet to be built wings of this institute.

In Christ, Pastor Portier
Saint Paul Lutheran Church
1610 Pullen Road, Sevierville TN,
Phone: 865-365-8551, Service times: Sun 8:30 & 11:00, Wed 7 PM