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Mention the outline for the historical background of Human Constitution

  1. Platonism and the Christian tradition

  2. Dualism in the second century

  3. Platonism and the Church Fathers: Augustine of Hippo (ca. 400 a.d.)

  4. Recent moves away from the Augustinian tradition

  5. Constitution and the problem of biblical language: The biblical language is "an interpreter's minefield" (Malcolm Jeeves), “chaotic


What was the relationship between Platonism and Christian tradition?

  1. Christian moral rigor in the face of Roman sexualized culture. In response, many early theologians associated sin with sexual desire.

    • The soul is housed in a lowly body, a substance oriented toward sexual desire.


How was Dualism in the second century?

The conversation of Dualism was driven forward between Marcionist's arguments and the Apostolic Creed's response.


What were some of the arguments of Marcion concerning dualism?

  1. bore a strong contempt for the body and for all things physical

  2. Rejected the incarnation

  3. Taught a version of the Platonic demiurgos myth

  4. Taught salvation as rescue from materiality


What was the response of the Apostolic Creed to Marcion's arguments?

  1. "God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth." The biblical story is an earthly story, a story that celebrates the works of God

  2. The biblical metaphysic is not spiritual things and material things, but God and creation. This reality “rules out two sorts of error. On the one hand, it rules out devotion to and idolatry of creation. On the other hand, it rules out antipathy toward and rejection of creation, including the human bodies God created.”

  3. "born of the virgin Mary"

  4. Emphasis upon the resurrection of the body.


How was the relationship between Augustine of Hippo and Platonism?

  1. Platonic worldview and body-soul distinction was assumed by the time of Augustine

  2. Augustine softened the dualism between body and soul. Moved from opposition to hierarchy.

  3. Body as the house of the soul. A person is a soul: “a substance endowed with reason and fitted to the body”

  4. Imago dei is found only in the soul

  5. Body diverts the soul's energies away from God, tempts us to sin, and plays no part in redemption.


What are some consequences of dualistic anthropology for conceptions of the imago dei?

  1. Salvation is ultimately a liberation from the body

  2. The image becomes a static possession of the human as individual. It does not imply or require any relation.

  3. Tendency toward individualism and atomism


What are some recent moves away from the Augustinian tradition?

  1. The constitutional question appears to be a philosophical question not a biblical concern.

    • Answering a question that the bible does not ask.

  2. The biblical question of the imago dei should not be driven by the philosophical question of human constitution

  3. Recognition of the traditional anthropology as an element of an unbiblical worldview


What is the modern neuroscience perspective on human constitution?

  1. The traditional body-soul discussion has been all but eclipsed by a brain-mind discussion.

    • "soul" has become a virtual anathema

  2. The observed interrelationship and interdependency of the physical and psychological

    • but we cannot draw causation

  3. Is consciousness a brain event, or are we something more than the physical organism?


What are some terminologies of human constitution?

  1. Spirit (OT: ruach, NT: pneuma)

  2. Soul (OT: nephesh, NT: psyche [ψυχή])

  3. Flesh (OT: basar, NT: sarx [σαρξ]) and Body (OT: basar, NT: soma [σομα])

  4. Heart (OT: leb, NT: kardia [καρδία])


 Mention some highlights of the word Spirit (OT: ruach, NT: pneuma)

  1. The “breath of life”
  2. Divine power that gives life to and animates living creatures.
    1. For us, it might mean immateriality. But not scripture, where the emphasis is in the embodied nature of man.
  3. Human life is a derived life, a life dependent upon God for both its origin and sustenance. 

    1. The energizing breath of God


Mention some highlights of the word Soul (OT: nephesh, NT: psyche [ψυχή])

  1. Genesis 2:7: nephesh hayyah: living being

    1. this word seems to be personalized

  2. Often emphasizes the inner life, emotions, and consciousness

  3. Can refer to the whole man, with an emphasis upon non-physical aspects

  4. Can refer to biological life (e.g. Psa.105:8)

  5. Person or self would often make a good English translation (Psa.103:1; Ezk.18:20)

    1. rather than soul because of its Hellenistic contours

  6. A separable, incorporeal substance

  7. The influence of Greek metaphysics and the loss of the doctrine of bodily resurrection

    1. early church, "bodily resurrection"; Plato, "immortality of the soul

    2. Apostolic Creed as a response


Excursus: How do we understand Paul's subversion of Greek anthropology in 1 Corinthians 15?

  1. If there is a natural (soulish) body (swma yucikon) there is also a spiritual body (pneumatikon)

    1. two kinds of substances. But should we be reading it this way?

  2. Explanation: biblical story

  3. The first man (prwtoV anqrwpoV) became a living soul (yuchn zwsan)

    1. The last man (escatoV Adam) became a living giving spirit (pneuma zwopoioun)

    2. Paul is not thinking substances, but story

  4. The natural is first and the spiritual is second (v.46)

  5. The first man was from the earth

    1. The second man is from heaven (from where does redemption come?)

  6. Covenant representation of the two men over their respective communities

  7. The two men and image bearing

    1. same word for "taking off the old self (new man)"