Everyone should have some interest in paleoanthropology; not necessarily that branch of science, but the word itself. Paleoanthropology is a compound word meaning “the study of ancient man.” Interestingly (at least to this preacher), the primary root words that make up our English word are found together in the Bible.
For example, the apostle Paul said, “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old (palaion) man (anthropon), which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” (Ephesians 4:22). We know why fossils are called “old;” they have been around for “ages.” However, the old man of Scripture is old for other reasons.
He is old because he has “passed away.” Paul declared, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). The old man here is the conduct of the unconverted. For those who are in Christ, that conduct has gone away. He passed away when he was crucified: “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:6).
The old man is old because he is in the past. He characterizes our “former conversation” that was to have been put to death at baptism (Romans 6:3-5). We have “put off the old man with his deeds ” (Colossians 3:9).
He is old because he is not part of the new man. There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus because the guilt of past sins was buried with that old man (Romans 8:1-2). The old man does not need to be studied, but, instead, he needs to be left buried.
J. Brooks Boyd Jr.
Livingston church of Christ