Whether we realize it or not, our anthropology (our understanding of the nature and conduct of humanity) says alot about our overall theology and understanding about God. A biblical understanding of human nature is usually grounded in a biblical understanding of God. When our doctrine of God goes into decline, so too does our doctrine of humanity. Thabiti does an excellent job in setting forth the decline of African-American theology in the area of anthropology. Early African-American writers and theologians expressed an undeniably biblical doctrine of humanity. Here are some quotes that demonstrate this point:
Jupiter Hammon (1711-1806): In the Bible, we are told what man is. That he was first made holy, in the image of God, that he fell from that state of holiness and became an enemy to God, and that since the fall, all imaginations of the thoughts of his heart are evil, and only evil and that continually. That the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God neither indeed can be. And that all mankind was under the wrath and curse of God and must have been forever miserable if they had been left to suffer what their sins deserve.
This was to demonstrat that all humanity (black and white) were under sin and in the same spiritual condition of needing Savior. It also became the foundation for biblical and theological arguments for freedom. In quoting Lemuel Haynes, Thabiti writes:
However, resident in all people despite the Fall was "an innate principle, which is unmoveably placed in the human Species." That innate principle was "Liberty and freedom," which Haynes styled as "a Jewel which was handed Down to man from the cabinet of heaven...Coaeval [sic] with his Existance [sic]" and proceeding "from the Supreme Legislature of the universe." Man's equality with man was evident in the universal impulse toward freedom written by God into the very nature of man and the laws of nature. Efforts to deny this impulse were futile attempts to deny one's self in the case of the bondsman or to usurp the prerogative of God in the case of the enslaver.
In a word, "Awesome!"