Ray's Blog

Do you have a theology of the body?

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?  1 Corinthians 6:15

Our bodies, the humblest part of us, are members of Christ, limbs of Christ, organs of Christ.  I never would have thought of that.  Without the gospel, I would have agreed with Epictetus, the Greek philosopher, who taught this:

“Inasmuch as these two elements were comingled in our begetting, on the one hand the body, which we have in common with the brutes, and, on the other, reason and intelligence, which we have in common with the gods, some of us incline toward the former relationship, which is unblessed by fortune and is mortal, and only a few toward that which is divine and blessed.”

That seems plausible.  There is my intellectual self, which I neglect, and there is my physical self, which I indulge, sadly.

But the Word became flesh (John 1:14).  The intellectual and the physical are “comingled,” to use Epictetus’ word, but in a more profound way than he knew.  We are physical extensions of Christ in the world today.  So, for example, our legs are how Jesus walks the streets of our cities.  He so cares for us in all that we are, he so identifies with us, he so gets involved with us, that our very bodies, including our sexuality — which is Paul’s point in 1 Corinthians 6 — are eternally joined to him now.  The Christian gospel creates strong sexual integrity not by despising the body but by honoring the body.

Have you thought through a theology of the body — your body?

This post was originally published on The Gospel Coalition