Does my body even matter?
What does it mean to be human? This may seem like an odd question to those who have no questions about it, but the question is not a new one.
Your physical body matters
Allow me to answer the question succinctly: You are a wonderful and beautiful creation of the almighty God. That means that you have a soul and a physical body in which it dwells.
Seems pretty straightforward, right? This is just a brief summary of the Christian doctrine of who human beings are. It may seem obvious, but opinions have varied—and continue to vary—on this topic.
In the early Christian church, false teachers called Gnostics spread false ideas about who Jesus was and who human beings are. Some taught that the inner self was inherently good and the body was inherently bad. The result was the idea that the body is a necessary evil. If the body is inherently evil, then it is not important. Those teachers believed that the inner self is the truest expression of who you are.
It seems the apostle Paul was addressing some of these ancient false teachers in the book of Colossians. Paul wrote, “But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body” (1:22). And again, “In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (2:9). If these false teachers were right about the human body, then what shall we say about Christ’s physical body?
The truth of the matter is that your physical body matters. It communicates something about who you are and how God made you.
Both saints and sinners
But we know that even while God made us, God’s perfect creation of male and female is infected by sin. We are infected by sin, through and through, body and soul. We make sinful choices and carry out sinful actions. But more than that, sin affects our physical bodies. We suffer from a myriad of diseases, both physical and mental. No part of our body is immune to sin.
Consider, for a moment, the effects of sin on the brain. We are becoming more and more aware of how amazing this creation of God is and how deeply sin can infect it. With a brain infected by sin, many have wondered what this means about faith.
The husband suffering from Alzheimer’s who can’t recognize his own wife can still have faith in Christ. The infant who cannot cognitively grasp the death of Jesus can still cling to Jesus in faith through the work of the Holy Spirit. The college student suffering from clinically diagnosed depression can still hold on to Christ Jesus even in the midst of the darkness.
The truth is that we are by nature 100 percent sinners, and, by faith in Christ, we are at the same time 100 percent saints. He came here, body and soul, but without sin. Through faith in him, we will one day be with him forever, body and soul, and we will be as he is: glorious and perfect—body and soul!
Take a moment today and thank God for your body. Even on the days when your body isn’t functioning like you’d want it to or your body doesn’t seem ideal, remember, you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Your body is a gift! Treat it that way.
This is the second article in a six-part series on applying doctrine to your personal life. Read the first article here.
Author: Gregory C. Lyon
Volume 109, Number 08
Issue: August 2022