Tuesday, February 9, 2021

The Body and the Image

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

When we consider man as the image of God, there are two additional dimensions of the matter that we have to analyze. The first is that theologians have made a distinction between the image of God in the wider sense and the image of God in the narrower sense. In the wider sense, man simply is the image of God. The image of God is what a person is, whether he is in sin or not. When he sins, the image of God sins. In the wider sense, the image of God means dominion over creation.

In the narrower sense, the image of God is righteousness and true holiness. Man lost this aspect of the image of God when Adam sinned, but we are restored to it in Christ. The more righteously we live, the more we reflect Him.

The second dimension is this: In a dynamic unity, the image of God in man includes both his soul and his body. By “soul” we mean the immaterial aspect of the human life—his inner life and his relationship with God. By “body” we mean his corporeal, physical life.

God is not physical, but God acts. In man, the ability to act is through the body. The body enables us to act. Apart from the body, we could not act. Thus, the human physical body is part of the image of God, imaging God’s ability to put power into action. The body is the vehicle of obedience.

The fall perverted man’s inner life and orientation, so that the actions of his body have become perverse. Redemption restores both soul and body. We are not going to spend eternity just thinking about God. We will have resurrection bodies and we will be busy serving Him and engaging in physical acts of praise, such as singing.

Christianity does not oppose the immaterial aspect of human life to the physical aspect. Sadly, Christianity has from time to time come under the influence of some Greek philosophies, and then Christians have downgraded the body by rejecting food, drink, sexuality, and the like. True Christianity, however, celebrates the body as a good gift of God and as an aspect of His redeemed kingdom.

A Christian view of the body should be reflected in a healthy life-style. Some of us tend to become rather sloppy in the way we care for our teeth, our muscles, and our hearts. If today’s lesson speaks to a deficiency in our life, take steps to begin caring better for the body God has given you.