Monday, March 18, 2024

Duality of Man (1 Corinthians 6:12-20)

"Or do you not know … you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body …" (1 Cor. 6:19–20).

In the previous lesson we learned that even though man has fallen from his original state he is still made in the image of God. Yet something has changed, something dramatic. When sin entered the picture, we lost all righteousness, our ability to think became distorted, our emotions disrupted, and our wills bent by wicked desires. But despite the effects of sin, man is still made in the image of God not only spiritually but, to some extent, physically as well. Like our souls, our physical state has been affected by sin. We get sick, old, and we die, but this does not make the body, in and of itself, evil. In some way, it still bears the dignity of being made in the image of God. This is why it is wrong to murder someone—it is an attack on the image of God in man.

Our souls and our bodies were created to conform to the character of God. Some philosophies and religions consider the physical to be evil and only the soul, or spirit, to be good. This philosophy is called dualism and was prevalent in the ancient world. Christians have always insisted that this philosophy is heretical. Though God is Spirit, and we reflect His character in our spiritual being, our bodies are also involved in doing God’s will. The Bible clearly teaches that God created both the soul and the body, that both have been affected by sin, that both will be redeemed if the person believes in Christ, and both will be resurrected. Therefore, we must not devalue the physical, calling bad what God has called good.

We must also avoid the erroneous doctrine of trichotomy—that man has three components: body, soul, and spirit. Those that hold to this view assume that the spirit must mediate between the irreconcilable body and soul. Defenders of this view build their case from verses that refer to the body, soul, and spirit, even though the Bible uses soul and spirit interchangeably. Since Scripture divides the soul into mind, heart, spirit, according to the trichotomy logic there would be up to six or seven components to humanity. Contrary to this view, man is composed of a body and a soul, both made in God’s image while bearing the scars of sin and disobedience.

Depriving our bodies is not the high road to holiness. In what ways should you take better care of your body? The balance, of course, is not to focus too much on the physical, but this does not mean you should ignore it. Do you make a conscious effort to exercise, eat right, dress in a dignified manner, and maintain cleanliness?