let’s get physical

I thought I’d take a break today from the postmodern innovators discussion and share another subject that is important to me:  a Christian view of creation.

 

This post will appear in Our Daily Journey, a new devotional from Radio Bible Class aimed at thirty somethings that will begin publishing in March.  I have the privilege to participate with a stable of other authors who each write three devotionals per month.  At 300 words per essay, ODJ is attempting to provide a bit more meat than is possible in the traditional Our Daily Bread format.  Anyway, here is an essay on the importance of embodiment in the Christian life.

 

The hall leading to Michelangelo’s David in the Academy in Florence holds several of his unfinished statues.  These “Prisoner” statues are more interesting than his impressive David, for the chiseled outlines of their half-finished forms offer a glimpse of a genius at work.  Their placard says that Michelangelo left these statues unfinished to express his belief that, just as the Prisoners’ bodies struggle to emerge from the blocks of marble, so our spirits yearn to escape the confines of our bodies. 

How surprising that history’s greatest artist had such a low view of the human body!  If Michelangelo really believed this, why did he waste his life painting and sculpting? 

The Christians in Corinth also thought that they were too spiritual for their bodies.  They argued that single people should not marry, that married people should divorce, and that married people who could not divorce should at least stop having sex.  Paul replied that sex is good and that married people should have lots of it (1 Cor. 7:1-11; cf. 1 Tim. 4:3-4).

The Corinthians were also too spiritual to believe in a physical resurrection.  Paul reminded them that “if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either.  And if Christ has not been raised, than all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless” (1 Cor. 15:13-14). 

Christianity is a material, earthy faith.  It is the story of a God who created our good world, himself “became human and made his home among us” (John 1:14), and then arose with a physical body that could eat and be touched (Luke 24:36-43).  In the person of his Son, God himself now has a human body.  We are most like God not when we rise above our bodies, but when we honor God with them.

 

more> So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).

 

next> How does the resurrection challenge a common assumption that our body is merely a temporary residence for our soul?  What is the connection between physical and spiritual fitness?  Can we have one without the other?

7 Comments

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  1. Wonderful…both your snippet and the ODJ concept. It is refreshing to have spiritual musings like your own included in such daily devotionals.

  2. I think few things would do the church as much good today as reclaiming the depth of the resurrection and the hope of the new creation. If we really grasp ahold of those themes it can provide such a catlyst for both a more Biblical theology, and a more authentically Christian way of thinking about issues like the creation, poverty, and ethics.
    I know for me reading your ‘Heaven is a Place on Earth’ and Wright’s ‘Suprised by Hope’ helped me think through how these issues could be lived out in a Christian ‘new creation’ outlook.

  3. I think that I’ll forward your blog to my wife!

    Thanks, Mike (or Dr. Wittmer).

    Dan

  4. Dan:

    You always had a knack for missing the point! Though I guess in your own twisted way, this would be appropriate!

  5. It’s actually a little-known fact that Michaelangelo also penned that classic hymn, “I’ll Fly Away!”

  6. Dr. Mike,

    Great post as always, refreshing again to sse the idea of a view of creation and the human body that would change a lot on how people would act if they truly belived this way.

    Re-reading your other book and am enjoying it as always.

    Jonathan

  7. So, what is your interpretation of glorified bodies? I know, there is that line between God an Creation. But, aren’t we going to be different?

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