Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Importance of the Body

A number of heresies have occurred whereby they state that Christ did not actually have a body. These docetic and monophysitical (by this I mean those who believe in his humanity alone and not the reality that He is the Son of God, the Second hypostasis within the Trinity) views have existed since the first centuries of Christianity. On the other hand, many within the Church still promote the importance of the soul in contrast to the significance of the body. However, this does not coincide with the soteriological and anthropological importance of the human being, as seen in Orthodox Theology. A human is not just body or just spirit, we are a combination of both body and soul. Fr John Behr, in his book The Mystery of Christ,Life in Death, gives an important explanation on the centrality of the body, claiming that

‘The body is our means of knowing the Word of God, for he has revealed himself in and through the body. In doing so, the Word of God, the crucified and exalted Jesus Christ, has also demonstrated a way of being embodied, being human, towards which we must strive to become human ourselves. As such, the body is of prime importance in the spiritual struggle and is ultimately itself the “handiwork” fashioned by God in and through the struggle, and so, that in which God is glorified.’ (p.151). 

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