Body and Soul
November 22, 2011
You guys, it’s almost Thanksgiving! I don’t have class all this week! You would think that this would put me in a lovely, charitable, gracious mood, but it has not. Mainly because professors think it is fun to assign 90 papers and why don’t you just go ahead and get those done on up during your Thanksgiving break, OK, thanks. It’s fun times.
Have you guys seen this C.S. Lewis quote?
Now, don’t get me wrong — I like C.S. Lewis. I think I’ve made it quite clear that I think Narnia is real and it’s what heaven will be like. Reepicheep will be there.
However, I don’t agree with this quote. I think we are a soul and we are a body. Equally.
As Westerners, we’ve been very influenced by Greek thought, which is great. The Greeks were smart people and who doesn’t love Greek food? However, the Greeks adopted an idea that the physical was bad and the spiritual was good. This eventually led to an idea called Gnosticism, which saw matter as evil and glorified a spiritual knowledge, detached from any need for the physical.
The early seeds of Gnosticism were constantly being combated by the writers of the New Testament. Paul has to yell at people about it a lot, and John keeps reminding people in his Gospel that he actually saw Jesus after he was physically resurrected, and he saw the sword pierce Jesus’ side so that blood and water flowed out of it. You see, people had started to think that Jesus was solely a spiritual being and didn’t really, truly have a body. Because if he was God, he couldn’t have been associated with evil things like a physical body.
Anyhoo, the church declared Gnosticism as a heresy pretty early on, but it’s stuck around. I think a lot of us still carry seeds of it in our thinking today. That’s why a lot of us have a weird, floaty idea of heaven — if we’ve been influenced by this philosophy, it’s hard to picture God’s perfect restored world including things like real bodies and houses. And I think it leads to things like C.S. Lewis’ quote in which it is better to be a soul than to be a body.
When God created Eden — perfection — he created a lot of physical stuff. When God created our bodies, before sin and brokenness had ever affected them, he declared that they were very good. When Christ returns, we’ll have glorified bodies, not just souls floating around.
I think we are a soul and we are a body. Both. In the beginning, both the body and soul were somehow a good representation of the image of God, or he wouldn’t have created us with both.
Ok, enough C.S. Lewis bashing for one day. I wonder if Reepicheep’s soul and body are in heaven. He did go looking for Aslan’s Country after all.
OK, have a lovely, lovely day, friends! Thank God that he has redeemed your soul and will one day glorify your body (six-pack abs!) as well!