A Theology of the Body

Friends, it’s time to be radical about how we think about our bodies. Scripturally radical, and in a pleasant salt-to-the-world way, of course. For that reason, I’ll be looking at a theology of the body this month. Much hype has arisen lately about beauty. Almost daily it seems friends are posting on Facebook articles and discussions concerning what true beauty is. Christians are engaging in theological conversations about what the redeemed definition of beauty is and how the Christian is supposed to model this biblical beauty. Well and great, but a theology of beauty starts with an understanding of the body, and an understanding of the body flows from a proper estimation of the image of God within mankind.

God chose to encase his image within the shell of a human body. In the Ancient Near East, an image was understood to carry the expression of a deity. An image was not the same as the deity, but an image could be used by the deity to achieve divine work. Thus, as image-bearers, mankind became God’s ambassadors, his kingly rulers of earth. The tools of conscience, self-awareness, creativity, and wisdom and discernment were given to mankind for God’s accomplishing his work through us. But that work—the unfolding of redemption’s story from Genesis through today and beyond—is done by people with living, breathing bodies, who fulfill the Great Commission by loving the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength (in other words, bodies).

So we value our bodies, not because of their abilities to give us pleasure, but because they encase God’s image and allow us to work for his kingdom. We value our bodies because they were created by God, not by accident, but on purpose. We value our bodies because Jesus took on a body to carry out the wildest redemption plan the earth has ever seen.

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