January 20: We Are Embodied Souls

Before we move on, let’s explore one more implication of the fact that we are living souls.

Genesis 2:7. Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person (soul). NLT.

We’ve been saying that God gave us a spirit and a body and when they come together a person becomes a soul, a nephesh, a human. What this means is that we must take a holistic view of man. We are body and spirit and soul. All three.

spirit soul and body

Our culture today seeks to separate the body and the person (or soul). We can see this in the society all around us:

  • Abortion: the fetus is a living body, but not yet a person.
  • Euthanasia: the person is not viable, so the body can be terminated.
  • Sexual liberation: intercourse is no big deal, while sexuality defines the person.
  • Homosexuality: the body is designed as one gender, but sexuality (the free person inside) is expressed as the opposite gender.
  • Transgenderism: “I’m trapped in the wrong body.” My true person is not determined by my biological sex.
  • Body obsession: My body is simply a tool I use to express my true person or to find my true identity.

Each of these takes a low view of the physical body. And each of these creates a divide between body and soul. All of this is not rooted in Genesis of course. It is rooted in history’s movement towards a “facts/values split.” Over the past couple hundred years we have adopted a fragmented worldview. Science is separated from theology. Then the objective is separated from the subjective. Then facts are separated from values. Finally the body is separated from the soul.

Jesus came to reveal to us the unity of the body, soul, and spirit. He is the incarnation of God. He came in the body to show us what Genesis said from the beginning– the body is good and animated by the spirit, and together the give a portal to the soul — the true person.

If “to live is Christ” then we must accept that the life of Christ in us will control not just our spirit, but also our body and our soul. He died for it all. We must submit it all to him.

Romans 12:1. I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. NLT.

For the deep thinkers out there, here is a conversation about embodied spirituality (including James. K. A. Smith whose book I used for yesterday’s blog).

For the rest of us, here’s a CCM classic about God using us body and soul.

I am indebted to Nancy Pearcey’s book Love Thy Body for many of today’s thoughts.

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