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If you’re a gnostic and you know it, clap your vile evil hands

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Question- Is your body less important, just as important, or more important than your soul?  

I bumbled through answering that question quite a bit.  “Less important of course!  God died to save our souls!”  Then a frown.  “Wait.  We get glorified bodies, too.”  “Uhhhhh- just as important than our bodies?? Maybe? Nah- that feels wrong ‘cause “God doesn’t see as man sees” and it’s what on the inside that counts.”  

You see- I was an accidental gnostic.  And you might be a wee sneaky gnostic, too.  

It’s not just you- it’s the world at large.  From the pastor that chronically forgoes sleep to try to be everything to his church, to the body positivity advocate I follow on IG who calls her body her “earth suit.”

A gnostic is someone who believes we have a piece of God that is within us, but that our physical matter is evil and rotting and something we are trapped by.  This was a big deal that the early church fathers had to fight against.  Oh so shockingly, things haven’t changed that much. Isn’t gnosticism underlying so much of how we think about our bodies?

The twenty-something wanting to surgically alter their body to match what gender they feel like they are.  The woman rolling her eyes at people who go to the gym because, well, we should be setting our eyes on things above!  The seminary student living off beef jerky and coffee because there’s no time to eat properly or sleep between school and ministry.

We tend to separate out and minimize the body from who we are as a person.  It can be overt as gender-affirming surgeries or as subtle as not caring for our bodies because we feel we are too busy.  As Sophie Southerden put it  we think “the body is where the bad stuff happens and the mind is where the good super spiritual stuff happens.” 

BUT The body being lesser is something Satan would love for us to think, because then our bodies don’t really matter.  I mean, the body is just our dying, fallen “earth suit” anyways, right?  Does it matter how I treat it/use it/think about it?

We don’t think about it much, but Scripture doesn’t whisper on this one either.  Think about the fact God gave Adam a body first and THEN he gave him a soul.  We started out with a body, we will be separated from our bodies for a time, and then we will be eternally united with our bodies once again.  We are with our bodies for way longer than we are without them.

And yes, that’s pre-fall and post-glorification. But now? Well, can’t we say with all the authority of Scripture that we are made in God’s image?  Even now?  Even in our fallen bodies?  Our bodies are made so that in looking at each other we get a glimmer of who He is.  Psalm 139 says we are fearfully and wonderfully made- that inspired comment was about his fallen body. These fallen bodies are what allows us to live out our faith(…faith without works is dead.” James 2:20)

But, probably the biggest argument for our body being important is that Christ died for it.  He came to save our souls, but our bodies as well.  Christ had to rise from the grave to truly claim victory over death, and in doing this we (including our bodies!) have an eternal victory as well.  Our souls and bodies- the whole of us are redeemed by our Saviour for His work and His glory.  

If Christ felt our bodies were important enough He died for them as well, doesn’t that have huge implications for how we think about them and treat them?  Our souls are His.  Our bodies are His. May we grow in seeing all the ways we can better use our bodies for Christ.

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