Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Body

We were created in the image of God. As such He said man was created in our image. (Gen 1:26). To be precise, our wasn't in the original text; it was put there in context to agree with Elohim, which is, in this case, the plural of "God". Since we know that Elohim is also singular, but specifically El is used with "one": "Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?" (Mal 2:10). From the Old Testament, we see the Holy Trinity: One God with three substances.

But mankind was created in our image, or reflection, but God was not natural substance. Obviously he was speaking according to His foreknowledge (1 Pet 1:2). He knew with what image Jesus would be created. At the creation the body of God was planned:
1 Corinthians 15:37 (ESV)  "And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39  For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish."
Jesus's body was to be made to the template God drew back in the beginning. "The Word" was a kernel from which Immanuel sprang. God promised Abraham that through that seed all his offspring would be blessed. Incidentally that was Jew and Gentile through Isaac and Ishmael. Who would be the person that blessed? Jesus Christ (Acts 3:25). When God made the deal with Abraham, His seed - Jesus had already been planted. Paul, in his letter above, spoke of the kernel and what it would become. The kernel was the Word who grew into Immanuel, and was of human flesh. I accept that God knew how He would make Jesus, and made our bodies in the image of Jesus's. It would be prideful to think of the reverse!

Therefore, our bodies were created in the image of Jesus, and as such we resemble Jesus. That is fitting because when Jesus' Spirit comes into our bodies, as Christians, we come to look like Jesus in Spirit. Then Paul said:
1 Thessalonians 5:23 "Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Blameless is in the image of Christ. Actually, mankind cannot be separated body from the spirit as Jesus was, but with us, it's always the entire package, until death that is! God's supernatural birth combined His Spirit and Mind with His Body, but with us, that is done at our second birth. Essentially, being born again is when our bodies and minds come home to the Spirit: just as Adam's was in the beginning. Perhaps that is why Jesus is the second Adam. They were alike in substances.

When Jesus was born, the Holy Spirit hovered over Mary, and He was given a body. Not mentioned there was God's Mind, but that was what He willed. Jesus's birth was by the will of God. He sacrificed a virgin, so to speak, that God could be with us. He was called that - Immanuel, and Jesus - Deliverer.

When we were born there was no virgin sacrificed because the act of carnal knowledge disallowed that. Jesus was born totally pure. We were not. Sure, sexual knowledge is the will of God, but it's better to not have that knowledge if one can remain abstinent. Mary did so, and she was blessed. Jesus was born without sin - we were not. Indeed, we are the seed of Adam on our paternal side, but Jesus was not!

Being specific, Mary was the surrogate mother for Jesus. She didn't engage in intercourse to conceive the Savior, but it was Mary's faith which gestated Jesus. God merely took the dust from her and made Jesus with his own spirit. Jesus' body was from the elements just as Adam's were! Likewise, his nature was as God's because Adam's was as well.

On the other hand, in order for our own birth, it took the work of women and men to conceive us. Our own bodies were created because of lust. We don't think of human intercourse as work, but indeed it is - God commanded our forebears to multiply. Obedience to that command is work.

Before Jesus was born He was Mind and Spirit. God added natural ingredients to the supernatural substances, and Jesus was born. Likewise, mankind is mind and body until we are reborn. Then the supernatural substance is added to the natural. Notice that the mind is both natural and supernatural since it is always there from conception through eternity, but changes at the second birth. The impurities are cleansed, and the mind becomes a new world, at least it should, just as the world did in the days of Noah. The dirt on our skin is not what is cleansed but the filth in our minds!

Natural life is from conception until death. Death occurs when our spirit removes itself.  We know this from the death and revival of Jairus' daughter:
Luke 8:54 (ESV) "But taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.” 55 And her spirit returned, and she got up at once."
Essentially, just as God breathed life into the dust of the ground and Adam became a living creature, this little girl had life breathed back into her body - her spirit returned to her. She wasn't dead, but merely spiritually asleep (Luke 8:52) as her spirit evacuated her body. As such, at our own deaths, we are spiritually asleep until our spirit returns to heaven, and then we are alive again in a temporary body until ours returns to the dust and we are glorified - in the presence of God. (That is not soul sleep but the flesh does).

Death is the sting we feel when our body gives up its spirit. Paul spoke of both soul and spirit in the same breath (1 Thes 5:23 above). In the Greek, he spoke of the spirit (pneuma) and of the soul (psyche).  That difference will be discussed tomorrow.

Throughout life, mankind suffers the flesh. Sometimes it's for pleasure, and at other times pain. The flesh is more than our skin, or even our bodies; it's the mind's interaction with our body and soul. The representative organ of the body is the heart. It's more than an organ though; it announces the state of the soul. For instance, when our soul is empty, the heart is sullen. When the soul is filled with evil, it thumps with the excitement felt and thought. When we are at peace our heart is still. The body and mind are reflected in the body's organ of life - the heart. When we are truly saved, our hearts are circumcised. It's foreskin is cut off! (Jer 4:4).

It's not the heart that we circumcise as men once did their foreskins of their manhood. It's the mind which is the dirty skin which needs removed. The new creature has the same body, but a different mind. Unlike Abraham, our part of the deal is more than surgical removal of the foreskin, but a change of how we think. For instance, lust is conceiving sin. If we quit lusting, we cease sinning. Hence, lust is circumcised from our minds. Why do we lust? To satisfy or appease our idol - the body signified by the flesh.

In order to cleanse our bodies, we must hang the mind on the cross with Jesus.
Galatians 5:24 (ESV) "Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."
To crucify the body is murder. We're not to do that. However, the flesh we must. It's the component of the body which we call the mind. It's what has the passions and desires. Our crucifixion is presenting our bodies a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1) but it's not our bodies which we hang on the cross; it's our minds! It's not that we kill our brain, but change our minds - of what and how we think.

God sacrificed His own body in our stead so that we didn't have to: 

Deuteronomy 21:22 (ESV)  “And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance."
I go back to the Old Testament for this passage. Jesus hung on a tree but died fairly quickly. He must do so, because if he didn't die on the same day, he would be accursed. The bodily death of Jesus had to be on the same day that he was hung from the cross! Because he died that same day, and died for us, we are no longer accursed. Of course there are considerations - we must be born again. Jesus's body died so that ours will live, and forever.

Our life is all about one thing: all men strive to live forever. We all desire eternal life with its promise of  prosperity, health, and happiness. As such mankind's desire is for our bodies to eternally exist. People can lie about that and deny it, but no man hates his own body! (Eph 5:29). We believe, not so much that we love Jesus, but we trust him enough to save our idolatrous bodies. Life is all about preserving our bodies, but with our intuition, humans know that we're more than an amoeba or an ape - we are us - living creatures with a spirit which the soul contains.

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