On Gnosticism and Christian’s Bodies
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you? [1 Corinthians 6:19]
Written by Zoomer Enoch
Most Christians, if asked over coffee break at Church today, will have an easy time rebuking any sort of Gnostic teaching about Christ, but what about Gnostic teaching about ourselves? This seems to have much more cultural penetration than we seem to admit, and the effects are just as damaging. How can we speak of the dangers of rejecting the bodily resurrection of our Savior while at the same time shoving fast food into our mouths?
I’ve seen a poast on Facebook recently that seemed to sum up the ideas to follow quite succinctly, so feel free to ignore the following article if you can understand what the poaster is getting at.
“The church today is functionally Gnostic. Case in point: little to no attention in teaching or praxis is spent on the health of bodies. We’re obese, heavily medicated, depressed, and you’ll almost never hear anything about proper bodily care.”
Many have pointed out the sad fact that while the Church may preach against worldly morality, in any statistic measurable, we actually act the exact same as our secular counterparts. This includes how we treat our bodies.
With the rise of the Industrial Revolution, and many people moving away from immediate work on their own land to find abstracted, capitalistic work in the city, we’ve abstracted away many other problems. Now, work is something you go do, not something you are. It’s easy to proclaim that work is vital to the Christian life, but please explain this to the professional email writer driving two hours round trip just to send even more emails. Maybe the abstraction could use some localization…
We’ve been wired over the last x-thousand years to work and see the product of our work immediately. Now, with cash exchange, it’s all numbers on the black box of death that we might scrounge enough together to afford the food that has the least amount of microplastics in them to feed our families with.
With the rise of industrialization in the West, another peculiar theological idea was rising at the same time. With the Brethren breaking away from the Church of England in the 1800s, some of the leaders decided that the “truest” reading of scripture resulted in more or less, dispensationalism. This isn’t an educational article about dispensationalism, but the outcomes are apparent. Along with the idea of a “rapture” that has permeated culture over the last 200 years (and with accelerated adoption within the last 30ish years), whether taught explicitly or not, comes the idea that our bodies don’t matter.
How many of you have sat in church and listened to a message about “worshiping God forever” or “the Golden City”, or about how the passage on the Earth dying has to do with nuclear reactions? (Guilty on all counts, personally) When the constant barrage of a dream that OUR generation doesn’t have to experience death, but instead is THE generation to make it out, our perspective might be warped.
With this pessimism about the future, there aren’t any consequence-free outcomes. Theology affects praxis, as the quote at the top attributes. If it’s true that our generation is the one to make it out before the World ends, then who cares how many liters of seed oils we drink? If everything is going to burn up, why not have that second helping of canola-oil-laden soft drink?
I would now like to humbly offer that we might just be terribly misguided on all of this...
Something that has helped me to gain perspective on things recently is making decisions based on this simple outlook: ‘How will this affect my grandchildren’s grandchildren’s grandchildren?’ It is (more or less) true that Christ could appear any moment, but the fact is also that we are bringing these bodies (albeit in a new incorrupt form [1 Corinthians 15:42]) into Eternity, whether we like it or not.
Neglect of the body isn’t just an isolated incident either. Not treating the body, that God has given to us as a vessel, with the appropriate amount of respect, also shapes how we see our spiritual life before Him. Because our faith is so communal and so visceral, we cannot just conclude that neglect of ourselves ends in the physical realm. There is spiritual damage that we do to ourselves through all of these neglectful acts, since we are body AND spirit, inextricably linked in unison [James 2:26].
Furthermore, it could also be true that God’s providence has dictated that humanity deserves another two millennia of sinning. I mean, if BC spans ~6000 years, then why can’t AD?
So, what will you look like in 50 years, brothers? Unless Christ returns (D.V.), we have a long way to go... Where are the healthy Christians? Those ready to do work? To protect family and countrymen?
You are as much a body as you are a soul. The recent teaching of the Church (in my circles at least) seem to be some form of Gnosticism, formed around 21st century convictions (… how convenient).
The plain teaching from Scripture is that you matter, and that you in this statement includes your body. Nothing is outside of God’s redemption plan for the universe, which He has created for us to indwell. It is time to return our praise, both within and without our bodies.
I recommend looking at something like Randy Alcorn’s book Heaven for a much more orthodox look at what the future looks like, rather than the nonsense you’ve probably received over the last many years. This comes along with a call to action. You MUST condition your body, just like you must condition your soul for use by God as He pleases. This means training, eating good foods (I would almost call seed oils and microplastics demonic), and caring for the flesh and bones of people around you.
From a recent book I’ve enjoyed, let’s take a look at how Adam greets his wife, in what is surely a perfect marriage made by God: “This at last is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.”
Then, also take a look at what God expects us to attend in the near/far future: “And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”
I’m not sure how you’re supposed to enjoy the marriage supper of the Lamb in a floating ghost body, bucko. Time to train your body to be presentable at the meal of all eternity (… and for every other important occasion between now and then).