What do we say to those who think we can do anything we want with our bodies because it’s what we are on the inside — the soul — that really matters? Isn’t the body important to God, too?
Yes, the whole person is important to God — inside and out. Paul prayed that our whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless before Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:23). So what do we tell people who think that what they do with their bodies is of no concern to their soul?
Tell them of God’s creation. He spoke the whole world into existence. He gave it incomparable beauty, intricate complexity, and marvelous life forms. And when He was done creating, He called the whole physical-spiritual thing, including human bodies, “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
Tell them that the Bible gives consistent witness to the nobility and value of what God created and called “very good” at the start. Read it in the Law (Exodus 20:11), in the Psalms (8:3; 19:1-6; 104; 139:14), and in the Prophets (Isaiah 6:3b; 40:26; 45:18). Confirm it in the Gospels (Matthew 5:5), the Epistles (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20), and the Revelation (4:11; 11:18b).
First Corinthians 6:20 sums up the biblical testimony well: “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Tell them that God’s created order is a united whole, with physical and spiritual elements forever linked. Humans are not like immortal souls in a sack of dung. Rather, they are whole persons that the Bible often calls “souls.” No detachable parts.
Tell them that what God called “very good” at the start was corrupted and scarred by the fall of the human race into sin (Genesis 3:14-19) and “that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now” (Romans 8:22). Ever since our first parents brought ruin to Eden, we’ve walked in their footsteps in our abuse and misuse of the planet, its human and natural resources.
Tell them that God gave His highest honor to the material world when He ordained Jesus Christ to be conceived and born on earth, in a human body.
Tell them, too, that when heaven sent the beloved Son to execute the Divine plan for reconciling all things to Himself (Ephesians 1:10), our physical bodies were not excluded. Just as all things in heaven and on earth were created through Him and for Him, so will all things be redeemed by His life, death, and resurrection (Colossians 1:16, 20). This includes the whole created order: heavens, earth, and bodies of those who inhabit them (Romans 8:19-23).
Tell them that what God called “very good” at the start, He will not finally destroy at the end. He created the earth to be inhabited (Isaiah 45:18), and He created our bodies for the same. Just as the created universe shall someday be restored to its original perfection (new heavens and new earth), so will our bodies be resurrected to their destined perfection in God’s eternal kingdom (1 Corinthians 15:50-54).
Does God care for human bodies? For sure He does! He created them a marvel, and He will redeem them through the salvation of Christ. It follows that we too should care for them and treat them with respect. Christians are not set free to do anything we might want, but we are free and authorized from above to do everything we ought.
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
— Elder Calvin Burrell
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