It’s not about the body…or is it?

It is universally agreed that man’s physical body is not part of what it means to be made in the image of God for God is spirit and does not have a body. The question, then, remains “Why, if God does not have a body, did He create Man with a physical body?”

1. The body is the medium through which God display his nature.

Adam, the original God-like man, was placed in the Garden by the Lord not to create but “to tend and watch over it” (Gen 2:15). “For though a paradise, yet the garden had to be tilled and planted. Seeds must be sown and the cultivated plots kept in order” (Ellicott’s Commentary of the Bible). In the Garden, Adam was to mirror what God did at Creation: He “planted” (Gen 2:8). Among all that God created, the Garden and the Man stood out in that they were not spoken into being but carefully and lovingly “planted” and “formed”. And after he had finished, God stood back, as if to examine what he had done, and “saw that it was very good”. In the Garden, Adam was to do the same, and his descendants all over the earth after him. The body is man’s God-given tool to be good stewards of the earth. A tool is to be used, not worshipped.

2. The body is the medium through which God communicates his emotions.

Each of us have 43 facial muscles that can produce as many as 21 expressions of emotions. A smile, which uses 10 facial muscles, is everyone’s favorite because it indicates happiness. What to know what God looks like when he smiles on you (Num 6:25 NLT)? Just look at someone’s face when he or she smiles.

3. The body glorifies God.

The complex and flawless design of the human body testifies to God’s unsurpassed creativity, wisdom and knowledge, and glorifies Him in the same way “the heavens declare the glory of God and the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psa 19:1 NIV). But when sin entered the world, decay and death began to touch all of creation. The billion of dead things buried in rock layers (fossils) and imperfections (birth defects, diseases, and death) are its unmistakable signature. Even natural selection, the process whereby organisms better adapted to their environment in order to survive and produce more offspring, can’t save us from this genetic decay. Leading evolutionists admit that, as time goes by, accumulating genetic decay threatens the very survival of plant, animal, and human populations.
It was not longer before developmental birth defects and deformities became common among the populace. The Israelites must have been familiar with them otherwise God would not have talked about the mute, deaf or blind with Moses (Ex 4:11). And, again, in Leviticus 21, God laid down restrictions regarding their proximity to sacred items and service at the altar of God for those with physical defects (see verses 16-23). It is important to note that while priests with physical defects were prohibited from serving, they were not expelled from the priesthood. This prohibition was not prejudicial – God was not discriminating against the handicapped –  but practical. To allow a priest with visual impairment or blindness to serve in the Tabernacle would be like letting a bull loose in a china shop, to put it bluntly.
Generations later, birth defects have grown to become prevalent in the world.  According to The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention report, “every 4.5 minutes, a baby is born with a birth defect. Birth defects affect one in every 33 babies (about 3% of all babies) born in the United States each year. Birth defects are a leading cause of infant death, accounting for more than 1 of every 5 infant deaths.”
Although birth defects, deformities, and disease prevents man’s body from glorifying God, God was still able to use it to his glory. An example of this would be the man in John 9:2-3 who was born blind.
“And his disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.'”
Jesus rightly corrected his disciples’ assumption that the man’s birth defect was either the consequence of the man’s sins or the sins of his parents. It was neither. It was the result of the Original Sin and Jesus availed God’s solution to the man by healing him.
Supernatural healing was one of the hallmarks of Jesus’ ministry and the apostles after him. But it is important to remember that “signs and wonders do not testify to the apostles but to the message of salvation preached by the apostles” (Surprised by the Power of the Spirit, by Jack Deere, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1993), pp. 103-104.)
Supernatural healing is as redemptive as forgiveness of sins. This is why both are mentioned in a same breathe in Psalm 103:1-3.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases…
Where supernatural healing is unavailable, surgical procedures and technology can be employed to elevate human ability and restore the human form to the way it was meant to be. Non-profit organisations like Operation Smile and SmileTrain have endeavored to help children born with a cleft lip or cleft palate, a form of birth defect, by performing corrective surgery – in most cases, without charge. With the help of technology, amputees now are able to lead close to normal lives.
For the rest who have been spared from birth defects, we can, and should, keep our bodies by maintaining a healthy soul (3 John 2).
Finally, we are to glorify God in your body by abstaining from sexual immorality (1 Cor 6:18-20).

4. The body is an object lesson of love and unity

Unlike the Israelites, who were a nation and had a singular place and form of worship, the New Testament church, until today, is comprised of smaller and often autonomous communities of believers. What they share in common is “one Spirit…one hope…one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all” (Eph 4:5-6). And they are to work and relate with one another like members of the same body (1 Cor 12:27). Just as no one hates his own body but nourishes and cherishes it, they ought to love one another as themselves (Eph 5:29; Mark 12:31). And when one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it (1 Cor 12:26).
 This teaching is being taught in the Torah Club. Contact me if you wish to join the Torah Club.

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