Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Physical and the Spiritual ~ and on an unrelated note: Happy Birthday USA!

Proverbs 20:30

Blows that wound cleanse away evil;
strokes make clean the innermost parts.

It is interesting to see how closely the physical is related to the spiritual.  That is not to say that the spiritual is physical.  It isn't. We are souls in bodies.

C.S. Lewis said (or did he?) that "...we do not have souls, we are souls.  We have bodies." 

That may or may not be true.  But it does pique one's thoughts and awe of both.  We are soulish and we are body(ish?).  It is interesting how this Proverb relates the body to the soul.

In a body is where God has placed us for now.  We are not disembodied spirits haunting our homes and cars and jobs.  We are souls in bodies. And the substance that rightly constitutes "we" may be rightly called "soul" in essence, but that essence will need a body to operate in a material world.  Not the kind of material which makes up Madonna's world, but God's.)

Eden was a real place - not an ethereal vunderland of floating enchantment. Adam was made from the dirt of the earth and was bound by space, time, and his body.  This limitation was not "less than ideal," but "very good."  Heaven is not awesome because we escape our bodies, but because we are restored to communion with God in full.  Our bodies are not the reason we are far from God.   It is because of sin that a great gulf exists between Him and us.  And even then, when fully restored, His holiness is something He possesses by nature and itself defines Him as "other than" us. 

When we die our souls experience the trauma of being disembodied.  We are ripped from our flesh, but thank God for it.  Can you imagine being trapped in a body that no longer vibrates with life?  A body that cannot see, hear, taste, touch, move, etc..  Furthermore, it is buried out of sight and piled under dirt, burned into bits, or set adrift at sea.  What a miserable, all together traumatizing future if we were left in our bodies after they had died.  Some now live in this tortuous state awaiting death as they lay in beds alive as a result of foreign machinery.  I cannot imagine (rather I refuse to allow myself to imagine) the horror of being what is rightly called "alive," yet being so utterly deprived of the capacities to live.  For them, praise God that earthly death will resolve these limitations not in separating them eternally from a body, but eventually resurrecting them to a perfect body in which the deprivations of this current, impotent life will be replaced with the infinite possibilities of a perfect life in Christ.

Praise God we are with Him when we die UNTIL we are resurrected in our new bodies.  Yes, we get bodies back.  What the whut?  Yep, eternity is not freedom from our flesh (the physical body) but from the flesh (our inward orientation and barometer for calibrating the good, the desirable, and the worthy). Our ultimate destiny is very physical.  We have bodies, there is land, we eat, we stand up, we kneel, we sing, etc...

What a wonderful creation our bodies are and praise God that one day we will live in perfected bodies with glorified souls no longer to sin or to be sinned against.

Until then, however, God spanks us - for our good.  What we experience in the physical realm can clean the innermost parts in that the spank we receive may literally assist us in changing and renewing our minds toward the evil intention interrupted by divine intercession. 

Our bodies are our helpers.  They have often become our masters. 

God, in His mercy, however can use our bodies to minister to our souls in the form of physical discipline.

As a dad, I do not spank my children because I like to or because it is my first instinct to do so, but because the Bible commands me to and makes it a hopeful opportunity to trust in God to produce something much deeper than a sting in the rump - something I could not produce through harsh words, bullying, or apathetic un-involvement.  I pray that the spank would do what the Bible promises in ministering and shepherding the hearts of my children to obedience in love and reverence for Christ.

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