Christian main page Does the Christian Faith inherently hate the human body?

This one is easy. Christianity in fact is one of the few religions whose core theology supports the goodness of the body.

In the beginning, God created the earth, all the plants and animals, and people. God pronounced all this earthly, fleshy, material stuff to be good. God did not make nature and bodies from some dirt that was pre-existing, God made these things out of nothing.

Adam and Eve's nudity seems to argue that bodies are not something to be ashamed of. Unlike some new-age views, Christianity does not believe that bodies came from some evil force. In deed, Christianity does not believe that we are divine sparks trapped in an evil body, but rather that we are a body.

As with beginnings, so with endings. What Christianity says about death also testifies to its belief in the goodness of physical creation. Christianity believes in the resurrection of the body. This is different again from new-age faiths that claim that we are sparks of divinity held prisoner in an evil flesh. No, we are not spiritual beings having a physical experience. We are beings of both spirit and flesh having an experience that is both spiritual and physical.

Far from being dualistic about mind and body, Christianity posits a unity of the two.

Yes, I know, various spiritual traditions have sure sounded like they were attacking the body, with their endless talk about controlling the passions, subduing the body, punishing it, etc., etc. I think we can see this as a less than perfect response to an undisputed problem of the sin we dream about doing.

In an odd way, this anti-body attitude has its parallels among those modern Christians who are endlessly anti-intellectual. For them, it is the mind that is the source of all evil, and the "heart" (wherever that may be) that is the source of goodness. But the mind was created by God, it has to be as good as the heart and the rest of the body.

Paul is difficult to understand, but it certainly seems to me that he opposes both extremes. He sees that both the body and spirit are divided into good and evil aspects. After death the good in the body and the good in our spirits will be free to be united in the resurrected body. See I Corinthians 15, for example.

Last updated 4/30/06; first posted 12/18/99; © 2006 John P. Nordin