A Spirit-Body

To paraphrase N.T. Wright, “much of the evangelical world has bought into the Platonic distinctions.” This distinction includes a separation between our earthly bodies and our heavenly spirits. This distinction has vast repercussions for how we are to think about our responsibilities on earth. If this dichotomy persists, then there is a legitimate sense in which we are merely existing, rather than intentionally living out our existence.

Paul is the ultimate Plato-destroyer. He wrestles the Corinthians on these fundamental points, and concludes that the psychikos and pneumatikos are phases of the body, rather than the separation of the body. When Paul speaks of the spiritual, he is not insinuating a ghostly presence, but a body fit for the presence of the Spirit. “Spiritual” is simply a synonym for something animated or dignified by the Spirit’s presence (so too, “spiritual songs” refer to songs of the Spirit, not a synonym for praise choruses).

Gordon Fee summarizes this well:

The transformed body, therefore, is not composed of “spirit”; it is a body adapted to the eschatological existence that is under the ultimate domination of the Spirit.

The spiritual does not mean “immaterial” but “supernatural.” In this sense, every form of our existence is an embodied existence.

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About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
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