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Theology of the Body

Your body is a glimpse of God himself, a Theology of the Body.

The human body includes right from the beginning… the capacity of expressing love, that love in which the person becomes a gift – and by means of this gift – fulfills the meaning of his being and existence.”

That being said, where are you headed sexually?

Together, let’s cast a clear vision for our sexuality the way God intended it. The theology of the body is larger than just a freedom from lust. The vision God has for you is to be sexually whole, as man or woman.

Lord, give our bodies vision to reflect your glory.

Highlights:

What’s your vision of what it means for you to be a sexually whole person?

“The body is not just biological, it’s theological.” – Christopher West

Sex between a husband and wife is meant to communicate something about God’s love for his people.

In God’s economy, wholeness means that person is becoming more of who they’re meant or designed to be, including to be as a male or female.

Extras:

“…the body, and it alone, is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine. It was created to transfer into the visible reality of the world, the mystery hidden since time immemorial in God, and thus to be a sign of it.” Theology of the Body for Beginners by Christopher West

Genesis 1 God creates Man and Woman

The human body includes right from the beginning… the capacity of expressing love, that love in which the person becomes a gift – and by means of this gift – fulfills the meaning of his being and existence.” – St. John Paull II

For more on this topic, check our latest article What’s Your Vision of Sexuality?

Click for Full Podcast Transcription

I have a question for you as we start today. But before I do, I wanted to say for those of you who live in Maryland, the heat has broken, it feels so nice outside right now I’m sitting in my office, but man went for a walk. And it is gorgeous outside, it feels like I can breathe again. Thank God. Hey, so here’s the question for you. Where are you headed? sexually? Where are you headed sexually. So if you listen to this podcast, are you tapping regenerations resources because you struggle with sexual brokenness of one kind or another? unwanted sexual behaviors. sexual fetish or orientation that spurs you in a direction, you know, is not what God wants for your life. Or maybe you have some brokenness in your life that’s been inflicted by somebody else, you listen in on this podcast, or pursue our resources, because somebody else in your life, either past or present, has a sexual problem that’s deeply wounded and hurt you perhaps even traumatized you. Or maybe you listen in for another reason. Maybe you’re doing really well in the area of sexuality. And so that’s not your primary concern. Nonetheless, wherever you are, I want to ask, Where are you headed? sexually? What’s your vision of what it means for you to be a sexually whole person? I want to get after that in this podcast. I’ve actually received a couple comments recently from some listeners and some readers of my blog who’ve asked that question like, what’s, what are we headed for here? I mean, if it’s not just about leaving behind what’s broken? What are we moving toward? I’ve mentioned in some of my writings, that we’re not just trying to leave lust behind, we’re trying to move towards love, we’re not just trying to find freedom from lust, we’re trying to find freedom to love. And so I want to unpack that a little bit. Because I think if we don’t have an adequate vision for where we’re headed, we’re really going to end up kind of circling the places we’ve always already been. We don’t have an adequate vision of where we’re headed, we’re more likely to to circle where we’ve already been. That’s just normal for us. You know, if we don’t know, there’s a better way, we’re going to resort to the old way, we’re gonna resort to the one way that we know. And the world is certainly offering us a plethora of different ways sexually. So where are Christians meant to head sexually? Let me start by saying this. It’s not just that kind of small vision that many of us have carried around about God’s heart, God’s design for sexuality. I think a lot of us if you were to ask, what does God want for you sexually, we might have one sentence that would go something like this. God wants me to reserve sex, for marriage. God wants me to reserve sex for marriage. We might say, if we’re single, I need to wait until I’m married. For married, we might say, Well, God wants me to reserve sex for my marriage, and with my spouse alone, that might be as far as we go. And that’s important. That’s a part of it. But it’s a subcategory of a much, much bigger vision that God has for sexuality. So I want to talk about what do I mean by that? What do we mean by that is, if God has given us commands about sex, and how and when it’s, it’s right and good, and holy and beautiful. And when it’s not? Why is that? And where do those lines fall? So here we’re talking about what many call today the theology of the body, we have to get into the theology of the body. The body, Christopher West says, is not just biological, it is theological. It’s not just biological, it’s actually theological. And meaning, that God is so designed the body that it is actually meant to teach us about God Himself. The human body is meant to point us to teach us about God Himself. Where do we get that? Well, let’s look right back at Genesis one. God creates all of creation, except one final creature. And we read in the second part of day six, God says something has not said at all through all of creation, he’s created, the stars, the moon, the sun, the day, the night, he separated the waters in the dry land, he’s, he’s put the sky between the clouds and the waters above and the and the ocean beneath. He’s created the sea creatures and all the animals and canyons and valleys and deserts and prairies and plains. He’s created the the kangaroo and the polar bear, the tiny little insects that we can hardly even see, that still are so complex, and we look at them under a microscope, and organisms of all kinds. And then the second part of day six, God says the strange thing he says, Now, let us create human beings in our image, in our likeness, let us create human beings in our image. Well, right there, there’s a hat tip towards the Trinity. We don’t really fully understand the Trinity even till after the New Testament is written, but there’s, we’ve learned more and more about it, especially as we get into the New Testament, but even there in Genesis one, there’s a there’s a an intro reduction of possibility of who is this God who is one who’s saying, Let us create human beings in our image. And many theologians believe that’s, that’s, that’s God holding court with himself he’s talking to himself. And if we understand the Trinity, we can say, That’s Father, Son, Holy Spirit, saying, Now let’s do something unique. And so God says, Let us create human beings in our image in our likeness. That word for image in Genesis one is actually used elsewhere in the book of Genesis, to refer to idols. So that word for image in Genesis one is, has also been used for idols. And so King wood would create idols of themselves and and these godlike statues and people who were supposed to bow down to them and worship them and pay homage to them, and sacrifice to them. And the understanding was that as people did that, they were then in essence, worshiping the the king or the Lord Himself, Lord, small l o rd. Well, you remember from the 10 commandments that Israel was commanded, you shall not create one of these images, you’re not to create an image of God. Why is that? I suggest to you it’s because God had already created an image of himself, he had already created an image that depicts him the way that he wants to be depicted, that expresses him the way he wants to be expressed. And that image is in humanity. And so what does Genesis one tell us? That about this creature, so you can almost imagine all the rest of creation kind of gathering around Oh, my gosh, this last creature, it’s going to be amazing. It’s going to bear God’s image, our creators image, what is it going to look like? Well, listen to this. Genesis one gives us one characteristic, one characteristic, first and foremost, that defines how this creature bears God’s image. So the next verse says, lead so God says, Let’s create human beings in our image. And then the next verse says, And so God created human beings, mankind in his image, male and female, he created them, male and female, he created them. How do we bear God’s image, we bear God’s image in our maleness and our femaleness in our maleness and femaleness. Now, just to clarify, this does not mean that God is male or female, or that he’s male and female, that would be an inaccurate, that’s, that’s not true. It is to say, the other way around that male and female, somehow, image reflect, tell us something about who God is. So we might think about it this way. There are characteristics of you women, there are ways that you image God, that you reflect God on the earth, that no other creature on the planet does. And men, there are ways that you image God that you reflect him what he’s like, in a way unique in all the earth. No other creature does that. Now, what’s more, is that male and female is not just, it’s not just a shape, it’s not just like, you know, triangle square, right? Because male and female actually refers to our sexuality. And so when God says, Let’s create mankind in our image, male and female, he’s referring to that which makes you sexual that which makes you a man or a woman, and all that, that entails for you in your body, in your brain, makeup and your genitals, and your ability to reproduce. So the man’s sperm, his seed, the woman’s womb, her uterus, the egg she produces all of that bears God’s image in some way. And we can take a deep, deep dive in looking at the biology, the sexual biology of male and female, individually, and then when they come together, to gain a greater understanding of what God is, like, God, who is the creator has given us this ability to procreate, to be kind of sub creators with him. And one of the most remarkable ways we do that is through childbearing. Now, that doesn’t mean that everyone gets married, or everyone has sex. Certainly a woman who never gets married or man who never gets married, bears the image of God in a unique way in his or her body. And it’s wonderful and beautiful and can’t, can’t be replaced on the earth. And that is so valuable to us. So, let’s come back to this this the initial question, Where are you headed sexually? Where are you headed sexually? What does it mean for you to become sexually whole? What does it mean for you become sexually well? Does it just mean that you are saving yourself sexually for marriage? Or that if you are married, you are saving yourself just for your spouse? Or does it just mean that if you are single and going to remain single, that you never have sex? Is that what God’s vision for your sexuality is? And I suggest you that’s a small part. It’s an important part, but it’s a small part overall, where we are meant to be headed sexually. Where we are meant to be headed vision before us is to become whole complete, holy, men and women to become fully alive as the man Male or Female that God has designed us to be, and that that maleness and femaleness would be reflected in every relationship we have, whether it’s a man relating a friend to another man, a woman relating as a friend, another woman, a man relating as husband to a wife, or, or to a woman, or a woman relating as a wife, to her husband, a man relating as a father or a father figure to a young boy or young girl, a woman, being a mother or a mother figure to to a girl, or daughter, I mean, all of this is a part of what it means to be a whole sexual creature. And for those who are married, yes, it means your sexual relationship with your spouse, that aspect as well as all the other aspects of what it means that you relate in a loving, wholesome way, husband and wife. And so even your, your marriage bad, the sexual relationship between husband and wife is meant to communicate something about God’s love for his people. And there’s so much more we can say about that. When we think about a vision for sexuality, it has to be big enough that we can always be pursuing it has to be out there in front of us. So we can say, this is you know, I’ve fallen a million times or I’ve never even thought about sex in my life. or, or, you know, I feel like a you know, really godly man, or I feel like a really failure as a man or I feel like a really godly woman, or I feel like as a failure as a woman, wherever you are in your own journey we are pursuing and God desires for us in the in the realm of sexuality, to be becoming whole men and women. Now close with this thought is really important. When you think about being a whole, we live in a culture that primarily thinks about wholeness or health as something that benefits the person him or herself. So if I become whole, or healthy, it means I’m going to live a healthier, happier life, maybe, maybe not. But in God’s economy, certainly wholeness. healthiness does benefit the person because it’s that person becoming more who they are meant, and designed to be, including designed to be as male or female designed to be in their sexuality. But to be who we are designed to be, actually means. In God’s design, it means that we are living to behold means that we are living a life of self donating love, self giving, love. Now you think about our sexuality. And it all comes ties back together. God says, Let’s create mankind in our image, male and female, he created them. But once we rightly understand that sexuality is all about what makes us male and female, and how we relate with others as the men or as the women that we are. Now suddenly, the light bulbs go on, and we can recognize what he’s talking about there is people, males and females who know how to give their lives in love, one for the other. It’s true in a marriage, husband’s called to lay down his life for his wife, lay down his wife for his life, not at all, lay down his life for his wife, and a wife is called to lay down her life for her husband. And both of them lay down their lives for their children. It’s just true, it just happens is we’re loving Well, for those who are not married, it means we’re laying down our lives for others and we’re all called to love others as we love ourselves, the golden rule treat others as we want to be treated. This is all about and this is great sexual language here, not that we’re being sexual with every person. I mean, I don’t mean that but every person we meet we relate with as the man or the woman that we are everyone person we meet we relate with as the man or woman we are, and does our maleness or femaleness pour forth in such a way that is loving towards others. Alright, so back to the question. I’ll wrap it up. Where are you headed in your sexuality? Where are you headed in your sexuality? The answer that question is if we are pursuing Christ, where we are headed in our sexualities, we are becoming men or women who love with all the we are our spirits and our bodies. We are loving, like Jesus loved in with a self donating self giving love, laying our, our, our bodies down for other people in service and love to them. Lord, we need your help with us. We are so far from the mark and I’ve just barely barely scratched the surface, which you grant us eyes to see your vision for us, as men and women we want if it’s true, Lord, if it’s true, that we really are created to bear your image and it’s in us, it’s in our DNA to do so. Lord, would you revive that part of us we want to reflect your glory on the earth, that you might be seen by us by this generation and by the generations to come, Lord, make it so we pray in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

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