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Saturday, October 21, 2006

What is the Body?

So far in my series on mental health, where the posts are scattered about on this blog, I've been making the distinction between body, mind, soul, and spirit. What a critical understanding it is to be able to distinguish and define them all. In summary, in the most simplest sense, man is made up of two substances only - Mind and Body. Even more critical is it to understand how the mind and body work together and interact with each other but first some thinking needs to be layed out in regards to the body itself.

What is the body?

Obviously the body is the actual physical make up of man. What you can see with your own eyes of man is the physical makeup - the hardware so to speak. Of course, the body is also made up of hardware that you can not see like cells, etc.

Biblically, the body is a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Previously I stated the mind is the initiator of moral action. The body itself is the mediator of moral action in the sense that it is the body that carries out what the hearts tells it to do. Biblically, the body takes its cues from the heart. I realize this idea is shaky ground and needs to be fleshed out (no pun intended) but hear me correctly - at this point, I am saying, biblically, as far as moral actions go, the body produces what the heart directs. One implication of this is that the body itself is never sinful. The body can be strong and healthy, weak, dependant, and certainly influence the heart but should never be called sinful. When Paul talks about the body in the Scripture, even though the same English word is used (flesh) he distinguishes between the physical body and the acts of the body (John 6:53, Rom 2:28, Gal 4:13, Eph 2:31, Rom 8:4, Gal 5:17.) The sinful nature Paul speaks of are the acts of the body and he dubs those sinful because they come from a sinful heart, not the body itself.

The Relationship Between Heart(Mind) and Body
Where things get really interesting and very complex, especially when dealing with mental health issues, all start with the relationship between heart (mind) and the body.

With basic definitions of mind and body out of the way it is now time to get arms around the interaction between man's two substances. In the next post I will look at three ideas related to bodily weakness (sickness):
  1. The body's influence on the heart and how the heart must respond to the body.
  2. A weak body imposes boundaries on what the heart desires.
  3. The body has natural desires and is dependent on them.
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3 comments:

Carla said...

Keep it up, babe!! I like this a lot!

Timotheos said...

Pat,
I don't remember right now if you talked about this, or if this will be discussed in future posts, but I think one area which could be fleshed out (again, no pun intended), would be the body's connection to the flesh, that is 'flesh' is Flesh, a power which exerts its force over humanity as a consequence of the Adamic rebellion. Thus, it won't be until the resurrection, when Christ's people are fully out from under Sin, Death, and Flesh. Regardless, it is still important I think to see that though our bodies are not sinful in and of themselves, because God made them good. Our bodies are attached to Flesh, because our bodies are made of flesh.

Is that way too esoteric?

PS said...

Timotheos - I am heading in that direction. Thanks for the comment. I know what you mean with "Flesh" and I hope to get into it.