Biology Theology

January is often the month we renew our commitment to care for our bodies. Joining gyms. Stepping on scales. Shopping for salad. Looking in mirrors.

This January, our body focus has been expanded as we’ve been barraged with headlines of assault, abuses of power, and violations of bodies that should never have occurred.

I propose it’s a perfect time to evaluate if our biology theology has been informed by God and sound biblical teaching or by other forces.

Are our ideas about our physical bodies intentional or a lazy default? Are we in awe of the sacred and complex gift provided by our loving Creator or are we in a constant state of conflict half-believing our bodies belong to this world while our souls and minds undergo the process of redemption without them?

Have we justified a form of self-hatred because we believe only our soul matters? Do we praise God for what functions and houses us or bitterly complain because they don’t measure up? Or are we guilty of ignoring them altogether and living lives in our heads, as if that’s more righteous than offering them as living sacrifices?

The church is missing an opportunity to be a powerful force in this culture by refusing to elaborate on a biology theology and yet, the bible doesn’t make the same mistake. God created us male and female – human flesh – body, mind, and soul – and He called it good.

He sent His Son in human form – Jesus inhabited a physical body and rose from the grave to inhabit His ascended body. He wrestled with hormones and yet, was without sin. Engaged in relationships with women, and yet demonstrated respect. His had a teaching, preaching, prophetic ministry and yet it was also one of miracles, healings, blood, bone, and spit.

God created us human – an integration of body, mind, and soul. Not souls that live inside machines. Or minds that function in flesh pods.

To understand and promote a theology that includes our bodies as well as our souls is to be a light in dark, dark times.

We’re a culture that obsesses over the human body in a thousand unhealthy ways and yet, dismisses it at the same time. The false biology theology of the world is rife with contradictions with devastating consequences.

We say a woman’s body is a sacred territory she has a right to protect from the invasion of an infant, and yet we tell her modesty is passé, casual sex is the norm, and experimentation has no consequence.

We tell men it’s evil to abuse their sexual power (and it is) and yet women send Fifty Shades of double messages by publicly crooning over Christian Grey and requesting blindfolds for Valentine’s Day.

We communicate to our young people that physical urges are so powerful, they have little hope of exercising control over them (most of our culture even suggests self-control can be hazardous) so rather than teach abstinence, we supply them with detailed instructions on foreplay and condoms, imagining that leads to healthier exchanges among youth.

And yet every single one of us who inhabits a physical body is deeply aware of the countless decisions that play into “losing control.” As a young adult, every time I engaged in sin of a sexual nature, I knew long before it happened that I was setting the stage. I could trace back to every juncture where I could have made a different decision that would move me down a path in line with biblical expectations – and so can you. “Losing control” is a back road where we park our cars after we’ve taken a long mental walk down “I’m-just-going-to-sin-a-little” lane.

We treat sex like an athletic event, where performance can be rated, and people can part unaltered from the exchange, just more relaxed. Pornography isn’t something a minority appropriate and hide in the dark – now it’s bleeding into prime time and daylight hours robbing men and women of purity, innocence, and soundness of mind. It’s no mystery why sex trafficking and child abduction occur. None.

We say sex is beautiful and powerful yet deny there’s anything holy or sacred about it. And have you noticed that the world worships science as the last word on everything but the body.

Biologically, life begins at conception, but some would have us believe that human life isn’t yet a person (unless we desire it to be, or it reaches a subjective stage, or the mother has welcomed it from the start), so disposing of it is no big thing.

Biologically, a person is born with chromosomes for one gender or the other, but biology-deniers tell us there’s a personality over-ride, that gender is fluid, and that we can’t impose biology on someone who perceives otherwise.

And while physical appetite can be altered and controlled, apparently sexual appetites and attractions are beyond our civil capabilities to manage. This is bad biology theology.

Everything from abortion to euthanasia, from sexual assault to sex outside of marriage, can be traced to a heretical biology theology.

Jesus is the author of biology. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.  And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” Colossians 1:15-20

While you’re cutting calories, walking the treadmill, and shaking your head at the latest sexual harassment scandal, ask yourself what you believe about your body and from where these ideas stem. Ask your pastor to preach on God’s plan for the human body, on self-control, or on the sanctity of life.*

Ask God to show you where your mind has wandered from His thoughts about biology and to make you a light to those around you as someone who is fully alive to Christ and so, fully human, fully integrated, fully free.

(**One helpful new book for the average Christian is Love Thy Body by Nancy Pearcey)

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2 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Deb Gorman says:

    Very well thought out, articulate, succinct, and best of all, THE TRUTH! I can count one hand (outside of my local believers fellowship) the people I know who believe this in its entirety. Sigh…

  2. Lottie Drennen says:

    Courageous.
    Blessing.