ExoTheology & Space-Age Interpretations of the Bible

(religious implications of an inhabited universe)

“Christ…is the savior of the body” (Ephesians 5:23)

This is a letter to the editor, but worth quoting. I had never thought about Ephesians 5:23 possibly referring to bodies of individual believers. I think the first meaning is still (and definitely) “the body of Christ,” i.e., the church. But Paul (or the Pauline author) could have had a secondary meaning in mind of the “body of Christ” as the flesh and blood bodies of its members. Fits with the rest of the New Testament’s emphasis on redemption of creation (including the body), not just tossing creation aside.

Also, it’s helpful to be reminded that the neo-platonic spiritualizing elements of biblical interpretation more specifically came from the School of Alexandria.

[emphases mine]

And the graves were opened…
November 01, 2010 | 03:32 AM

[…]

But where did this abhorrence of the body come from? Could there be a different explanation of the body’s ultimate role?

[…]  to the Ephesians Paul wrote, “Christ…is the savior of the body.” If He’s the savior of the body only to have it be discarded, is He, in fact, saving it–at least in the eternal sense? (Eph. 5:23)

So let me reveal why I believe that the body has gotten the short end of the stick. To me, the saints in the early church, while acknowledging the body’s troublesome nature in this life, saw it as a literal and everlasting part of the resurrection. That’s what the resurrection was all about: to change corruptibleness (death of the body) into everlasting incorruptibleness (life or immortality of the body). Christ’s tomb and the graves of the saints did not become empty only to have their bodies buried in tombs and graves in the hereafter.

Alas, if you still find yourself sticking to your guns that the body gets in the way, then you are unwittingly subscribing to the School of Alexandria instead of the School of the Prophets and Apostles.

During the Second Century, A.D., Alexandria became an important center of religious scholarship, influenced more by Greek philosophy than by the teachings of the Early Church. Scholars such as Athenagoras, Clement, Didymus, and the great Origen exerted a profound influence. Many scholars, such as Jerome, visited Alexandria to hear their arguments. It was here that the idea to “spiritualize everything” and to “cut out anything that was material, real, tangible, or literal” took root. All of which found their ultimate expression in the First Council of Nicaea presided over by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in A.D. 325. As we all know, the “Nicene Creed” became the central profession of faith for most of today’s Christian religions.

Yet, I submit, it fails to measure up against not only the Bible, but also the many apocryphal writings of the early church that have been unearthed since the 1940’s: Dead Sea Scrolls, Nag Hammadi texts, Gospels of Thomas and Philip and Pistis Sophia, to name a few. Study them and you quickly get a completely different idea of what the early church believed and preached about the body and the dust from which it is made.

I say, with sympathy, let this give us pause as to what things concerning the body really were, and are.

Graham Ambrose

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