Saturday, March 11, 2006

Spiritual or Unspiritual?

Ignatius to the Ephesians

One of Ignatius' primary concerns is the early heresy called docetism: the idea that Jesus only seemed to have a physical, human body, rather than really possessing one. The idea finds its root in the Gnostic dualism that says material life is evil, while spiritual and disembodied life is good. This notion often slips into contemporary Christian thought; it's dangerous, because it is a denial of the goodness of Creation in its fullness, as well as God's redemption of it.

If we have a dualistic view of creation and redemption that sees physical and material life as evil or somehow "less spiritual" (rather than seeing our lives in a holistic way), we can devalue and degrade aspects of our own lives and God's good call on them, as well as
"Those who are carnal cannot do spiritual things, nor can those who are spiritual do carnal things, just as faith cannot do the things of unfaithfulness, nor unfaithfulness the things of faith. Moreover, even those things which you do carnally are, in fact, spiritual, for you do everything in Jesus Christ." Ig. Eph. 8.2.
Update: I just read the letter to the Smyrneans. I like the way our boy brings this home (2):
"For he suffered all these things for our sakes, in order that we might be saved; and he truly suffered just as he truly raised himself - not, as certain unbelievers say, that he suffered in appearance only (it is they who exist in appearance only!). Indeed their fate will be determined by what they think: they will become disembodied and demonic."
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Expax said...

*ROFL* I loved whats on your sidebar:

"No One Expects the Anglican Inquisition"


Do your thing man. Do your thing.

Anonymous said...

Ignatius, as much as I love him, seemed to be obssesed with thi s"either, or" thing going on. Why can't soemthing be both carnal (that is, physical) and spiritual? I don't see why they have to be so seperated.

Kyle said...

Mike, I could be wrong in my reading, but it looks like he might actually be subverting that word "carnal." As in, "Sure, some things are carnal, and some spiritual. No, wait: the supposedly carnal things you do are really spiritual, because everything you do, you do in Christ."