God Is Not In The Business of Saving Souls

That is right.  The title is not a mistake.  God is not in the business of saving souls.  I know that some of the favorite traditional hymns among Christianity has been songs like Home Of The Soul and Where The Soul Never Dies and I know that many Christians have been indoctrinated with phrases like “soul winning” and “God wants to save your soul” but…

“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  No only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.” – Romans 8:22-23

“So will it be with the resurrection of the dead.  The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” – 1 Corinthians 15:42-44

I preached on the later passage yesterday.  There are a lot of questions I have which remain unanswered.  Be that as it may, scripture is explicit here.  God is not just interested in a part of our being, he is interested in our whole being which is exactly what the word sōma (body) refers to.  As Rudolph Bultmann once said, “…man does not have a body, he is body…”

Unlike  platonic dualism which has separated the physical and spirit, for scripture to speak of our body is to speak of the sum total of our physical and spiritual existence.  That is why the Apostle Paul insists that what we do in our physical body has everything to do with our spiritual existence (1 Cor 6:12-20).  And in that passage, the redemption of the body implicitly stands behind the reasoning.

I don’t know what our resurrected body will exactly look like.  I know that Jesus is the “firstfruits” of this resurrection (1 Cor 15.20, 22) and according to the Gospels, he was recognizable as a human-being (that’s one reason why I cringe at those who want to portray the resurrection of Jesus as a non-physical resurrection…as it undermines much of the hope Christians have, according to scripture).  While the resurrected Jesus was recognizable as a human-being, for him to be the firstfruits of the resurrection of the dead it meant that he no longer had a perishable, dishonorable, and weak body.  Rather, he had a body that was raised imperishable, in glory and strength and that is the hope of the resurrection of the dead.

So let’s get our language correct.  God is not in the business of saving souls.  God is in the business of redeeming creation and that includes us…our whole self, our entire being, our body.

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8 responses to “God Is Not In The Business of Saving Souls

  1. Barry Billings

    OK, I’m going to have to rethink the C.S. Lewis quote.“You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” Which I just posted last week.

    • What book did C.S. Lewis say that in? The reason I ask is I have read very little of C.S. Lewis (perhaps, to my shame). I’m just curious what he meant by soul. Any ways, thanks for stopping by the blog and commenting.

  2. Yes, and that is why the invisible Church doctrine is incomplete, for the redemption of our lives involves the Visible Body of Christ, the Church; why communion and baptism are not symbols or signs but Sacraments, matter that is grace, for they are the first fruits of the redemption of the matter of the cosmos, and that icons have proliferated in the Church, whereas they were quite restricted in the Old Covenant to Cherubim, and Pomegranates and Palm Trees.

  3. Pingback: this went thru my mind (b) |

  4. So let’s get our language correct. God is not in the business of saving souls. God is in the business of redeeming creation and that includes us…our whole self, our entire being, our body.

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