Thank you for attending today’s session. Here are the notes that I used in presentation. The link is a .pdf file for download. You can also print this page and get all the notes. Use this link below for the notes to the annual conference presentation:
Thanks Adam and Eve: A Theology of the Body
ACBC Annual Conference l Jacksonville, FL
October 4, 2017
Thanks Adam and Eve A Theology of the Body (download link for .PDF file)
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Why is a good theology of the body important?
• Because everyone has a functional view of the body as it relates to being part of mankind, including the world system, government, and your friends, neighbors, and families.
• At a theological level, many people have suggested to understand man you need to understand the difference between the positions: dichotomy and trichotomy.
• There are many ways to study, understand and consider man, which include the connection between the body and the soul.
Personality Tests and/or assessments
Needs, longings, cravings theory
Individualism or relativism
• Warning: all systems of trying to understand you, others and man fail because they are not consistent with a biblical anthropology. In other words, they in fact do not understand you, others and man.
• Other reasons it is important to understand you, others and man:
─ Because God is interested in your self-awareness and resultant growth.
─ In order to fulfill your responsibilities toward others, you must understand
those same individuals.
─ Your opportunity to speak truth into another person’s life is impacted negatively if you fail to understand people. Sample issues include handling sickness, variously diagnosed mental disorders, and issues related to the heart.
I. Understanding Image of God
• Only man was created in God’s image and after God’s likeness (Genesis 1:26-28). Because Adam and Eve were created body and soul, both body and soul must be considered as part of the aspect of being human in the image of God.
• The image of God makes us responsible for how we treat others (Genesis 9:6;
• Jesus Christ the Incarnate One is the exact image of God (John 1:14; Ephesians 5:1-2).
• God’s goal for all of mankind is to be Christlike, living out the image of God
(Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:4; 5:1-2; 2 Corinthians 3:18).
• The restoration of the image of God is a renewal process (Colossians 3:9-10;
• Summary statements:
1. Man as fallen is still a bearer of the image of God.
2. But, this fallen man needs to be restored to the image of God.
3. The image has been marred and corrupted by sin; thus, fallen man images God in a very distorted way.
4. Thus, the image of God as such is an unlosable aspect of man, a part of his essence and existence. To lose it is to cease from being man.
5. The image of God must also be understood as that likeness to God which was perverted when man fell into sin and can only be restored through regeneration and sanctification.
II. How does the Bible deal with the body?
• Man was created perfect as body and soul (material/immaterial, outer man/inner man).
─ God calls all His creation very good (Genesis 1:31).
─ God formed Adam out of the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7).
─ God breathed into Adam the breath of life (Genesis 2:7).
─ God took a rib from Adam to create Eve (Genesis 2:21-23).
• When Adam and Eve chose to sin, they began to suffer the consequences of sin and death – which includes the inner man and outer man.
─ Death was the inevitable consequence of their sin (Genesis 2:16-17).
─ Eve understood this as the consequence (Genesis 3:1-6).
─ The curse of sin is a holistic curse on the body and soul (Genesis 3:7-19).
─ Furthermore, the environment was no longer only conducive to life; it now reflects death and dying (Genesis 3:22-24).
─ Now all creation earnestly groans for redemption (Romans 8:18-22).
• Implications of these two theological truths:
─ Every person goes through various levels of struggle because of sin.
─ What God meant for good and to sustain/enjoy life, now man distorts, misuses, and becomes a slave to it.
─ Living takes place in the context of a broken world – on the road to death and dying.
─ The effects of sin on the body are numerous and holistic.
─ We must now live a life of honoring God in light of Adam and Eve’s sin.
III. Issues of Stewardship and the Body
• We must begin with gratitude for God’s provision and gifts for living.
─ Life is seasonal (Ecclesiastes 3:1-11).
─ God gave good gifts to man to enjoy while living (and dying), including eating, drinking, working, sleep, and relationships.
• Ecclesiastes 2:24; 3:13, 22
• Ecclesiastes 9:9-10
• Psalm 121:4
─ Our sin nature encourages us to idolatrize, misuse, and exploit these wonderful gifts from God (Romans 1:18-32; Ephesians 4:17-19).
─ All matters of living are from the hand of God and are to serve His purposes in individual lives (Psalm 139:13-16; Ecclesiastes 3:14; 12:13; Romans 8:28-29; Ephesians 2:10).
• Our physical bodies must be maintained for God’s glory.
─ Although godliness is most important; physical exercise is of some benefit
(1 Timothy 4:7-9).
─ God has given our bodies to us, which are inextricably connected to our souls and mediate our souls. Therefore, we must maintain them as part of God’s grace in our lives (1 Corinthians 6:13-20).
─ God gives us only so much energy each day. We are to use that for His glory and the good of others around us (Galatians 5:13). This of course must also include exercise, eating, drinking, work, sleep, and relationships.
─ We want to help maintain the best environment for the soul (Galatians 5:16-26).
─ Physical health is a matter of stewardship of the body (Philippians 1:20).
─ We are told to present our bodies to God for service (Romans 12:1).
─ Warning: What is good for us can also beguile us (cf. Proverbs 23:1-2, 21;
─ The ultimate question we must ask is, “What motivates my care for my body?” This is both in the positive and negative sense. Everything done in the body must be for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
• God uses the promise of good health and long life to motivate obedience to His Word.
─ Length of days and long life (Proverbs 3:1-2)
─ Life to those who find them and health to their whole body (Proverbs 4:20-22)
─ Fear of God produces health and strength (Proverbs 3:5-8; 10:27; 14:27)
─ A godly lifestyle helps prevent unnecessary consequences that end life, like honoring parents (Deuteronomy 5:16; Ephesians 6:1-3).
─ A cheerful or joyful heart uplifts the soul (Genesis 4:6; Isaiah 58:10-11; Proverbs 15:15, 30; 17:22)
─ Uncontrolled emotions (often a result of a lack of obedience to God’s Word) hinder good health (Proverbs 14:30).
─ Sin and unconfessed sin brings death (Psalm 32:1-4; 38:1-8; Proverbs 10:27; Ecclesiastes 7:17; 1 Corinthians 11:29-30; James 1:15; 5:13-20).
• How are we good stewards of our bodies?
─ We must keep them under submission (1 Corinthians 9:27).
─ We choose how we use our bodies – as servants of righteousness or servants of unrighteousness (Romans 6:11-13).
─ Recognize it is of utmost importance to take care of the inner man, even though you also care for the outer man. Develop the spiritual disciplines to keep the inner man as strong as possible, regardless of the outer man.
• 2 Corinthians 4:16
• Ecclesiastes 9:9-10
• Psalm 121:4
• Some thoughts on sickness
─ Sickness could be associated with my own personal sin (Psalm 32:1-4; 38:1-8; Proverbs 10:27; Ecclesiastes 7:17; 1 Corinthians 11:29-30; James 1:15; 5:13-20).
─ Sickness could also simply be for God’s glory in a particular person’s life (Job 2:1-8; John 9:1-3; 11:4, 15; cf. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
─ Some sins produce many problems, including sickness (Proverbs 23:29-35).
IV. Counseling Observations and Implications
• What about you, the biblical counselor?
As a biblical counselor, your body matters. It is important to live for God’s glory and heed the principles that we counsel. Therefore, exercise, sleep, and diet do matter.
• What about health? What is healthy?
There is no standard for health in the body. The standard is God’s glory. As we communicate these issues to counselees, we counsel from a standpoint of wisdom.
• Can the body (outer man) make the soul (inner man) sin?
─ The only thing that creates sin in a person’s life is lust (James 1:13-18). Man is always responsible for his attitude, thoughts, behaviors, and motivations before the Lord. The body becomes a pressure-filled circumstance to the individual, where it is necessary for the counselee to honor God in the midst of the pressure (James 1:2-12). Therefore, at best, the body is a negative influence on the heart, from under which man chooses to honor God or not (Proverbs 4:23; Matthew 12:33-37; Mark 7:21-23). The heart is active not passive; the situation is an influence on but not a determiner of behavior.
─ Any counseling issue may include some influence from the body.
All counseling issues include a direct influence from the heart (inner man).
The matter of influence is not an either/or.
• What must you remember when people come to you who are sick physically or possibly sick?
─ Comfort them as brothers or sisters in Christ who loves them.
─ Encourage them to repent of any sin they have in life.
─ Remind them of God’s purpose of life even in sickness.
─ Encourage them to get under the care of a medical doctor for a full physical exam and follow his or her directions.
─ Regardless of the sickness, the person can use biblical encouragement and one-anothering.
─ Remember, you are not a doctor and should not in any way practice medicine.
• How does the Bible shed light on mental disorders?
─ Mental disorders are descriptions of behaviors or symptoms categorized by similarities and dissimilarities according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders) thus creating definition to the particular disorder.
─ The brain and central nervous system is part of the outer man and deteriorates because of sin.
─ The brain (as part of outer man) essentially mediates the heart (as inner man). The heart expresses itself through the body. The brain does not initiate moral action or behavior.
─ There are some known connections between behavior and symptoms typically thought of as mental disorder (e.g., thyroid problems, etc.). These are medical issues and have medical names and descriptions. Furthermore, there are medical tests to determine the validity of these diagnoses.
─ Most other symptoms of behavior which are considered typical to mental disorders have no known etiology in the body or body tissue. There are many hypotheses regarding their connection to the body.
─ The role of the biblical counselor includes pointing the counselee toward medical care. However, the primary role of the biblical counselor is to help the counselee respond to trials and temptations faithfully as a Christ-follower.
─ Therefore, you do not need to know what is going on in the body or in the mind to encourage your counselee to honor God in the midst of and through the trial.
• What is the role of medication?
─ Medication works on the outer man not the inner man. As such, biblical counselors can see medication as potentially part of God’s common grace. Medicine targets the body not the heart and promises very limited usefulness to the counselee in terms of godliness.
─ Medicine falls under the authority of the medical doctor or psychiatrist. Therefore, the biblical counselor must handle all issues regarding medicine with extreme caution and humility. The biblical counselor, regardless of vocation, does not function as a medical doctor or psychiatrist.
─ In general, medicines do not live up to the hype or desires of the counselee who chooses to take them. Each counselee must decide with the help of his or her doctor whether the potential benefit from the medication is worth the typical side effects of the same.
─ As a biblical counselor, use or nonuse of medication can distract you from your primary task of helping this person become more like Christ is a body that is dying – whether or not it plays a major role as to the pressures in the individual’s life.