Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Q: Port-a-temple

Here’s that second question from yesterday:

How do [you] explain the passage from St. Paul when he talks about the body being a temple of the Holy Spirit?

I wasn’t sure but I thought perhaps this inquiry was meant to question Mary Baker Eddy’s conclusions about the body. Meaning, if the Bible says the body is a temple, how can it be bad? So I’ll answer it from that basis.

To my mind, the Biblical writers, especially a poet like Paul, often used metaphor to get their point across. Here are Paul’s actual words:

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. (I Corinthians, chapter 6)

Elsewhere in Corinthians (chapter 3), Paul compares spiritual teachings to milk and meat, our spiritual lives to a field of grain, and Jesus Christ to the foundation of a building. Clearly these things are not literally what the metaphors are claiming. The metaphors serve to illuminate certain aspects of the objects so that we can learn from them.

The key in the temple metaphor is the conclusion: glorify God with your body. Don’t do things with it that are ungodlike, and don’t let into it things that degrade or mortify.

Basically, even though the body is purely temporary, it’s what we have to work with right now. So use it appropriately, care for it tenderly, and let that discipline shape you spiritually.

Later, in Revelation, we read that there are no temples in the divine, holy city.

And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: … And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. (Revelation)

MBE explains this passage with great clarity:

There was no temple, — that is, no material structure in which to worship God, for He must be worshipped in spirit and in love. The word temple also means body. The Revelator was familiar with Jesus' use of this word, as when Jesus spoke of his material body as the temple to be temporarily rebuilt (John ii. 21). What further indication need we of the real man's incorporeality than this, that John saw heaven and earth with "no temple [body] therein"? This kingdom of God "is within you," — is within reach of man's consciousness here, and the spiritual idea reveals it. In divine Science, man possesses this recognition of harmony consciously in proportion to his understanding of God. (Science and Health)

Once total spiritual understanding is reached, we will no longer need any sort of material structure to worship God because we will be conscious of our oneness with God. How cool will that be?


Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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