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  • Writer's pictureJamie Admire

Theology of the Body: Stewardship of the Physical Temple

Central to the Theology of the Body is the belief that the human body is a gift from God, created in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:27).

Theology of the Body

by Jamie Admire


Theology of the Body

In Roman Catholicism, the understanding of the human body is deeply rooted in the teachings of Saint John Paul II's "Theology of the Body." This theological framework emphasizes the sacredness of the human body and calls for a profound sense of stewardship over it.

Drawing from the rich tapestry of scripture and the insights of this influential work, this article will explore why it is crucial, from a Roman Catholic standpoint, to steward the physical body.

The Sacredness of the Human Body

Central to the Theology of the Body is the belief that the human body is a gift from God, created in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:27).

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27

This understanding underlines the inherent dignity and worth of every person, and by extension, their physical bodies.

By acknowledging the sacred nature of the body, we are compelled to treat it with reverence and respect.

The Temple of the Holy Spirit

The Apostle Paul writes,

"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies."
1 Corinthians 6:19-20

This passage highlights the profound connection between our bodies and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

As temples of the Holy Spirit, our bodies are sanctuaries in which God's presence resides, reinforcing the need for responsible stewardship.

Called to Holiness

In his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul further emphasizes the importance of holiness, saying,

"For this is the will of God, your sanctification."
1 Thessalonians 4:3

To be sanctified is to be set apart for a sacred purpose.

By stewarding our bodies in a manner that upholds their sanctity, we align ourselves with God's will and actively participate in His plan for our lives.

Resurrection and the Body

The belief in the resurrection of the body is a fundamental tenet of Catholic faith.

Just as Christ was raised bodily from the dead, so too will our bodies be resurrected on the last day (1 Corinthians 15:12-22).

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
1 Corinthians 15:52-53

This underscores the enduring significance of our physical selves and reinforces the responsibility to care for our bodies as part of our eternal journey.

The Battle for Purity

One of the key aspects of stewardship over the body in Roman Catholicism is the call to live a life of chastity and purity.

The Theology of the Body addresses the innate desire for communion and love, teaching that this desire is ultimately fulfilled in the self-giving love of marriage (Ephesians 5:25).

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
Ephesians 5:25

By maintaining purity of heart and body, we honor God's design for human sexuality and affirm the sanctity of the body.

Closing Thoughts

From a Roman Catholic standpoint, the Theology of the Body provides a profound theological framework for understanding the significance of stewarding the physical body.

Recognizing the sacredness of the body, understanding it as a temple of the Holy Spirit, and embracing the call to holiness and purity all contribute to a deeper appreciation of the responsibilities that come with this gift from God.

By living out these principles, Catholics can cultivate a genuine reverence for the physical body and, in doing so, draw closer to God's plan for their lives.


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