The body is not really an enemy, but Satan sometimes uses our weak mind and body to offend God.
We have been told that the world, the Satan and the body are our enemies. God created the world and He saw it was good. He has asked us to put it to good use. The Satan in the form of a serpent tricked Eve and she ate the forbidden fruit and so God cursed him. He helped Eve to disobey God and so he is an enemy of God and goodness.
God created the body of Adam from the dust and He saw it was good. God loved the body and infused life to it by His breath .God also created another body, who is Eve. “This at last is the bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” Adam’s experience of her proximity and togetherness overcame his solitude in the sense that man and woman are the union God ordained. Thus the body is not created as an enemy or as anything bad.
However body has been associated with sins like violence and immorality in sex. The association of sex with the body seems to be responsible for treating the body as an enemy. This does not seem to be right. The way we understand and express our sexuality shows our conviction about who we are, who God is, the meaning of love and the ordering of society.
Pope John Paul II in his theology of Body says that “Through marriage and the “one flesh” union of spouses, we discover the meaning of life. Christ teaches that the meaning of life is to love as He loves. Christ’s mission is to restore the order of love in a world seriously affected by sins against love. The union of sexes lies at the base of the human “order of love”. Pope John Paul in his pontifical teaching on the theology of the body projects the importance of marriage and the Christian vocation of husbands and wives. The union of the sexes is a great mystery (Gen.2:24). St. Paul reiterates, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two will become one flesh. This is a great mystery and I am applying it to Christ and the Church” (Eph. 5:31-32).
Generally people are unfamiliar or sometimes uncomfortable with an emphasis on the body. Many of us grow up thinking of our bodies (their sexuality) as inherent obstacles to the spiritual life. However as Christians we must believe that everything God created is very good. Christianity does not reject the body. We believe in God who is creator of the flesh, we believe in the Word made flesh in order to redeem the flesh, we believe in the resurrection of the body. When we analyze our faith we can see our body is considered important; bathed with water (Baptism), anointed with oil (Confirmation, Holy Orders, anointing the sick), eating and drinking the Body and Blood of Christ ( the Eucharist), the laying on of hands (Holy Orders), confessing with our lips (Confession) and the unbreakable joining of man and woman in “one flesh” (Marriage)
We read in the Bible that Adam and Eve realized that they were naked, only after they committed the sin of disobeying God’s command. The purpose of life is to love as God loves, and this is what our body as a man or woman calls us to. The sexual difference reveals the unmistakable plan of God that man and woman are meant to be a “gift” to one another. Fatherhood and motherhood completely reveal the mystery of sexuality. God’s directive “Be fruitful and multiply” is not merely an injunction to propagate, but a call to love in God’s image and fulfill the very meaning of our being and our existence.
Marriage and procreation are not the only way to love as God loves. They serve as the original model, but whenever we imitate Christ in giving up our bodies for others, we express the body’s nuptial meaning. Christ calls some to sacrifice marriage for the sake of the kingdom. Celibacy for the sake of the kingdom is not a rejection of sexuality. It is a call to embrace the ultimate meaning and purpose of sexuality. The nuptial meaning of the body reveals the universal call to holiness in the model of the eternal union of Christ and the Church. The married man/woman lives in holiness when he/she does not do anything against fidelity to wife/husband. A celibate lives in holiness when he/she keeps up fidelity to Christ
Jesus said, “you have heard that it was said, you shall not commit adultery.” But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Though Christ directly said of male lust, the principle applies equally to women. Christ does not seem to say that a mere glance or a momentary thought makes us guilty. As fallen human beings we will always be able to sense the pull of lust in our hearts. It is what we do when we experience the pull of lust that matters. We have the freedom to seek the help of God in resisting it or in indulging in it. If we indulge, it means we choose in our hearts to treat another person as merely an object for our own gratification and thus violate that person’s dignity and our own.
We are meant to be loved for our own sakes. The sexual embrace is meant to image and express divine love and that is why we hold that the married couple’s intimacy is sacred. Anything less may wound one party. Christ’s words about lust may sound severe and condemning. His words have power to save us because He is the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” When we have a problem with our body, here is the One who created that body to help us. We have to seek His help.
If the body and sex are meant to proclaim our union with God, and if there is an enemy who wants to separate us from God, he would definitely attack. He would first try to stifle the proclamation. He will keep men and women from recognizing the mystery of God in our bodies. He will try to blind us as he did it on Eve through the serpent.
We have to be vigilant. So it is a battle we have to fight. The battle is to be fought in our hearts. The body is not the enemy. It was created by God in his own image, by His love.
– – – written by K.C. Thomas