The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Lust of the Flesh, the Hope of the Resurrection & the True Nature of the Human Being

So, the question might rightly be asked, 'why do most people, maybe Christians especially, focus so much on this physicality, this biology?'

Well, not surprisingly, the Bible seems to tell us so! For whatever reason, most, Christians in particular, though this is not limited to Christianity, seem to cling, almost voraciously, to the fact that we were created in God's image. There has been some disagreement, among Christians, even, on what exactly this means, for instance, 'if man ( kind ) was created in God's image, does that mean that the Creator God is a human being?' One might well ask, on the other hand, 'does that mean we are spirit beings, as He/She/It is?' This may come as a shock to some; it may even seem heretical & blasphemous, but if man ( kind) was indeed, as a whole, created in the Image of the Creator God, then we must indeed be like Him/Her/It!

The Time of year when we ( Christians ) traditionally celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord is near! The Easter Season has already begun, starting with the Season of Lent, wherein many Christians traditionally give up something, meat, for example, in preparation for the Easter Season & the Hope of the Resurrection ( ours, not Jesus' ). The fact that the Resurrection of Jesus recorded in Scripture was primarily indicative of the Resurrection of Israel seems to have been 'lost in the translation' for many Christians; although we speak, somewhat wistfully of what most call 'the effects of the Fall' not affecting this biology anymore, in other words, having a 'perfect resurrection body'; the great hope of orthodox Christianity is that, like our Lord Jesus, we will one day be a able to walk through walls, so to speak ( Luke 24:36 ). This, of course, is loosely based on Scripture, but what most Christians seem to forget is that the post-resurrection body of Jesus was nothing but a sign for the first century Jews that He had triumphed over ( overcome ) Death!

What has been traditionally called 'the lust of the flesh' by modern Christianity is most often viewed as the result of 'the Fall' & although this paradigm is biblically defensible, the question might well be asked, 'is our definition of 'the lust of the flesh', in essence, our tendency to satisfy our fleshly desires, what the Bible is really talking about, or were the writers of Scripture referring to something else? Rather than referring to something which is innate in the human being, were they speaking of something pertaining to national physical Israel? The Story of Israel, as we have seen, is a kind of metaphor for the history of humanity & so 'the Fall' of Israel ( Adam & Eve ) is itself indicative, not so much of the fallen nature of humanity, but of their child-like propensity to do what they're told not to. The Fall of our first parents, as it is traditionally read in Genesis 3 is a metaphor, then, for those, even in this day & age, who separate themselves from the Creator God, through whatever means, because they consciously do what is wrong, or because they are told that what they're doing is wrong, even though it isn't!

In this day & age, especially among Christians, we are taught about the evils of lusting, or, to be more precise, longing for something that is forbidden. Longing for our neighbor's wife or indeed any of his possessions would definitely fall into the category 'the lusts of the flesh'! According to Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary, the primary definition for 'lust' is 'pleasure, delight, personal inclination or wish'. Secondarily, it is defined as 'usually intense or unbridled sexual desire'; neither of these definitions necessarily bespeak a wrong, or evil desire!  Given the wrong object of that desire, lust does indeed become an evil emotion, especially when acted upon, but under the right circumstances, lust need not be viewed as wrong!

A husband & wife, according to the given definition, then, are most certainly doing no wrong, when in the throes of sexual ecstasy, they let loose their lusty flesh upon each other! Within certain parameters ( this is right, that is wrong ), lust is a good & healthy thing! Under the right circumstances, one might well lust for anything from a good steak for dinner, to the one preparing the steak. Lusting for flesh, as the children of Israel did in the wilderness ( Numbers 11 ( Psalm 106:14 ), was a punishable offense because they complained against Yahweh's provision. Lusting, in Scripture, is decried because of the reason for their lusting & for the object of their lust, not for the emotion of lusting!

The hope of & desire for a biological resurrection is one that has remained extant in the orthodox church for ages! Though the Scriptures, or more specifically the Bible, has been translated & understood, whether with or without bias, to teach a bodily ( biological ) resurrection, the bodily Resurrection of Jesus is most often seen as proof that, as He was physically raised, so will we. This has been a matter of contention, even division ( heresy ), throughout the Church for ages. Even in Jesus' own day, the Pharisees were reprimanded ( Matthew 22:29 ) when they questioned Him about the Resurrection, thinking that it pertained to biology. Though Jesus' biological body was raised to life ( re-animated ), when digested within the context of the Story of Israel, it is clear that the Resurrection Story did not pertain to biology, but to spirituality, 'to the spirits of just men made perfect' ( Hebrews 12:23b )!

Humanity, as we have begun to realize, is comprised of 'spirits having a bodily experience'! This is not to say, as we are often accused of, with the Gnostics, that 'the body is a prison-house for the soul'; we are not imprisoned within this biology: we ARE, however, given these biological wonders to house our spirits, in order that we might serve as the Hands & Feet of the Creator God! Our true, spiritual nature is one that many have realized over the ages, but for whatever reason, seems to have been pushed to the back burner, so to speak, or relegated to the after-life, though many believe that, even in this so-called 'after-life', we will inhabit this biology!

Since we are indeed, of the same Essence as the Creator God, we are, in ourselves, creators! It has been shown, on a much smaller scale, of course, that mankind has shown this creativity in manifold ways. There is nothing in nature that mankind has not recreated, usually to a much lesser degree & the miracle of birth may be seen as the culmination of one of the greatest act of creation that humanity can achieve. Though we, through the aid of Science & Technology have yet to achieve many great things in the manner of creation, those achievements will never come close to that of the Creator God, the One who is the Origin of the Universe!

Charles Haddon Shank

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