Thursday, June 12, 2008

The world as God's body!

I have been reading Sallie McFague’s book ‘Models of God’ and was impressed with her notion of ‘The world as God’s body’.

Part of her argument is that the traditional understanding of the resurrection and ascension it that God who went to so much trouble to become incarnate has been removed to another world by human religious constructs. The empty tomb narratives along with the bodily resurrection of Jesus to ascended glory has placed him in another world where hopefully one day we’ll meet him in some ‘other worldly’ life. In the meantime his presence is only experienced in the Sacrament, Word and a few sacred places meaning that most places are empty God!

Sallie McFague postulates the idea that the resurrection and ascension was into the world, not from it. The world becoming the ‘body of God’ in the same way that the Church became the ‘body of Christ’ post the resurrection.

If this is a valid interpretation then how we treat the earth is how we treat the body of God. A sobering thought.

“God is profoundly, palpably, personally involved in suffering, in suffering caused by evil. The evil occurs in and to God’s body….All pain to all creatures is felt immediately and bodily by God. ….In this sense, God’s suffering on the cross was not for a mere few hours, as in the old mythology, but is present and permanent. As the body of the world, God is forever ‘nailed to the cross,’ for as the body suffers, so God suffers.”

St Paul has similar thinking in relation to the church being the ‘body of Christ’ and bearing the His in its body as it serves and suffers in the cause of the Gospel. However it’s one thing to bare such wounds but quite another to wound the body of God because of our thoughtless and reckless exploitation of natural resources.

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