Tag Archives: Incarnation

Jesus was not a meat puppet-Incarnation

I posted a few weeks ago about a philosophy I call “meat puppetry.” It is the idea that our bodies are machines simply being utilized and driven around by our minds. The mind/soul is the control, and the body is subservient. This way of thinking about the mind/body connection is wrong, and leads us into some pretty wrongheaded theology. You can read more about that in my initial post on Meat Puppet Theology. But today, I want to talk about the ultimate example of why bodies are important: JESUS HAD ONE! Jesus was Incarnate.

Not only was Jesus, Son of God, begotten by the Holy Spirit, He was knit together in Mary’s womb. Jesus was a man of flesh and blood, as well as God from God, light from light. I’m not going to do an exhaustive study of all the verses pertaining to the Incarnation (you can look at one such list here), John 1:14 will be sufficient here to illustrate my point:

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (Joh 1:14 NIV)

The Word, present from the beginning became Incarnate, or put on flesh, to live and die as one of us. The reason God came to live among us as a human was eloquently stated by Gregory of Nazianzius: “What has not been assumed has not been healed.” (Ep. 101, 32: SC 208, 50)

Christ could not redeem humanity without assuming it fully. At the same time, he would have had no power or authority to extend salvation to us were he not fully God. The blessed miracle of Christ being fully human, and fully divine was necessary so that his death for us was sufficient.

By his taking on flesh, Christ redeemed flesh. Yet, the scandal of God in flesh does not end there…

Every year we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension, this year’s was a few weeks back on May 29th.  The ascension of Jesus is described by Luke 24:50-53: 50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

I’d like to point out to you, Jesus did not shed his body! His saving work complete, Jesus did not leave behind his body to return to heaven. He ascended, STILL INCARNATE, still in flesh to return to heaven.

What does this mean for us? There are a lot of profound implications here, but the first and foremost is that flesh is important to God.

Flesh is not scandalous, inherently sinful and worthy only of use as a vessel to be quickly discarded after its purpose is finished. No, Jesus’s flesh is worthy of ascension into heaven!

It also means that when we pray, we pray to a God that understands flesh. Jesus knows our limitations, our aches, our pains. He also knows what it means to have a glorified body. We are assured that at the resurrection we too will attain glorified bodies. 1 John 3:2 tells us ” 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. “(1Jo 3:2 NIV)

For my next few posts I’m going to be talking about the mind/body connection within all of us, and how we are to treat our bodies as followers of Christ. We are an Incarnation people! This is a topic near and dear to me as I’ve sinned against my own flesh and God many times in my past. My healing has come only as I’ve learned to value the wholeness of my humanity, my own incarnation. I hope I can share that healing with you in my next post: Confessions of a Priest on Plastic Surgery.

Blessings,

Tracy (The Young Anglican)

I am not a meat puppet- Incarnation Living

Have you ever thought of yourself as a soul taking your body for a drive? I call this “meat puppet” theology, and it isn’t healthy.There is some incidental foul language in my post this week because of an embedded link from a popular science website. 

We spend much of our time and effort trying to “put things in perspective.” The problem is that a perspective is not objective or universally true. There are always a variety of perspectives to choose from.

Perspective, according to Mirriam Webster, simply means a particular attitude or way of viewing something. Sometimes we can choose the wrong perspective and it can have a profoundly negative impact on our life. The above example, viewing humanity through the lens of “meat puppets” or “ghost driving meat covered skeletons” has been liked by over 60,000 people on Facebook and shared over 20,000. This perspective is clearly popular! But it is a harmful perspective.

IFL, I F**king Love Science is a page full of “sciencey coolness,” and interesting discoveries.  I know the language may offend some of my readers (I apologize but I cannot censor the direct link embeds). It is meant in the exuberant exultant, this is so cool, science is amazing way. I follow this page because science is AWESOME!  I love learning about the wonderful things we can observe and learn about creation. IFL is a catchall for some of the coolest innovations as well as the merely fascinating like The Science of Why Bacon Smells Good. The blog also posts scientific studies that address critical issues such as mental health. I particularly liked this post about the negative effects of mental illness; mental illness is more likely to cut your life short than heavy smoking.

The problem is that IFL is not just dedicated to showing the coolness of science. They are also promoting a worldview that embraces rationalism. Rationalism is a belief or theory that opinions and actions should be based on reason and knowledge rather than on religious belief or emotional response. The problems that stem from rationalism are not immediately apparent. After all, reason is good thing and so is knowledge. Yet the idea that reason and knowledge can be divorced from our emotions and our body is made absurd in the practice of human life.
What’s wrong with this post about ghost driving meat covered skeletons made of stardust? It promotes the idea that we are meat puppets. Meat puppets are machines that our consciousness drives around. Why is meat puppetry bad?
There are several things dangerous about thinking humans are meat puppets:

  1. Meat puppetry rejects the true incarnate nature of humanity
  2. It promotes viewing the body as a machine, and detracts from holistic living

 

I will address each of these in the coming weeks as I’ve chosen to devote quite a bit of my blog this summer to the topic of Incarnation, but today I will focus on the incarnate nature of humanity.

What is Incarnation?

Incarnate means not just having a human body (a meat puppet driven by a brain), Mirriam-Webster Dictionary defines incarnate as being invested with both human form and nature.

Incarnation then is

1 a (1) :  the embodiment of a deity or spirit in some earthly form (2) capitalized :  the union of divinity with humanity in Jesus Christ

To put it simply Incarnation is the union of mind, or consciousness (or ghost as the IFL meme puts it) with the body. The fullness of being human requires both the mind and the body. The mind depends upon the body, and the body depends on the mind.

The Word was present at the beginning of creation. In him was the light  of all humanity, yet the Word, became incarnate and put on flesh, to become Jesus Christ to live and die as one of us. Then he was bodily resurrected to continue his teaching, before ASCENDING STILL INCARNATE, still in flesh, back into heaven. Jesus Christ, incarnate is present in the Godhead, the Trinity, the 3 in 1.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it…14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth…15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and[b] is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

 Incarnation vs. Meat Puppet View in light of Scripture

If we were meat puppets, or ghosts driving meat covered skeletons, why would the second person of the Trinity, come down from heaven, and take on flesh. Flesh is IMPORTANT to God. What’s more, human flesh now sits enthroned in heaven. If the only important thing were our human consciousness then surely Jesus would have shed his body to ascend into heaven.

Our bodies are important to God, and they are important to us. I look forward to delving more into what it means to be more than a meat puppet for God. If you have any topics, questions or thought about what it means to live incarnate, comment below.  For the next post I will be talking more specifically about the Incarnation of Jesus, “Jesus was not a meat puppet.”