Friday, June 5, 2015

The Theology of the Body and the Lost Condition of Bruce Jenner and the Human Race

I have found a lot of insight into the meaning of human sexuality from reading Christopher West's book, entitled, "The Theology of the BodyExplained." This book explains John Paul II's teaching on sexuality and its deep meaning. He shows how our creation as male and female points to the meaning of life, for our bodies are sacramental, making visible invisible realities. Thus, the very bodies the triune God has given us reflect the communion of persons that exists between the Father, Son and Spirit. This communion is made visible in our bodies.

Before sin, the man and woman were naked, but not ashamed. They were not ashamed because they did not look at each other in lust, but rather in self-giving love. This self-giving love is how we were meant to live, but when sin entered the world, so too did lust and this caused the first couple to hide from God and one another. Through the redemption that comes in Christ, we begin to learn again to live in self-giving love rather than selfish lust.

While it is hard to summarize the deep teaching of the theology of the body, suffice it to say that God has inscribed in our bodies our purpose in life, which is to live in the triune love and reflect that loving communion in the world. We were created to image the triune God, and this mystery of our purpose is stamped on our physical bodies as male and female---bodies which make what is invisible visible. The human body is sacramental and points to something amazing. Not accepting the beauty of God's design is part of our fallenness, which Christ came to heal.

Thus, when we see someone like Bruce Jenner trying to change his gender, what we are seeing is something hideous, because instead of accepting God's design and its beauty and mystery, the human race rebels against that design. Scientifically, it is impossible to change the DNA of the cells, so Jenner is still a man. Theologically, Jenner is lost, not knowing the meaning of life, refusing the Lord's instruction, and caught in a rebellion as bound to fail as his transformation to a woman. We should mourn our sinfulness that brings our race to this sad condition.

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