Redemption of the Human Body

Authored by: Adam G. Cooper

The Ashgate Research Companion to Theological Anthropology

Print publication date:  February  2015
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781472410931
eBook ISBN: 9781315613673
Adobe ISBN: 9781317041320


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Christian reflection on redemption has always featured the body front and centre in one way or another. On the one hand, it is the direct handiwork of the creator, the sacred abode of his Spirit, the hinge on which salvation turns, and, through the hypostatic union, intrinsically enfolded within the life of the Trinity as pledge of our true destiny. 1 By the middle of the fourth century Cyril of Jerusalem can speak of an established Christian ‘doctrine of the body’, insisting that no one deny the body’s community with God, nor make it a scapegoat for moral failure. 2 It may be true that the devil has used the body as a weapon against humanity. But Christ has made of his own body, in all its characteristic weaknesses, a counter-weapon to overturn the devil’s schemes. 3 Indeed, in his human life a theandric mode of existence has been inaugurated, generating a new level of freedom by which everything that is proper to bodily life is actualised by way of transcendent modalities. Moreover, as Maximus the Confessor teaches, Christ has returned this body with its passions to us as a gift available to all. 4 Transformed by the cooperative activity of the divine and human spirits, the human body is destined with the whole person to be utterly deified, penetrated and overwhelmed with divine glory. 5

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