Christian Cyclopedia

About the Cyclopedia


The concept body, in sense of organized material of man, has frequently precipitated meditation and discussion regarding relationship of mind and body or interrelationship in trichotomy of soul, body, and spirit.

Materialists have it easy: body is matter; mind is simply matter in action - chemically, physiologically, or neurologically - or even electronically. Similarly, philosophical idealism oversimplifies by making the body merely the vehicle of consciousness.

Efforts to grapple with the problem include animistic views which consider the soul as inhabiting the body but with possibility of temporary or permanent separation. Descartes viewed body and soul as separate entities, having separate qualities, yet interacting with each other. This might be called beginning of interactionism, which with certain modifications is still popular.

In classic thesis-antithesis style a theory of parallelism arose, that relationship of mind and body is so close, even intimate, that both are considered manifestations of same substance (e.g. in Baruch Spinoza.)

Christian thought for a time seemed influenced by Greek dichotomies of mind and body, and mind was considered higher and body lower in man's nature. In more recent times the “whole man” concept is being stressed. When man fell into sin, the whole man fell; the whole man is restored by the redemptive activity of Jesus; the whole man partakes in the resurrection to eternal life; the whole man becomes more and more the temple of the Holy Spirit.

See also Corporate Personality. AJB

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
Concordia Publishing House
All rights reserved.

Content Reproduced with Permission

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