A GREAT DEAL is said in the Bible about man's body. In fact, the Bible is a mystical record of the various bodies in which the souls of men have lived. Bodies show the different states of mind of those who inhabit them, ranging all the way from the Adam embodiment and environment up to the Christ body and its freedom from environment. It is fair to say that the Bible is the allegorical record of man under many aliases, in many bodies.
In all the history of man he has appeared under all sorts of masks, which he has called his bodies, ranging from a corrupt and distorted body up to the "glorious body" of Christ.
The resurrection of the body is the paramount theme of the New Testament and in fact the all-embracing yet veiled subject of the entire Bible. Immortality has been the engrossing subject of man's thought since the record of the race began. Passage after passage might be cited from the Bible illustrating what man's body potentially is and how it should be controlled and governed so as to gain for its possessor the greatest amount of harmony in life.
Now, mark you, man is not solely his body, for man is more than body, but without a body there could be no visible man. Yet the body is not man, but man will forever possess a body. If the body is
not man and man could not be without a body, and since the body is constantly changing, what is man?
You see at once that man is not body, but that the body is the declaration of man, the substantial expression of his mind. We see so many different types of men that we are bound to admit that the body is merely the individual's specific interpretation of himself, whatever it may be. Man is an unknown quantity; we see merely the various ideas of man expressed in terms of body, but not man himself. The identification of man is determined by the individual himself, and he expresses his conception of man in his body.
Some persons have tall bodies; some have short ones. Some have fat bodies; some have slim ones. Some have distorted bodies, some have symmetrical ones. Now, if the body is the man, as claimed by sense consciousness, which of these many bodies is man?
The Bible declares that man is made in the "image" and after the "likeness" of God. Which of the various bodies just enumerated is the image and likeness of God?
The New Testament maintains that man's body is the dwelling place of the Spirit of God: "Know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you? ... glorify God therefore in your body." Yet it is written that the Man of Galilee
casts devils out of this temple of God. How could devils infest the temple of God? Some persons contend that man's body is corrupt from birth, and others affirm that it is the glorious masterpiece of God.
We find however that those who say that they despise the body are loath to part with it, for the reason that they cannot adequately conceive of man without a body, and it is better to have some kind of a body than to run the risk of not having any. The body that these persons possess is their only means of identifying themselves. They do not fancy the idea of risking another, and possibly a worse body, so they hold onto the one they have as long as they are able, regardless of its frailties. The chances of getting a new body seem so uncertain that we all strive to keep the one we have.
Let us repeat that the body of man is the visible record of his thoughts. It is the individual's interpretation of his identity, and each individual shows in his body just what his views of man are. The body is the corporeal record of the mind of its owner, and there is no limit to its infinite differentiation. The individual may become any type of being that he elects to be. Man selects the mental model and the body images it. So the body is the image and likeness of the individual's idea of man. We may embody any conception of life or being that we can conceive. The body is the exact reproduction of the
thoughts of its occupant. As a man thinks in his mind so is his body.
You can be an Adam if you choose, or you can be a Christ or any other type of being that you see fit to ideate. The choice lies with you. The body merely executes the mandates of the mind. The mind dictates the model according to which the body shall be manifested. Therefore as man "thinketh within himself [in his vital nature], so is he." Each individual is just what he believes he is.
It is safe to say that nine hundred and ninety-nine persons out of every thousand believe that the resurrection of the body has something specifically to do with the getting of a new body after death; so we find more than ninety-nine per cent of the world's population waiting for death to get something new in the way of a body. This belief is not based on the principles of Truth, for there is no ready-made-body factory in the universe, and thus none will get the body that he expects. Waiting for death in order to get a new body is the folly of ignorance. The thing to do is to improve the bodies that we now have; it can be done, and those who would follow Jesus in the regeneration must do it.
The "resurrection" of the body has nothing whatever to do with death, except that we may resurrect ourselves from every dead condition into which sense ignorance has plunged us. To be resurrected means to get out of the place that you are in and to
get into another place. Resurrection is a rising into new vigor, new prosperity; a restoration to some higher state. It is absurd to suppose that it applies only to the resuscitation of a dead body.
Paul hints at a time when the body will be changed, and he says it is when "death is swallowed up in victory." Here are Paul's words: "When this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality ... Death is swallowed up in victory."
This transformation is worked out by the individual himself, and is not the result of physical death but rather of the death or annihilation of the erroneous beliefs that ignorance has stored in the cells of the body. It is first a mental resurrection, followed by a body demonstration.
It is the privilege of the individual to express any type of body that he sees fit to ideate. Man may become a Christ in mind and in body by incorporating into his every thought the ideas given to the world by Jesus.
"But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit" (II Cor. 3:18).
Divine mind has placed in the mind of everyone an image of the perfect-man body. The imaging process in the mind may well be illustrated by the picture that is made by light on the photographic
plate, which must be "developed" before it becomes visible. Or man's invisible body may be compared to the blueprint of a building that the architect delivers to the builder. Man is a builder of flesh and blood. Jesus was a carpenter. Also He was indeed the master mason. He restored the Lord's body ("the temple of Jehovah") in His mind and heart (in Jerusalem).
When we call ourselves fleshly, mortal, finite, we manifest it bodily upon a fleshly, mortal, and finite plane. We sow to the flesh and of the flesh reap corruption. The time has arrived for the whole human family to repudiate the estimate of man as corrupt and instead to think of him as he was designed by creative Mind. "This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality," said Paul.
We must stop calling the body flesh and blood, and see it as it is in Spirit-mind, pure and incorruptible. This realization of man's perfect body will arrest decay, disintegration, and death.
We must rise above material thoughts into spiritual realization, and live, move, and have our being in a divine reality. When our views of man are elevated to spiritual understanding, we shall begin to express bodily perfection. Our thoughts must be perfect before we can expect to manifest perfection in body. The issues of life are within man; the body is merely the record of the mind of the individual.
Jesus demonstrated for us the highest type of embodiment. He brought His body under the mastery of His mind. He said, "I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again." What Jesus did we all can do, and it is fair to say that His is the normal standard for every individual and that every other expression of life is abnormal, the result of insufficient Christ elements. Paul says, as quoted, "Ye are the body of Christ," and he says this to emphasize the fact that Christ is the one true pattern for man and that each of us should achieve the fulfillment of the divine design. "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness."
Jesus was the only man who ever proclaimed with authority, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." Jesus was the divine oracle; His mind was unified with the universal Mind principle; this same principle obtains in a degree today in those who identify themselves with Spirit instead of with the flesh. We need not "look ... for another" in whom to witness the Christ, as did John the Baptist, but we must look for Christ in ourselves, precisely as the man Jesus found the Christ in Himself. The statement "Ye are the body of Christ" promises the possibility of a universal incarnation of the Christ and does not in any sense narrow it down to one single individual.
Again Paul's words "Glorify God ... in your body" proclaim the fact that the God nature may
become manifest in every individual. What is the chief object of man? To glorify God in his body; this is the true answer. Have the courage to make the heroic attempt to give personal expression to God. And how shall we do this? By mentally agreeing that we are potentially the Christ and capable of making a divine presentation of ourselves to the Father. We must rise to the conscious realization that every thought of mind, every atom of body, every molecule of being, every function of nature, and every force is divine, and that all of these do and shall vibrate to the harmonies of Spirit. This is the resurrection of man; there is none other.
By so doing we establish our ego, our I AM identity with Divine Mind, and enter with Jesus into joint heirship to the heavenly inheritance of power, peace, prosperity, and perfection.
All the so-called human or earthly spheres of operation are reflections of the divine, and by considering them we may gain an intellectual concept of spiritual realities, but we should ever remember that spiritual things are "spiritually judged." By this higher renewal of the mind we shall be bodily transformed, and prove those things that are good, perfect, and true.
The resurrection of the body is not dependent for its demonstration on time, evolution, or any of the man-made means of growth. It is the result
of the elevation of the spiritually emancipated mind of the individual.
Step by step, thought added to thought, spiritual emotion added to spiritual emotion — eventually the transformation is complete. It does not come in a day, but every high impulse, every pure thought, every upward desire adds to the exaltation and gradual personification of the divine in man and to the transformation of the human. The "old man" is constantly brought into subjection, and his deeds forever put off, as the "new man" appears arrayed in the vestments of divine consciousness.
All have hope and find deep consolation, aye, assurance in the belief of the final redemption of the body; and this universal feeling is born of the legitimacy of the faith that this redemption must eventuate, that perfection is the ultimate goal of man's being, and that death and separation must disappear from human experience.
How to accomplish the resurrection of the body has been the great stumbling block of man. The resurrection has been a mere hope, and we have endeavored to reconcile a dying body with a living God, but have not succeeded. No amount of Christian submission or stoical philosophy will take away the sting of death. But over him who is risen in Christ "death no more hath dominion."