Vol I No. 7
Daily Thought

Parts and the Whole

by William J. Martin


Are you saying that a part of your being is off limits to God’s healing power? Doesn’t sound like you believe in God. Oh, I see. You are saying that God doesn’t care about this part of your being -what you do with your body, to give but one example? So are you saying that what you do with your body is completely unrelated to your mind or soul?  God is interested in what you do with your mind and soul apart from your body? This sounds rather strange. How exactly do you do something with your soul that is apart from your body? Isn’t you soul embodied? Isn’t your soul in your body in such a way that what you do with it is a decision that affects the body? If your soul chooses, for example, to use the body in ways and places that it shouldn’t be used, the decision of your soul affects your body. Didn’t God make your body and soul together to be used as one entity in His service? Doesn’t it seem more likely than not that God cares about what the whole of you does with the whole of you? It seems that God would be a strange God who created your body  to contain your soul if the one was not meant to be related to the other. Can we just divorce God from a part of our lives the way we divorce the soul from the body? And while we are at it, wouldn’t you think that God even cares about the parts within the parts. So with regard to food, drink, and sex, isn’t it more likely than not the case that God wants you to respect and honor each part not only in the service of a higher end -Aristotle calls it eudaemonia or spiritual joy, but actually with regard to the perfection of its particularity? I mean if God made them, He made them all for a singular reason with an integrity that reveals His masterful Mind. Each part has an integrity that combines with other parts for the benefit of the whole. It seems quite rational that God does care about everything we do with every part of us.

Now, this is not to say that we don’t have trouble doing with our parts what God desires. God never said it would be easy, and to give Him credit where credit is due, He did take on this task that we find nearly impossible to perform  and actually perfect it in the suffering and death of His Son. So in Christ the Son we can find a way back to using our parts in the service of the whole just the way God intends for it to happen. The potential danger is that we shall get hung up on one part…an uncomfortable part…but a necessary part…i.e. that if we would be perfected by God and reconciled to His will, we must die to ourselves and lose our lives in Jesus. The part of God’s will that we find most daunting is losing ourselves in Christ in order to find them. This is the part that offends most people. They are offended because they refuse dogmatically to admit that there is anything wrong with them that needs rebirthing and redeeming.

Ancient Man would have found the call to death and rebirth quite appealing and necessary, since Ancient Man knew himself as one in need of salvation. But Contemporary Man seems to find his perfection apart from any use of reason and will, or mind over matter. Contemporary Man seems happy with a life that never transcends childishness. Have you noticed that the latest way to prove that a lifestyle is good is by parading children before the cameras to claim that they have always felt this way? So proof of goodness is found in proximity to the least rational, least moral, and least intellectual phase in life. That they have not reached the age of reason no longer matters. Reason has been relativized and thus has no objective meaning. So pre-adult feeling is the order of the day, and it is meant to bear truth that is defies and denies both the mind and the will. Proof of goodness is found, in other words, in closeness to feeling that is mistaken for genetic predisposition and determinism. We are the way we are because of material Titans whose rule and sway can no longer be conquered by wisdom and truth. The way we act is wholly determined by forces we can never conquer, subdue, or redeem.

This is not the way of Christ. When Christ said that we should become as little children, He meant that we should become powerless dependents upon God for that wisdom, power, and love that He alone can infuse into human life as the means to the creature’s maturity. Man is a creature who lives in part and mostly a-part from God. But God is the King who takes broken parts and makes them serviceable once again for the whole.The part of God’s truth that is essential for the salvation of the whole man insists that there is much, much more to life than meaningless eating, drinking, sexing, and sporting. This is the part that loves man enough to hate the sin and love the sinner, and thus to lay His life down for the sake of man’s growing up.  This is the part that loves the Image and Likeness that is shared with man so that he might grow up into its knowledge and love.  This is the part that reveals the whole of God’s respect for what man can become and never settles for the relative good of a part.