Thought I’d share this article from our church newsletter, since there seems to be a lot of confusion about this topic. It was written by The Reverend Joel C. Daniels, Ph.D.
We continue to celebrate the Ascension for the ten days between that day and Pentecost. The bodily ascension is as essential to Christian salvation history as the bodily resurrection. And both are as scandalous to the pagan religious imagination as the bodily incarnation, the idea of God taking on flesh. This isn’t a new scandal. Along those lines, I was recently sent an Article From First Things, written by a friend of a friend, on the widespread Gnosticism of modern life - even and especially within Christian communities.
Gnosticism here is defined as a distrust of, and even feelings of disgust at, the body and embodiment. But, as the article points out, the source of sin isn’t the body, but the soul. This has been the classical Christian theological position since the time of the patristic authors, including Augustine and Cyril of Alexandria. To summarize Augustine, “to see the flesh as more sinful than the soul is to follow the way of the flesh.” The author writes
The apostolic tradition carries a radical message that defends the truth of human personhood against the secular tide of pessimism about the flesh. Safeguarding that message requires entering into the mysteries of the Incarnation and the Resurrection...