Comparing The Confessions Of Epistle And St. Augustine

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The Bodies of Faith
Athena Doshi

Early Christian writers face the question of whether the human body is a good thing or a bad thing. Confessions of St. Augustine and St. Paul’s Epistles use the word, ‘flesh,’ to either depict the human body, man’s immaterial nature, or the nature of sin. The flesh is the obvious difference between the Lord and humans; thus, it describes the sinful nature that humans possess. Both St. Augustine and St. Paul describe the human body as something that can be contaminated; however, St. Paul distinguishes a difference between the spiritual body and the natural, physical body which is the flesh, “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians
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St. Augustine describes his body and its desires when talking about lust and food as a metaphor for the loss of faith. St. Augustine initially confused desire for the Lord as desire for lust; and uses this metaphor as “although my real need was for you, my God, who are the food of the soul, I was not aware of this hunger.” (55) The food of the soul that St. Augustine describes as faith and the Lord is considered as incorporeal, because truth is not something that you know through your body it is something that you know through your mind. The food of the soul is different from the foods that we eat to sustain our physical forms. The food of faith is what feeds the soul and is the spiritual life-form of the Lord; however, the food of the body is material and full of impurities. The physical form is a bad thing because it is denigrated as a place of loss of faith in religious texts. The more St. Augustine was starved of faith or “food that does not perish” (55), the less aware he became of its essentiality in his life; thus, he strayed towards material desires that could satisfy the lust that distracted him. Thus, while the body is prone to loss of faith through lust, the soul remains pure such that “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Romans 8:13). St. Augustine and St. Paul develop the idea of the…show more content…
St. Paul sanctifies the human body as a temple in Romans and 1 Corinthians by describing the human body as a “temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not nor your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19). St. Paul suggests that believers in the Christian faith are not only living for themselves but for the Lord and out of the Lord’s grace; thus, as Lord’s creation, the physical, human body is to be sanctified. St. Paul brought forth the idea that marking the body through circumcision is unnecessary for a person that has faith because God doesn’t discriminate between those who have newly-turned to Christianity and those who were brought up Christians. “Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?” (Romans 2:27) The Christian faith a person holds is not a mark on a body, it is a lifestyle. Christ’s body has been marked so that his disciples’ bodies don’t have to be. This faith, as an extension of the Old Testament, was created through Abraham, who himself was uncircumcised. “Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.” (Romans
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