Is Salvation Individual or Communal?

I Am New Forums Is Salvation Individual or Communal?

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    Lydia ISTOMINA

    What postmodern science is telling us—that the universe is a whole and that all things, living and nonliving, are interrelated and interdependent—has been, for most of the world’s history, common knowledge. That is, people living close to the land and to other animals as well as to the processes that support the health of the land and living creatures have known this from their daily experience. We, a postindustrial, urbanized people, alienated from our own bodies and from the body of the earth, have to learn it, and most often it’s a strange knowledge. It is also strange because for the past several hundred years at least, Christianity, and especially Protestant Christianity, has been concerned almost exclusively with the salvation of individual human beings, (primarily their “souls”), rather than with the liberation and well-being of the oppressed, including not only oppressed human beings, body and soul (or better, spirit), but also the oppressed earth and all its life-forms.

    In the model of the universe as God’s body, not only does postmodern science help us understand the unity and diversity of the body in liberating ways, but divine embodiment makes sacred all embodiment: neither perspective alone is as rich as both together. 

    The model of the universe as the body of God invites us to do something that Christians have seldom done: think about God and bodies. What would it mean, for instance, to understand sin as the refusal to share the basic necessities of survival with other bodies? 

    -Richard Rohr (his thoughts on Sallie McFague’s (b. 1933) model of creation as God’s body. 

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