God has made us in a marvelously intricate and complex way.
“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — how well I know it.” Psalm 139:14 (NLT)
In 1st Corinthians, the apostle Paul writes how we are many parts but one body. Yes, the body is a unit made of many parts and trillions of cells.
We each have 5 vital organs: the brain, the heart, the liver, the lungs, the kidneys and at least 11 organ systems. They all work together so that the entire body can function as a whole unit.
The diagram above is how I’ve chosen to capture the multifaceted aspect of humans. The concentric circles are used to reflect the ‘inside-out’ nature by which our spirits impact on our soul and the condition of our soul impacts on our physical body and health. (Read more here – Spirit Soul Body. A Christian Perspective.)
One Body with Many Parts – The Church
In Corinthians, Paul refers to the interrelatedness and independent nature of different parts of the human body to make a point of how members of the Church are also interdependent of one another. Each person has a special gifting(s) that are necessary for the church as a whole to function well and for the spiritual growth and support of each of its members. This is the main reason that Paul writes what he did in verses 12 through 26 and then the final verses of the chapter.
“The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.
Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?
But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”
In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.” 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 (NLT)
Spirit Mind Body Health
I think its pretty awesome that the apostle Paul had such insight as to the connectedness of the parts of the human body. And how he compares the church to the physical body.
Pauls reference to the interrelatedness of the parts of the body is medically sound. The image to the right is a slide I use in the Faith and Health Ambassador Course during the session where we look at stress and health and the impact of sin.
God’s original design of Adam and Eve worked perfectly. All facets – organs and systems – of the body interacted with one another in perfect fashion, without flaw. As Dr. Kara Davis, one of our course instructors, says, “nothing happens in isolation though.”
Well, the original sin of Adam and Eve passed along a sin nature to each human, including you and me. (Romans 5:12) So we are now imperfect(sinful) and our spirits, minds and bodies are also subject to disorders of all types.
When we experience chronic stress, if it’s not managed in a biblical and healthy way, the impact is felt somewhere or in multiple places within our bodily systems. Nothing happens in isolation.
If the condition of our inner heart is bruised or wounded or not well, it will affect aspects of our physical body somehow. I’m no artist but the image I’ve hand drawn to the right reflects this connectedness, this interrelatedness.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23
The key point I’m making with this post is that we must understand that all facets of our nature are connected and interrelated. Your physical health is not just dependent on your physical health-related habits like eating and physical activity and sleep. Your physical health is impacted by the condition of your heart, mind, will, emotional, and spirit.
So care for your whole self – spirit, soul, and body.
Faith and Health Ambassador Course ( Next class starts February 21, 2019)
Blog Posts About Mind Body Spirit
Eddie Turpin says
I saw a couple of words that said “Spiritual disorders”
I was wondering what are the spiritual disorders?
Donna Chacko MD says
Dale, you are right on with this integrated approach. My many years experience as a doctor and my personal journey confirm the wisdom of your approach. I look forward to reading your blogs in the future.
Our interconnectivity is apparent to me. We influence each others behavior and rely on each other to be faithful to God together in a way. As children we mirror the adults we admire and learn about cultural norms.