Wheaties / C

Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.

… the NAB has an interesting point to make about the “losing one’s life” phrase … ” His life: the Greek word psyche refers to a person’s natural life. It does not mean soul, for Hebrew anthropology did not postulate body/soul dualism in the way that is familiar to us.”

I’m very interested in this idea of self sacrifice to the death … not a metaphorical death, not a “life transition” type of death, but the real physical death of all one is. That, I think, is the kind of loss of life Jesus is talking about here and it’s the kind he experienced (though he rose again after). A scary thing to contemplate.

Also interesting that people put such emphasis on having souls and thinking that when they die, their souls will leave their bodies. From what I’ve read, (but please correct me if I’m wrong) there is no distinction in the bible between a person’s body and his soul. The word soul means, often, the person … example – John was a merry old soul. And for that matter, there seems to be evidence in the bible that all created theings have/are souls … animals, plants, not just people. Sometimes the percieved lack of a soul is used as justification for the ok-ness of killing a person/animal …. something to think about.


11 responses

  1. I can definitely see the appeal of believing in reincarnation and nirvana. The idea that physical death is the end is too much for me to bear.

  2. Hi Marjorie. I feel almost the opposite – can’t bear the thought of doing this all over and over again … sometimes oblivion sounds pretty good 🙂

  3. What has always seemed to me a basic difference between Christianity and Buddhism is the one is life affirming and the other life denying.Re Immortality: a Greek (and Persian), not a Hebrew concept. But the meaning of the gospel appears to be that life goes on (“this day you will be with me in paradise” – Luke 23:43). Our true growth is spiritual: “though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day” (2 Cor 4:16ff). Through the years I have seen my body wasting away bit by bit and my spirit getting stronger and stronger at the same time.We are not primarily bodies; we are primarily spirits–sons and daughters of God.The clearest statements about this come in I Cor 15 and II Cor 4 and 5.

  4. Hi Larry :-). Maybe it’s only a catholic thing, but I think they (catholics) believe that the body and the spirit are kind of one and bith get resurrected after death … there isn’t so much the dualism of the spirit being good and the body being bad. Greek philosophy emphasises the immortality of the soul but the NT seems to talk of heaven as a place of glorified bodies. Paul mentions spiritual bodies, but he’s the one disciple who never saw Jesus in his risen body.

  5. No Crystal. It ain’t just a Catholic thing. Its a biblical thing. Or at least a biblical wordview thing.We’ve covered this ground before I think. Its a question of whether the real you (and me) are made of spiritual stuff — with our bodies being optional add ons or whether the real us are composite critters of both body and spirit — with each being somehow less without the other.Thing is. This isn’t a question you can answer using a ball of string, or an atom smasher. And the CSI toolkit won’t help much either.So how do we decide? Showdown. Centre of town. Syllogisms at twenty paces. Last one standing is the victor.

  6. Now there’s an idea :-). Funny, I’ve considered the thought of a spirit without a body, but what about a body without a spirit … let’s hear it for the zombie option!Seriously, though, I sure have no idea what post-death life will be like … it’s just interesting to review the many possibilities.

  7. Larry,COuld you please explain this:”What has always seemed to me a basic difference between Christianity and Buddhism is the one is life affirming and the other life denying.” I don’t understand what you mean by ‘life denying’.

  8. Meredith, my statement was probably just rank prejudice, but my understanding of Buddhist theology is that it is our bad karma that keeps us having to return for another sentence to life here on earth. And the desideratum is to escape that chain of successive lives. Perhaps they consider nirvana as being the fullest life.

  9. Larry. If the real us is spiritual not physical – and heaven awaits us beyond this life — how is that escape from thsi life different from the Buddhist escape.It seesm to me there are life affirming and life denying aspects to both faiths. There are thsoe Christians who refuse to work for a better world because Christ will rapture them before the Great Tribulation and the Anti-Christ arrives (curiously they still contribute to their retirement funds). Then there are thsoe whos ee themselves as God’s hands and feet. Similarly there are Buddhisst who try to escape teh cycle by going into meditation and there are engaged Buddhists like Tich Naht Hahn (did I spell that right?) who bring the fruits of their enlightenment into the world.While I believe the Christian faith is better than some paths,I am not sure if it is better than all or any particular one. I follow it as it is the path I was given to walk. I did not choose it. It chose me.

  10. Not to make things worse 🙂 but perhaps Larry meant that the basic perspective on life of buddhism seems different than that of christianity …Buddhim’s Four Noble Truths – 1. Life means suffering.2. The origin of suffering is attachment.3. The cessation of suffering is attainable.4. There is a path to the cessation of suffering.whereas, one possible christian view of life is that it’s a wedding banquet that should be lived more abundantly.This isn’t to say that the words above express all there is of each religion or that one way is better than the other.

  11. Kwak:”heaven awaits us beyond this life” is certainly not an “escape from this life” and certainly not respectable Christian theology, although it may be the aim of some misguided “Christians”.I have no desire to escape from this life: I want to live as long as I can, be as attached to the kingdom of God (right here!) as much as I can, which for me is the basis of truly happy life.Re: suffering: I don’t think suffering is something to be avoided, but rather chosen, like Jesus did. To suffer for others is the happiest and best way to live.It’s avoiding ‘attachment’ that seems to be life denying, although I can acknowledge that some attachments are best avoided.Well we’ve got a good discussion going here. Maybe someone should start another post.

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