What Do You Think About the Concept of a Body-Soul Split?

Question from a reader:

I read something about the body-soul split of early Christianity. What does this mean and what do you think of it?

Answer from Randy Alcorn:

This “body-soul split of early Christianity” was rooted not in Scripture, but in some of the church fathers, Origen in particular, who were heavily influenced by Philo’s brand of Platonism.

I believe this is a subject of immense importance to our understanding of Scripture. Our Platonic/Gnostic assumptions have skewed our views, shifting them closer to Buddhism and Hinduism than to biblical Christianity, which is centered an actual physical resurrection of not only Christ and people but the earth itself, an earth God called “very good” and has never given up on.

Our entire view of Christ’s redemptive work has been minimized and undercut, and our view of our eternal future has been greatly impoverished by this heresy (it qualifies as a “doctrine of demons,” I think), which pervades evangelicalism. It has done untold harm not only to us, but to our children, many of whom feel they must leave the church in order to find appreciation for beauty, art and creativity, as well as respect for nature, animals, the environment, etc.

In Appendix A in my Heaven book, I’ve labeled this Christoplatonism, which relates not only to our anticipation (or sadly, our lack thereof) of the New Earth Scripture says we’re to be looking forward to (2 Peter 3:13), but to countless other aspects of our lives as Christians.

For more information on the subject of Heaven, see Randy Alcorn's book Heaven.

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries