by Nancy Pearcey
Christians who feel confused by the modern milieu of sexuality and life issues should read this book.
Christians who don’t know how to talk to friends who are embracing transgenderism, abortion, hook-up sex, or euthanasia should read this book.
Anyone who wants to gain a vision for the truth, goodness, and beauty of God as applied to the human body should read this book.
Nancy Pearcey was trained at L’Abri by Francis Schaeffer, and she applies his description of a “two-story” worldview to every chapter, showing how the spiritual/physical, mind/body, idea/matter split has divided every aspect of life in our postmodern culture.
Since the Enlightenment, the idea that matter and the physical world is inferior to the mind and the realm of thought has divided us from our bodies. The body is seen as non-essential to the self. This idea has come so far as to convince people that the body is not even part of the true self at all.
These ideas had at their root an effort to elevate the human mind as the center of our personhood, but they have led to a denigration of the human body not seen in the Western world since the pre-Christian pagan cultures.
Far from elevating us as humans, these ideas have led us to de-value essential parts of ourselves.
So we discount the body as not what makes us persons; therefore, we can define personhood apart from it (abortion). We discount the body as frail and valueless if its limitations inhibit the ideal of a “free,” “worthwhile” life in any way (euthanasia). We discount the body as purposeless in its biology and functions; therefore, we can reject what it says about who we are (homosexuality). We discount the body as not a part of our true identity; therefore, we can ravage and remake it (transgenderism). We discount the body as having no impact on our minds or emotions; therefore, we can use it to indulge our desires in any way without expecting consequences (hook-up sex culture).
But the problem is, there are consequences. Pearcey details study after statistic that evidence the connection that does exist between our mind, emotions, and body, however much we deny it. And they show the fallout our society is experiencing because of it.
Then, like a breath of fresh air, in each chapter she brings to bear the Biblical truth of the value of our bodies, set against the prevailing winds of belief.
Far from being a worthless piece of randomly-evolved matter, in the Christian view the body is of high worth. It is created for a purpose. It speaks to us of who we are and forms part of our identity. It matters to God, and it matters to us as persons made in His image.
Gently but directly, Pearcey exhorts believers to engage our friends, family, and community with this truth. We are called to a higher view of the body and therefore to loving, compassionate response toward people who are caught in the wasteland.