The Universe as the Body of God

The Hindu traditions have long held that the universe is God’s body (Saguna Brahman). Zen Buddhism has also advocated a similar view of the relative reality as the ultimate itself.  However, recently, Christian theology, through the work of Sallie McFague and others, has happily arrived at the same realization.  In “Liberating Life: A Report to the World Council of Churches,” we read:

Extending St. Paul’s image of the body from including the Church (1 Corinthians 12:12-26) to including all of the cosmos “(we are all members of the body of God, the universe) places us in intimate relations with our fellow human beings as well as with all other forms of life” (p. 258). This feeling of intimacy leads to greater empathy and responsibility for “helping to bring about peace and justice to the suffering members of God’s “body.” “We feel God’s presence here in our world as we touch one another, love and serve one another, that is, all the others that make up the fabric of existence” (p. 258).

“Our scripture speaks of the cosmic Christ (Colossians 1), the presence of God in the cosmos, God’s embodiment, God’s “incarnation” (p. 258). In the image of the universe as God’s body, we have a “helpful way of talking about creation that is biblical, consonant with contemporary science, and experientially illuminating” (p. 258).

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