Theology of the Body Essay
A Cliff Notes’ Version
A. The Theology of the Body is the term used to describe the teaching of Pope John Paul about the human person and human sexuality given during his Wednesday Catecheses in St. Peter’s Square between September 5, 1979 and November 28, 1984. John Paul II says that these catecheses could be called “Human Love in the Divine Plan” or “The Redemption of the Body and the Sacramentality of Marriage.”
B. Various scholars, in different language groupings, will generally break the theology of the body found in these 129 catecheses down into four main sections, others six. I think the most logical way to do so is to break it down into seven interrelated sections:
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I. The original unity of man and woman (Catechesis on the book of Genesis)
A. The “beginning” of marriage in God’s plan.
1) In his dispute with the Pharisees (Mt 19:3 ff), Christ takes marriage back to God’s plan in the beginning, seen in Genesis, which sets forth a proper understanding of the nature of man and woman, made in God’s image, as well as the unity and indissolubility of marriage.
2) Man is created by God in the image and likeness of God, not in the image of creatures. This image involves sexual differentiation: “God created man in his image … male and female he created them.” God pronounced the human person “very good.” Genesis established a solid basis for metaphysics, anthropology and ethics, which has importance for the theology of body.
3) The tree of the knowledge of good and evil separates the state of original innocence of Adam and Eve (in which they were “naked and unashamed”) from the state of human sinfulness, which is man’s historical state. In his teaching on marriage, Christ goes back to the state of original innocence and his words are normative for the theology of man and for the theology of body. We cannot understand man’s present state without reference to his beginning. The proto-Gospel of Gen