Body and Soul

“Not everything you read on the internet is true,” Abraham Lincoln is often quoted as saying. It’s a ridiculous claim intended to remind us that we can’t believe everything online, but it also reminds us that famous people frequently get common sayings attributed to them, whether they said those words or not. One such frequent misattribution is this line, supposedly from C. S. Lewis: “You do not have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” This line is incredibly famous: John Piper tweeted it, Ravi Zacharias quoted it in one of his books, many speakers and authors claim to find it in Mere Christianity. There are two problems with this statement: it doesn’t represent the Bible’s teaching on soul and body, and Lewis never said it (Hannah Peckham, “‘You Don’t Have a Soul’: C. S. Lewis Never Said It,” Mere Orthodoxy, July 5, 2012, It represents a common misunderstanding even among Christians: that our hope is in a disembodied bliss, floating on clouds and freed from the prisons of our earthly bodies. However, we find this truth, our embodied hope, throughout the Bible: God is faithful to redeem and resurrect.

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