Theology of the Body (TOB) & Its Instrumental Use by the Holy Spirit
In the Theology of the Body, Pope St. John Paul II examines how man’s body should be understood in light of the Scripture passage that reads, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27). As the starting point of his examination, JP II considers the nuptial meaning of the body, i.e., the unitive and procreative. He teaches that valid marriage is a sign of the Triune nature of God. JP II tells us that:
1) the body and it alone can bring the invisible into the visible;2) the body is essential for expressing love into the physical world; and,3) the language of the spirit must be expressed into the visible world through an adequate language of the body.
Based on what is written above and elsewhere, it would be accurate to add one word to the title of JPII’s theology — instrumentality. The better title would be: The Theology of the Instrumentality of the Body for receiving and expression grace.
For twenty-five years, I have researched and written about the relationship between science (mainly the biological sciences) and Scripture. It is my belief the Theology of the Salt (TOS), as taught through “The Science & Theology of Salt in Scripture” (STOSS), can be classified as a significant branch of TOB.
Through extensive research, I have discovered thirty-four mysteries of cutting-edge biological science hidden in Scripture. So advanced are these biological mysteries, modern-day scientists have only recently discovered them. This fact becomes even more astounding when we realize the first book of Scripture was written over three-thousand years ago.
These mysteries are not written in Scripture in a textbook fashion. Instead, they are written and hidden in an Applied Sciences fashion. Why Applied Science? The Bible was not written for scientists alone. It was written so that all could understand its words to the specific degree that each individual can receive it through God’s Grace.
Why is it Important to Know the Thirty-four Scientific Mysteries of Biology Hidden in Scripture
To begin with, to know ourselves, we must understand the Incarnate Son of God. The word “incarnation” points explicitly to Jesus’ Human Body. According to the Catechism, “In reality, it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear.” Knowing the biological sciences of His Human Body will teach us a great deal about our humanity!
By doing so, we will acquire an adequate anthropology of the spiritual and biological foundation of the Economy of Grace for all rational human persons. It is an Economy that allows all rational human beings to obtain the grace necessary for eternal life. According to the self-identified Theology of the Body Evangelization Team:
Between 1979 and 1984, Pope St. John Paul II delivered a series of Wednesday audiences that eventually became known as the Theology of the Body (TOB). This profound teaching offered what St. John Paul called an “adequate anthropology” [i.e., scientific explanation of humanity] — an examination of what it means to be human, made in God’s image and likeness, and how that reality is made visible through the human body, giving a Sacramental View of Reality.
Pope St. John Paul II the Great has answers the question: “Why is it Important to Know the Thirty-four Scientific Mysteries of Biology Hidden in Scripture?” TOB teaches us that the body, and it alone, is capable of expressing into visible creation the invisible: the Spiritual and the Divine life of Grace. In other words, through the instrumentality of the physical body, fallen Man is redeemed and made capable of both receiving and expressing Love and Grace. God deliberately designed us with that purpose in mind. The anthropology becomes clear when we understand the meaning of the spiritual soul, which God breathed into each rational human.
Informed by God Himself, St. Hildegard of Bingen writes:
Of all the strengths of God’s creation, Man’s is most profound, made in a wondrous way with great glory from the dust of the earth and so entangled with the strengths of the rest of creation that he can never be separated from them; for the elements of the world, created for Man’s service, wait on him, and Man, enthroned as it were in their midst, by divine disposition presides over them, as David says, inspired by Me [God]:
“Thou hast crowned him with glory and worship, and given him dominion over all the works of Thy hands” [Psalms 8:6–7]. Which is to say: You, O God, Who have marvellously [sic] made all things, have crowned Man with the gold and purple crown of intellect and with the sublime garment [Flesh] of visible beauty, thus placing him like a prince above the height of Your perfect works, which You have distributed justly and rightly among Your creatures. Before all Your other creatures You have conferred on Man great and wonderful dignities.
Sources Discussing the Instrumental Use of the Body by the Holy Spirit
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church,
From the swaddling clothes of his birth to the vinegar of his Passion and the shroud of his Resurrection, everything in Jesus’ life was a sign of his mystery [Cf. Lk 2:7; Mt 27:48; Jn 20:7]. His deeds, miracles, and words all revealed that “in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily [Cf. Col 2:9].” His humanity appeared as “sacrament,” that is, the sign and instrument, of his divinity and of the salvation he brings: what was visible in his earthly life leads to the invisible mystery of his divine sonship and redemptive mission.
On February 20, 1980, JP II said:
The body … alone is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and divine. It was created to transfer into the visible reality of the world, the mystery hidden since time immemorial in God.
He also tells us:
The body speaks not merely with the whole external expression of masculinity and femininity, but also with the internal structures of the organism, of the somatic [the entire body and its aggregate parts such as the heart of flesh] and psychosomatic [relating to the mind/mental] reaction.
Instrumentality in Light of Our Spiritual Soul
For man, the scriptural mouth is the entire human body. It breathes-in that which can either enlighten (through the grace of the Holy Spirit) or darken (with pride and lust). Pope St. John Paul II’s words bear repeating:
The body, in fact, and it alone is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and divine. It was created to transfer into the visible reality of the world, the mystery hidden since time immemorial in God.
Our bodies are the means through which we express spiritual love (i.e., the Language of the Spirit) or, on the other hand, artificial/chemical/imitation love. Both options are sent out/expressed accurately in the Language of the Body. Through the biological scientific mysteries discovered in the Bible, a more accurate understanding of distinguishing TRUE spiritual love from artificial/chemical love can be achieved.
The discussions above help us to understand why the thirty-four-plus mysteries of biological sciences hidden in Scripture are so important. The “making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and divine,” is done through the Language of the Body. The thirty-four mysteries teach us much of the invisible vocabulary of that Language.
Additionally, it is vital to know that the biological language of the body is both visible (i.e., sense-able) and invisible (meta-sense-able).
Examples of the Holy Spirit’s Instrumental Use of Organic Life (e.g., Man)
One of the best examples of my hypothesis in Scripture is in 2 Kings. It reads:
So Eli′sha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. And as a man was being buried, lo, a marauding band was seen and the man was cast into the grave of Eli′sha; and as soon as the [dead] man touched the bones of Eli′sha, he revived, and stood on his feet (2 Kgs. 13:20-21).
Remember, Elisha was dead. His spiritual soul had long ago left his body. Since only Elisha’s bones were present in the grave, we can conclude his death occurred a long time before the present events described in this Scripture passage. The dead man dumped in Elisha’s grave came back to life only after touching Elisha’s bones.
The spiritual soul of the dead man dumped into the grave was not present. The spiritual soul of the deceased Elisha was not present. Consequently, faith played no part in this miracle. Instead, the Holy Spirit’s power was gifted using Elisha’s salt of DNA as an instrument.
Moses’ rod, or staff of God cut from an almond tree and consisted entirely of cells, each containing its salt of DNA. When God commissioned Moses to lead His people out of bondage, he told Moses it would be through the rod/staff that he would perform the signs of what we now describe as Gratuitous grace, i.e., all of the miracles (Ex. 4:17). What are some of these miracles? All of the miracles performed in Pharoah’s court. The parting of the Red Sea. Through the salt of DNA of the rod, the Holy Spirit would show the power of God.
Upon witnessing the miracle of dust transformed into gnats, “the magicians said to Pharaoh, ‘This is the finger [meaning the Holy Spirit] of God’” (Ex. 8:19). Note also that Moses’ staff made of wood was one of the items put into the Ark of the Covenant. Moses’ staff (previously completely cut-off from all physical water), which was budding (a miracle attributable to the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit — a power that was giving new life to the salt of DNA of the previously lifeless rod/staff). When the Ark was taken across the river Jordan by the priests, the water divided (Josh. 3:12-17).
The Hemorrhagic Woman:
Mark tells us about the woman who had blood flow for twelve years. He writes:
She said, “If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well.” And immediately the hemorrhage ceased; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone forth from him, immediately turned about in the crowd, and said, “Who touched my garments?” (Mk. 5:28-30).
Based on Jesus’ words, we know she hadn’t touched Jesus’ flesh. She only touched the garments he wore. Keep in mind that there were no synthetic garments in those days. All clothes were made of either the salt of DNA of an animal or the DNA of plants. So, it seems that the power of Jesus’ Spirit was sent out (in the language of his body) through his scriptural mouth, i.e., his salt of Jesus’ DNA, and mediated through the DNA of the garments, which were in very close proximity to his body.
The Holy Spirit’s power left him and, through the instrumentality of the DNA of the garments Jesus was wearing, was received by the salt of DNA of the woman. Thus, she was healed of the dysfunction of her DNA. It would almost seem like this whole event caught Jesus by surprise — which would be impossible. I think Jesus asked the question, “who touched my garments,” to emphasize the role of her faith (her openness to the power of the Spirit).
The Holy Spirit uses human biology as an instrument to slow/stop the decay of certain saints.
As Elijah was taken up in the chariot of fire, his sheepskin mantle fell from him to Elisha. The falling of the mantle signified Elisha’s receiving the double portion of Elijah’s spirit, for which he had asked Elijah.
Human body Was Made to Express Grace
It is a tenet of STOSS that an individual man can communicate to others the grace they have received from God. I base the credibility of this tenet on several factors that will be discussed in greater detail elsewhere in the book. For now, I will cite four sources that reinforce my belief. They are: 1) the words of Jesus as relayed by St. Faustina; 2) the words of Scripture, 3) the words of Archbishop Fulton Sheen; and 4) JP II. Let’s expand a bit:
1). Jesus tells St. Faustina, “I am Love and Mercy itself. When a soul approaches Me with trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but radiates them to other souls.” Let us recall our previous discussion on the spirit versus the soul. The upper powers of the spiritual soul (i.e., spirit/inner heart) cannot be kept separate from the lower powers (those powers of the spiritual soul responsible for the accidents and the functioning of the physical body). Therefore, grace will affect both body and spiritual soul. This effect is true whether it be Sanctifying and/or Actual grace given.2). In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells us, “If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart [“believers heart” in this passage would correspond to Jesus saying “approaches with trust” in his conversation with Faustina] shall flow rivers of living water’” (Jn. 7:37-38). This living water is the grace of the Holy Spirit, and it is a river flowing out from the believer’s heart. Additionally, St. Paul writes, “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear.” (Eph. 4:29-30); and,3). St. Paul wrote, “For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Cor. 4:6-7). Fulton Sheen so entirely viewed himself as an earthen vessel that he titled his autobiography Treasure in Clay. In Sheen’s book, The Mystical Body of Christ, he wrote, “The graces of God are communicated through ‘frail vessels [emphasis SML].’”It is the body that is the frail vessel, not the spiritual soul. Remember the phrase: The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Did Sheen equate the frailty of the earthen vessel with the human body? Later in the book, he wrote, “The Mystical Christ of Pentecost, like the physical Christ of Bethlehem, was small, and delicate, and frail like any new-born thing [the newly breathed spiritual soul is sinless and, therefore, not weak]. Its members were small; its organs were in the process of formation.” This is why the Church is considered the “Prolongation of the Incarnation through space and time.” This understanding will take on even greater significance when we talk about the meaning of the mouth in scripture.4). According to JPII, just as a sacrament is an outward sign of an inward (and unseen) reality of grace, the body itself enters into the “definition of a sacrament” (loosely speaking). This is so because it is a visible sign of an invisible reality. Not only is the body a sign of grace received, but it also visibly expresses that which it has received (not possible without the body) and does so efficaciously for self and others. Furthermore, the body not only expresses grace but, as we shall see later, produces it. Thus, the body contributes to grace becoming part of man.
The above examples represent a small portion of the available examples that show the instrumentality of the human body in expressing/communicating the graces of the Holy Spirit.
 Gaudium et Spes, 22 § 1.”
 Catholic Church, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Ed. (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997), 92 (#359).
 Hildegard of Bingen, Hildegard of Bingen: Scivias, ed. Bernard McGinn, trans. Columba Hart and Jane Bishop, The Classics of Western Spirituality (New York; Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1990), 98.
 Catholic Church, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Ed. (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997), p 129, #515.
 John Paul II, in his general audience of February 20, 1980, “Man Enters the World as a Subject of Truth and Love,” Theology of the Body, ©Libreria Editrice Vaticana (Third Millennium Media L.L.C., The Faith Database L.L.C., 2008), n. 4.
 John Paul II, in his general audience of Sept. 5, 1984, “Responsible Parenthood Linked to Moral Maturity,” Theology of the Body, ©Libreria Editrice Vaticana (Third Millennium Media L.L.C., The Faith Database L.L.C., 2008), n. 1.
 St. John Paul II, “Man Enters the World as a Subject of Truth and Love,” n. 4.
 Translated by J.G. Cunningham. “Letters of St. Augustine-Letter 55,” n. 29, From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 1. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1102055.htm, (accessed 04/15, 2012).
 Josephus, Flavius; Marsh, Ernest; Whiston, William (2010-10-07). The Complete Works of Flavius Josephus (Kindle Locations 3599-3600). Unknown. Kindle Edition.
 St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, (Stockbridge: Marian Press, 2005), n. 1074. Used with permission of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.
 Sheen, Fulton J., The Mystical Body of Christ (Kindle Locations 215-218), Ave Maria Press, Kindle Edition. This reference is found in the “Introduction of the New Edition” by Brandon Vogt. Excerpted from The Mystical Body of Christ by Fulton J. Sheen. Copyright 2015 by The Society for the Propagation of the Faith. Used with permission of the publisher, Ave Maria Press, P.O. Box 428, Notre Dame, IN 46556.
 Kowalska, Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska,, Kindle Locations 2935-2939.
 Kowalska, Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska,, Kindle Location 94.
 John Paul II, “Marital Love Reflects God’s Love for His People,” The Theology of the Body, Daughters of St. Paul, General audience of July 28, 1982, ©Libreria Editrice Vaticana, (Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media, 1997), p. 304-306.