A post of mine on the subject of Baptism and Christian obedience has just been posted over on the Theopolis Institute. It is the second of a three part series and continues the argument begun in my first post ‘Sealed for Resurrection: Baptism and the Objectivity of the Body’.
By speaking of the presentation of our members—our limbs and organs—to God, Paul accords a greater prominence to the body. What we present to God is not just our actions, nor our agency, nor yet even ourselves as agents, but the various and disparate bodily agencies and potentialities of our limbs and organs in their givenness and objectivity.
This makes a difference for the way in which we conceive of Christian obedience. It is the membered character of our body that alerts us to its givenness and otherness. Being an agent is a dimension of being a unified subject, my agency is a unifying bodily principle in which my nature as an agent is expressed, and my actions are the products of that subjective agency. Paul reaches behind all of these things to address the objective givenness of the bodily limbs and organs that serve as the precondition for my being an agent, exercising agency, and being the author of actions.
By stressing the diverseness and multiplicity of the bodily limbs and organs, Paul reminds us of the material body that underlies our unifying agency, reminding us that our subjectivity must always reckon with the objectivity of our bodies, an objectivity that we receive as a gift and must now render as an offering. My very hands, eyes, and feet must be presented to God; henceforth, I must live as one who acts using holy instruments. The assumption of my bodily autonomy and self-possession is challenged at its root when my limbs and organs are dedicated to God’s service.
Read the whole thing here.