«Surely you know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you! God will destroy anyone who destroys God’s temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you yourselves are his temple» (l Corinthians 3:16, 17, GNT).
METZ SAYS that there are several ways a person can consider their body: pamper it and idolize it, look at it with disdain or shame, use it as a machine to produce work, and use it as a weapon to gain power. One can also dedicate it to carnal pleasures and use it as an instrument for vice. Or, like Paul, one can see and care for it as a temple, a sanctuary where God wants to dwell.
Paul, like other biblical writers, argues that God has the right to claim His «copyright.» We belong to Him:
— By creation, because He made us.
— By redemption, because He bought us with His blood.
— By adoption, because He transformed us from His creatures to His children.
God’s original plan was a body that could live forever, healthy and happy. Because of sin, deterioration, sickness, and death arose. Adam did not die immediately after his sin; he lived a total of 930 years. His son Seth lived 912 years, and his grandson Enosh lived 905 years. Methuselah was the man who lived the most: he lived 969 years.
These are not fictitious figures. They lived near the time of Creation, so they had a nearly perfect constitution, were free of hereditary diseases, had a very good diet, and lived in an environment free of all contamination.
Because of sin, longevity began to diminish. Noah lived 950 years; his son Shem, 600 years; his grandson Arphaxad, 438 years; and his great-grandson, Salah, 433 years. Five generations later, Abraham lived «only» 175 years. Already in the days of Moses the average lifespan was around eighty years.
When Paul wrote this to the Corinthians, the Greeks had a habit of placing an image of their gods inside the temple. Paul says that God dwells in the collective temple that is the church, and in the individual temple that is our body (l Cor. 6:19). The reasons for respecting our bodies as a temple of the Holy Spirit are:
Glorify God, accepting the will of the Creator.
Achieving personal well-being.
It is not a question of quenching the thirst of pagan deities; on the contrary, as with all the directions of God that are followed, it is the believer who receives the blessings. Whether we «eat or drink,» or do anything else, let us do «everything for the glory of God» (l Cor. 10:31). To do it for His glory is to do it for our own well-being present and eternal.