After college, I stumbled into the opening pages of the Bible and read the story i had often seen reenacted on the Sunday school flannel-graph board but had not yet fully understood:
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:26-27).
The poetry and rhythm of Genesis 1 culminate in this declaration of God to create humanity. As part of the material, physical creation, human beings are declared to be "very good." It is a good thing to be creaturely--to be made of physical stuff. Yet for centuries after the coming of Jesus, the early church had to fight against teachings that diminised the role of the physical world and that inappropriately elevated the spiritual world.