Visual Exegesis: Full of Eyes’ “Members of the Body”

Full of Eyes is a support-based ministry of exegetical art that creates still and moving images intended to point people to the beauty of God in the crucified and risen Son. All art and animations are done by Chris Powers. Powers’ goal is to help people see and savor the faith-strengthening, hope-instilling, love-kindling beauty of God in Christ. And he does this by creating free exegetical art in the form of pictures, animations, and discussion guides. His work is at https://www.patreon.com/fullofeyes, Youtube, and his website fullofeyes.com

Chris’ most recent work is below, with his artist’s statement below the picture

Members of the Body

1 Corinthians 12:12-13, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit were were all baptized into one body–Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and all were made to drink of one Spirit.”
The short explanation:

The bond of the Church’s unity is the Holy Spirit who is/creates within each member of the Church a consent to / love for God as He is made known in His Son. This eternally increasing, Spirit-wrought alignment of the heart and mind to the beauty of God in Christ is the holiness of the individual and the unity of the whole.

The long explanation (take from this morning’s journal entry):

The Spirit is the principle of union within the Church. Because we were all made to drink from one Spirit, we are all in Christ as one body. Now, the body imagery caught my attention this morning because of this question: What is it that makes the body a unity? What makes someone look at this collection of colors and textures and shapes, of fingers, eyes, toes, bones, veins, muscles, etc…..what makes someone look at this and consider it all one?

I think the answer must be found in the harmony of the parts, or–as Edwards would say–the consent of the various parts to one another.

The many and diverse members of the body are considered one because there is such a high degree of harmonious consent between them all, they agree with one another, not only in form, but in function (this harmonious agreement of the members as the principle of unity is hinted at in 1 Cor. 12:18,24 where Paul mentions the Lord’s having arranged and composed the members of the body as He saw fit).

The unity of the body, then, is due to the mutual consent and harmonious agreement of the diverse members. What is glorious about this is that, according to Jonathan Edwards, consent in the observable world is only a shadow or reflection or image of a deeper reality which is consent in the spiritual world, and consent in the spiritual world is simply another way of saying “love.” We might then say that a body (or a tree, or a landscape or a car) is a unity because the various members, as it were, “love” one another:

“When one thing sweetly harmonizes with another, as the notes in music, the notes are so conformed and have such proportion one to another that they seem to have respect one to another, as if they loved one another. So the beauty of figures and motions is, when one part has such consonant proportion with the rest as represents a general agreeing and consenting together; which is very much the image of love…”
– Edwards, Essay on the Mind
So, the unity of diverse members of a body is their consent aka, their beauty, aka, their “love” for one another. This, of course, wonderfully agrees with Paul’s entire emphasis in 1 Corinthians as a whole and this section more specifically. The Spirit of God is the Love of God for God poured into His people (Romans 5:5) who unites them all into one by the bonds of harmonious consent To the Name of God revealed in the Son (John 17:11,26).

As Christians, our consent is not just–or primarily–to one another, but to God in Christ, and to one another because–in the Spirit–we are all in Christ such that our consent to Christ must also be consent to one another (1 John 4:7-8). The Spirit unites the various members of the people of God into one because He is the living harmony, the living consent, the living beauty, the living mutual love of the people of God, one for another because of their mutual love for the God in His Son.

One awesome implication here is that the Spirit functions in the Church just as He has eternally functioned within the Trinity. Going back to Edwards:

“[God] exerts Himself towards Himself no other way than in infinitely loving and delighting in Himself, in the mutual love of the Father and the Son. This makes the third, the personal Holy Spirit or the holiness of God, which is His infinite beauty, and this is God’s infinite consent to being in general.”
– Edwards, Essay on the Mind
According to Edwards, the Holy Spirit is the infinite and personal mutual love of the Father and the Son. He is the consent, the harmony, the agreement, the beauty who eternally unites the First and Second persons of the Trinity, and He unites them in the infinite and eternal bond of love. How glorious, then, that this is exactly what it seems the Spirit does in the Church? As He has always been the bond of mutual love between Father and Son, so now He has become the bond of mutual love (the harmony, the consent, the beauty) within the Church.

As the Trinity is one through the eternal and infinite love of Father for Son in the Spirit, so too the Church is one through this same love of God for God now dwelling within them as the personal Holy Spirit. The consent, then, of the various members of the Church to the Son by the Spirit is primary, and must necessarily give rise to consent of the various members of the Church to one another (1 John 4:19-21).

Thank you for reading The End Time!

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