Is there life "in the flesh" after "you have crucified the flesh"? Gal 5:24

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
gryan
Posts: 791
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:11 am

Is there life "in the flesh" after "you have crucified the flesh"? Gal 5:24

Post by gryan »

My thesis is that in Galatians, there is life in the "flesh" after "you have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires", but it is no longer the old ego that is master; rather, the flesh is Christ's flesh.

Gal 5:16-26
So I say, walk in the Spirit,
and you will not carry out fleshly desire (ἐπιθυμίαν σαρκὸς).

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the spirit
(ἡ γὰρ σὰρξ ἐπιθυμεῖ κατὰ τοῦ Πνεύματος),
but the [small "s" human]spirit [desires] what is contrary to the flesh
(τὸ δὲ Πνεῦμα [ ?? ] κατὰ τῆς σαρκός).
They are opposed to each other,
in order that you do not do what you want
(ἵνα μὴ ἃ ἐὰν θέλητε ταῦτα ποιῆτε).

But if you are led by the Spirit, you do not exist under the law
(εἰ δὲ Πνεύματι ἄγεσθε, οὐκ ἐστὲ ὑπὸ νόμον).

The fleshly works are manifest
(φανερὰ δέ ἐστιν τὰ ἔργα τῆς σαρκός):
sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and sorcery; hatred, discord, jealousy, and rage; rivalries, divisions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.
I warn you, as I did before, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Against such things there is no law,
but those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the sufferings and the desires
(οἱ δὲ τοῦ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τὴν σάρκα ἐσταύρωσαν σὺν τοῖς παθήμασιν καὶ ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις).

Since we live by the Spirit, let us walk in line (στοιχῶμεν) with the Spirit.
Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying one another.
Last edited by gryan on Sat Sep 10, 2022 2:02 am, edited 4 times in total.
gryan
Posts: 791
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:11 am

Re: fleshly desire (ἐπιθυμίαν σαρκὸς) Gal 5:16

Post by gryan »

gryan wrote: Sat Sep 10, 2022 1:03 am
But if you are led by the Spirit, you do not exist under the law
(εἰ δὲ Πνεύματι ἄγεσθε, οὐκ ἐστὲ ὑπὸ νόμον).
RE: οὐκ ἐστὲ

Gal 5:18
"But if you are led by the Spirit,
you do not exist under the law"
οὐκ ἐστὲ ὑπὸ νόμον

Cf. Rom 8:9
But you do not exist in flesh [Tr. Robert Jewett, Romans: A Commentary (Hermeneia)]
Ὑμεῖς δὲ οὐκ ἐστὲ ἐν σαρκὶ
but in Spirit,
God's Spirit of God dwells in you.
Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ
does not belong to him.

Cf. 1 Cor 6:20-21
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you,
ἢ οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι τὸ σῶμα ὑμῶν ναὸς τοῦ ἐν ὑμῖν Ἁγίου Πνεύματός ἐστιν,
whom you have received from God,
οὗ ἔχετε ἀπὸ Θεοῦ;
and that you, of yourselves, do not exist?
καὶ οὐκ ἐστὲ ἑαυτῶν;
You were bought at a price.
Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Cf. 1 Thes 5:5 (Pauline writer, IMHO, attempting, in Paul's name to interpret Paul)
But you, brothers, do not exist in the darkness so that this day should overtake you like a thief.
ὑμεῖς δέ, ἀδελφοί, οὐκ ἐστὲ ἐν σκότει, ἵνα ἡ ἡμέρα ὑμᾶς ὡς κλέπτης καταλάβῃ·
For you are all sons of light, sons of the day.
πάντες γὰρ ὑμεῖς υἱοὶ φωτός ἐστε καὶ υἱοὶ ἡμέρας.
We are not of the night or of the darkness.
Οὐκ ἐσμὲν νυκτὸς οὐδὲ σκότους·
Last edited by gryan on Sat Sep 10, 2022 6:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
GakuseiDon
Posts: 1614
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:10 pm

Re: Is there life "in the flesh" after "you have crucified the flesh"? Gal 5:24

Post by GakuseiDon »

gryan wrote: Sat Sep 10, 2022 1:03 am My thesis is that in Galatians, there is life in the "flesh" after "you have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires", but it is no longer the old ego that is master; rather, the flesh is Christ's flesh.
That sounds interesting, but I'm not sure what you mean. We see Paul mention Christ in terms of flesh, before he was crucified (seed of David, arising from the Jews, etc). But how would Paul see "Christ's flesh" after death? From what I can see, Paul thought Jesus became something else other than flesh.
gryan
Posts: 791
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:11 am

Re: Is there life "in the flesh" after "you have crucified the flesh"? Gal 5:24

Post by gryan »

GakuseiDon wrote: Sat Sep 10, 2022 2:57 am
gryan wrote: Sat Sep 10, 2022 1:03 am My thesis is that in Galatians, there is life in the "flesh" after "you have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires", but it is no longer the old ego that is master; rather, the flesh is Christ's flesh.
That sounds interesting, but I'm not sure what you mean. We see Paul mention Christ in terms of flesh, before he was crucified (seed of David, arising from the Jews, etc). But how would Paul see "Christ's flesh" after death? From what I can see, Paul thought Jesus became something else other than flesh.
Re: "We see Paul mention Christ in terms of flesh, before he was crucified"

Yes, however, Paul can also say this about the "now" of participation in the flesh/ in the faith of Christ (Gal 2:20):

2 Cor 4:11
For we who are alive are constantly being handed over to death for Jesus' sake,
so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our mortal flesh.
ἵνα καὶ ἡ ζωὴ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ φανερωθῇ ἐν τῇ θνητῇ σαρκὶ ἡμῶν.

The language is specific, "the life of Jesus" in mortal "flesh" is "manifested".

This is after "Those of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the sufferings and the desires."
"οἱ δὲ τοῦ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τὴν σάρκα ἐσταύρωσαν σὺν τοῖς παθήμασιν καὶ ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις (Gal 5:24)

In a sense, the flesh of "those of Christ" has become Christ's flesh.

It sounds strange, and I have not seen this claim made in any modern commentary, but Jerome's Commentary on Galatians (which is a mixed bag of quotations from various sources, mostly without citations of theses sources) has this to say about Gal 5:24:

“The death [Jesus] died, he died to sin once for all (see Col 2:15). Thus, if our bodies are members of Christ, then our flesh is the flesh of Christ. And while we are on earth we crucify it and through it we put to death impurity, lust, evil desire, and avarice… But it takes no small effort to live in the present age in such a way that the life of Jesus is revealed in our flesh right now, for our will accordingly be made alive through the Spirit who dwells within us.”

My thesis is that this is a correct exegesis of Paul's thought, and it is borne out by my re-readings of the flesh phrases of Galatians.
schillingklaus
Posts: 375
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2021 11:17 pm

Re: Is there life "in the flesh" after "you have crucified the flesh"? Gal 5:24

Post by schillingklaus »

This proves oncve more that the falsely so-called epistles assigned incorrectly to one fictitious Paul are late piecemeal with no literary unit.
gryan
Posts: 791
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:11 am

Re: Is there life "in the flesh" after "you have crucified the flesh"? Gal 5:24

Post by gryan »

@ schillingklaus

Ok, I accept that that's your point of view on what my interpretation "proves".
User avatar
GakuseiDon
Posts: 1614
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:10 pm

Re: Is there life "in the flesh" after "you have crucified the flesh"? Gal 5:24

Post by GakuseiDon »

gryan wrote: Sat Sep 10, 2022 7:01 amIn a sense, the flesh of "those of Christ" has become Christ's flesh.

It sounds strange, and I have not seen this claim made in any modern commentary, but Jerome's Commentary on Galatians (which is a mixed bag of quotations from various sources, mostly without citations of theses sources) has this to say about Gal 5:24:

“The death [Jesus] died, he died to sin once for all (see Col 2:15). Thus, if our bodies are members of Christ, then our flesh is the flesh of Christ. And while we are on earth we crucify it and through it we put to death impurity, lust, evil desire, and avarice… But it takes no small effort to live in the present age in such a way that the life of Jesus is revealed in our flesh right now, for our will accordingly be made alive through the Spirit who dwells within us.”

My thesis is that this is a correct exegesis of Paul's thought, and it is borne out by my re-readings of the flesh phrases of Galatians.
I'm afraid I can't wrap my head around what you are saying in terms of ancient thought. Still, as I said, it is an interesting idea worth pursuing. What conclusions/implications do you draw from the idea that Paul thought those in Christ have become Christ's flesh?
gryan
Posts: 791
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:11 am

Re: Is there life "in the flesh" after "you have crucified the flesh"? Gal 5:24

Post by gryan »

GakuseiDon wrote: Sun Sep 11, 2022 4:27 pm
gryan wrote: Sat Sep 10, 2022 7:01 amIn a sense, the flesh of "those of Christ" has become Christ's flesh.

It sounds strange, and I have not seen this claim made in any modern commentary, but Jerome's Commentary on Galatians (which is a mixed bag of quotations from various sources, mostly without citations of theses sources) has this to say about Gal 5:24:

“The death [Jesus] died, he died to sin once for all (see Col 2:15). Thus, if our bodies are members of Christ, then our flesh is the flesh of Christ. And while we are on earth we crucify it and through it we put to death impurity, lust, evil desire, and avarice… But it takes no small effort to live in the present age in such a way that the life of Jesus is revealed in our flesh right now, for our will accordingly be made alive through the Spirit who dwells within us.”

My thesis is that this is a correct exegesis of Paul's thought, and it is borne out by my re-readings of the flesh phrases of Galatians.
I'm afraid I can't wrap my head around what you are saying in terms of ancient thought. Still, as I said, it is an interesting idea worth pursuing. What conclusions/implications do you draw from the idea that Paul thought those in Christ have become Christ's flesh?
Yes, thanks for asking with respect to the original topic of this thread. This is a topic near and dear to my heart since I find that the notion of becoming "Christ's flesh" is very close to Paul's notion of manifesting "the life of Jesus" in our "mortal flesh". These notions provide a golden key to unlocking the long lost original grammar and sense of σαρκί (in the flesh) as it appears in Gal 2:20, 3:3 and 5:13, a topic I have dealt with at length elsewhere. On this thread, I'm deconstructing an overemphasis on the Spirit vs Flesh antithesis. I find that the real worry word for Paul is desire (epithumia), a word emphasized by the abbreviation of the command, "Thou shalt not ἐπιθυμίαν" (this word usually translated "covet" is more literally rendered, "desire" Rom 7:7). It is here in Romans 7 that Paul famously deals with the powerlessness of the "I" who does not do the good that he wills, but instead does the bad that he hates since "there is nothing good in me, that is in my flesh (σαρκί 7:18)". I contend that this is the problem of an "I" who is "under the law" that says "Thou shalt not desire".

This provides a frame for rereading the importance of "under the law" in Gal:

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the spirit
(ἡ γὰρ σὰρξ ἐπιθυμεῖ κατὰ τοῦ Πνεύματος),
but the [small "s" human]spirit [desires] what is contrary to the flesh
(τὸ δὲ Πνεῦμα [ ?? ] κατὰ τῆς σαρκός).
They are opposed to each other,
in order that you do not do what you want
(ἵνα μὴ ἃ ἐὰν θέλητε ταῦτα ποιῆτε).

But if you are led by the Spirit, you do not exist under the law
(εἰ δὲ Πνεύματι ἄγεσθε, οὐκ ἐστὲ ὑπὸ νόμον).

As I see it now, the spirit that desires is the human spirit, and this is the spirit of the human longing for the good. The opposing desire of the flesh makes this person powerless to do the good under the law that says this good thing: "Thou shalt not desire."

The only way to be led by the capital S Spirit of God is via "co-crucifixion". That is the path of "power in weakness made perfect/complete." That is transcendence of the opposition of desire vs desire: spiritual desire to do good things desire vs fleshly desire to do bad things.

So, then Paul says, "Walk in the capital S Spirit, and you will not carry out fleshly desire". This is a path of voluntary submission to the way of the cross modeled in the words attributed to Jesus,

Mark 14:36
And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I want (οὐ τί ἐγὼ θέλω), but what you [want] (ἀλλὰ τί σύ).”

Note the use of θέλω, "want" in both Mark and Galatians:

...in order that you do not do what you want
(ἵνα μὴ ἃ ἐὰν θέλητε ταῦτα ποιῆτε).

Ok, wait up. I'm changing my mind about this. Maybe it is the capital S Spirit that desires against the flesh--the Spirit desires release from the flesh, for Paul says,

"I am torn between the two: I desire (ἐπιθυμίαν) to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;
but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the flesh (τῇ σαρκὶ)."

The spirit does not get the release from the flesh that is desired.

Much to ponder. I'm still in process on this interpretation.
gryan
Posts: 791
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:11 am

Re: Is there life "in the flesh" after "you have crucified the flesh"? Gal 5:24

Post by gryan »

GakuseiDon wrote: Sat Sep 10, 2022 2:57 am
gryan wrote: Sat Sep 10, 2022 1:03 am My thesis is that in Galatians, there is life in the "flesh" after "you have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires", but it is no longer the old ego that is master; rather, the flesh is Christ's flesh.
That sounds interesting, but I'm not sure what you mean. We see Paul mention Christ in terms of flesh, before he was crucified (seed of David, arising from the Jews, etc). But how would Paul see "Christ's flesh" after death? From what I can see, Paul thought Jesus became something else other than flesh.
@GakuseiDon

Yes, I've been pondering your comments.

It seems to me that the pseudonymous book titled "1 Peter" (the title refers to Cephas/Peter the very person Paul confronts in Galatians) is in agreement with Paul about the one gospel, and is dealing with some of these same problems in Paul's thought when he writes the following "flesh" statements:

1 Peter 3:18
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit...

1 Peter 4:1-2
Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human desires (ἀνθρώπων ἐπιθυμίαις) but for the will of God (θελήματι Θεοῦ).

I am struck by the contrast between "human desires (ἀνθρώπων ἐπιθυμίαις)" and "the will of God (θελήματι Θεοῦ)" which interacts with the same focal text of this thread. For Paul, if you "do not carry out fleshly desire (ἐπιθυμίαν σαρκὸς)" "you do not do what you will (θέλητε)": i.e. you do not carry out human spiritual desires (good) due to opposition by to equally human fleshly desires (bad). In the inner war of desire vs desire, "you" humans are powerless to do what "you" want.

All of this drama happens, for 1 Peter, in the transition from following human desires to following God's will, the transition which leads into "the rest of the time in the flesh".

I note also that, like 1 Peter, 1 John (i.e. the brother of James son of Zebedee named among the apostles, "James, Cephas and John" in Gal 2:9) also contrasts human "desire" with God's "will":

1 John 15-17
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh (ἡ ἐπιθυμία τῆς σαρκὸς), the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not from the Father but from the world. The world is passing away, along with its desires (ἡ ἐπιθυμία αὐτοῦ); but whoever does the will of God (τὸ θέλημα τοῦ Θεοῦ) remains forever.

Likewise, the book of James (i.e. not "the Lord's brother," but the apostle James son of Alphaeus named first in Gal 2:9) considers human desire (as opposed to divine wisdom) the source of human a moral problems:

James 1:13-15
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when by his own desire (ῆς ἰδίας ἐπιθυμίας) he is lured away and enticed. Then the desire (ἡ ἐπιθυμία), having conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

So, I read the letters of 1 Peter and 1 John and James as supportive literary responses to Galatians, written in the names of the "James and Cephas and John" of Gal 2:9. In this context, the right hand of fellowship was honored by all involved parties, Paul's confrontation of Cephas and Barnabus in Gal 2:12 notwithstanding.

I find it odd that neither secular scholars nor conservative Christian interpreters have shined the light on the problem of human "desire" as a problem that is central both to Paul's moral argument in Galatians and to the letters attributed to James and 1 Peter and 1 John, which are IMHO obvious reader responses to Paul's teaching on "desire".
User avatar
GakuseiDon
Posts: 1614
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:10 pm

Re: Is there life "in the flesh" after "you have crucified the flesh"? Gal 5:24

Post by GakuseiDon »

gryan wrote: Sat Sep 10, 2022 1:03 amI find it odd that neither secular scholars nor conservative Christian interpreters have shined the light on the problem of human "desire" as a problem that is central both to Paul's moral argument in Galatians and to the letters attributed to James and 1 Peter and 1 John, which are IMHO obvious reader responses to Paul's teaching on "desire".
I think Paul is more explicit on the subject in Romans, where he writes about "dying in the flesh" in order to "live in the spirit".

For Paul, Christ came in the likeness of sinful flesh (Rom 8:3) but never sinned:

2 Cor 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

So your comment about becoming "Christ's flesh" made me think of Paul believing that if we "crucify" ourselves and become free of sin, then we would have the same kind of flesh as Christ: one without sin. I don't think it can be phrased as taking on "Christ's flesh" though

In Romans, Paul plays on the idea of being free from sin by dying/being baptised into Christ's death:

Rom.6
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.

...
18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
...
22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.


Paul's point is both metaphorical and metaphysical: Christians are dead to sin in the same way that Christ was dead to sin in life, and thus Christians will also be raised as sons of God just as Jesus was by the resurrection. As Paul continues in Rom 8:

Rom 8:
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.


I don't think Paul thought Christians were taking on Christ's flesh. Rather, accepting Christ meant a metaphorical/metaphysical death of the flesh so that the Spirit of God can live in one's body. IMHO this is something Paul thought happened to Jesus, and he thought this will happen to Christians as well. Since Paul (IMO) didn't think Jesus was raised in the flesh, I don't think he saw that happening with Christians as well. So I don't think Paul saw anything special about Christ's flesh, that Christians would have had to take it on.
Post Reply