One Flesh Union - Christ and the Church

De Maria's picture

What is the One Flesh Union concerning Christ and the Church?

I have posted a version of this question in the Biblical Studies because I believe it is a beautiful question to ponder. And another version in the interdenominational Discussions to see how we view this mystery as expressed in the Sacrament of Matrimony differently.

But I have really been waiting patiently and anxiously for quite a long time to post this particular question on this forum because in another discussion here, the Catholic view of the One Flesh Union between Christ and the Church was called blasphemous. Specifically this teaching from the Catechism.

795 Christ and his Church thus together make up the "whole Christ" (Christus totus). The Church is one with Christ. The saints are acutely aware of this unity:

Let us rejoice then and give thanks that we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself. Do you understand and grasp, brethren, God's grace toward us? Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ. For if he is the head, we are the members; he and we together are the whole man. . . . The fullness of Christ then is the head and the members. But what does "head and members" mean? Christ and the Church.

Our redeemer has shown himself to be one person with the holy Church whom he has taken to himself.

Head and members form as it were one and the same mystical person.

A reply of St. Joan of Arc to her judges sums up the faith of the holy doctors and the good sense of the believer: "About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they're just one thing, and we shouldn't complicate the matter."

Our understanding of the One Flesh Union between Christ and the Church is based upon this verse.
Ephesians 5:
30For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Now, it seems to me that our understanding lines up pretty well with Scripture.

And so, I posted this particular thread to see how your views contrast with the Catholic view of this greatest and most wonderful of mysteries.


De Maria

JeffLogan's picture

Responses to various

Responses to various questions.

jq "The word Christian itself means that we are 'like Christ.'"

DM "Where do you get that definition?"

jq -> the suffix -ian means like, or follower (disciple). So Christ-ian would be a follower of Christ, or a disciple, or Christ like.

jq "But the CCC statement goes one further saying we are more than simply like Christ (Christ-ian) we are Christ Himself."

dm "Why are you ignoring the fact that Jesus Himself said the same thing?"

jq -> but Jesus never said we were Him.

jq "If it does not mean that we are now gods then it is very misleading to say the least;"

dm "It doesn't mean that and it is not misleading at all. Especially since our Lord said the very same thing:

John 10:34Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?"

jq -> but "gods" here refers to judges or rulers of whom, the law also says, "you will die like mere men; you will fall like every other ruler." Did you think that the law called men gods, as Jesus is God?

jq "especially in light of the doctrine of the Eucharist which, by eating it, it is believed that the very body and blood of Christ are assimilated into our bodies. For they say, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you. But only say the word and I shall be healed." It is also said, "you are what you eat." Have then those who partake of the wafer become God Himself?"

dm "No, but they have been filled with the fullness of God and Christ lives in them.
Galatians 2:20
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

jq -> No? No what? I confused by this statement. No they haven't become God Himself?

jq "I could accept a statement which read, "we have become not only Christians, but the body of Christ himself." But the CCC statement does not refer to the body of Christ but to the person of Jesus Christ. It states, "we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself.""

dm "OK"

jq "While in the context one can perceive that the usage refers to His body--that is, the church (assembly of saints)--the words "we have become...Christ Himself" implant another idea which clouds the understanding."

dm "Yours perhaps. But I find it no stronger than the remark that we are His Body, His Flesh and His Bones. Nor any stronger than Christ saying to the persecutor of the Church, "Why persecutest thou Me?""

jq -> Make up your mind. Is it No or is it Yes. Are they God Himself or not?

jq "Personally, I think it is a poor choice of words and as such is misleading. Calling oneself God is blasphemy and I see that in this statement that is exactly what the words say: "we have become...[GOD] Himself""

dm "1. You are reading into the statement your own meaning. Therefore, you are not offended by that which it actually says, but by that which you imagine it says."

jq -> Do I imagine it says "we have become...Christ Himself"? No, that is exactly how it reads. I simply left out the conjunctive pair "not only...but" which I think is grammatically permissible and certainly helps simplify the statement highlighting the error.

dm "2. I see your logic. Since Christ is God, then calling oneself Christ is calling oneself God. You must therefore be equally appalled at the fact that Christ equated the Church with God when HE SAID, "Why persecutest thou ME?""

jq -> No, because Christ often equated ill treatment of others with ill treatment of Himself. He takes it very personally because we are His creation. His spirit moves among us and we cooperate with His purposes and as such we become effectively an extension of Himself. But though we can be partakers of His divine nature, we do not become divine ourselves.

jq "God created man in His image. Satan promised we could become gods. "ye shall be as gods." Gen 3:5 (KJV). So anyone or anything promising me I can become God should raise a red flag."

dm "Christ said, "ye are gods" (John 10:34)."

jq -> Here the word gods refers to rulers and judges. See above.

jq "We are admonished to be holy as God is holy and to walk as Jesus walked. To desire to be Christ-like. Lucifer desired to be like God. Not Christ-like, but rather His vicar (substitute). He wanted to be exalted in place of God. "I will be like the most High." Isaiah 14:14 (KJV)."

dm "You're imagination is certainly revved up today. I never knew that Lucifer wanted to represent Christ as His Vicar. Vicar means representative. Not replacement."

jq -> the word "vicar" means substitute and has been adopted and adapted by the RCC to designate officers of the church who stand-in for another. Much like a substitute teacher.

dm "The Pope is the Vicar of Christ because Christ appointed an office of Pastor over His Church:"

jq -> Yet we learned earlier that Christ is the head of his church. Does the Pope substitute lead as the head of the church? Has Christ abdicated?

dm quoted "John 21:16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep."

jq -> Was Peter to feed them bread of his own making or was he to feed them the bread from heaven, the living Word of God? Thus, Christ remains the head of the church and Peter simply doles out the portions as he has been supplied. Freely he received, freely he gave.

dm "Not for St. Peter to kick Christ out and take Christ's place but for St. Peter to represent Christ to the world."

jq -> exactly! So there is no head of the church, the body of Christ, other than Christ. No one can stand in for Christ, or be His vicar, as long as He is lives.

jq "So it would seem that to be Christ-like would be desirable, but to desire to be like God would not."

dm "And Jesus words are thrown by the wayside. What happened to your plumbline:"

jq -> No, not thrown by the wayside but rather properly understood in the context of the whole of scripture.

dm quoted "Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

jq -> Yes, we are to be perfect in our sphere as God is perfect in His. As God is perfect in the performance of His duties, so we are to be perfect in the performance of our duties. We should covet the best gifts and to be like Christ but we are not to covet God's position.

jq "That is why I have difficulty interpreting this CCC statement "by the same scriptural passages and reasoning powers God has given every man." Something just doesn't ring true."

dm "I suppose that's your opinion. I leave it to the readers to decide which opinion lines up better with Scripture, yours or mine."

jq -> Please allow me to help your case. "And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." 1 Cor 10:4 (KJV). Even rocks can be gods, too.


De Maria

Thank you for your response. Please consider mine.


“The path of true piety is so plain as to require
but little political direction.” --George Washington,
re: absence of "Jesus Christ" in U.S. Constitution.

Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. -Proverbs 18:2 NIV