Beth Moore has been binge-watching 3rd Rock from the Sun reruns. That’s the only gracious explanation I can come up with for why she thought it a good idea to tweet that our Savior “gave Himself on the cross…wearing a brown body”.
For those of you who were toddling through the late ‘90s, 3rd Rock from the Sun is a sitcom about four alien beings who inhabit the human bodies of an American family. In the course of their mission, they must learn what it means to be human while dealing (often hilariously) with the new bodies in which they’ve been placed.
But as much as I enjoy the delightful antics of the Solomon family, I don’t think we should be gleaning theological insight from the popular tropes of body hopping and swapping. Here’s the tweet that was so staggering in its misunderstanding of the incarnation, it nearly made me jump out of my own skin:
Yikes! Calling out white supremacy certainly isn’t theological rocket science, but that butchering of the incarnation was nothing short of heresy. Not only was this message liked and retweeted thousands of time, it was also featured as her pinned tweet. Ladies, we can do better. We must.
So, was Jesus wearing a brown body? To answer this question biblically we must start with the incarnation. The incarnation is the defining moment of history, when the second person of the Trinity became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Jesus is the second Adam, fulfilling prophecy and succeeding where the first man had failed (Genesis 3:15; 1 Cor. 15:45).
It is critical to understand that Jesus’ body was not merely an illusion as would have been argued in Docetism. Nor did he have a human body and a divine mind as the Apollinaris suggested. Jesus is the God-man, fully God and fully man (Colossians 2:9). In 1 Timothy, Paul, through inspiration of the Holy Spirit, emphasizes Jesus’ humanity in His mediatorial role (2:5-6). He calls Him, “the man Christ Jesus”.
What does it mean to be fully man? Personhood theory would have you believe there is no synergy between the spiritual and physical, no intrinsic tie between that which is material (body) and immaterial (spirit). Instead, our present culture has resurrected the gnostic idea of dualism, the separation between spirit and flesh, mind and body. Gilbert Ryle, a 20th century Brit, pegged this Cartesian phenomenon as the “ghost in the machine” whereby a person inhabits a body in much the same way one would animate a sock puppet.
This is the reason Sally Solomon, the alien mission’s security officer, is so disappointed to be stuck as the woman. There’s Sally Solomon, female human, and the extraterrestrial lieutenant trapped inside her. We can most clearly see this thinking embedded in the transgender movement. I am not my body is the postmodern cry. Whether she realizes it or not, Beth Moore is affirming a pagan ideal that undermines the incarnation.
“Why should I be concerned about gaining weight? My body is just the vehicle that carries my brain around – and my brain deserves a smooth, luxurious ride.”Dick Solomon, 3rd rock from the sun
To answer the eyebrow-raising question plainly: No, Jesus was not wearing a brown body. The doctrine of the hypostatic union is clear that Jesus’ humanity and divinity exist in one personal union. Fully God and fully man, Jesus is the only one who can satisfy God’s wrath on behalf of His people, a wrath we justly deserve (Romans 5:8, John 3:36). He did not inhabit a body, like the aliens in 3rd Rock, only to have it discarded when His mission was complete. After His resurrection, He did not shrug off His body as if it were an overcoat. His body was glorified, He ascended, and He is now seated at the right hand of the Father (Mark 16:19).
“See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”Luke 24:39, ESV
As Christians, we do not seek to escape our bodily existence as is the prevalent mindset in many religions. This flesh is not a cage. Instead, we long for the day when we will have a resurrected body as Christ does, not looking to be unclothed but further clothed (2 Cor. 5:4).
Recommended Reading: Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality by Nancy R. Pearcey