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The Human Body as a Source of Symbolism in Christianity

Contrary to prevailing public impression, the human body has been throughout history, and continues to be today, one of the principal symbols of the sacred. Genesis refers to humanity as having been created "in the image and likeness of God." New Testament writers refer to the body as the "temple of God." "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God?" 1 Cor: 6.


Michelangelo's paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome are the best know examples of this. Check out these remarkable images here.

More Symbols of Christianity: 

Index of Christian Symbols

The Face of Jesus as a Symbol of Faith
The Face of Jesus as a symbolic construct.

Pop Christianty
Pray, How Often? Pop culture and commerical images in service to the Christian faith ... or is it Christianity in service to commercialism? You decide.

The symbolic power of simple shapes
Even shapes are symbolic in Christianity.

The significance of color in Christian symbolism
The meaning of color in Christian symbolism

Food symbols in Christian tradition
Food symbols in Christian tradition

Doves, Eagles, and Sparrows
Doves, Eagles, and Sparrows ... birds as symbols of the divine.

The Fish
The fish has been an important Christian symbol, not only because of the fact that Jesus included several fishermen in his close circle, but also because The initial letters of each word in the Greek phrase "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior" form the word ICHTHUS, which means "fish."

Christian ship symbols
Christian ship symbols

The Ankh Cross
The Ankh Cross is an ancient Egyptian symbol for life, combining the feminine circle and masculine staff to form the whole. It was adapted by early Christians because of its resemblance to the cross.

The Jerusalem Cross
Jerusalem Cross

The Maltese Cross
The Maltese Cross

Charles Henderson

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The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and author of Faith, Science and the Future, published in 1994 by CrossCurrents Press. He is also the author of God and Science (John Knox / Westminster, 1986) which he is now rewriting to incorporate more recent developments in the conversation taking place between scientists and theologians. He has also written widely for such publications as The New York Times, The Nation, Commonweal, The Christian Century and others.

For further information about Charles Henderson.