Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality
Nancy R. Pearcey
Baker Books, 2018. £12.00
'Human life and sexuality have become the watershed moral issues of our age.' So begins Love Thy Body. Many Christians would agree, looking at the debates on newspapers involving anyone from Saracens rugby player Billy Vinupola to US actor Laverne Cox, or Jacob Rees-Mogg MP.
Pearcey aims to talk about the underlying philosophies and theologies behind human life and sexuality. Her book looks at the fundamental principles and how they illuminate each topic, rather than approaching each 'issue' in turn.
The result is a cohesive and substantive work equipping the reader with strong foundations on a range of topics such as sexual promiscuity, abortion, transgender, homosexuality and euthanasia.
Pearcey considers the idea of a mind-body split, on which secular morality is frequently based. A person is seen as
a soul within a body and therefore our bodies have little to reveal about our identity. Rather, it is our minds that instruct our bodies on their meaning.
This implies that your body does not reveal anything about your sex, sexual orientation, value or personhood.
This is not what we see in the Bible.
The Bible reveals that the human is a unified entity of mind, body and soul. Indeed, the second person of the Trinity came down incarnate (in-carne - in flesh) in the person of Jesus.
The unity of mind-body-soul in one being impacts how we live out the truth of the gospel. Pearcey shows how this good news has changed cultures: early Christian communities recognised the innate dignity of women and affirmed and defended the value of newborns and children.
With a study guide at the book's end to help the material seep in, this is the book to read this year for Christian medical students and deals with topics and world views that will come up both in and out of work.
Grace Petkovic is a junior doctor in north west England