St. Augustine Encourages You to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolution…

I’m sticking with the New Year’s Resolution theme this week, so its fitting that I talk to you about weight loss. Weight loss probably is at the top of most people’s New Year’s resolutions, so if you resolved to lose weight this year you are not alone! I was watching the Today show this morning and they put out some interesting statistics. 45% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions but only 8% of those Americans can say that they kept it by the end of the year! So if you are a “45 percenter” chances are not so good that you will keep your resolution. If you resolved to lose weight this year I’m sorry to say but your chances of doing it are not so good.

However my good friend St. Augustine has some words of encouragement for you! Its from his book Enchridion on Faith, Hope, and Love which was written to an educated Roman layman as a brief but comprehensive introduction to Christian teaching and doctrine. In case the title throws you off, Enchridion is a term that comes from the Greek for handbook. But don’t get too caught up on how intense the title sounds, it’s an enjoyable read and I suggest that you pick it up! Anyway, here is what St. Augustine has to say:

Nor does it necessarily follow that there shall be differences of stature among those who rise again, because they were of different statures during life, nor is it certain that the lean shall rise again in their former leanness, and the fat in their former fatness.

At this point it looks like Augustine is saying that it does not necessarily follow that we will have the same body-type in the resurrected state. In the new creation the lean (skinny) might no longer be skinny! The fat might no longer be fat! So you can look forward to looking like what you want to look like (or what God wants you to look like) in the New Creation! Ah but not so fast…

But if it is part of the Creator’s design that each should preserve his own peculiarities of feature, and retain a recognizable likeness to his former self, while in regard to other bodily advantages all should be equal, then the material of which each is composed may be so modified that none of it shall be lost…

It seems as though Augustine is saying that it is possible that God gives us resurrected bodies that preserve our features, that retain a recognizable likeness to our former selves. Yes we will be healthy and yes will be able to perform the same tasks as our other resurrected brothers and sisters will be able to do, so none will be superior to another but God might recreate us in such a way that none of the material that we are composed of will be lost. That is just a fancy way of saying, what you’ve got now is what you’ll have later. If you have some junk in your trunk God might make sure that you have junk in your trunk in your resurrected body. That means, If you don’t want junk in your trunk for the rest of eternity then you better get to work now, and literally work your butt off.

So be encouraged! According to St. Augustine your New Year’s Resolution might have eternal consequences!


Published by cwoznicki

Chris Woznicki is an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. He works as the regional training associate for the Los Angeles region of Young Life.

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