Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

the physical/spiritual distinction



According to  prevalent theology, there is another realm in which God dwells. It is the realm of the spirit, an unseen, remote reality which cannot be experienced until after physical death and perhaps some sort of transformation in which our physical envelop serves as the seed for a new spiritual body.


This belief that we are physical beings, experiencing life in the physical realm as a prelude to a future spiritual existence, has flavored human history in many ways. One effect has been to minimize the importance of what happens to us in this life and to focus instead on what we must do to facilitate and maximize our well being after our ultimate transition to a spiritual being. The effects of the minimization have been largely detrimental to our current situation and wellbeing.


If this life is merely a test to determine where we end up spiritually in a next life, then beyond what it takes to assure our happiness in that future life, our attitudes, behaviors, human relationships, and circumstances in this life are relatively insignificant. Much of the rhetoric of institutional Christianity and much of its history reflects this very idea.


For any who deny that we exist to prove ourselves worthy of God, the question becomes this: Why are we here?  What is the meaning of our physical existence if God is detached from and unconcerned with our life here and now? Are we, in fact, created as a physical being who must later transition to a spiritual one? Or are we something else entirely?


Some who have pondered this issue have concluded that we are not a physical being seeking to become spiritual, but rather an eternal spiritual being who develops through the human experience into a more fully developed spiritual being. As Teilhard de Chardin famously said:


You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience.