Sarx and Soma – A Greek Word Study

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Sarx  and Soma – The  word Sarx is usually rendered as flesh (although some translations have places where they also render it biasedly as sinful nature) but here it is rendered as mortal flesh  in order to give a clearer understanding of what is meant by flesh. Sarx (mortal flesh) should be distinguished from Soma (body). Sarx is probably best described as specifically our current mortal (fallen) human state- that is the human body and its physical needs and desires that (if not controlled) leads toward selfish acts and motives. Soma should be distinguished from this in that it simply means a body. Now when we think of bodies (soma) as humans we naturally think of the flesh (with this in mind it can be seen that sometimes even in scripture the terms soma and sarx seem to be used interchangeably) but Soma is not limited to this fleshly bodily meaning. Instead, we had (before the fall) and will have after resurrection, bodies (soma) without the mortal flesh (or fleshy needs). Thus, while on earth humans have bodies (soma) made of flesh (sarx). A body (soma) can be used to describe non flesh bodies as well. Such as the church body (soma) or our resurrection bodies.

Interesting when looked into further in scripture we see also that there is a difference between our “soulish” body (soma) that would include the (sarx – mortal physical flesh) before death and a spiritual body (soma) that does not include the sarx (mortal flesh) after the resurrection.

It would be best then to translate these 2 words in different ways. While a body (soma) is not necessarily bad, it is the body that is in the fallen state of mortal flesh (sarx) that we currently live in and we are waging war against as Christians. The fact the flesh (sarx) is mortal and therefore will die makes it only concerned selfishly about gratifying itself and the desires of itself as a mortal (dying) flesh and its primary desires being focused on this world and its pleasures. However, we as Christians are called to follow the Spirit which does not consider our desires and worldly pursuits as the sarx (mortal flesh does) but instead the Spirit leads in light of and in the selfless and loving way of Jesus the anointed King, His coming Kingdom ,and inspires us to live in light of the Resurrection when we will rise again and receive spiritually immortal bodies (soma) to reign in His Kingdom of the next coming age that will come after this current age that is passing away and mortal.

4 comments

  1. Sarx/Sarkos is mortal and will die? On the contrary, to those who belong to Christ Jesus, estaurosan (Gal 5:24). Those who wait for a new body to solve all their moral problems miss the solution that is before them. That is how it seems to me at any rate.

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