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Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
"To the followers of Pythagoras the world and its phenomena were all illusion. Centuries later the Egyptian [?] mystic Plotinus taught the same doctrine, that the external world is a mere phantom, and the mystical schools of Christianity took it up in turn. In every age the mystically inclined have delighted in dreaming that everything is a dream, the mere visible reflection of an invisible reality. In truth the delusion lies in the mind of the mystic, not in the things seen. The alleged untrustworthiness of our senses we flatly deny. We frequently misinterpret the messages they bring, it is true, but that is no fault of the senses. The interpretation of sense impressions is something to be learned; we never team it fully; we are liable to blunder through all our days, but that gives us no right to call our senses liars. It is our judgment, not the sense of sight, that is occasionally deceived. We not only wrong our honest senses but also lose our grip upon this most substantial world when we let mistaken metaphysics persuade us to doubt the testimony they bear. - Scientific American July 1875 Reprinted: July, 1975, p. 10B.
In certain circles of spiritual thought, it is fashionable to think that the problems of the human race are tied to our being physical. In trying to understand some aspects of the origin of evil, the mystery of iniquity if you will, it is held that the fall of mankind was in part if not in whole the result of some choice to inhabit a realm of time, dimension, tangible matter and form, and to have physical bodies with their aspects of needs and appetites. This development of otherwise "spiritual" beings is considered by some to be an unwise choice, one to open up the Pandora's box of carnality and the various enjoyments of fleshly needs and desires.
Some try to soften their negative judgment of physicality by thinking of this as an "innocent mistake".
Mistake or Intention?
Just to make the issue stark and clear, the physical, material realm of matter, dimension and form was either a mistake or it was what the creator intended; it was his selected medium for the panorama of creating real estate and having children and living and loving together. Why is it legitimate and/or intellectually responsible to the premise of an indefinable, timeless, dimensionless ideal state? Who can even imagine such a thing? Who would even want to go there?
Of course these features of a material existence include the aspects of the five physical senses, such as sight and enjoying visual aesthetics, taste and enjoying eating and drinking, hearing and enjoying sonic-based aesthetics including music, smell and the enjoyment of aromas, and tactile sense and the enjoyment of not only textures but also of sensual stimulation. What follows, it is sometimes thought that the ultimate evil culmination of this erroneous path was the development of sexual activity, which generally incorporates all of the physical senses. While much of religious sentiment accepts the more mundane aspects of physicality and pleasurable activity, it would ultimately exclude the sexual dimension of our experience.
Now, there is no question but that physicality in our world brings a plethora of problems, not the least of which is vulnerability to physical harm through injury and disease from a wide variety of agents of danger. It also brings a dependence upon a steady diet of food and drink, adequate temperature range, an environment supporting biological functionality and adequate operation of the physical senses. You not only need a very special atmosphere to breathe and to hear within, but you need light to see, and this has to be within a narrow range of frequency and intensity to be either beneficial or benign. There are also many other specifications for a life-support system or biosphere. We recognize all of this now comes along with the "inevitable?" deterioration that we experience just by living and aging.
Of course, another downside to physicality is that some people do descend into hedonism, which we will define as irresponsible pleasure seeking. And not just hedonism but dissolution, debasement, and degradation. But it doesn't follow that mere physicality would determine this, but rather that spiritual malaise or venality would induce it.
All of the above is dependent upon having a physical, or material universe. A universe of electrical particles, atoms, elements, molecules and various other structures built out of these parts. A functioning human body sits atop an enormous pyramid of atomic, chemical, and biological structures and systems that support it. In an ideal state of reality, why not dismiss all of this and just be "spiritual" beings that focus on the intellectual and emotional realms? My answer is a another question, "Who would want such a sterile, unbalanced existence?"
Jesus Cannot be Linked to Fostering Non-physicality
HOWEVER, whatever else you might think or say from your paradigm of reality, you cannot connect Jesus to this concept. You cannot hold that Jesus said ANYTHING to suggest that physicality was a proton psuedos, a fundamental mistake or an undesirable development! Most everything he said and did AFFIRMED physicality and health. Of course, not only did he eat and drink and breathe, but he clearly enjoyed these activities. His very first public miracle was to produce wine from water for the enjoyment of the wedding gala, and he fed the crowds when they were hungry. He went to dinner parties, and contrasted himself with the ascetic John the Baptist.
Not only did most of his miracles involve the healing of physical maladies, but he even did these out of compassion when he ran the risk of stirring up trouble with the religious authorities. Nowhere did he say to one suffering from a physical ailment that it was all in their mind, or an illusion, or that they should dismiss it as of no real consequence, or that they should mentally or through dint of will overcome the pain or the desire to be healed physically.
He didn't just go so far as to snatch people back from the brink of death, but also to resurrect some people, which included bringing back Lazarus. If physicality is an unwise or an unhealthy development made by fallen man in the scheme of things, I don't know how you can justify him doing this! If Lazarus was inevitably headed for the grave again, it is hard to understand how he could justify this otherwise premature resurrection anyway, regardless.
Not only was he offering physical immortality to those who believed his message and followed his directions—almost nobody, if not nobody—, but Jesus himself clearly didn't want to die. At the last hour in the garden he agonized with the father over his impending death, probably by raising the possibility that maybe there was something more that he could do or say that would make the difference to wake people up out of the intoxication of their religion, their paradigm of the other-than-human god of power and control instead of the human god of love and sharing. It is noteworthy in his overall support of physicality that next to the last act of Jesus was to say, "I thirst", and to drink when it was offered to him before saying, "It is finished".
And the capstone of his affirmation of physicality was his own resurrection, not just to a body but to the same body with the same features and replete with his recent wounds or scars. If the great secret of spiritual success is to transcend having a body, why would he do this? No, not only is the loss of having a physical body anathema to the ordinary individual, but it is not supported by ANYTHING that the J-person did or said.