"You have never written a truly spiritual novel," the cop told him. He spoke slowly, enunciating each word with care. "It is your great unrecognized failing, and it is at the center of your petulant, self-indulgent behavior. You mock the God who created you, and in doing so you mortify your own pneuma and glorify the mud which is your sarx. Do you understand me?-Steven King, Desperation
Johnny opened his mouth, then closed it again. To speak or not to speak, that was the question.
The cop solved the dilemma for him. Without looking up from the wheel, without so much as a glance into the rearview mirror, he placed the double barrels of the shotgun on his right shoulder and pointed them back through the wire mesh. Johnny moved instinctively, sliding to the left, trying to get away from those huge dark holes.
Although the cop still did not look up, the muzzles of the gun tracked him as precisely as a radar-controlled servomotor.
He might have a mirror in his lap, Johnny thought, and then: But what good would that do? He wouldn't see anything but the roof of the fucking car. What the hell is going on here?
"Answer me," the cop said. His voice was dark and brooding. His head was still bent. The hand not holding the shotgun continued to tap at the wheel, and another gust of wind hammered the cruiser, driving sand and alkali dust against the window in a fine spray. "Answer me now. I won't wait. I don't have to wait. There's always another one coming along. So ... do you understand what I just told you?"
"Yes," Johnny said in a trembling voice. "Pneuma is the old Gnostic word for spirit. Sarx is the body. You said, correct me if I'm wrong --" Just not with the shotgun, please don't correct me with the shotgun. "-- that I've ignored my spirit in favor of my body. And you could be right. You could very well be right."
He moved to the right again. The shotgun muzzles tracked his movements precisely, although he could swear that the springs of the backseat made no sound beneath him and the cop could not see him unless he was using a television monitor or something.
"Don't toady to me," the cop said wearily. "That will only make your fate worse."
"I..." He licked his lips. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to--"
"Sarx is not the body; soma is the body. Sarx is the flesh of the body. The body is made of flesh -- as the word was reputedly made flesh by the birth of Jesus Christ -- but the body is more than the flesh that makes it. The sum is greater than the parts. Is that so hard for an intellectual such as yourself to understand?"
The shotgun barrel, moving and moving. Tracking like an autogyro.
"Thought of it that way? Oh please. Even a spiritual naïf like you must understand that a chicken dinner is not a chicken. Pneuma...soma...and s-s-s--"
All of which is to say: the body without spirit is flesh. The spirit, if it exists without body, is a ghost. The soul is the shoreline where the body meets the spirit. It is only in the joining of spirit (or perhaps you prefer to call it will) with body, that we see the emergence of soul.
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