what is tob?

TOB, is the title given to a series of 129 talks given by Pope John Paul II from 1979-1984 based on a text he wrote before his election as the Bishop of Rome.  JP2 offers other titles to the work including “Male and Female He Created Them” and “Human Love in the Divine Plan.” 


TOB is not a presentation of new truths of our faith, but instead, organizes ancient truth into a portrait of our salvation history that describes vocational life lived according to that story. Although the teaching is not new, JP2 provides new terms and a new structure for presenting the answers to the questions of why we were created and what is our purpose in life. 


TOB is a biblical reflection which unfolds a beautiful, tragic, and glorious story of how Christ’s intervention in human history provides the opportunity and guidance for humanity to experience redemption and deep union with Him and with each other, now and forever. 


“In TOB, JPII left us the core of his great vision… a vision focused on the mystery of love that reaches from the Trinity through Christ’s spousal relation with the Church to the concrete bodies of men and women” (TOB intro p. 128).    Therefore, JP2 proposes that there is a “language of the body” that has the ability to speak the truth that we are meant to be a gift.   “The body…has been created to transfer into the visible reality of the world the mystery hidden from eternity in God, and thus be a sign of it” (TOB 19:4).  What is this mystery?  God is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and He has destined us to share in that exchange (CCC 221).  There truly is no better news.  


However, when human beings live contrary to this truth by neglecting the objective reality that human beings are both body and soul, then humanity will suffer.  TOB is the antidote, the response that the world needs now. 



TOB will help students realize that sacrificial love is the pathway to participation in the divine mystery. 


Theology of the Body:  The study of God and the purpose of our existence as discovered and revealed through our bodies.

Comprehend and articulate that the story (salvation history) of humanity includes:


  1. From all eternity, God is infinite happiness as self-giving love, Father, Son, and Spirit.

  2. God’s original plan for us to share in His infinite happiness is etched in our creation as male and female, and our call to become one flesh through self-giving love (Genesis 1 – 2).

  3. This plan was distorted by the Enemy’s (Satan) lies, which led Adam and Eve to distrust the fatherhood of God, resulting in “the Fall” and alienation from God (Genesis 3).

  4. Through Jesus’ self-giving love (his life, death, and resurrection), God acted on humanity’s behalf, and restored us to communion with Him in the redemption of the body (Romans 8:23).

That redemption is made available to us today through the Church, Christ’s bride.

  1. Humanity’s destiny, the final stage of this plan, is seen in the resurrection of the body and will be experienced in the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, known as Heaven (Revelation 19:7).


  • “is based on masculinity and femininity, which are, as it were, two different ‘incarnations’, that is, two ways in which the same human being, created ‘in the image of God’ is a body” (TOB 8:1, CCC 369).

  • “We can deduce that man became the image of God not only through his own humanity, but also through the communion of persons, which man and woman form from the very beginning” (TOB 9:3, CCC 1702).

Theology of the Body Cleveland >

TOB Cleveland’s mission is to journey with the people in the Diocese of Cleveland as they encounter Jesus through Theology of the Body. 

Join us in our mission!

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitter


T: ‪‪(216) 302-8594‬

E: jenricard@tobcle.org

© 2019 by Theology of the Body Cleveland