A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
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I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Saturday at the Cinema: Christianity Stands or Falls on the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus

I want to be very clear. To make the claim that Jesus was raised bodily does not mean that Jesus was simply resuscitated back to his pre-crucifixion existence. Rather, it is to claim that Jesus' resurrection to new life must have also involved his body; for God intends to redeem every aspect of creation, including our physical existence. Jesus was not resuscitated; he was resurrected. If God is going to bring a new creation, new life must reflect that new creation. The tomb was empty because what happened to Jesus on that first Easter Sunday involved, in some miraculous way, his flesh and bones and blood and sinews. The resurrected Jesus was, in the the words of Tom Wright, "a transformed physicality." If the early church's proclamation of resurrection did not involve Jesus' body, than the universe will continue to expand and decay only to collapse in on itself in billions of years; and the only hope we have for eternity is a disembodied Platonic existence for which the gospel is unnecessary.

5 comments:

Steven Carr said...

' If the early church's proclamation of resurrection did not involve Jesus' body....'

Well, Paul says flat-out that 'the last Adam became a life-giving spirit', and in 2 Corinthians 5 reminds them what will happen to them if their bodies are destroyed - they will get a new body.

Allan Bevere said...

Steven,

Thanks for your comments.

If I understand what you are saying, you are interpreting Paul's comments about Adam being a life-giving spirit in a dualistic way that Paul did not. The new body he speaks of is consistent with our earthly bodies. Just as Jesus' resurrected body was different but yet transformed, the same will be true of us.

Steven Carr said...

No, I am interpreting the word 'spirit' to mean the word 'spirit', just like Paul did.

Paul goes out of his way to tell the Corinthians the resurrected body is as different from the earthly body as a fish is different to the Moon.

Does a fish turn into the Moon?

Paul calls the Corinthians 'fools' and tells them that what goes into the ground dies.

The natural body is dead, and God creates a new body.

Just to make certain, Paul then disses the whole idea that resurrected beings are made from the dust that corpses become 'The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.'

Resurrected bodies are not made of the dust of the earth.

It is surprising what you can learn about the beliefs of the earliest Christians by reading what they wrote.

Allan Bevere said...

Steven,

I have read Paul for well over thirty years. It is amazing what you learn. Of course, unredeemed flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom. Once again, Paul is not offering a body spirit dualism. Our new bodies are not mere resuscitations of our current bodies, but what God will redeem, make new, will have a consistency with our current bodies. How God will do that and what how that will look remains to be seen. Do not forget, the same Paul of 2 Corinthians is the same Paul of First Corinthians who clear in chapter fifteen argues for the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and connects that with our resurrection. New does not refer to something completely unique; it refers to redemption.

Scott Endress said...

Spirit body means that Jesus doesn't have to clip his toe nails.