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September 20, 2005

Ch. XXXI. Q. 164. What is the doctrine of the Resurrection of the Dead?

THE DOCTRINE of the Resurrection of the dead is that at the second coming of Christ all men will rise with the bodies with which they lived on earth, so as to be judged and rewarded or punished in the body for the deeds done therein.1

2. The language of Holy Scripture concerning the Resurrection is not metaphorical; for (a.) in some passages a distinction is implied between the physical resurrection and the spiritual one.2 The phrase "spiritual body" is misleading if it refers to a pure spirit. But if understood to refer to the flesh as dominated by the spirit, it is clear; and the antithesis is brought out between the owua Uvxikov and the owua πveuuatikov, as between the body under the control of animal propensities and the same body supernaturally elevated, transfigured and controlled by the spirit:3 (b.) The resurrection of the faithful is declared to be a future event, which would not be the case if it coincided with spiritual regeneration4: (c.) If it were purely spiritual, the wicked would not rise5: (d.) Holy Scripture asserts a redemption of the body6: (e.) Christ, Who is declared to be the first fruits of them that slept7, rose with flesh and bones and now sitteth therein at the right hand of the Father.8

3. It should be noticed, in answer to scientific objectors, that (a.) the identity of the body does not in this life depend upon a perpetual identity of the material particles contained in it; and the Faith does not require such identity after death, but a continuity and numerical sameness of the organism which persists in and outlasts the state of dissolution.9 (b.) The material substance of flesh cannot be proved to be a hindrance to the spirit in glory, if the wonders of electricity and the unrealized potentialities of grace are taken into account. We know very little as to the nature and capacity of matter.10

4. The power of God,is sufficient in itself to account for the resurrection of men's bodies; but we know that the bodies of the saints will be raised and changed because of Christ's resurrection and by the quickening principle imparted to them through their union with the Body of Christ in Baptism. This quickening principle gradually transforms the physical body from within so that it becomes a spiritual body, and the spiritual body is nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ in the Holy Eucharist.11 The process will be completed at the last day, so that what is sown in corruption, having put on incorruption, will be raised in glory.12

5. At the last trump the dead will be changed in an instant.13 The bodies of the saints after their resurrection will possess four characteristics: (a.) subtlety, or perfect plasticity and subjection to the spirit14; (b.) agility, or ease of movement and freedom from weariness15: (c.) impassibility, or freedom from pain, disease and death16: (d.) glory, with which they will shine as the sun.17 The bodies of the wicked will, no doubt, have contrary characteristics, save that like those of the saints they cannot enter a state of dissolution. Their worm dieth not.18

1 Job XIV. 12-25: XIX. 23-27: Isa. XXVI. 19: Ezek. XXXVII. 1-14: S. John V. 28, 29: Acts XXIV. 15:1. Cor. XV. 13: Phil. III. 21:1. Thess. IV. 14-16: II. Pet. III. 7, 10, 13: Rev. XX. 13: XXI. 1, 5. Pearson on the Creed, XI: S. Thos., III. sup. 77-86 vel 88: Forbes' N. Creed, 306-315: Maclear's Introd. to the Creeds, XI: Schouppe, 165-185, 222-229: Liddon's Eastertide Ser., XXIII: Mason's Faith of the Gosp., XI. 3: Milligan's Resurrec. of the Dead.

2 S. John V. 28: Phil. III. 21: I. Thess. IV. 13-17

3 Chandler, The Spirit of Man, II. espec. pp. 49 et seq.

4 II. Tim. II. 18

5 Dan. XII. 2: Acts XXIV. 15

6 Rom. VIII. 23: I. Cor. VI. 13-20

7 I. Cor. XV. 13-23

8 S. Luke XXIV. 39: S. John XX. 27. A. H. Strong's Syst. Theol., p. 576: Pearson, 663-676: Milligan.

9 I. Cor. XV. 53, 54. A. H. Strong, 578-580

10 Rom. VIII. 23: II. Cor. V. 4: Phil. III. 11: Ephes. V. 29. Pearson, 656-663, 670-676: S. Thos. III. sup. 81.

11 S. John VI. 54-58

12 Rom. VIII. 11:1. Cor. XV. 20, 42-44: Col. 1.18. S. Thos., III. sup. 77, 78: Forbes on the Creed, 235, 307, 308.

13 I. Cor. XV. 51, 52

14 I. Cor. XV. 44

15 Wisd. III. I

16 I. Cor. XV. 42, 52, 53: Rev. XXI. 4

17 Dan. XII. 3: S. Matt. XIII. 43

18 Psa. CXLIX. 8: Isa. LXVI. 24: S. Mark IX. 43-48: Isa. XIII. 8. S. Thos., III. sup. 83-88: Percival's Digest, 179: Maclear, 280-285: Schouppe, XIX. 182, 183, 222-239: Blunt's Theol. Dic., "Body Natural," "Body Spiritual."

Posted by Trevor at September 20, 2005 09:56 PM