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CHAPTER THIRTEEN

 

               CHRISTIAN BELIEF IN RESURRECTION

 

Christians base their belief in resurrection on the resurrection of Jesus  which is the first fruit which is to be followed by the resurrection  and redemption of Man and the whole creation.

Romans 8: 22 -23 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.  

This is essentially based on the concept that Man is created with the body.  Without the body Man cannot be Man.  In the creation of Man, God breathed into material form of body and Man became a living soul.   Thus in all declaration of faith we have the clear assertion of resurrection of the body.

 

 

The last clause of the “Apostles’ Creed”, clearly states the Christian belief

"I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.  Amen."

(This is considered to be the earliest seed of all later creeds.  By tradition it is attributed to the twelve Apostles. The earliest written version of the creed is perhaps the Interrogatory Creed of Hippolytus (ca. A.D. 215). The current form is first found in the writings ofCaesarius of Arles (A.D542).

When the Apostles’ Creed was formulated, no explicit mention was made of the soul. But this omission was intended to guard against any idea that the soul dies and is raised up again with the body. One other reason for speaking only of the resurrection of the body was to refute the first-century heresy of Hymeneus and Philetus. They claimed that biblical references to the resurrection are not concerned with the body, but only with the soul’s rising from the death of sin to the life of grace.

 

What we have in the Creed, therefore, is a profession of belief in the real resurrection of the body.

 

The Nicene Creed

"We confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins; we look for a resurrection of the dead and life in the age to come. Amen" (Nicene Creed  A.D. 381). 

Nicene Creed simply states that all men will come back to life and will have a life in the coming age.

The Athanasian Creed

"[Jesus Christ] sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there he shall come to judge the living and the dead; at his coming all men have to rise again with their bodies and will render an account of their own deeds; and those who have done good will go into life everlasting, but those who have done evil, into eternal fire [Rom. 2:6–11]. This is the Catholic faith, unless everyone believes this faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved"

(Athanasian Creed [A.D. 400]). 


In the Old Testament, the clearest revelation about the immortality of the soul is found in the Book of Wisdom. We are told:

"The souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God, no torment shall ever touch them. In the eyes of the unwise, they did appear to die, their going looked like a disaster, their leaving us like annihilation; but they are in peace. If they experienced punishment as men see it, their hope was rich with immortality; slight was their affliction, great will their blessing be." (Wisdom 3:1-4).

Matthew (27:52-53) clearly states that ‘tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.  They came our of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people’.

 

Evidently all the Gospels proclaims the resurrection as recombining of body and soul under the power of the Spirit of God which continue to sustain Man as a trinity - Body, Soul and Spirit.

The faith is asserted through the ages by the Church fathers.

 

Official Catholic Teaching on Bodily Resurrection

Excerpted from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

 988 The Christian Creed - the profession of our faith in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and in God's creative, saving, and sanctifying action - culminates in the proclamation of the resurrection of the dead on the last day and in life everlasting.

989 We firmly believe, and hence we hope that, just as Christ is truly risen from the dead and lives for ever, so after death the righteous will live for ever with the risen Christ and he will raise them up on the last day. Our resurrection, like his own, will be the work of the Most Holy Trinity.

 997 What is "rising"? In death, the separation of the soul from the body, the human body decays and the soul goes to meet God, while awaiting its reunion with its glorified body. God, in his almighty power, will definitively grant incorruptible life to our bodies by reuniting them with our souls, through the power of Jesus' Resurrection.

998 Who will rise? All the dead will rise, "those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment."

999 How? Christ is raised with his own body: "See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself"; but he did not return to an earthly life. So, in him, "all of them will rise again with their own bodies which they now bear," but Christ "will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body," into a "spiritual body":

But someone will ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?" You foolish man! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body which is to be, but a bare kernel. . . . What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. . . . The dead will be raised imperishable. . . . For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality. (1 Cor. 15)

1001 When? Definitively "at the last day," "at the end of the world." Indeed, the resurrection of the dead is closely associated with Christ's Parousia:

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven, with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. (1 Thess. 4:16)

Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/2004/07/Official-Catholic-Teaching-On-Bodily-Resurrection.aspx#AigxHMEeOVtgZZiv.99

 

Early Church Fathers

 

Pope Clement I (c AD 100)

Pope Clement I, also known as Saint Clement of Rome, is listed as Bishop of Rome from an early date, holding office from 92 to his death in 99. He is considered to be the first Apostolic Father of the Church

"Let us consider, beloved, how the Master is continually proving to us that there will be a future resurrection, of which he has made the Lord Jesus Christ the firstling, by raising him from the dead. Let us look, beloved, at the resurrection which is taking place seasonally. Day and night make known the resurrection to us. The night sleeps, the day arises. Consider the plants that grow. How and in what manner does the sowing take place? The sower went forth and cast each of the seeds onto the ground; and they fall to the ground, parched and bare, where they decay. Then from their decay the greatness of the master’s providence raises them up" (Letter to the Corinthians 24:1–6 [A.D. 80]). 

Polycarp of Smyrna (AD 69– 160)

 

Burghers michael saintpolycarp.jpg
It is recorded by Irenaeus, who heard him speak in his youth, and by Tertullian,  that he had been a disciple of John the Apostle

 

"Whoever perverts the sayings of the Lord for his own desires, and says that there is neither resurrection nor judgment, such a one is the firstborn of Satan. Let us, therefore, leave the foolishness and the false-teaching of the crowd and turn back to the word which was delivered to us in the beginning" (Letter to the Philippians 7:1–2 [A.D. 135]). 

Aristides  

 

 

"Christians have the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ himself impressed upon their hearts, and they observe them, awaiting the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come" (Apology 15 [A.D. 140]). 

Second Clement

"Let none of you say that this flesh is not judged and does not rise again. Just think: In what state were you saved, and in what state did you recover your [spiritual] sight, if not in the flesh? In the same manner, as you were called in the flesh, so you shall come in the flesh. If Christ, the Lord who saved us, though he was originally spirit, became flesh and in this state called us, so also shall we receive our reward in the flesh. " (Second Clement 9:1–6 [A.D. 150]). 

Justin Martyr

Justin Martyr ( c. 100 – 165 AD) puts it directly and simply as follows:

"Indeed, God calls even the body to resurrection and promises it everlasting life. When he promises to save the man, he thereby makes his promise to the flesh. What is man but a rational living being composed of soul and body? Is the soul by itself a man? No, it is but the soul of a man. Can the body be called a man? No, it can but be called the body of a man. If, then, neither of these is by itself a man, but that which is composed of the two together is called a man, and if God has called man to life and resurrection, he has called not a part, but the whole, which is the soul and the body" (The Resurrection 8 [A.D. 153]). 

 

"The prophets have proclaimed his two comings. One, indeed, which has already taken place, was that of a dishonored and suffering man. The second will take place when, in accord with prophecy, he shall come from the heavens in glory with his angelic host, when he shall raise the bodies of all the men who ever lived. Then he will clothe the worthy in immortality, but the wicked, clothed in eternal sensibility, he will commit to the eternal fire along with the evil demons" (First Apology 52 [A.D. 151]). 

In the Dialogue with Trypho (AD 155), part one, chapter 4 Justin Martyr clearly disputes the theory of reincarnation as transmigration of souls.  It is a discussion with Trypho the Jew:

The old man: "What, then, is the advantage to those who have seen [God]? Or what has he who has seen more than he who has not seen, unless he remember this fact, that he has seen?"
Justin: "I cannot tell," I answered.
The old man: "And what do those suffer who are judged to be unworthy of this spectacle?"

Justin: "[According to Plato] They are imprisoned in the bodies of certain wild beasts, and this is their punishment."
The old man: "Do they know, then, that it is for this reason they are in such forms, and that they have committed some sin?"
Justin: "I do not think so."
The old man: "Then these reap no advantage from their punishment, as it seems: moreover, I would say that they are not punished unless they are conscious of the punishment."
Justin: "No indeed."
The old man: "Therefore souls neither see God nor transmigrate into other bodies; for they would know that so they are punished, and they would be afraid to commit even the most trivial sin afterwards. But that they can perceive that God exists, and that righteousness and piety are honourable, I also quite agree with you," 

Justin: "You are right," 


Tatian the Syrian

"We believe that there will be a resurrection of bodies after the consummation of all things" (Address to the Greeks 155 [A.D. 170]). 

Theophilus of Antioch

"God will raise up your flesh immortal with your soul; and then, having become immortal, you shall see the immortal, if you will believe in him now; and then you will realize that you have spoken against him unjustly. But you do not believe that the dead will be raised. When it happens, then you will believe, whether you want to or not " (To Autolycus 1:7–8 [A.D. 181]). 

Irenaeus

 

"For the Church, although dispersed throughout the whole world even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and from their disciples the faith in . . . the raising up again of all flesh of all humanity, in order that to Jesus Christ our Lord and God and Savior and King, in accord with the approval of the invisible Father, every knee shall bend of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue shall confess him, and that he may make just judgment of them all" (Against Heresies 1:10:1–4 [A.D. 189]). 

 

Irenaeus, referred to by some as Saint Irenaeus, was Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, then a part of the Roman Empire. He was an early Church Father and apologist, and his writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology

In his  treatise Against Heresies (Book II), in the 33rd chapter  Iraneus refutes the concept of reincarnation as follows:

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"Chapter XXXIII.—Absurdity of the doctrine of the transmigration of souls.

1. We may subvert their doctrine as to transmigration from body to body by this fact, that souls remember nothing whatever of the events which took place in their previous states of existence. For if they were sent forth with this object, that they should have experience of every kind of action, they must of necessity retain a remembrance of those things which have been previously accomplished, that they might fill up those in which they were still deficient, and not by always hovering, without intermission, round the same pursuits, spend their labour wretchedly in vain (for the mere union of a body [with a soul] could not altogether extinguish the memory and contemplation of those things which had formerly been experienced3281), and especially as they came [into the world] for this very purpose. For as, when the body is asleep and at rest, whatever things the soul sees by herself, and does in a vision, recollecting  many of these, she also communicates them to the body; and as it happens that, when one awakes, perhaps after a long time, he relates what he saw in a dream, so also would he undoubtedly remember those things which he did before he came into this particular body. For if that which is seen only for a very brief space of time, or has been conceived of simply in a phantasm, and by the soul alone, through means of a dream, is remembered after she has mingled again with the body, and been dispersed through all the members, much more would she remember those things in connection with which she stayed during so long a time, even throughout the whole period of a bypast life.

2. With reference to these objections, Plato, that ancient Athenian, who also was the first to introduce this opinion, when he could not set them aside, invented the [notion of] a cup of oblivion, imagining that in this way he would escape this sort of difficulty. He attempted no kind of proof [of his supposition], but simply replied dogmatically [to the objection in question], that when souls enter into this life, they are caused to drink of oblivion by that demon who watches their entrance [into the world], before they effect an entrance into the bodies [assigned them]. It escaped him, that [by speaking thus] he fell into another greater perplexity. For if the cup of oblivion, after it has been drunk, can obliterate the memory of all the deeds that have been done, how, O Plato, dost thou obtain the knowledge of this fact (since thy soul is now in the body), that, before it entered into the body, it was made to drink by the demon a drug which caused oblivion? For if thou hast a remembrance of the demon, and the cup, and the entrance [into life], thou oughtest also to be acquainted with other things; but if, on the other hand, thou art ignorant of them, then there is no truth in the story of the demon, nor in the cup of oblivion prepared with art.

3. In opposition, again, to those who affirm that the body itself is the drug of oblivion, this observation may be made: How, then, does it come to pass, that whatsoever the soul sees by her own instrumentality, both in dreams and by reflection or earnest mental exertion, while the body is passive, she remembers, and reports to her neighbours? But, again, if the body itself were [the cause of] oblivion, then the soul, as existing in the body, could not remember even those things which were perceived long ago either by means of the eyes or the ears; but, as soon as the eye was turned from the things looked at, the memory of them also would undoubtedly be destroyed. For the soul, as existing in the very [cause of] oblivion, could have no knowledge of anything else than that only which it saw at the present moment. How, too, could it become acquainted with divine things, and retain a remembrance of them while existing in the body, since, as they maintain, the body itself is [the cause of] oblivion? But the prophets also, when they were upon the earth, remembered likewise, on their returning to their ordinary state of mind,3283 whatever things they spiritually saw or heard in visions of heavenly objects, and related them to others. The body, therefore, does not cause the soul to forget those things which have been spiritually witnessed; but the soul teaches the body, and shares with it the spiritual vision which it has enjoyed.

4. For the body is not possessed of greater power than the soul, since indeed the former is inspired, and vivified, and increased, and held together by the latter; but the soul possesses3284 and rules over the body. It is doubtless retarded in its velocity, just in the exact proportion in which the body shares in its motion; but it never loses the knowledge which properly belongs to it. For the body may be compared to an instrument; but the soul is possessed of the reason of an artist. As, therefore, the artist finds the idea of a work to spring up rapidly in his mind, but can only carry it out slowly by means of an instrument, owing to the want of perfect pliability in the matter acted upon, and thus the rapidity of his mental operation, being blended with the slow action of the instrument, gives rise to a moderate kind of movement [towards the end contemplated]; so also the soul, by being mixed up with the body belonging to it, is in a certain measure impeded, its rapidity being blended with the body’s slowness. Yet it does not lose altogether its own peculiar powers; but while, as it were, sharing life with the body, it does not itself cease to live. Thus, too, while communicating other things to the body, it neither loses the knowledge of them, nor the memory of those things which have been witnessed.

5. If, therefore, the soul remembers nothing of what took place in a former state of existence, but has a perception of those things which are here, it follows that she never existed in other bodies, nor did things of which she has no knowledge, nor [once] knew things which she cannot [now mentally] contemplate. But, as each one of us receives his body through the skilful working of God, so does he also possess his soul. For God is not so poor or destitute in resources, that He cannot confer its own proper soul on each individual body, even as He gives it also its special character. And therefore, when the number [fixed upon] is completed, [that number] which He had predetermined in His own counsel, all those who have been enrolled for life [eternal] shall rise again, having their own bodies, and having also their own souls, and their own spirits, in which they had pleased God. Those, on the other hand, who are worthy of punishment, shall go away into it, they too having their own souls and their own bodies, in which they stood apart from the grace of God. Both classes shall then cease from any longer begetting and being begotten, from marrying and being given in marriage; so that the number of mankind, corresponding to the fore-ordination of God, being completed, may fully realize the scheme formed by the Father.

"They (the souls) must of necessity retain a remembrance of those things which have been previously accomplished, that they might fill up those in which they were still deficient, and not by always hovering, without intermission, round the same pursuits, spend their labour wretchedly in vain."

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Tertullian

Tertullian of Carthage (from André Thevet)

Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian, was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. 

"After the present age is ended he will judge his worshipers. . . . All who have died since the beginning of time will be raised up again and shaped again and remanded to whichever destiny they deserve" (Apology 18:3 [A.D. 197]). 

"Therefore, the flesh shall rise again: certainly of every man, certainly the same flesh, and certainly in its entirety. Wherever it is, in the safekeeping with God through that most faithful agent between God and man, Jesus Christ, who shall reconcile both God to man and man to God, [and] the spirit to the flesh and the flesh to the spirit" (The Resurrection of the Dead 63:1 [A.D. 210]). 

"In regard to that which is called the resurrection of the dead, it is necessary to defend the proper meaning of the terms ‘of the dead’ and ‘resurrection.’ The word ‘dead’ signifies merely that something has lost the soul, by the faculty of which it formerly lived. The term ‘dead’ then applies to a body. Moreover, if resurrection is of the dead, and ‘dead’ applies only to a body, the resurrection will be of a body. . . . ‘To rise’ may be said of that which never in any way fell, but which was always lying down. But ‘to rise again’ can only be said of that which has fallen; for by ‘rising again’ that which fell is said to ‘re-surrect.’ The syllable ‘re-’ always implies iteration [happening again]. We say, therefore, that a body falls to the ground in death . . . and that which falls, rises again" (Against Marcion 5:9:3–4 [A.D. 210]). 

"Come now, if some philosopher affirms, as Laberius holds, following an opinion of Pythagoras, that a man may have his origin from a mule, a serpent from a woman, and with skill of speech twists every argument to prove his view, will he not gain an acceptance for it [among the pagans], and work in some conviction that on account of this, they should abstain from eating animal food? May anyone have the persuasion that he should abstain, lest, by chance, in his beef he eats some ancestor of his? But if a Christian promises the return of a man from a man, and the very actual Gaius [resurrected] from Gaius . . . they will not . . . grant him a hearing. If there is any ground for the moving to and fro of human souls into different bodies, why may they not return to the very matter they have left . . . ?" (Apology 48 [A.D. 197]). 

 


Minucius Felix

"See, too, how for our consolation all nature suggests the future resurrection. The sun sinks down, but is reborn. The stars go out, but return again. Flowers die, but come to life again. After their decay shrubs put forth leaves again; not unless seeds decay does their strength return. A body in the grave is like the trees in winter: They hide their sap under a deceptive dryness. Why are you in haste for it to revive and return, while yet the winter is raw? We must await even the spring of the body. I am not ignorant of the fact that many, in the consciousness of what they deserve, would rather hope than actually believe that there is nothing for them after death. They would prefer to be annihilated rather than be restored for punishment" (Octavius 34:11–12 [A.D. 226]).  

Aphraahat the Persian Sage

Aphrahat (c. 270–c. 345) was a Syriac-Christian author of the 3rd century from the Adiabene region of Northern Mesopotamia, which was within the Persian Empire, who composed a series of twenty-three expositions or homilies on points of Christian doctrine and practice.

"Therefore be instructed by this, you fool, that each and every one of the seeds is clothed in its own body. Never do you sow wheat and reap barley, and never did you plant a vine and have it produce figs. But everything grows in accord with its own nature. So also the body which has been laid in the ground is the same which will rise again" (Treatises 8:3 [A.D. 340]). 

Cyril of Jerusalem

"This body shall be raised, not remaining weak as it is now, but this same body shall be raised. By putting on incorruption, it shall be altered, as iron blending with fire becomes fire—or rather, in a manner the Lord who raises us knows. However it will be, this body shall be raised, but it shall not remain such as it is. Rather, it shall abide as an eternal body. It shall no longer require for its life such nourishment as now, nor shall it require a ladder for its ascent; for it shall be made a spiritual body, a marvelous thing, such as we have not the ability to describe" (Catechetical Lectures 18:18 [A.D. 350]). 

 

 

 

 

Epiphanius of Salamis

Epiphanius of Salamis (between 310–320 – 403) was bishop of Salamis, Cyprus at the end of the 4th century. He is considered a saint and a Church Father by both the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches. He gained a reputation as a strong defender of orthodoxy. He is best known for composing the Panarion, a very large compendium of the heresies up to his own time,

 

"As for those who profess to be Christians . . . and who confess the resurrection of the dead, of our body and of the body of the Lord . . . but who at the same time say that the same flesh does not rise, but other flesh is given in its place by God, are we not to say that this opinion exceeds all others in impiety" (The Man Well-Anchored 87[A.D. 374]). 

 

Lactantius

Lucius Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius was an early Christian author who became an advisor to the first Christian Roman emperor, Constantine I, guiding his religious policy as it developed, and tutor to his son.

"What of Pythagoras, who was first called a philosopher, who judged that souls were indeed immortal, but that they passed into other bodies, either of cattle or of birds or of beasts? Would it not have been better that they should be destroyed, together with their bodies, than thus to be condemned to pass into the bodies of other animals? Would it not be better not to exist at all than, after having had the form of a man, to live as a swine or a dog? And the foolish man, to gain credit for his saying, said that he himself had been Euphorbus in the Trojan war, and that when he had been slain he passed into other figures of animals, and at last became Pythagoras. O happy man!—to whom alone so great a memory was given! Or rather unhappy, who when changed into a sheep was not permitted to be ignorant of what he was! And [I] would to heaven that he [Pythagoras] alone had been thus senseless!" (Epitome of the Divine Institutes 36 [A.D. 317]). 

 

Gregory of Nyssa (335-395)

Gregory of Nyssa, also known as Gregory Nyssen, was bishop of Nyssa from 372 to 376 and from 378 until his death. He is venerated as a saint in Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, Lutheranism, and Anglicanism.

"If one should search carefully, he will find that their doctrine is of necessity brought down to this. They tell us that one of their sages said that he, being one and the same person, was born a man, and afterward assumed the form of a woman, and flew about with the birds, and grew as a bush, and obtained the life of an aquatic creature—and he who said these things of himself did not, so far as I can judge, go far from the truth, for such doctrines as this—of saying that one should pass through many changes—are really fitting for the chatter of frogs or jackdaws or the stupidity of fishes or the insensibility of trees" (The Making of Man  [A.D. 379]  28th chapter of his treatise On the Making of Man: is entitled XXVIII. To those who say that souls existed before bodies, or that bodies were formed before souls; wherein there is also a refutation of the fables concerning transmigration of souls.). 

 

 

Ambrose of Milan

Aurelius Ambrosius, better known in English as Saint Ambrose (c. 340 – 4 April 397), was an archbishop of Milan who became one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century. He was consular prefect of Liguria andEmilia, headquartered in Milan, before being made bishop of Milan by popular acclamation in 374. Ambrose was a staunch opponent of Arianism.

 

"It is a cause for wonder that though they [the heathen] . . . say that souls pass and migrate into other bodies. . . . But let those who have not been taught doubt [the resurrection]. For us who have read the law, the prophets, the apostles, and the gospel, it is not lawful to doubt" (Belief in the Resurrection 65–66 [A.D. 380]). 

"But is their opinion preferable who say that our souls, when they have passed out of these bodies, migrate into the bodies of beasts or of various other living creatures? . . . For what is so like a marvel as to believe that men could have been changed into the forms of beasts? How much greater a marvel, however, would it be that the soul which rules man should take on itself the nature of a beast so opposed to that of man, and being capable of reason should be able to pass over to an irrational animal, than that the form of the body should have been changed?" (ibid., 127). 

 

John Chrysostom

 

John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople

 

"As for doctrines on the soul, there is nothing excessively shameful that they [the disciples of Plato and Pythagoras] have left unsaid, asserting that the souls of men become flies and gnats and bushes and that God himself is a [similar] soul, with some other the like indecencies. . . . At one time he says that the soul is of the substance of God; at another, after having exalted it thus immoderately and impiously, he exceeds again in a different way, and treats it with insult, making it pass into swine and asses and other animals of yet less esteem than these" (Homilies on John 2:3, 6 [A.D. 391]). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basil the Great

Basil of Caesarea.jpg

 Greek bishop of Caesarea Mazaca in Cappadocia, Asia Minor.

 

"[A]void the nonsense of those arrogant philosophers who do not blush to liken their soul to that of a dog, who say that they have themselves formerly been women, shrubs, or fish. Have they ever been fish? I do not know, but I do not fear to affirm that in their writings they show less sense than fish" (The Six Days’ Work 8:2 [A.D. 393]). 

Augustine

 

Early Christian theologian and philosopher whose writings were very influential in the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy.

 

"Perish the thought that the omnipotence of the Creator is unable, for the raising of our bodies and for the restoring of them to life, to recall all [their] parts, which were consumed by beasts or by fire, or which disintegrated into dust or ashes, or were melted away into a fluid, or were evaporated away in vapors" (The City of God 22:20:1 [A.D. 419]). 

"God, the wonderful and inexpressible Artisan, will, with a wonderful and inexpressible speed, restore our flesh from the whole of the material of which it was constituted, and it will make no difference to its reconstruction whether hairs go back to hairs and nails go back to nails, or whatever of these had perished be changed to flesh and be assigned to other parts of the body, while the providence of the Artisan will take care that nothing unseemly result" (Handbook of Faith, Hope, and Charity 23:89 [A.D. 421]). 

Origen

                   Origen Adamantius of Alexandria (185—254 C.E.)

                    

                    

 
origen was an early church father who is mostle misunderstood and misinterpreted when it comes to the reincarnation and resurrection.  "Origen is considered one of the greatest Christian theologians,  he is famous for composing a seminal work of Christian theology, his treatise, On First Principles. Origen lived through a turbulent period of the Christian Church. Persecution was wide-spread and little or no doctrinal consensus existed among the various regional churches. In this environment, Gnosticism flourished, and Origen was the first truly philosophical thinker to turn his hand not only to a refutation of Gnosticism, but to offer an alternative Christian system that was more rigorous and philosophically respectable than the mythological speculations of the various Gnostic sects."

 He advocated two basic doctrines of Christianity which he believed was fundamental to the definition of God and the creation of Man. 
These are:

·                         "the original and indestructible unity of God and all spiritual essences."  This would imply the pre-existence  of all souls or its creative component spirit in God.  This was what Adam was breathed into existence.

·                     Free will of Man.  God created man as Son above all the other creations as an image of God.  This includes total freedom of choice at any given context.  This freedom God will never take away.  He wants his sons to make the right choices and return home be in the household as responsible children of God in the likeness of Jesus in all activities

·                     God is love.  The whole creation is Holy and part of God.  The fall was introduced because of the wrong choice of man.  However love will finally triumph and will restore everything in its proper status.  This leads to the Doctrine of the Total Restoration (apokatastasis). Origen did not believe in the eternal suffering of sinners in hell. For him, all souls, including the devil himself, will eventually achieve salvation, even if it takes innumerable ages to do so; for Origen believed that God’s love is so powerful

  

 

 Rev.21:5"Behold I make all things new"  

 1 Cor 15:22 "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive."

 Rom 8:20  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope  that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

 Yet at the end of this age Jesus separates the righteous who is taken into the heavens and the unrighteous who is subjected to second death.  Since at the end of this age ALL are not made alive Origen proposed the doctrine of the multiplie ages. 

 People have interpreted this to mean that he supported the theory of reincarnation.  However this is just a misrepresentation.  All are resurrected at the end of this age.

 John 5:28-29, Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, when ALL that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the RESURRECTION OF LIFE; and they that have done evil, unto the RESURRECTION OF DAMNATION.

 Both are resurrection in their bodies. 

 Multiple Ages, Metempsychosis, and the Restoration of All

 In order to explain the total restoration of all souls Origen advocated the pre-existence and fall of souls; multiple ages and transmigration of souls at the beginning of each age; and the eventual restoration of all souls in the course of ages after ages. "The soul has neither beginning nor end… They come into this world strengthened by the victories or weakened by the defeats of their previous lives" (de Principiis)

  Origen was unable to conceive of a God who would create souls that were capable of dissolving into the oblivion of evil (non-being) for all eternity. He reasoned that if a single lifetime is not enough for a soul to achieve salvation, a new age is the provision to achieve that.   So he developed his doctrine of multiple ages, in which souls would be re-born, to experience the educative powers of God once again, with a view to ultimate salvation. This doctrine, of course, implies some form of transmigration of souls or metempsychosis. Yet Origen’s version of metempsychosis was not the same as that of the reincarnation of the Pythagoreans and the Gnostics and the Hindus. There is no return of the souls into this world in this age.  There has to be death and at the end of the age a resurrection followed by judgment and seperation.     Finally total restoration will come and all mankind will return home with the Father and there will be a great banquet.

  1 Corinthians 15:25-28, “when all things shall be subdued unto him [Christ], then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all (panta en pasin)” (KJV). 

 The choice of Jacob over Easu  indicates the preexistence age where the Karma was gathered.   God loved Jacob and hated Esau before they were even born. (Mal. 1:2-3) (Rom. 9:11-24). "… certain causes of more ancient date," caused Jacob to be a "vessel created for honour" and Esau a "vessel created for dishonour."

 "We see that not then for the first time did Divinity begin its work when it made this visible world: but just as after the destruction of this visible world there will be another world, its product, so also we believe that other worlds existed before the present came into being." (de Principiis, Bk.3, ch. 3, sec.3)

 "Every one, therefore, of the souls descending to the Earth, is strictly following his merits, or according to the position which he formerly occupied, is destined to be returned to this world in a different country or among a different nation, or in a different sphere of existence on Earth, or afflicted with infirmities of another kind, or mayhap to be the children of religious parents or of parents who are not religious: so that of course it may sometimes happen that a Hebrew will be born among the Syrians, or an unfortunate Egyptian may be born in Judea." (de Principiis, Bk. 4, ch. 1, sec. 23).

 

From the Commentary on John 6:7 [A.D. 229]. 

" ‘And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" and he said, "I am not"’ [John 1:21].

No one can fail to remember in this connection what Jesus says of John: ‘If you will receive it, this is Elijah, who is to come’ [Matt. 11:14].

How then does John come to say to those who ask him, ‘Are you Elijah?’—‘I am not’? . . .

One might say that John did not know that he was Elijah. This will be the explanation of those who find in our passage a support for their doctrine of reincarnation, as if the soul clothed itself in a fresh body and did not quite remember its former lives. . . . However, a churchman, who repudiates the doctrine of reincarnation as a false one and does not admit that the soul of John was ever Elijah, may appeal to the above-quoted words of the angel, and point out that it is not the soul of Elijah that is spoken of at John’s birth, but the spirit and power of Elijah"

 

"As for the spirits of the prophets, these are given to them by God and are spoken of as being in a manner their property [slaves], as ‘The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets’ [1 Cor. 14:32] and ‘The spirit of Elijah rested upon Elisha’ [2 Kgs. 2:15]. Thus, it is said, there is nothing absurd in supposing that John, ‘in the spirit and power of Elijah,’ turned the hearts of the fathers to the children and that it was on account of this spirit that he was called ‘Elijah who is to come’"

 

"If the doctrine [of reincarnation] was widely current, ought not John to have hesitated to pronounce upon it, lest his soul had actually been in Elijah? And here our churchman will appeal to history, and will bid his antagonists [to] ask experts of the secret doctrines of the Hebrews if they do really entertain such a belief. For if it should appear that they do not, then the argument based on that supposition is shown to be quite baseless"

 

"Someone might say, however, that Herod and some of those of the people held the false dogma of the transmigration of souls into bodies, in consequence of which they thought that the former John had appeared again by a fresh birth, and had come from the dead into life as Jesus. But the time between the birth of John and the birth of Jesus, which was not more than six months, does not permit this false opinion to be considered credible. And perhaps rather some such idea as this was in the mind of Herod, that the powers which worked in John had passed over to Jesus, in consequence of which he was thought by the people to be John the Baptist. And one might use the following line of argument: Just as because the spirit and the power of Elijah, and not because of his soul, it is said about John, ‘This is Elijah who is to come’ [Matt. 11:14] . . . so Herod thought that the powers in John’s case worked in him works of baptism and teaching—for John did not do one miracle [John 10:41]—but in Jesus [they worked] miraculous portents" (Commentary on Matthew 10:20 [A.D. 248]). 

 

"Now the Canaanite woman, having come, worshipped Jesus as God, saying, ‘Lord, help me,’ but he answered and said, ‘It is not possible to take the children’s bread and cast it to the little dogs.’ . . . Others, then, who are strangers to the doctrine of the Church, assume that souls pass from the bodies of men into the bodies of dogs, according to their varying degree of wickedness; but we . . . do not find this at all in the divine Scripture" (ibid., 11:17). 

 

"In this place [when Jesus said Elijah was come and referred to John the Baptist] it does not appear to me that by Elijah the soul is spoken of, lest I fall into the doctrine of transmigration, which is foreign to the Church of God, and not handed down by the apostles, nor anywhere set forth in the scriptures" (ibid., 13:1). 

... 

"But if . . . the Greeks, who introduce the doctrine of transmigration, laying down things in harmony with it, do not acknowledge that the world is coming to corruption, it is fitting that when they have looked the scriptures straight in the face which plainly declare that the world will perish, they should either disbelieve them or invent a series of arguments in regard to the interpretation of things concerning the consummation; which even if they wish they will not be able to do" (ibid.). 

                   Characteristics of the risen body

With what body do they come?
(1 Corinthians 15:35)

                        Death--The Sleep of the Body

Throughout bible death is compared to sleep:

Thus we have

·        Jesus saying to His disciples: Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said His disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death (John 11:11-13).

·        Of the martyrdom and death of Stephen, we read: He fell asleep (Acts 7:60).

·        Apostle Paul says  there were  five hundred brethren who had seen Christ alive after His Resurrection,  then he goes on to say but, some are fallen asleep (1 Corinthians 15:6).

·        I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

 If death is a sleep, sleeping people get up in their own physical body, except for the natural changes that take place in time within the body.

Identity maintained:

 . That which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die; And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain. But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him, and to every seed his own body (1 Corinthians 15:36-38).

 

                             A changed body: Our bodies will be raised to be like the body of Jesus after his resurrection.

  We look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body . . . (Philippians 3:20, 21).

 

 We know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2).

Christ shall change our vile body (Philippians 3:21)

The ultimate form of Jesus in heaven was foreshadowed in the Mount of Transfiguration where

Mat 17:2   he was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his garments became white as the light.

 

From Corruption to Incorruption -- From Mortality to Immortality

It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption (1 Corinthians 15:42).

For this corruptible must put on incorruption (1 Corinthians 15:53).

 

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away (Revelation 21:4).

 

   From Dishonour to Glory

It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory (1 Corinthians 15:43).

                        From Weakness to Power

                                                It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power (1 Corinthians 15:43).

                                                From the Natural to the Spiritual

It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:44).

 

It must be clearly understood that the phrase a spiritual body does not so much as infer that the resurrection body will be a body without substance. The word natural is from a word used by the Greeks when they spoke of the soul of man.  

When the resurrection body is called a spiritual body, it is not meant that it will be composed of intangible substance. Robert S. Candlish has said: The words natural and spiritual, as applied to the body, have respect not so much to the nature of the substance of which the body is composed, as to the uses or purposes which it is intended to serve.  

“We know that when He appears we shall be like Him“ (1 John 3:2).

 

·        Christ’s resurrection body was the same body as before, not a whole new one.

·        After He arose, the tomb was empty. The body itself was resurrected—the very same body, but in a glorified state.

·        The wounds from His crucifixion were still visible (John 20:27). He could be touched and handled—He was not merely an apparition or a phantom (Luke 24:39). He looked human in every regard. He conversed a long time with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, and they never once questioned His humanity (Luke 24:13–18). He ate real, earthly food with His friends on another occasion (Luke 24:42–43).

·        Yet His body also had otherworldly properties.

·         He could pass through solid walls (John 20:19).

·        He could appear in different forms so His identity was not immediately obvious (Mark 16:12).

·         He could suddenly appear out of nowhere (Luke 24:36).

·        And He could ascend directly into heaven in bodily form, with no adverse effect as He went through the atmosphere (Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9)

                   Characteristics of the risen body

With what body do they come?
(1 Corinthians 15:35)

Summa Theologica of St Thomas Aquinas.

He is a sure guide.

Summa is a large work written in the 12th century.

 

                   75. The Resurrection of the Body

1. The body will rise again. Says scripture (Job 19:25,26): "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and in the last day I shall rise out of the earth, and I shall be clothed again with my skin, and in my flesh I shall see my God." Since man is one substance composed of soul and body, the ultimate state of man must involve the body as well as the soul. Hence, the body will rise again.

2. This, therefore, is true of all men without exception; for all are of the same species, that is, the same complete essential kind. No human soul will remain forever separated from its own body.

 

3. The resurrection of the body is natural in the sense that it is natural for the soul to have its body. But there is no power resident in soul or body to bring them together once they have been separated by death. Hence, the agency, which actually joins souls with their respective bodies, is wholly supernatural.

                   76. The Cause of the Resurrection of the Body

Christ from the dead shall quicken also your mortal bodies." We are to rise in the likeness of the Resurrection of our Lord, and indeed in virtue of that Resurrection. God is the cause of the resurrection of bodies; the Resurrection of Christ can be called the quasi-instrumental cause through which God will raise us up.

1. It was the divinity or Godhead of Christ (which is one in the three divine Persons of the Blessed Trinity), which raised him from the dead. And scripture says (Rom. 8:11): "He that raised up Jesus

2. On the last day, the appearance of Christ in his glory will summon all men to resurrection and judgment. His voice will be as the trumpet to rouse and summon all.

3. The angels will come with the Judge, ministering to him, and preparing for the bodily resurrection of mankind. But the actual reuniting of souls and bodies will not be done by angels, but will be the immediate work of God himself.

                   77. Time and Manner of the Resurrection of the Body

1. The resurrection of the body will take place at the end of the world, not previously.

2. The time of the end of the world, and of the concomitant rising of men, is not humanly known; nor will it be known. Scripture says (Matt. 24:36): "Of that day and hour no man knoweth; no, not the angels of heaven." When the apostles asked our Lord about the time of the world's ending (Acts 1:7), he said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or moments which the Father hath put in his own power."

3. As to the hour of the bodily resurrection, many think that because Christ rose from the dead in the early part of the day while it was yet dark, the resurrection of men's bodies will be in the nighttime.

4. The resurrection of the body will take place in an instant, and not by degrees. St. Paul, speaking of the bodily resurrection, says (I Cor. 15:51-52): "We shall all indeed rise again ... in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye."

                   78. The Starting Point of the Bodily Resurrection

1. Every movement has its starting point and its goal, and the movement itself consists in the transit or "going over" from the first of these to the second. Now, the movement of the bodies of men to life in the final resurrection, has its beginning or starting point in the state of death. Therefore, all men must die. Those who are alive on earth when the last day comes will die, and then rise in the general resurrection.

2. All human beings shall rise from the dust and ashes to which death and decay (or the final fire) reduces them. Scripture says (Gen. 3:19): "Dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return."

3. There is, in the dust and ashes to which bodies are reduced, no tendency towards reconstruction as human bodies. The divine plan and the divine power bring about the resurrection, uniting each soul with the dust and ashes, which, by reason of the union, is constituted as the proper body of the vivifying soul.

                   79. The Risen Body

1. In the resurrection, each soul will be united with its own body. For in a real resurrection, that which falls is that which rises again. If the soul be not joined substantially with its own body, then there is not a resurrection, but an assuming of anew body.

2. The selfsame man who dies will rise again. For, by the resurrection, a man is to live again, not to be turned into someone else.

3. However, it is the soul that constitutes the material element of man as his living body and gives it its personal identity in the body-soul compound that we call a man. By uniting substantially with matter, the soul constitutes that matter as its own body, holding it in continuous identity, notwithstanding the flow and change of bodily particles all through life. Perhaps, in the risen body will be present some of the actual physical particles which the living body used at some stage of earthly life.

                   80. The Integrity of the Risen Body

1. The human body will rise complete and perfect with all its members. In the elect, the perfected soul will animate its body and cause that body to be perfect.

2. Even in such things as belong to the body more as ornaments than necessary members; such as hair and nails, the risen body will be perfectly complete.

3. Man's risen body will lack nothing that belongs to the integrity (that is, the complete and rounded perfection) of human nature. The risen body will need none of the processes that merely preserve it, or make it grow, or propagate. But the body will have all that makes it enduring, mature, and perfect.

4. The risen body will have all that belongs to true human bodily nature; it will have all this in the most perfect and suitable mode and degree.

5. As noted heretofore, the actual material particles which flow through and in the human body during its term of earthly existence will not all be found in the risen body.

                   81. The Quality of Those Risen from the Dead

1. Those who rise will not have the imperfections of immaturity or old age. All will rise in the most perfect stage of human nature, which is the age of youth; that is, of youth just arrived at maturity and full development.

2. However, all arisen bodies will not be the same in size. Variety on this point is no defect in nature. We know only that risen bodies will not be deficient in any natural perfection. Each person's body will be of the size most suitable to him.

3. Human beings, then, will rise with perfect bodies, all in full maturity, none with infantile or childish imperfection, none bent with age. They will be perfect men and perfect women,with bodies of suitable size perfectly proportioned.

4. Risen bodies will not require the things they needed on earth to sustain them, preserve them, and move them to development or further perfection. Risen bodies will not eat, or drink, or sleep, or beget offspring, or feel the pull of fleshly appetites or passions.

                   82. The Impassibility of Risen Bodies

1. To be impassible is to be immune to suffering and change.

2. The bodies of the just will not be capable of suffering any pain whatever, nor will they ever undergo substantial change. The bodies of the damned will endure pains in hell, and hence are not impassible; yet these bodies will not undergo substantial change. St. Paul (I Cor. 15:42) says: "It [the body] is sown in corruption, it shall rise in in-corruption."

3. Impassibility in the risen bodies of the just does not mean numbness or insensibility. It means immunity to what is contrary to human nature and painful to it. The risen body will have sensation (that is, its senses will operate and bring in sense-findings or sense-knowledge), and it will have movement; these things belong to the perfection of the body.

4. The senses of the risen bodies of the just will find in the overflow of glory, which comes upon them from the soul, their complete and enduring perfection. The senses will be perfectly and satisfyingly in operation, and they will possess their objects, and not merely tend to these objects, or be in a state of readiness to perceive them.

                   83. The Subtlety of Risen Bodies

1. The risen body will be, in all organic action, perfectly subject to the soul, and instantly responsive to the will, needing withal no material sustenance. This spirit-like quality of the risen body is called subtlety or subtility.

2. The subtlety of a glorified body will not enable it to occupy the same place with another body, unless this be done by a miracle.

3. Now, there is no contradiction in the thought of two bodies being in the same place simultaneously, even though there is nothing in the nature of a body capable of producing this effect. What keeps bodies from compenetration is their external extension, and this is not of the essence or nature of bodies, but is an effect of quantity, which, in turn, is only a proper accidental of bodies and not their essence. Hence, there is no conflict or contradiction in the notion of compenetration of bodies; therefore, since the thing is conceivable, it might be done by a miracle.

4. However, the subtlety of the glorified body does not make this compenetration possible without a miracle. Besides, in heaven, distinctness of bodily being will be a perfection; if several bodies were to occupy the same place, this distinctness of being would be obscured.

5. The glorified body, just as the natural body on earth, will occupy space, and will be in a place according to its dimensions.

6. There will be nothing ghostlike in the risen body. It will be a true body. But it will have spiritual or spirit-like qualities. It will be something that can be touched and felt. When our Lord in his risen and glorified body came in, through closed doors, to his disciples, he told them he was not a spirit or ghost, and said (Luke 24:39): "Handle and see: for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see me to have."

                   84. The Agility of Risen Bodies

1. The glorified body will be able to move with the quickness of thought from place to place under the direction of the soul and the command of the free will. This quality of the risen body is called agility.

2. The risen body in heaven will move about. Scripture says (Isa. 40:31): "They shall run and not be weary"; and (Wisd. 3:7), "[The just] shall run to and fro like sparks among the reeds." But this swift and untiring movement will not deprive the just of the beatific vision or diminish their happiness.

3. The movement of the glorified body will not be strictly instantaneous; it will take a moment of time, yet this moment will be so short as to be imperceptible.

                   85. The Clarity of Risen Bodies

1. The risen body in glory will have a measure of lightsomeness and splendor, according to the soul's degree of glory. Says scripture (Matt. 13:43): "The just shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father." This shining and splendid quality of the risen body is called its clarity.

2. The clarity of the blessed in heaven will be visible to the non-glorified eye of the damned. For clarity is naturally visible, as it was to the eyes of the three apostles who beheld it n our Lord's body at the time of the Transfiguration.

3. Yet the glorified body is not necessarily visible; it will appear or disappear as the soul wills. It will belike our Lord's glorified body at Emmaus, that is, capable of being seen, but also capable of being withdrawn from the sight of men.

                   86. The Risen Bodies of the Damned

1. The bodies of all men will rise in natural perfection without deficiency or defect. But the bodies of the damned will lack the qualities of the glorified bodies: agility, clarity, subtlety, impassibility.

2. The bodies of the damned will not be corruptible. Scripture says (Apoc. 9:6): "Men shall seek death and shall not find it, and they shall desire to die and death shall fly from them."

3. As noted, the bodies of the damned will be passible,that is, capable of enduring suffering. Retribution must come to man, body and soul. And punishment of body involves passibility.

Summary

The bodies of the saints shall be distinguished by four transcendent endowments, often called qualities.

·        "impassibility"   The first is "impassibility", which shall place them beyond the reach of pain and inconvenience. "It is sown", says the Apostle, "in corruption, it shall rise in incorruption" (1 Corinthians 15:42). The Schoolmen call this quality impassibility', not incorruption, so as to mark it as a peculiarity of the glorified body; the bodies of the damned will be incorruptible indeed, but not impassible; they shall be subject to heat and cold, and all manner of pain.

·        "brightness", or "glory"   The next quality is "brightness", or "glory", by which the bodies of the saints shall shine like the sun. "It is sown in dishonour," says the Apostle, "it shall rise in glory" (1 Corinthians 15:43; cf. Matthew 13:43; 17:2; Philippians 3:21). All the bodies of the saints shall be equally impassible, but they shall be endowed with different degrees of glory. According to St. Paul: "One is the glory of the sun, another the glory of the moon, another the glory of the stars. For star differeth from star in glory"'(1 Corinthians 15:41-42).

·        "agility"  The third quality is that of "agility", by which the body shall be freed from its slowness of motion, and endowed with the capability of moving with the utmost facility and quickness wherever the soul pleases. The Apostle says: "It is sown in weakness, it shall rise in power" (1 Corinthians 15:43).

·        "subtility"    The fourth quality is "subtility", by which the body becomes subject to the absolute dominion of the soul. This is inferred from the words of the Apostle: "It is sown a natural body, it shall rise a spiritual body" (1 Corinthians 15:44). The body participates in the soul's more perfect and spiritual life to such an extent that it becomes itself like a spirit. We see this quality exemplified in the fact that Christ passed through material objects.