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Wednesday, June 07, 2006 

The Future Resurrection of the Body: Part I

My next series of posts will be in part a response to Patrick Hagman's two posts at God in a Shrinking Universe where Patrick argues for the resurrection of the body as predominately a symbol and/or metaphor for the salvation of our personality. Be sure to first read Patrick's insightful posts here and here before reading my series on why I believe that the resurrection of the body is something that we can hope in as more than a metaphor.

Before tackling Patrick's view on the future resurrection of the believer I think it's best to lay out in proposition form what I consider to be the substance of Patrick's arguments:

1.) First, discussions on the afterlife are problematic to begin with since we know so little about existence after death (granting there is such a thing).

2.) Furthermore, the Bible does not offer any detailed discussions concerning life after death and the common perceptions of this post-death existence have more to due with the influence of such literary works as Dante's Inferno.

3.) What the Bible does offer is" essentially a 'negative theology'" about the afterlife.

4.) And though Paul takes up the issue of future bodily resurrection in 1 Cor. 15, Rom. 6ff offers a better guide to Paul's thoughts on the believer's body where he uses it as a symbol for what the believer has become who who they currently are (personality).

5.) Based on this observation, the hope of salvation after death should be understood as the redemption of our personality, that which constitues who we truly are. Resurrection of the body is simply a way of affirming that after death, God will make us "whole."

This is, in brief, what I see as the substance of Patrick's arguments for resurreection as a metaphor for "wholeness". Now, on my reading of Patrick, he does not appear to dogmatically believe that the afterlife will not be an embodied one but rather he seems to remain somewhat agnostic asserting that we do not know how wholenesss "will feel, look, or take place." Yet the subsequent post does suggest that Patrick leans away from viewing the afterlife as embodied. However, contra Patrick, I think a plausible case can be made for the hope of the resurrection of the body as something that goes beyond the symbolic and/or metaphorical. This is what I want to explore in the next few posts. Any comments and/or criticisms, as usual, are always welcome.


I think you have presented my position very well. I'm so going to get it now, right?

Well, I only like to add two things. I want to emphasize that I'm not motivated by some iconoclastic tendency. I just do not know what a enbodied afterlife means. I can't get my head around it. I'll prefer to leave it at that than assert something I can't really grasp.

More importantly, and I hope this is something you will address in depth: I do not know why this is an important question. I know that the creed line about the resurrection of the body often is evoked to counter anti-body tendencies in the Christian tradition, and this is ok, but I'd rather see that more people would try to understand what the body-soul distinction actually means to counter this tendency.

I'm looking forward to your posts!

This looks like it will be interesting!

Thanks Q and Patrick,

Patrick, the importance of the issue is definitely something I want to consider in these next posts. To be honest, I'm not completely sure how important it is. My goal in these posts is to show, simply, that there are some reasonable arguments for hoping in a future resurrection of the body. The last thing I want to do is to come off as being dogmatic (hmm,though this is the name of my site) by saying one has to believe this or they're not a Christian or at least not a complete one. This is not my goal and I hope I can bring this out in the next few posts.

And, btw, my name is really spelled with a k... When you spell it ck, I feel you're talking to someone else. ;)

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