The Future Resurrection of the Body: Part III
"the immediate problem I see is the assumption that we can agree on what a 'real physical resurrection' would mean, not to mention know what St. Paul would mean with such a phrase. Both the terms "real" and "physical" are modern concepts. My point is that even if one would attest that Paul did in fact believe in a real physical resurrection, one would still have to address what this means. I guess my interpretation is an attempt to address that question."
First, Patrik's assertion that "the terms 'real' and 'physical' are modern concepts" is baffling to me. The Ancient Near East and Late Antiquity surely had concepts such as these. Patrik must have in mind a philosophically loaded understanding of "real" and "physical". And if that's so, I do not see how that applies to the discussion.
However, perhaps Patrik is right to assert that we can never agree on what a real physical resurrection would mean. But what I think Patrik is implying is that we could never really conceive what a resurrection (physically) of a body would mean. For my part, it is enough to affirm that God will redeem our bodies and that we call this "resurrection." I'm not concerned with the particulars of the resurrection body and neither was Paul:
"But some one 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, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain." (1 Cor 15:35-37)
As Patrik has rightly pointed out before, Paul is stressing discontinuity and transformation of the body. But this should not detract us from seeing that Paul is still emphasizing that resurrection is something that happens to these bodies. Paul never has in mind two absolutely distinct bodies. What is sown and what is reaped are still, in someway, the same. All Paul wishes to affirm is that resurrection is something that happens to our present bodies and that probing beyond this to ask particulars about certain qualities of the new body such as whether it will wear clothes, have sex, eat, etc. need not be our concern.
Therefore, I do not see the importance of agreeing, in a complete and exhaustive sense, what a real, physical resurrection would entail. It is enough to say that the resurrection indicates God's desire to save this fleshly body of mine. And even if we have to live with the supposedly insolvable paradox of a "spiritual body" or of trying to figure out what Paul meant by "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God", the purpose of resurrection remains the same: the salvation of the believer's body, even if that salvation takes on an almost completely different form (spiritual body) that is inconceivable to us.