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CHAPTER LXXXIVThat Risen Bodies shall be of the same Nature as before

SOME have supposed that in the resurrection our bodies are transformed into spirit, because the Apostle says: There is sown an animal body, there shall rise a spiritual body (1 Cor. xv, 40).10381038The risen bodies are not transformed into spirit, but subjected to the perfect control of the spirit that animates them. Whereas in mortal man the soul can go only as far as the body will go, in the resurrection the body will go as far as the soul will go, to the utmost limits of its spiritual and quasi-angelic capacity. The soul (of the just) will then be delivered from the body of this death (Rom. vii, 24), inasmuch as the body will no longer hold it back and bring it down. And the text, Flesh and blood shall not possess the kingdom of God (1 Cor. xv, 50), has prompted the conjecture that risen bodies shall not have flesh and blood. But this is a manifest error.

1. Our resurrection shall be on the model of the resurrection of Christ, who will reform the body of our humiliation, so that it shall become conformable to the body of his glory (Phil. iii, 21). But Christ after His resurrection had a body that could be felt and handled, as He says: Feel and see, because a spirit hath not flesh and bones as you see me to have (Luke xxiv, 39): in like manner therefore also other risen men.

5. For numerically the same man to rise again, his essential parts must be numerically the same. If then the body of the risen man shall not consist of these muscles and these bones of which it is now composed, the risen man will not be numerically the same.10391039The tissues and organs, it would appear, retain in the resurrection their static entity, but part with many of their dynamic functions. There is still to be seen, I think, at Darlington Station one of Stephenson’s first engines, erected on a pedestal. The parallel is not exact, but suggestive.

6. The supposition of the body passing into a spirit is altogether impossible: for those things only pass into one another which have some matter in common [cf. Chap. LXIII].

7. If the body passes into a spiritual substance, it must either pass into that spiritual substance which is the soul, or into some other. If into that which is the soul, then in the resurrection there will be nothing in man but soul, and he will be exactly as he was before the resurrection. But if into another spiritual substance, then two spiritual substances will be one in nature, which is impossible, since every spiritual substance subsists by itself.

9. He who rises again must be an animal, if he is to be a man.10401040The risen Saint is an animal, as consisting of body and soul: but he no longer functions as an animal in the processes of organic life: in him those processes have ceased: they are rendered unnecessary by the direct control which the spirit now wields over the flesh. His body is not spirit, but spiritualised. So the human nature of our Lord is not God, but divinised, τεθεοποιημένον as the Fathers say.


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