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§ 1. The Scriptural Doctrine.
By the resurrection is not meant the continued existence of the soul after death. The fact that the Sadducees in the time of Christ, against whom most of the arguments found in the New Testament in favour of the doctrine of the resurrection were directed, denied not only that doctrine, but also that of the continued existence of the soul after death, sufficiently accounts for the sacred writings combining the two subjects. Thus our Lord, in reasoning with the Sadducees, said: “As touching the dead, that they rise; have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living.” (Mark xii. 26.) All that this passage directly proves is that the dead continue alive after the dissolution of the body. But as this is Christ’s answer to a question concerning the resurrection, it has been inferred that the resurrection means nothing more than that the soul does not die with the body, but rises to a new and higher life. Thus also the Apostle in the elaborate argument contained in 1 Corinthians xv. evidently regards the denial of the resurrection as tantamount with the denial of the future life of the soul. Hence many maintain that the only resurrection of which the Bible speaks is the resurrection of the soul when the body dies. The first position, therefore, to be defended, in stating the Scriptural doctrine on this subject is, that our bodies are the subjects of the resurrection spoken of in the Scriptures.
The Bodies of Men are to rise again.
This is denied, first, by those who take the word resurrection in a figurative sense, expressing the rising of the soul from spiritual death to spiritual life. At the grave of Lazarus Martha said to our Lord, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” To which our Lord, according to Mr. Alger, 772replies substantially, “You suppose that in the last day the Messiah will restore the dead to live again upon the earth. I am the Messiah, and the last days have therefore arrived. I am commissioned by the Father to bestow eternal life upon all who believe on me; but not in the manner you have anticipated. The true resurrection is not calling the body from the tomb, but opening the fountains of eternal life in the soul. I am come to open the spiritual world to your faith. He that believeth in me and keepeth my commandments, has passed from death unto life become conscious that though seemingly he passes into the grave, yet really he shall live with God forever. The true resurrection is, to come into the experience of the truth that, ‘God is not the God of the dead but of the living; for all live unto Him.’ Over the soul that is filled with such an experience, death has no power. Verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead, the ignorant and guilty, buried in trespasses and sins, shall lay hold of the life thus offered, and be blessed.”820820Alger, ut supra, p. 324.
Secondly, the resurrection of the body is denied by those who, with the Swedenborgians, hold that man, in this life, has two bodies, an external and internal, a material and psychical.821821Bonnet, Palingénésie Philosophique. Essai Analytique sur l’Ame, chap. xxiv., par. xxii., Neufchatel, 1783, vol. xiv. p. 205 ff., especially p. 230 ff., and vol. xvi. p. 481 ff. Lange, Beiträge zu der Lehre von den letzten Dingen, Meurs, 1841. Lange’s doctrine, however, as will appear in thie sequel, is not that of Swedenborg. The former dies and is deposited in the grave, and there remains never to rise again. The other does not die, but in union with the soul passes into another state of existence. The only resurrection, therefore, which is ever to occur, takes place at the moment of death.
Thirdly, it is denied by those who assume that the soul as pure spirit, cannot be individualized or localized; that it cannot have any relation to space, or act or be acted upon, without a corporeity of some kind; and who, therefore, assume that it must be furnished with a new, more refined, ethereal body, as soon as its earthly tabernacle is laid aside. The resurrection body is according to this view also furnished at the moment of death.
That the Scriptures, however, teach a literal resurrection of the body is proved, (1.) From the meaning of the word. Resurrection signifies a rising again; a rising of that which was buried; or a restoration of life to that which was dead. But the soul, according to the Scriptures, does not die when the body is dissolved. It, therefore, cannot be the subject of a resurrection 773except in the sense antithetical to spiritual death, which is not now in question. The same is true of the psychical body, if there be such a thing. It does not die, and, therefore, cannot rise again. The same may also be said of a new body furnished the soul when its earthly house of this tabernacle is dissolved.
(2.) Those who are in the dust of the earth; those “that are in the graves” are said to rise. But it is only of the body that it can be said, it is in the grave; and, therefore, it is of the body the resurrection spoken of, must be understood.
(3.) It is “our mortal bodies” which are to rise again. This form of expression is decisive of the Apostle’s meaning. “He that raised Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies, by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Rom. viii. 11.) It is “our vile body” which is to be fashioned like unto Christ’s glorious body. (Phil. iii. 21.)
(4.) This also is clearly the doctrine taught in the fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians. There were certain errorists in Corinth who denied the fact and the desirableness of the resurrection of believers. Paul’s argument is directed to both those points. As to the fact that the dead can rise, he refers to what no Christian could deny, the rising of Christ from the dead. This, as a historical fact, he supports by historical evidence. He then shows that the denial of the resurrection of Christ, is the denial of the whole Gospel, which rests on that fact. “If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” But if Christ rose from the dead, all his people must. Christ rose as the first fruits of them that sleep. There is in Paul’s view, the same divinely appointed, and therefore necessary connection between the resurrection of Christ and that of his people, as between the death of Adam and that of his descendants. As surely as all in Adam die, so surely shall all in Christ be made alive. And finally, on this point, the Apostle condescends to argue from the faith and practice of the Church. What is the use, he asks, of being baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not? The whole daily life of the Christian is founded, he says, on the hope of the resurrection; not of the continued existence of the soul merely, but of the glorious existence of the whole man, soul and body, with Christ in heaven. As to the second point, the desirableness of the resurrection of the body, he shows that all objections on this score are founded on the assumption that the future is to be like the present body. He says that the man who makes that objection is a fool. The two are no 774more alike than a seed and a flower, a clod of earth and a stare the earthly and the heavenly. “It [the body of course] is sown in corruption. it is raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power: it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” This whole discourse, therefore, is about the body. To the objection that our present bodies are not adapted to our future state of existence, he answers, Granted; it is true that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. It would seem that the Apostle in this chapter must have had in his eye a host of writers in our day who make themselves merry with the doctrine of the resurrection, on much the same grounds as those relied upon by the errorists of Corinth, whose fragments he scattered to the winds eighteen centuries ago.
(5.) Another argument on this subject is drawn from the analogy constantly presented, between the resurrection of Christ and that of his people. The sacred writers, as we have seen, argue the possibility and the certainty of the resurrection of our bodies, from the fact of Christ’s resurrection; and the nature of our future bodies from the nature of his body in heaven. There would be no force in this argument if the body were not the thing which is to rise again.
(6.) Finally, as Paul argued from the faith of the Church, we cannot err in following his example. The Bible is a plain book, and the whole Christian world, in all ages, has understood it to teach, not this or that, but the literal rising from the dead of the body deposited in the grave. All Christians of every denomination are taught to say, I believe in “The forgiveness of sins; The resurrection of the body; And the life everlasting.”
The Identity of the Future with our Present Body.
There are two distinct questions to be here considered. First, Do the Scriptures teach that the resurrection body is to be the same as that deposited in the grave? Second, Wherein does that sameness or identity consist? The first of these questions we may be able to answer with confidence; the second we may not be able to answer at all.
The arguments to prove that we are hereafter to have the same bodies that we have in the present life, are substantially the same as those already adduced. Indeed, identity is involved in the very idea of a resurrection; for resurrection is a living again of that 775which was dead; not of something of the same nature, but of the very thing itself. And all the passages already quoted as proving the resurrection of the body, assume or declare that it is the same body that rises. It is our present “mortal bodies;” “our vile body;” it is “this corruptible,” “this mortal;” it is that which is sown, of which the resurrection and transformation is predicted and promised. Our resurrection is to be analogous to that of Christ; but in his case there can be no doubt that the very body which hung upon the cross, and which laid in the tomb, rose again from the dead. Otherwise it would have been no resurrection. This identity was the very thing Christ was anxious to prove to his doubting disciples. He showed them his pierced hands and feet, and his perforated side. On this subject, however, there is little difference of opinion. Wherever the resurrection of the body is an article of faith the identity of the present and future body has been admitted. The usual form of Christian burial, in the case of the faithful, has ever been, “We commit this body to the grave in the sure hope of a blessed resurrection.”
Wherein does this Identity consist?
It is obvious that identity in different cases depends on very different conditions. First, in the case of unorganized matter, as a clod of earth or a stone, the identity depends on the continuity of substance and of form. If the stone be reduced to powder and scattered abroad, the same substance continues, but not in the same combination; and therefore the identity is gone. In what sense is water in a goblet the same from hour to hour, or from day to day? It is the same substance resulting from the combination of oxygen and hydrogen, and it is the same portion of that substance. If that goblet be emptied into the ocean, what becomes of the identity of the water which it contained? If you separate the water into its constituent gases, the elementary substances continue, but they are no longer water. You may change its state without destroying its identity. If frozen into ice and again thawed, it is the same water. If evaporated into steam, and then condensed, it is the same water still. This sameness, of which continuance of the same substance is the essential element, is the lowest form of identity. In the Church it has often been assumed that sameness of substance is essential to the identity between our present and future bodies. This idea has been pressed sometimes to the utmost extreme. Augustine seems to have thought that all the matter which at any period entered into the organism of 776our present bodies, would in some way be restored in the resurrection body. Every man’s body, however dispersed here, shall be restored perfect in the resurrection. Every body shall be complete in quantity and quality. As many hairs as have been shaved off, or nails cut, shall not return in such vast quantities as to deform their original places; but neither shall they perish; they shall return into the body into that substance from which they grew.822822De Civitate Dei, XXII., xx.; Works, Paris, 1838, vol. vii. pp. 1085-1089. Thomas Aquinas was more moderate. He taught that only those particles which entered into the composition of the body at death, would enter into the composition of the resurrection body. This idea seems to have entered into the theology of Romanists, as some at least of the theologians of the Church of Rome labour to remove the objection to this view of the subject derived from the fact that the particles of the human body after death are not only dispersed far and wide and mingled with the dust of the earth, but also enter into the composition of the bodies of plants, of animals, and of men. To this Perrone answers, “Difficile Deo non est moleculas omnes ad corpus aliquod spectantes, etiam post innumeros transitus ex uno in aliud colligere. Hæc mutatio seu transitus accidentalis est, minime vere essentialis, ut ex physiologia ac zoobiologia constat universa.”823823Prælectiones, edit. Paris., 1861, vol. i. p. 503. It is true, as our Lord teaches us: “With God all things are possible;” and if sameness of substance be essential to that identity between our present and future bodies, which the Bible asserts, then we should have to submit to these difficulties, satisfied that it is within the power of omniscient omnipotence to do whatever God has promised to effect.
Others assume that it is not necessary to the identity contended for that all the particles of the body at death should be included in the resurrection body. It is enough that the new body should be formed exclusively out of particles belonging to the present body. But as the body after the resurrection is to be refined and ethereal, a tenth, a hundredth, or a ten thousandth portion of those particles would suffice. It would take very little of gross matter to make a body of light. Tertullian thought that God had rendered the teeth indestructible in order to furnish material for the future body. Many others also suppose that there is somewhere an indestructible germ in our present body, which is to be developed into the body of the future.824824See Essay on the Identity and General Resurrection of the Human Body, by Samuel Drew, chapter vi. section 7, Brooklyn, 1811, p. 315 ff.777
Secondly, in works of art sameness of substance holds a very subordinate part. The Apollo Belvidere once lay dormant in a block of marble. The central portion of that block containing every particle of matter in the statue was not the Apollo of the artist. Could every particle clipped off, be restored, the substance would remain, but the statue would be gone. Here form, expression, the informing idea are the main constituents of identity. If a penitentiary should be taken down, and the materials be employed in the construction of a cathedral, the substance would be the same, but not the building. When you look into a mirror the image reflected remains the same, but not the substance; for that is changed with every new reflection. And if it were possible, or proved, that in like manner the Madonna del Sixti of Raphael had a thousand times changed its substance, it would remain the same picture still. The soul here informs the body. The character is more or less visibly impressed upon the face. We know the former by looking at the latter. If this be so, if the soul have power thus to illuminate and render intelligent the gross material of our present frames, why may it not hereafter render its ethereal vestment so expressive of itself as to be at once recognized by all to whom it was ever known. Thus we may at once recognize Isaiah, Paul, and John. It is not said that this will be so; that herein lies the identity of their heavenly and earthly bodies; but should it prove to be true, we should not stop to inquire or to care how many particles of the one enter into the composition of the other.
Thirdly, identity in living organisms is something still higher, and more inscrutable than in works of art. The acorn and the oak are the same; but in what sense? Not in substance, not in form. The infant and the man are the same, through all the stages of life; boyhood, manhood, and old age; the substance of the body, however, is in a state of perpetual change. It is said this change is complete once every seven years. Hence if a man live to be seventy years old, the substance of his body has, during that period, been entirely changed ten times. Here, then, is an identity independent of sameness of substance. Our future bodies, therefore, may be the same as those we now have, although not a particle that was in the one should be in the other.
The object of these remarks on the different kinds of identity, is not to explain anything. It is not intended to teach wherein the identity of the earthly and heavenly consists; whether it be an identity of substance; or of expression and idea, as in works of art; or of the uninterrupted continuity of the same vital 778force as in the plant and animal through their whole progress of growth and decay; or whether it is a sameness which includes all these; or something different from them all. Nothing is affirmed. The subject is left where the Bible leaves it. The object aimed at is twofold; first, to show that it is perfectly rational for a man to assert the identity between our present and our future bodies, although he is forced to admit that he does not know wherein that identity is to consist. This is no more than what all men have to admit concerning the continued sameness of our present bodies. And, secondly, to stop the mouths of gainsayers. They ridicule the idea of a resurrection of the body; asking if the infant is to rise as an infant; the old man, wrinkled and decrepid; the maimed as maimed; the obese with their cumbrous load; and by such questions think they have refuted a Scripture doctrine. The Bible teaches no such absurdities; and no Church goes beyond the Scriptures in asserting two things, namely: that the body is to rise, and that it is to be the same after the resurrection that it was before; but neither the Bible nor the Church determines wherein that sameness is to consist.
With regard to our present bodies, the fact of their continued identity is not denied. According to one view the principle of this identity is in the body and perishes, or ceases, with it. According to another, although in the body, it does not perish with it, but remains united to the soul, and under appropriate circumstances fashions for itself a new body. According to others, this vital principle is in the soul itself. Agassiz, as a zoologist, teaches that with every living germ there is an immaterial principle by which one species is distinguished from another, and which determines that the germ of a fish develops into a fish; and that of a bird, into a bird, although the two germs are exactly the same (i.e., alike) in substance and structure. When the individual dies, this immaterial principle ceases to exist. This is Agassiz’s doctrine. Dr. Julius Müller825825Studien und Kritiken, 1835, pp. 777, 785. thinks that this vital organizing force continues in union with the soul, but is not operative between death and the resurrection. He says, “it is not the σάρξ, the mass of earthly material, . . . . but the σῶμα, the organic whole, to which the Scriptures promise a resurrection. . . . . The organism, as the living form which appropriates matter to itself, is the true body, which in its glorification becomes the σῶμα πνευματικόν. But he understands the Apostle in 2 Corinthians v. 4, as clearly teaching that the soul during the interval between death and the 779resurrection remains unclothed. Dr. Lange, whose imagination often dominates him, teaches that the soul was created to be incarnate; and therefore was endowed with forces and talents to that end. In virtue of its nature, it as certainly gathers from surrounding matter the materials for a body, as a seed gathers from the earth and air the matter suited to its necessities. He assumes, therefore, that there is in the soul “a law or force, which secures its forming for itself a body suited to its necessities and sphere or more properly,” he adds, “the organic identity” may be characterized as the “Schema des Leibes,” which is included in the soul, or, as the “Incarnationstrieb des Geistes;” a “nisus formativus” which belongs to the human soul.826826Beiträge zu der Lehre von den Letzten Dingen. Meurs, 1841, p. 235. The soul while on earth forms for itself a body out of earthly materials; when it leaves the earth it fashions a habitation for itself out of the materials to be found in the higher sphere to which it is translated; and at the end of the world, when the grand palingenesia is to occur, the souls of men, according to their nature, will fashion bodies for themselves out of the elements of the dissolving universe. “The righteous will clothe themselves with the refined elements of the renovated earth; they shall shine as the sun. The wicked shall be clothed with the refuse of the earth; they shall awake to shame and everlasting contempt.”827827Ibid. p. 251.
Leaving out of view what is fanciful in this representation, it may be readily admitted by those who adhere to the generally received doctrine that man consists of soul and body (and not of spirit, soul, and body), that the soul, besides its rational, voluntary, and moral faculties, has in it what may be called a principle of animal life. That is, that it has not only faculties which fit it for the higher exercises of a rational creature capable of fellowship with God, but also faculties which fit it for living in organic union with a material body. It may also be admitted that the soul, in this aspect, is the animating principle of the body, that by which all its functions are carried on. And it may further be admitted that the soul, in this aspect, is that which gives identity to the human body through all the changes of substance to which it is here subjected. And finally it may be admitted, such being the case, that the body which the soul is to have at the resurrection, is as really and truly identical with that which it had on earth, as the body of the man of mature life is the same which he had when he was an infant. All this may pass for what it is worth. What stands sure is what the Bible 780teaches, that our heavenly bodies are in some high, true, and real sense, to be the same as those which we now have.
Nature of the Resurrection Body.
It is obvious that this is a subject of which we can know nothing, except from divine revelation. We are of necessity as profoundly ignorant of this matter, as of the nature of the inhabitants of the planets or of the sun. The speculations of men concerning the nature of the future body have been numerous; some merely fanciful, others, revolting.
There are two negative statements in the Bible on this subject, which imply a great deal. One is the declaration of Christ, That in the resurrection men neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God. The other is the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians xv. 50, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” There seem to be plainly three things implied or asserted in these passages. (1.) That the bodies of men must be specially suited to the state of existence in which they are to live and act. (2.) That our present bodies, that is, our bodies as now organized, consisting as they do of flesh and blood, are not adapted to our future state of being. And (3.) That everything in the organization or constitution of our bodies designed to meet our present necessities, will cease with the life that now is. Nothing of that kind will belong to the resurrection body. If blood be no longer our life, we shall have no need of organs of respiration and nutrition. So long as we are ignorant of the conditions of existence which await us after the resurrection, it is vain to speculate on the constitution of our future bodies. It is enough to know that the glorified people of God will not be cumbered with useless organs, or trammeled by the limitations which are imposed by our present state of existence.
The following particulars, however, may be inferred with more or less confidence from what the Bible has revealed on this subject, —
1. That our bodies after the resurrection will retain the human form. God, we are told, gave to all his creatures on earth each its own body adapted to its nature, and necessary to attain the end of its creation. Any essential change in the nature of the body would involve a corresponding change in its internal constitution. A bee in the form of a horse would cease to be a bee and a man in any other than a human form, would cease to be a man. His body is an essential element in his constitution. Every 781intimation given in Scripture on this subject, tends to sustain this conclusion. Every time Christ appeared to his disciples not only before, but also after his ascension, as to Stephen, Paul, and John, it was in human form. Origen conceited that, because the circle is the most perfect figure, the future body will be globular. But a creature in that form would not be recognized either in earth or heaven as a man.
2. It is probable that the future body will not only retain the human form, but that it will also be a glorified likeness of what it was on earth. We know that every man has here his individual character, — peculiarities mental and emotional which distinguish him from every other man. We know that his body by its expression, air, and carriage more or less clearly reveals his character. This revelation of the inward by the outward will probably be far more exact and informing in heaven than it can be here on earth. How should we know Peter or John in heaven, if there were not something in their appearance and bearing corresponding to the image of themselves impressed by their writings on the minds of all their readers?
3. This leads to the further remark that we shall not only recognize our friends in heaven, but also know, without introduction, prophets, apostles, confessors, and martyrs, of whom we have read or heard while here on earth. (a.) This is altogether probable from the nature of the case. If the future body is to be the same with the present, why should not that sameness, whatever else it may include, include a certain sameness of appearance. (b.) When Moses and Elias appeared on the mount with Christ, they were at once known by the disciples. Their appearance corresponded so exactly with the conceptions formed from the Old Testament account of their character and conduct, that no doubt was entertained on the subject. (c.) It is said that we are to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. This implies that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be known; and if they are known surely others will be known also. (d.) It is promised that our cup of happiness will then be full; but it could not be full, unless we met in heaven those whom we loved on earth. Man is a social being with a soul full of social affections, and as he is to be a man in heaven, is it not likely that he will retain all his social affections there? God would hardly have put this pure yearning in the hearts of his people if it were never to be gratified. David weeping over his dead son, said, “I shall go to him, but he shall not 782return to me.” And this has been the language of every bereaved heart from that day to this. (e.) The Bible clearly teaches that man is to retain all his faculties in the future life. One of the most important of those faculties is memory. If this were not retained there would be a chasm in our existence. The past for us would cease to exist. We could hardly, if at all, be conscious of our identity. We should enter heaven, as creatures newly created, who had no history. Then all the songs of heaven would cease. There could be no thanksgiving for redemption; no recognition of all God’s dealings with us in this world. Memory, however, is not only to continue, but will doubtless with all our faculties be greatly exalted, so that the records of the past may be as legible to us as the events of the present. If this be so, if men are to retain in heaven the knowledge of their earthly life; this of course involves the recollection of all social relations, of all the ties of respect, love, and gratitude which bind men in the family and in society. (f.) The doctrine that in a future life we shall recognize those whom we knew and loved on earth, has entered into the faith of all mankind. It is taken for granted in the Bible, both in the Old Testament and in the New. The patriarchs always spoke of going to their fathers when they died. The Apostle exhorts believers not to mourn for the departed as those who have no hope; giving them the assurance that they shall be reunited with all those who die in the Lord.
4. We know certainly that the future bodies of believers are to be, — (a.) Incorruptible; not merely destined never to decay, but not susceptible of corruption. By the certain action of physical laws, our present body, as soon as deserted by the soul, is reduced to a mass of corruption, so revolting that we hasten to bury our dead out of our sight. The future body will be liable to no such change; neither, as we learn from Scripture, will it be subject to those diseases and accidents which so often mar the beauty or destroy the energy of the bodies in which we now dwell. Being unsusceptible of decay, they will be incapable of, or at least, carefully preserved from, suffering, by Him who has promised to wash all tears from our eyes.
(b.) The future body is to be immortal. This is something different from, something higher than incorruptible; the latter is negative, the other positive; the one implies immunity from decay; the other not merely immunity from death, but perpetuity of life. There is to be no decrepitude of age no decay of the faculties; no loss of vigour; but immortal youth.783
(c.) The present body is sown in weakness, it will be raised in power. We know very well how weak we now are, how little we can effect; how few are our senses; how limited their range; but we do not yet know in what ways, or in what measure our power is to be increased. It is probable that however high may be our expectations on this subject, they will fall short of the reality; for it doth not yet appear, it is not revealed in experience or in hope, what we shall be. We may have new senses, new and greatly exalted capabilities of taking cognizance of external things, of apprehending their nature and of deriving knowledge and enjoyment from their wonders and their beauties. Instead of the slow and wearisome means of locomotion to which we are now confined, we may be able hereafter to pass with the velocity of light or of thought itself from one part of the universe to another. Our power of vision, instead of being confined to the range of a few hundred yards, may far exceed that of the most powerful telescope. These expectations cannot be extravagant, for we are assured that eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man to conceive the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.
(d.) The body is sown in dishonour, it shall be raised in glory. Glory is that which excites wonder, admiration, and delight. The bodies of the saints are to be fashioned like unto Christ’s glorious body. We shall be like Him when we see Him as He is. More than this cannot be said; what it means we know not now, but we shall know hereafter. We already know that when the body of Christ was transfigured upon the mount, the Apostles fainted and became as dead men in its presence; and we know that when He shall come again the second time unto salvation the heavens and the earth shall flee away at the sight of his glory. Let it suffice us to know that as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Well might the Apostle exhort believers not to mourn for the pious dead, whom they are to see again, arrayed in a beauty and glory of which we can now have no conception.
(e.) It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. When words are used thus antithetically, the meaning of the one enables us to determine the meaning of the other. We can, therefore, in this case learn what the word “spiritual” means, from what we know ot the meaning of the word “natural.” The ψυχικόν, translated “natural,” as every one knows, is derived from ψυχή, which means sometimes the life; sometimes the 784principle of animal life which men have in common with the brutes; and sometimes the soul in the ordinary and comprehensive sense of the term; the rational and immortal principle of our nature; that in which our personality resides; so that to say “My soul rejoices,” or, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful,” is equivalent to saying, “I rejoice,” or, “I am sorrowful.” Such being the signification of the ψυχή, it is plain that σῶμα ψυχικόν, the psychical, or natural, body, cannot by possibility mean a body made out of the ψυχή. In like manner it is no less plain that σῶμα πνευματικόν cannot by possibility mean a body made of spirit. That indeed would be as much a contradiction in terms, as to speak of a spirit made out of matter. Again, we know that man has an animal as well as a rational nature; that is, his soul is endowed not only with reason and conscience, but also with sensibilities, or faculties which enable it to take cognizance of the appetites of the body, as hunger and thirst, and of its sensations of pleasure and pain. These appetites and sensations are states of consciousness of the soul. The σῶμα ψυχικόν, or natural body, therefore, is a body adapted to the soul in this aspect of its nature; and the σῶμα πνευματικόν, or spiritual body, is a body adapted to the higher attributes of the soul. We know from experience what the former is; it is an earthly body, made of the dust of the earth. The chemist can analyze it, and reduce it to its constituents of ammonia, hydrogen, carbon, etc.; and in the grave it soon becomes undistinguishable from other portions of the earth’s surface. It is a body which, while living, has constant need of being repaired; it must be sustained by the oxygen of the air, and by the chemical elements of its food. It soon grows weary, and must be refreshed by rest and sleep. In a little more than seventy years, it is worn out, and drops into the grave. The reverse of this is true of the spiritual body; it has no such necessities, and is not subject to such weariness and decay. It is no doubt involved in the fact, that while our present bodies are adapted to the lower faculties of our nature, and the spiritual body to our higher faculties, that the latter must be more refined, ætherial, and, as Paul says, heavenly, than the other. Even now the soul, in one sense, pervades the body. It is in every part of it; it is sensible of all its changes of state; it gives to it a look and carriage which reveal man as the lord of this world. To a far greater degree may the soul permeate the refined and glorified body which it is to receive at the resurrection of the just; and thus render it to a degree now incomprehensible, in its very nature 785spiritual. If the face of man formed out of the dust of the earth often beams with intelligence and glows with elevated emotions, what may be expected of a countenance made like unto that of the Son of God.
If then our future bodies are to retain the human form; to be easily distinguished by those who knew and loved us on earth; if they are to be endued with an unknown power; if they are to be incorruptible, immortal, and spiritual; if we are to bear the image of the heavenly, we may well bow down with humble and joyful hearts and receive the exhortation of the Apostle: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
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