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Chapter XXXVI.—Christ’s Refutation of the Sadducees, and Affirmation of Catholic Doctrine.

Let us now see whether (the Lord) has not imparted greater strength to our doctrine in breaking down the subtle cavil of the Sadducees. Their great object, I take it, was to do away altogether with the resurrection, for the Sadducees in fact did not admit any salvation either for the soul or the flesh;75207520    Compare Tertullian’s De Præscript. Hæret. c. xxxiii. and therefore, taking the strongest case they could for impairing the credibility of the resurrection, they adapted an argument from it in support of the question which they started. Their specious inquiry concerned the flesh, whether or not it would be subject to marriage after the resurrection; and they assumed the case of a woman who had married seven brothers, so that it was a doubtful point to which of them she should be restored.75217521    Matt. xxii. 23–32; Mark xii. 18–27; Luke xx. 27–38. Now, let the purport both of the question and the answer be kept steadily in view, and the discussion is settled at once. For since the Sadducees indeed denied the resurrection, whilst the Lord affirmed it; since, too, (in affirming it,) He reproached them as being both ignorant of the Scriptures—those, of course which had declared the resurrection—as well as incredulous of the power of God, though, of course, effectual to raise the dead, and lastly, since He immediately added the words, “Now, that the dead are raised,”75227522    Luke xx. 37. (speaking) without misgiving, and affirming the very thing which was being denied, even the resurrection of the dead before Him who is “the God of the living,”—(it clearly follows) that He affirmed this verity in the precise sense in which they were denying it; that it was, in fact, the resurrection of the two natures of man. Nor does it follow, (as they would have it,) that because Christ denied that men would marry, He therefore proved that they would not rise again. On the contrary, He called them “the children of the resurrection,”75237523    Ver. 36. in a certain sense having by the resurrection to undergo a birth; and after that they marry no more, but in their risen life are “equal unto the angels,”75247524    Ver. 36. inasmuch as they are not to marry, because they are not to die, but are destined to pass into the angelic state by putting on the raiment of incorruption, although with a change in the substance which is restored to life. Besides, no question could be raised whether we are to marry or die again or not, without involving in doubt the restoration most especially of that substance which has a particular relation both to death and marriage—that is, the flesh. Thus, then, you have the Lord affirming against the Jewish heretics what is now en572countering the denial of the Christian Sadducees—the resurrection of the entire man.


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