« Prev A Synopsis of Some Apostolic Words from the Same… Next »

II. A Synopsis of Some Apostolic Words from the Same Discourse.29022902    From Photius, Bibliotheca, cod. 234.

I. Read a compendious interpretation of some apostolic words from the same discourse. Let us see, then, what it is that we have endeavoured to say respecting the apostle. For this saying of his, “I was alive without the law once,”29032903    Rom. vii. 9. refers to the life which was lived in paradise before the law, not without a body, but with a body, by our first parents, as we have shown above; for we lived without concupiscence, being altogether ignorant of its assaults. For not to have a law according to which we ought to live, nor a power of establishing what manner of life we ought to 371adopt, so that we might justly be approved or blamed, is considered to exempt a person from accusation. Because one cannot lust after those things from which he is not restrained, and even if he lusted after them, he would not be blamed. For lust is not directed to things which are before us, and subject to our power, but to those which are before us, and not in our power. For how should one care for a thing which is neither forbidden nor necessary to him? And for this reason it is said, “I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.”29042904    Rom. vii. 7. For when (our first parents) heard, “Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,”29052905    Gen. ii. 17. then they conceived lust, and gathered it. Therefore was it said, I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet;” nor would they have desired to eat, except it had been said, “Thou shalt not eat of it.” For it was thence that sin took occasion to deceive me. For when the law was given, the devil had it in his power to work lust in me; “for without the law, sin was dead;”29062906    Rom. vii. 8. which means “when the law was not given, sin could not be committed.” But I was alive and blameless before the law, having no commandment in accordance with which it was necessary to live; “but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.”29072907    Rom. vii. 9, 10. For after God had given the law, and had commanded me what I ought to do, and what I ought not to do, the devil wrought lust in me. For the promise of God which was given to me, this was for life and incorruption, so that obeying it I might have ever-blooming life and joy unto incorruption; but to him who disobeyed it, it would issue in death. But the devil, whom he calls sin, because he is the author of sin, taking occasion by the commandment to deceive me to disobedience, deceived and slew me, thus rendering me subject to the condemnation, “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”29082908    Gen. ii. 17. “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just and good;”29092909    Rom. vii. 12. because it was given, not for injury, but for safety; for let us not suppose that God makes anything useless or hurtful. What then? “Was then that which is good made death unto me?”29102910    Rom. vii. 13. namely, that which was given as a law, that it might be the cause of the greatest good? “God forbid.” For it was not the law of God that became the cause of my being brought into subjection to corruption, but the devil; that he might be made manifested who, through that which is good, wrought evil; that the inventor of evil might become and be proved the greatest of all sinners. “For we know that the law is spiritual;”29112911    Rom. vii. 14. and therefore it can in no respect be injurious to any one; for spiritual things are far removed from irrational lust and sin. “But I am carnal, sold under sin;”29122912    Rom. vii. 14. which means: But I being carnal, and being placed between good and evil as a voluntary agent, am so that I may have it in my power to choose what I will. For “behold I set before thee life and death;”29132913    Jer. xxi. 8; Ecclus. xv. 8; Deut. xxx. 15. meaning that death would result from disobedience of the spiritual law, that is of the commandment; and from obedience to the carnal law, that is the counsel of the serpent; for by such a choice “I am sold” to the devil, fallen under sin. Hence evil, as though besieging me, cleaves to me and dwells in me, justice giving me up to be sold to the Evil One, in consequence of having violated the law. Therefore also the expressions: “That which I do, I allow not,” and “what I hate, that do I,”29142914    Rom. vii. 15. are not to be understood of doing evil, but of only thinking it. For it is not in our power to think or not to think of improper things, but to act or not to act upon our thoughts. For we cannot hinder thoughts from coming into our minds, since we receive them when they are inspired into us from without; but we are able to abstain from obeying them and acting upon them. Therefore it is in our power to will not to think these things; but not to bring it about that they shall pass away, so as not to come into the mind again; for this does not lie in our power, as I said; which is the meaning of that statement, “The good that I would, I do not;”29152915    Rom. vii. 19. for I do not will to think the things which injure me; for this good is altogether innocent. But “the good that I would, I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do;” not willing to think, and yet thinking what I do not will. And consider whether it was not for these very things that David entreated God, grieving that he thought of those things which he did not will: “O cleanse Thou me from my secret faults. Keep Thy servant also from presumptuous sins, lest they get the dominion over me; so shall I be undefiled, and innocent from the great offence.”29162916    Ps. xix. 12, 13. And the apostle too, in another place: “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”29172917    2 Cor. x. 5.

II. But if any one should venture to oppose this statement, and reply, that the apostle teaches 372that we hate not only the evil which is in thought, but that we do that which we will not, and we hate it even in the very act of doing it, for he says, “The good which I would, I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do;”29182918    Rom. vii. 19. if he who says so speaks the truth, let us ask him to explain what was the evil which the apostle hated and willed not to do, but did; and the good which he willed to do, but did not; and conversely, whether as often as he willed to do good, so often he did not do the good which he willed, but did the evil which he willed not? And how he can say, when exhorting us to shake off all manner of sin, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ?”29192919    1 Cor. xi. 1. Thus he meant the things already mentioned which he willed not to do, not to be done, but only to be thought of. For how otherwise could he be an exact imitation of Christ? It would be excellent then, and most delightful, if we had not those who oppose us, and contend with us; but since this is impossible, we cannot do what we will. For we will not to have those who lead us to passion, for then we could be saved without weariness and effort; but that does not come to pass which we will, but that which we will not. For it is necessary, as I said, that we should be tried. Let us not then, O my soul, let us not give in to the Evil One; but putting on “the whole armour of God,” which is our protection, let us have “the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel (of peace). Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God,”29202920    Eph. vi. 13, 14–17. that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil; “casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of Christ,”29212921    2 Cor. x. 5. “for we wrestle not against flesh and blood;”29222922    Eph. vi. 12. “for that which I do, I allow not; for what I would, that do I not: but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me—that is, in my flesh—dwelleth no good thing.”29232923    Rom. vii. 15–18. And this is rightly said. For remember how it has been already shown that, from the time when man went astray and disobeyed the law, thence sin, receiving its birth from his disobedience, dwelt in him. For thus a commotion was stirred up, and we were filled with agitations and foreign imaginations, being emptied of the divine inspiration and filled with carnal desire, which the cunning serpent infused into us. And, therefore, God invented death for our sakes, that He might destroy sin, lest rising up in us immortals, as I said, it should be immortal. When the apostle says, “for I know that in me—that is, in my flesh—dwelleth no good thing,” by which words he means to indicate that sin dwells in us, from the transgression, through lust; out of which, like young shoots, the imaginations of pleasure rise around us. For there are two kinds of thoughts in us; the one which arises from the lust which lies in the body, which, as I said, came from the craft of the Evil Spirit; the other from the law, which is in accordance with the commandment, which we had implanted in us as a natural law, stirring up our thoughts to good, when we delight in the law of God according to our mind, for this is the inner man; but in the law of the devil according to the lust which dwells in the flesh. For he who wars against and opposes the law of God, that is, against the tendency of the mind to good, is the same who stirs up the carnal and sensual impulses to lawlessness.

III. For the apostle here sets forth clearly, as I think, three laws: One in accordance with the good which is implanted in us, which clearly he calls the law of the mind. One the law which arises from the assault of evil, and which often draws on the soul to lustful fancies, which, he says,” wars against the law of the mind.”29242924    Rom. vii. 23. And the third, which is in accordance with sin, settled in the flesh from lust, which he calls the “law of sin which dwells in our members;”29252925    Rom. vii. 23. which the Evil One, urging on, often stirs up against us, driving us to unrighteousness and evil deeds. For there seems to be in ourselves one thing which is better and another which is worse. And when that which is in its nature better is about to become more powerful than that which is worse, the whole mind is carried on to that which is good; but when that which is worse increases and overbalances, man is on the contrary urged on to evil imaginations. On account of which the apostle prays to be delivered from it, regarding it as death and destruction; as also does the prophet when he says, “Cleanse Thou me from my secret faults.”29262926    Ps. xix. 12. And the same is denoted by the words, “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man; but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”29272927    Rom. vii. 22–24. By which he does not mean that the body is death, but the law of sin which is in his members, lying hidden in us 373through the transgression, and ever deluding the soul to the death of unrighteousness. And he immediately adds, clearly showing from what kind of death he desired to be delivered, and who he was who delivered him, “I thank God, through Jesus Christ.”29282928    Rom. vii. 25. And it should be considered, if he said that this body was death, O Aglaophon, as you supposed, he would not afterwards mention Christ as delivering him from so great an evil. For in that case what a strange thing should we have had from the advent of Christ? And how could the apostle have said this, as being able to be delivered from death by the advent of Christ; when it was the lot of all to die before Christ’s coming into the world? And, therefore, O Aglaophon, he says not that this body was death, but the sin which dwells in the body through lust, from which God has delivered him by the coming of Christ. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death;” so that “He that raised up Jesus from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you;” having “condemned sin” which is in the body to its destruction; “that the righteousness of the law”29292929    Rom. viii. 2, 11, 3, 4. of nature which draws us to good, and is in accordance with the commandment, might be kindled and manifested. For the good which “the law” of nature “could not do, in that it was weak,” being overcome by the lust which lies in the body, God gave strength to accomplish, “sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh;” so that sin being condemned, to its destruction, so that it should never bear fruit in the flesh, the righteousness of the law of nature might be fulfilled, abounding in the obedience of those who walk not according to the lust of the flesh, but according to the lust and guidance of the Spirit; “for the law of the Spirit of life,” which is the Gospel, being different from earlier laws, leading by its preaching to obedience and the remission of sins, delivered us from the law of sin and death, having conquered entirely sin which reigned over our flesh.

IV. He29302930    Methodius. says that plants are neither nourished nor increased from the earth. For he says, let any one consider how the earth can be changed and taken up into the substance of trees. For then the place of the earth which lay around, and was drawn up through the roots into the whole compass of the tree, where the tree grew, must needs be hollowed out; so that such a thing as they hold respecting the flux of bodies, is absurd. For how could the earth first enter in through the roots into the trunks of the plants, and then, passing through their channels into all their branches, be turned into leaves and fruit? Now there are large trees, such as the cedar, pines, firs, which annually bear much leaves and fruit; and one may see that they consume none of the surrounding earth into the bulk and substance of the tree. For it would be necessary, if it were true that the earth went up through the roots, and was turned into wood, that the whole place where the earth lay round about them should be hollowed out; for it is not the nature of a dry substance to flow in, like a moist substance, and fill up the place of that which moves away. Moreover, there are fig-trees, and other similar plants, which frequently grow in the buildings of monuments, and yet they never consume the entire building into themselves. But if any one should choose to collect their fruit and leaves for many years, he would perceive that their bulk had become much larger than the earth upon the monuments. Hence it is absurd to suppose that the earth is consumed into the crop of fruits and leaves; and even if they were all made by it, they would be so only as using it for their seat and place. For bread is not made without a mill, and a place, and time, and fire; and yet bread is not made out of any of these things. And the same may be said of a thousand other things.

V. Now the followers of Origen bring forward this passage, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved,”29312931    2 Cor. v. 1. and so forth, to disprove the resurrection of the body, saying that the “tabernacle” is the body, and the “house not made with hands” “in the heavens” is our spiritual clothing. Therefore, says the holy Methodius, by this earthly house must metaphorically29322932    The Word means literally, “by an abuse, or misapplication;” but the author’s meaning is very nearly that expressed in the text.—Tr. be understood our short-lived existence here, and not this tabernacle; for if you decide to consider the body as being the earthly house which is dissolved, tell us what is the tabernacle whose house is dissolved? For the tabernacle is one thing, and the house of the tabernacle another, and still another we who have the tabernacle. “For,” he says, “if our earthly house of this tabernacle be dissolved”—by which he points out that the souls are ourselves, that the body is a tabernacle, and that the house of the tabernacle figuratively represents the enjoyment of the flesh in the present life. If, then, this present life of the body be dissolved like a house, we shall have that which is not made with hands in the heavens. “Not made with hands,” he says, to point out the difference; because this life may be said to be made with hands, seeing that all the employments and pursuits of life are carried on by the hands of men. For the body, being the workmanship of God, is not said to be made with hands, inasmuch as 374it is not formed by the arts of men. But if they shall say that it is made with hands, because it was the workmanship of God, then our souls also, and the angels, and the spiritual clothing in the heavens, are made with hands; for all these things, also, are the workmanship of God. What, then, is the house which is made with hands? It is, as I have said, the short-lived existence which is sustained by human hands. For God said, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread;”29332933    Gen. iii. 19. and when that life is dissolved, we have the life which is not made with hands. As also the Lord showed, when He said: “Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.”29342934    Luke xvi. 9. For what the Lord then called “habitations,”29352935    σκηνάς. the apostle here calls “clothing.”29362936    ἐπενδύσασθαι. 2 Cor. v. 2, 3. And what He there calls “friends” “of unrighteousness,” the apostle here calls “houses” “dissolved.” As then, when the days of our present life shall fail, those good deeds of beneficence to which we have attained in this unrighteous life, and in this “world” which “lieth in wickedness,”29372937    1 John v. 19. will receive our souls; so when this perishable life shall be dissolved, we shall have the habitation which is before the resurrection—that is, our souls shall be with God, until we shall receive the new house which is prepared for us, and which shall never fall. Whence also “we groan,” “not for that we would be unclothed,” as to the body, “but clothed upon”29382938    2 Cor. v. 4. by it in the other life. For the “house in heaven,” with which we desire to be “clothed,” is immortality; with which, when we are clothed, every weakness and mortality will be entirely “swallowed up” in it, being consumed by endless life. “For we walk by faith, not by sight;”29392939    2 Cor. v. 7. that is, for we still go forward by faith, viewing the things which are beyond with a darkened understanding, and not clearly, so that we may see these things, and enjoy them, and be in them. “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.”29402940    1 Cor. xv. 50. By flesh, he did not mean flesh itself, but the irrational impulse towards the lascivious pleasures of the soul. And therefore when he says, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,” he adds the explanation, “Neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” Now corruption is not the thing which is corrupted, but the thing which corrupts. For when death prevails the body sinks into corruption; but when life still remains in it, it stands uncorrupted. Therefore, since the flesh is the boundary between corruption and incorruption, not being either corruption or incorruption, it was vanquished by corruption on account of pleasure, although it was the work and the possession of incorruption. Therefore it became subject to corruption. When, then, it had been overcome by corruption, and was given over to death for chastisement, He did not leave it to be vanquished and given over as an inheritance to corruption; but again conquering death by the resurrection, He restored it to incorruption, that corruption might not inherit incorruption, but incorruption that which is corruptible. And therefore the apostle answers, “This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal immortality.”29412941    1 Cor. xv. 53. But the corruptible and mortal putting on incorruption and immortality, what else is this, but that which is sown in corruption rising in incorruption?29422942    1 Cor. xv. 42. For, “as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”29432943    1 Cor. xv. 49. For the “image of the earthly” which we have borne refers to the saying, “Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.”29442944    Gen. iii. 19. And the “image of the heavenly is the resurrection from the dead and incorruption.”

VI. Now Justin of Neapolis,29452945    Commonly known as St. Justin Martyr.—Tr. [See his treatise On the Resurrection, vol. i. p. 295; also On Life, p. 198, this series.] a man not far removed either from the times or from the virtues of the apostles, says that that which is mortal is inherited, but that life inherits; and that flesh dies, but that the kingdom of heaven lives. When then, Paul says that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven,”29462946    1 Cor. xv. 50. he does not so speak as seeming to slight the regeneration of the flesh, but as teaching that the kingdom of God, which is eternal life, is not inherited by the body, but the body by life. For if the kingdom of God, which is life, were inherited by the body, it would happen that life was swallowed up by corruption. But now life inherits that which is mortal, that death may be swallowed up of life unto victory, and that which is corruptible appear the possession of incorruption; being made free from death and sin, and become the slave and subject of immortality, that the body may become the possession of incorruption, and not incorruption of the body.

VII. Now the passage, “The dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive,” St. Methodius thus explains: Those are our bodies; for the souls are we ourselves, who, rising, resume that which is dead from the earth; so that being caught up with them to meet the Lord, we may gloriously celebrate the splendid festival of 375the resurrection, because we have received our everlasting tabernacles, which shall no longer die nor be dissolved.

VIII. I saw, he says, on Olympus29472947    Cf. p. 368, supra. [Pyragnos = fire-proof agnos.] (Olympus is a mountain in Lycia), a fire spontaneously arising on the top of the mountain from the earth, beside which is the plant Puragnos, so flourishing, green, and shady, that it seemed rather as though it grew from a fountain. For what cause, although they are by nature corruptible, and their bodies consumed by fire, was this plant not only not burnt, but rather more flourishing, although in its nature it is easily burnt, and the fire was burning about its roots? Then I cast branches of trees out of the surrounding wood into the place where the fire streamed forth, and, immediately bursting up into flame, they were converted into cinders. What then is the meaning of this contradiction? This God appointed as a sign and prelude of the coming Day, that we may know that, when all things are overwhelmed by fire, the bodies which are endowed with chastity and righteousness shall pass through it as though it were cold water.

IX. Consider, he says, whether too the blessed John, when he says, “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it: and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them,”29482948    Rev. xx. 13. does not mean the parts which are given up by the elements for the reconstruction of each one? By the sea is meant the moist element; by hell,29492949    Hades. the air, derived from ἀειδές, because it is invisible, as was said by Origen; and by death, the earth, because those who die are laid in it; whence also it is called in the Psalms the “dust of death,”29502950    Ps. xxii. 15. Christ saying that He is brought “into the dust of death.”

X. For, he says, whatever is composed and consists of pure air and pure fire, and is of like substance with the angelic beings, cannot have the nature of earth and water; since it would then be earthy. And of such nature, and consisting of such things, Origen has shown that the body of man shall be which shall rise, which he also said would be spiritual.

XI. And he asks what will be the appearance of the risen body, when this human form, as according to him useless, shall wholly disappear; since it is the most lovely of all things which are combined in living creatures, as being the form which the Deity Himself employs, as the most wise Paul explains: “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God;”29512951    1 Cor. xi. 7. in accordance with which the rational bodies of the angels are set in order? will it be circular, or polygonal, or cubical, or pyramidal? For there are very many kinds of forms; but this is impossible.29522952    [Justin Martyr, vol. i. p. 295, this series.] Well then, what are we to think of the assertion, that the godlike shape is to be rejected as more ignoble, for he himself allows that the soul is like the body, and that man is to rise again without hands or feet?

XII. The transformation, he says, is the restoration into an impassible and glorious state. For now the body is a body of desire and of humiliation,29532953    Phil. iii. 21. and therefore Daniel was called “a man of desires.”29542954    Dan. ix. 23, marginal reading. But then it will be transfigured into an impassible body, not by the change of the arrangement of the members, but by its not desiring carnal pleasures.

Then he says, refuting Origen, Origen therefore thinks that the same flesh will not be restored to the soul, but that the form of each, according to the appearance by which the flesh is now distinguished, shall arise stamped upon another spiritual body; so that every one will again appear the same form; and that this is the resurrection which is promised. For, he says, the material body being fluid, and in no wise remaining in itself, but wearing out and being replaced around the appearance by which its shape is distinguished, and by which the figure is contained, it is necessary that the resurrection should be only that of the form.

XIII. Then, after a little, he says: If then, O Origen, you maintain that the resurrection of the body changed into a spiritual body is to be expected only in appearance, and put forth the vision of Moses and Elias as a most convincing proof of it; saying that they appeared after their departure from life, preserving no different appearance from that which they had from the beginning; in the same way will be the resurrection of all men. But Moses and Elias arose and appeared with this form of which you speak, before Christ suffered and rose. How then could Christ be celebrated by prophets and apostles as “the first begotten of the dead?”29552955    Rev. i. 5. For if the Christ is believed to be the first begotten of the dead, He is the first begotten of the dead as having risen before all others. But Moses appeared to the apostles before Christ suffered, having this form in which you say the resurrection is fulfilled. Hence then, there is no resurrection of the form without the flesh. For either there is a resurrection of the form as you teach, and then Christ is no longer “the first begotten of the dead,” from the fact that souls appeared before Him, having this form after death; or He is truly the first begotten, and it is quite impossible that any should have 376been thought meet for a resurrection before Him, so as not to die again. But if no one arose before Him, and Moses and Elias appeared to the apostles not having flesh, but only its appearance, the resurrection in the flesh is clearly manifested. For it is most absurd that the resurrection should be set forth only in form, since the souls, after their departure from the flesh, never appear to lay aside the form which, he says, rises again. But if that remains with them, so that it cannot be taken away, as with the soul of Moses and Elias; and neither perishes, as you think, nor is destroyed, but is everywhere present with them; then surely that form which never fell cannot be said to rise again.

XIV. But if any one, finding this inadmissible, answers, But how then, if no one rose before Christ went down into Hades, are several recorded as having risen before Him? Among whom is the son of the widow of Sarepta, and the son of the Shunammite, and Lazarus. We must say: These rose to die again; but we are speaking of those who shall never die after their rising. And if any one should speak doubtfully concerning the soul of Elias, as that the Scriptures say that he was taken up in the flesh, and we say that he appeared to the apostles divested of the flesh, we must say, that to allow that he appeared to the apostles in the flesh is more in favour of our argument. For it is shown by this case that the body is susceptible of immortality, as was also proved by the translation of Enoch. For if he could not receive immortality, he could not remain in a state of insensibility so long a time. If, then, he appeared with the body, that was truly after he was dead, but certainly not as having arisen from the dead. And this, we may say, if we agree with Origen when he says that the same form is given to the soul after death; when it is separated from the body, which is of all things the most impossible, from the fact that the form of the flesh was destroyed before by its changes, as also the form of the melted statue before its entire dissolution. Because the quality cannot be separated from the material, so as to exist by itself; for the shape which disappears around the brass is separated from the melted statue, and has not longer a substantial existence.

XV. Since the form is said to be separated in death from the flesh, come, let us consider in how many ways that which is separated is said to be separated. Now a thing is said to be separated from another either in act and subsistence, or in thought; or else in act, but not in subsistence. As if, for instance, one should separate from each other wheat and barley which had been mingled together; in as far as they are separated in motion, they are said to be separated in act; in as far as they stand apart when separated, they are said to be separated in subsistence. They are separated in thought when we separate matter from its qualities, and qualities from matter; in act, but not in subsistence, when a thing separated from another no longer exists, not having a substantive existence. And it may be observed that it is so also in mechanics, when one looks upon a statue or a brazen horse melted. For, when he considers these things, he will see their natural form changing; and they alter into another figure from which the original form disappears. For if any one should melt down the works formed into the semblance of a man or a horse, he will find the appearance of the form disappearing, but the material itself remaining. It is, therefore, untenable to say, that the form shall arise in nowise corrupted, but that the body in which the form was stamped shall be destroyed.

XVI. But he says that it will be so; for it will be changed in a spiritual body. Therefore, it is necessary to confess that the very same form as at first does not arise, from its being changed and corrupted with the flesh. For although it be changed into a spiritual body, that will not be properly the original substance, but a certain resemblance of it, fashioned in an ethereal body. If, however, it is not the same form, nor yet the body which arises, then it is another in the place of the first. For that which is like, being different from that which it resembles, cannot be that very first thing in accordance with which it was made.

XVII. Moreover, he says that that is the appearance or form which shows forth the identity of the members in the distinctive character of the form.

XVIII. And, when Origen allegorises that which is said by the prophet Ezekiel concerning the resurrection of the dead, and perverts it to the return of the Israelites from their captivity in Babylon, the saint in refuting him, after many other remarks, says this also: For neither did they29562956    The Israelites. obtain a perfect liberty, nor did they overcome their enemies by a greater power, and dwell again in Jerusalem; and when they frequently intended to build (the temple), they were prevented by other nations. Whence, also, they were scarce able to build that in forty-six years, which Solomon completed from the foundations in seven years. But what need we say on this subject? For from the time of Nebuchadnezzar, and those who after him reigned over Babylon, until the time of the Persian expedition against the Assyrians, and the empire of Alexander, and the war which was stirred up by the Romans against the Jews, Jerusalem was six times overthrown by its enemies. And this 377is recorded by Josephus, who says: “Jerusalem was taken in the second year of the reign of Vespasian. It had been taken before five times; but now for the second time it was destroyed. For Asochæus, king of Egypt, and after him Antiochus, next Pompey, and after these Sosius, with Herod, took the city and burnt it; but before these, the king of Babylon conquered and destroyed it.”

XIX. He says that Origen holds these opinions which he refutes. And there may be a doubt concerning Lazarus and the rich man. The simpler persons think that these things were spoken as though both were receiving their due for the things which they had done in life in their bodies; but the more accurate think that, since no one is left in life after the resurrection, these things do not happen at the resurrection. For the rich man says: “I have five brethren;…lest they also come into this place of torment,”29572957    Luke xvi. 28. send Lazarus, that he may tell them of those things which are here. And, therefore, if we ask respecting the “tongue,” and the “finger,” and “Abraham’s bosom,” and the reclining there, it may perhaps be that the soul receives in the change a form similar in appearance to its gross and earthly body. If, then, any one of those who have fallen asleep is recorded as having appeared, in the same way he has been seen in the form which he had when he was in the flesh. Besides, when Samuel appeared, it is clear that, being seen, he was clothed in a body;29582958    1 Sam. xxviii. 12. [See vol. v. p. 169, note 11, this series.] and this must especially be admitted, if we are pressed by arguments which prove that the essence of the soul is incorporeal, and is manifested by itself.29592959    The reading of Jahn, “καθ᾽ ἑαυτήν,” is here adopted.—Tr. But the rich man in torment, and the poor man who was comforted in the bosom of Abraham, are said, the one to be punished in Hades, and the other to be comforted in Abraham’s bosom, before the appearing of the Saviour, and before the end of the world, and therefore before the resurrection; teaching that now already, at the change, the soul rises a body. Wherefore, the saint says as follows: Setting forth that the soul, after its removal hence, has a form similar in appearance to this sensitive body; does Origen represent the soul, after Plato, as being incorporeal? And how should that which, after removal from the world, is said to have need of a vehicle and a clothing, so that it might not be found naked, be in itself other than incorporeal? But if it be incorporeal, must it not also be incapable of passion? For it follows, from its being incorporeal, that it is also impassible and imperturbable. If, then, it was not distracted by any irrational desire, neither was it changed by a pained or suffering body. For neither can that which is incorporeal sympathize with a body, nor a body with that which is incorporeal, if,29602960    Jahn’s reading. indeed, the soul should seem to be incorporeal, in accordance with what has been said. But if it sympathize with the body, as is proved by the testimony of those who appear, it cannot be incorporeal. Therefore God alone is celebrated, as the unbegotten, independent, and unwearied nature; being incorporeal, and therefore invisible; for “no man hath seen God.”29612961    John i. 18. But souls, being rational bodies, are arranged by the Maker and Father of all things into members which are visible to reason, having received this impression. Whence, also, in Hades, as in the case of Lazarus and the rich man, they are spoken of as having a tongue, and a finger, and the other members; not as though they had with them another invisible body, but that the souls themselves, naturally, when entirely stripped of their covering, are such according to their essence.

XX. The saint says at the end: The words, “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living,”29622962    Rom. xiv. 9. must be taken as referring to souls and bodies; the souls being the living, as being immortal, and the bodies being dead.

XXI. Since the body of man is more honourable than other living creatures, because it is said to have been formed by the hands of God, and because it has attained to be the vehicle of the reasonable soul; how is it that it is so short-lived, shorter even than some of the irrational creatures? Is it not clear that its long-lived existence will be after the resurrection?


« Prev A Synopsis of Some Apostolic Words from the Same… Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |