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III. The Raising of the Dead.

§ 106. Different Views on these Miracles.

The position to be assigned to the miracle of the raising of the dead will depend upon the view which we take of the real condition of those said to be raised. Some suppose that they were not absolutely dead in the physiological sense, but that there was an intermission of the powers of life, presenting symptoms resembling death; and those who adopt this view of the case consider the miracle to differ only in degree from that of healing the sick.

But if the accounts are taken literally, and we suppose a real death, the miracle was specifically different from that of healing, and, in fact, constituted the very culminating point of supernatural agency. Yet, even to awaken the dormant powers of life, and kindle up again the expiring flame, would certainly have been a miracle, demanding for its accomplishment a Divine power in Christ.

A precise account of the symptoms, and a knowledge of physiology, 152would be necessary to give us the elements for a decision of this question, in the absence of any testimony from Christ’s own mouth to decide it. In regard to Christ’s own words, it is a fair question whether he meant to distinguish closely between apparent and real death, or whether he made use of the term “death” only in accordance with the popular usage.

If it be presupposed that the dead were restored to earthly life after having entered into another form of existence—into connexion with another world—the idea of resurrection would be dismal; but we have no right to form such a presupposition in our blank ignorance of the laws under which the new form of consciousness developes itself in the soul after separation from the body.236236   See hereafter on the resurrection of the “Widow’s Son,” and of “Lazarus.”

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