Skip to comments.The Apostles' Creed in the Scriptures, the Fathers...THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY [Ecumenical]
Posted on 06/10/2008 2:40:17 PM PDT by Salvation
"For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!" (Job 19, 25-27).
According to God's original plan for humanity, Adam and Eve and their descendants were to live in Paradise on earth until they attained a certain level of grace through a life of meritorious acts. Thereupon, each person would be assumed body and soul into heavenly glory without having to endure sickness, pain, suffering or death. This was the proper end for humanity by virtue of the preternatural gifts of impassability and immortality, gifts that our original parents forfeited by their rebellion against God. Hence, it is now the lot of all men to die, a decree issued against all the children of Adam: "Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned" (Rom. 5, 12).
At death, the human soul departs from its mortal body and immediately comes before the judgment-seat of God; the body returns to the earth from whence it came: "and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the breath returns to God who gave it" (Eccl. 12, 7). This judgment the Church calls the particular judgment for it is the private judgment of each individual before God in contrast to the general judgment when all of humanity will be publicly gathered together before Christ at the end of the world: "All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate them one from another...And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (St. Matt. 25, 31- 46).
The bodies of the dead will remain in the earth until the Last Day, or Day of Judgment, when Gods angel will descend from heaven to call all back to life. At that instant, all departed souls will be re-united with their bodies: "For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable" (1 Cor. 15, 52). Those who are alive at this time will have their bodies transformed instantly: "we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet " (1 Cor. 15, 51-52).
Every soul shall be re-united with the same body it possessed during life, so that, as the body shared in its good or evil, so may it share in its glory or condemnation: "those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation" (St. John 5, 28-29); "For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil" (2 Cor. 5, 10).
Through the resurrection of the body, Christs victory over death is complete: "Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" (1 Cor. 15, 54-55).
St. Paul tells us that as the sun is brighter than the moon, and one star brighter than another, so shall it be with the merits of the risen at the Resurrection: "There are both heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one thing, and that of the earthly is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; indeed, star differs from star in glory" (1 Cor. 15, 40-41).
The bodies of the Just after the Resurrection shall possess four principal qualities:
(i) Impassability: this will render them incapable of pain or suffering: "he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more" (Rev. 21, 4);
(ii) Brightness: this will render their merits as glorious as the sun: "There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; indeed, star differs from star in glory" (1 Cor. 15, 41);
(iii) Agility: this will give them the ability, as quick as thought, to move from one end of creation to another: "It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory" (1 Cor. 15, 43);
(iv) Subtility: this will enable them to pass through material substances: "It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body" (1 Cor. 15, 44).
The opposite of these gifts will be the fate of the reprobate, as just punishment for their lives of sin and self-indulgence:
(i) Darkness: Their bodies will be dark and "they will look aghast at one another; their faces will be aflame" (Is. 13, 8);
(ii) Passability: Their bodies will suffer endless pain and torment, burning forever in the fire without being consumed: "for their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched" (Is. 66, 24);
(iii) Heaviness: Their bodies will be weighed down and sluggish: " to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron" (Ps. 149, 8);
(iv) Carnality: Their souls will be subject and enslaved to their bodies: "To set the mind on the flesh is death" (Rom. 8, 6).
The thought of the future resurrection should be our great incentive to yield our bodies "as slaves to righteousness for sanctification" (Rom. 6, 19). It is our great hope, the crown of our faith: "If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain" (1 Cor. 15, 13-14). The Fathers The Didache 16, 3 (C. 90-150 AD)
The Didache 16, 3 (C. 90-150 AD):
"And then will appear the signs of the truth. First, the sign spread out in the heavens; second, the sign of the sound of the trumpet; the third, the resurrection of the dead. Not the resurrection of all men, but as it was said: The Lord will come, and all His saints with Him. Then the world will see the Lord coming on the clouds of heaven." St. Justin Martyr, The Resurrection 8 (Date Unknown):
St. Justin Martyr, The Resurrection 8 (Date Unknown):
"Indeed, God calls even the body to resurrection, and promises it everlasting life. When He promises to save the man, He thereby makes His promise to the flesh: for what is man but a rational living being composed of soul and body?" Athenagoras of Athens, The Resurrection of the Dead 12 (C. 177-180 AD):
Athenagoras of Athens, The Resurrection of the Dead 12 (C. 177-180 AD):
"And the body is moved to what is proper to it in accord with its nature, and undergoes the changes allotted to it; and among the other changes of age, appearance and size, is the resurrection. For the resurrection is a species of change, the last of all, and a change for the better in those things which remain at that time." Tertullian, The Resurrection of the Dead 63, 1 (Inter 208-212 AD):
Tertullian, The Resurrection of the Dead 63, 1 (Inter 208-212 AD):
"Therefore, the flesh shall rise again: certainly of every man, certainly the same flesh, and certainly in its entirety. Whatever it is, it is in safe keeping with God through that most faithful Agent between God and man, Jesus Christ, who shall reconcile both God to man and man to God, the spirit to the flesh and the flesh to the spirit." St. Hippolytus of Rome, Against the Greeks 2 (Ante 225 AD):
St. Hippolytus of Rome, Against the Greeks 2 (Ante 225 AD):
"Not in vain, then, do we believe in the resurrection of the body. Moreover, while it is dissolved at its proper time because of the transgression which took place in the beginning, and is committed to the earth as to a furnace, to be reshaped again, not in its present corruption, but pure and no longer corruptible, so also to every body its own soul will be returned; and the soul, being clothed with it again, will not be grieved but will rejoice with it, the pure abiding in the pure. Just as the soul now abides with the body in this world in righteousness, and finds the body in no way unco-operative, so to, in all joy it will receive the body again." St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 18, 1 (C. 350 AD):
St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 18, 1 (C. 350 AD):
"The root of every good work is the hope of the resurrection; for the expectation of a reward nerves the soul to good work. Every laborer is prepared to endure the toils if he looks forward to the reward of these toils. But they who labor without reward - their soul is exhausted with their body...He that believes his body will remain for the resurrection is careful of his garment and does not soil it in fornication, or abuses his own body as if it belonged to another. A great precept and teaching of the Holy Catholic Church, therefore, is belief in the resurrection of the dead - great and most necessary, but contradicted by many..." Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566)
Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566):
Not only will the body rise, but whatever belongs to the reality of its nature, and adorns and ornaments man will be restored. For this we have the admirable words of St. Augustine: There shall then be no deformity of body; if some have been overburdened with flesh, they shall not resume its entire weight. All that exceeds the proper proportion shall be deemed superfluous. On the other hand, should the body be wasted by disease or old age, or be emaciated from any other cause, it shall be repaired by the divine power of Christ, who will not only restore the body unto us, but will repair whatever it shall have lost through the wretchedness of this life. In another place he says: Man shall not resume his former hair, but shall be adorned with such as will become him, according to the words: "The very hairs of your head are all numbered." God will restore them according to His wisdom. Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992)
Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992):
No. 989: We firmly believe, and hence we hope that, just as Christ is truly risen from the dead and lives forever, so after death the righteous will live forever with the risen Christ and he will raise them up on the last day. Our resurrection, like his own, will be the work of the Most Holy Trinity: If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit who dwells in you.
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit who dwells in you.
No. 994: But there is more. Jesus links faith in the resurrection to his own person: "I am the Resurrection and the life." It is Jesus himself who on the last day will raise up those who have believed in him, who have eaten his body and drunk his blood. Already now in this present life he gives a sign and pledge of this by restoring some of the dead to life, announcing thereby his own Resurrection, though it was to be of another order. He speaks of this unique event as the "sign of Jonah," the sign of the temple: he announces that he will be put to death but rise thereafter on the third day.
No. 996: From the beginning, Christian faith in the resurrection has met with incomprehension and opposition. "On no point does the Christian faith encounter more opposition than on the resurrection of the body." It is very commonly accepted that the life of the human person continues in a spiritual fashion after death. But how can we believe that this body, so clearly mortal, could rise to everlasting life?
No. 1000: This "how" exceeds our imagination and understanding; it is accessible only to faith. Yet our participation in the Eucharist already gives us a foretaste of Christs transfiguration of our bodies: Just as bread that comes from the earth, after Gods blessing has been invoked upon it, is no longer ordinary bread, but Eucharist, formed of two things, the one earthly and the other heavenly: so too our bodies, which partake of the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, but possess the hope of resurrection (St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies 4, 18, 4 - 5).
Just as bread that comes from the earth, after Gods blessing has been invoked upon it, is no longer ordinary bread, but Eucharist, formed of two things, the one earthly and the other heavenly: so too our bodies, which partake of the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, but possess the hope of resurrection (St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies 4, 18, 4 - 5).
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