Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Rising from the dead

Nowhere in the Bible or in old Jewish or Christian literature does the language of resurrection refer to a materially new body, physically unconnected to the old. A resurrected body is always the old body or a piece of it come back to life and/or transformed. . . . Resurrection meant bodies in the ground coming back to life. To rise from the dead was to rise from one’s tomb. Dale C. Allison, Jr., “The Resurrection of Jesus and Rational Apologetics,” Philosophia Christi 10 (2008): 315-338.

Surely that's overstated:

i) In reference to the Resurrection of Christ, I agree. That's because there was an extant corpse to resurrect. Indeed, his body had only been on ice for about 48 hours. 

ii) But surely Christians and Jews were aware of the fact that sometimes there were no mortal remains (cf. 2 Kgs 23:15-16; Amos 2:1; Rev 20:13). In that case, there is no body in the ground to return to life. 

In that event, resurrection requires a materially new body. In that regard, it's physically unconnected to the old. However, although it's numerically distinct, it can be a duplicate body. Discontinuous in one respect, but structurally indistinguishable.


  1. I guyess if you're cremated, God cannot raise you.

  2. "In that event, resurrection requires a materially new body."

    I don't know how anyone could have a problem with that since we generally die with completely different bodies than we were born with. Our bodies can be identified as us inasmuch as there is an A-theory type of contiguousness from the birth body to the death body. If some aspect of B-theory holds true with regard to God's ability to sustain his creation, even in the death of his creatures, then a re-created body shouldn't be difficult to accept.

  3. I think the idea he may be putting forward is the idea that resurrection is another body, one which has no connection to the current one, into which a spirit is placed rather than a reformed body, whether from skeletons or ashes. This idea is foreign to the New Testament, where the very mortal body of the believer is given immortality.

    1. Well, Paul's paradigm-case in 1 Corinthians involves Christians who are alive at the time of the Parousia. That's not even transforming a corpse, but transforming a living body from mortal to immortal.

      What about many situations where there are no bones or ashes? Most remains weren't interred in ossuaries. I'm unclear on how far you wish to take the principle.

      Moreover, it's a huge stretch to compare ashes to the former body. The entire structure of the former body has been dissolved. What makes one pile of ashes distinguishable from another pile of ashes?