Tuesday, March 02, 2010

"A spiritual body"

“Paul declares that with the resurrection of the dead, ‘…It is sown a physical body; it is raised a spiritual body’ (1 Cor 15:42-44). This needs clarification…The term ‘spiritual’ is not a denial of ‘bodililess.’ It is not even an oxymoron, as Fitzmyer seems to claim (though in the end, he stresses the work of the Spirit). The adjective ‘spiritual’ (Greek, pneumatikos) means regularly in Paul, and certainly in 1 Corinthians, ‘shaped in accordance with the Holy Spirit.’ Here it means that the Holy Spirit will animate or control it. I have long argued this, and recently N. T. Wright has corroborated it. He writes, ‘They will have a soma pneumatikon, a body animated by, enlivened by, the Spirit of the true God, exactly as Paul has said in several other passages’ (Rom 8:9-11; cf. Ezk 36:27; 37:9-10),” A. Thiselton, The Living Paul: An Introduction to the Apostle's Life and Thought (IVP 2009), 143.

“This is further corroborated by Paul’s closing section (1 Cor 15:45-58). The last Adam became a life-giving Spirit (v45). Christians will bear ‘the image’ of the Man from heaven (v49). Christ alone bears the true image of God. Thus Christians will be like Christ in form and in character, fully to bear the image that God intended. Hence flesh and blood can now approach the immediate presence of the holy God (vv50-51). Paul is interested in whether sinful humanity can approach a holy God, not in whether a quasi-physical ‘body’ can enter a spaceless heaven,” ibid. 144.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Steve,

    Would love to hear your speculation on this "spiritual body" in this season of Resurrection. Perhaps even one of your stories :)
    Not terribly interested in N.T.'s speculation. As I find his speculation on Hell to be terribly flawed.
    In particular, do you think this "spiritual body" will bear the 'scars of grace'? Just as Jesus resurrected body bore the 'scars of grace'?
    And just when this bodily assumption will take place in your eschatology?

    Looking forward to our glorious hope,