Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Resurrection of the Body key to Christian Belief

It is disturbing that a segment of Christians no longer believe in the "resurrection of the body" – either Jesus’ or their own on the Last Day.

For the Christians who may have forgotten the teaching of the scriptures and the Apostles' Creed, the "resurrection of the body (flesh)" means not only that the immortal soul will live on after death, but that even our mortal body will come to life again.

St. Augustine said in the fourth century, "On no point does the Christian faith encounter more opposition than on the resurrection of the body." However, many people today focus only on the spiritual life of the human person after death. But the Christian faith believes that the mortal body will rise to everlasting life on the Last Day.

In John 5:28-29, Jesus says, "Do not be amazed at this, because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out, those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation."

In John 11:25, Jesus declares, "I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live."  Then Jesus restored Lazarus to a physical life.

After the Resurrection, Jesus physically appeared to his disciples in this manner (as recorded in Luke 24:24-43): "(The disciples) were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, 'Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.'" And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, "Have you anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them. "Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have."

Then St. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:13-17, wrote: "If there is no resurrection of the dead, then neither has Christ been raised. ... And if Christ has not been raised, then empty (too) is our preaching; empty, too, your faith. Then we are also blasphemers, because we testified against God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins."

Finally, as if there is still any doubt, Paul, in Romans 8:11, reiterated, "The one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies."

So, contrary to popular opinion, Christ has been raised, and we, too, await that day with certain hope that, together with all who have died in Christ; we, too, will rise with him on the Last Day. Christians believe n or used to believe n that what happened to Jesus in his Resurrection from the dead will also happen to them in the resurrection on the Last Day.

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