Saturday, February 4, 2012

Questions About the Afterlife - Part 2 - The Resurrection

1.  The Bible teaches humanity is both material (the body) and immaterial (the spirit).
2.  Death ruptures that wholeness.
3.  The Bible teaches that there is life after death (Lk. 23:43).
a.  The time between death and the resurrection is sometimes called the “intermediate state,” in-between death and the resurrection.
b.  For the righteous, I argued that this involves the spirit resting in the presence of God (2 Cor. 5:6-8).
c.  The Bible doesn’t say much about the state of the wicked, but 2 Peter 2:4 mentions wicked angels cast into “hell” (tartarus), to await the judgment.
4.  But the Bible also teaches the body will be raised and joined with the spirit in the resurrection, life after life after death.

I.  The Resurrection of the Dead

A.  The beliefs of the Jews.
1.  The OT does not contain many explicit references to the resurrection, but does hint at the idea (Is. 25:6-9; Dan. 12:2). 
2.  The Sadducees denied the resurrection, while the Pharisees believed in the resurrection (Acts 23:6-8; 24:15).

B.  The teaching of Jesus.
1.  All who are in tombs will come forth (Jn. 5:28-29).
2.  The righteous will be raised on the last day (Jn. 6:44; 11:24).
3.  Those who are considered worthy will be “sons of the resurrection, and will not die any more, like angels (Lk. 20:37-39).

C.  The teaching of Paul.
1.  Christians await the redemption of the body (Rom. 8:23).
2.  Christ will raise the dead at the end (1 Cor. 15:12-26; 1 Thess. 4:13-17).
3.  Those who denied the bodily resurrection have “swerved from the truth” (2 Tim. 16-19).
a.  Hymenaeus and Philetus said that the resurrection had already happened, which means they interpreted it in a non-bodily fashion.
b.  Greeks often showed a contempt for the concept of physical resurrection. Because they viewed the body as evil, they eschewed the concept of a future bodily resurrection. For such people a spiritualized or sacramental view of resurrection was more congenial. Paul had taught the concept of spiritual resurrection (see Eph 2:6; Rom 6:3–4), but he had also asserted the reality of a future resurrection (1 Cor 15; Phil 3:21). The Ephesian teaching concerning the resurrection may have denied a future bodily resurrection. It probably asserted that the resurrection had already occurred in the spiritual renewal of the believer by regeneration. For Paul the result of such heresy was to ‘destroy the faith of some.’ In asserting that the resurrection had already occurred, the false teachers could deny both the past resurrection of Christ and the future resurrection of believers. They could depreciate the body and promote asceticism. Both emphases can lead to moral indifference. Lea & Griffin, 1, 2 Timothy, Titus in The New American Commentary (pp 216–217).
c.  This is why the doctrine that everything was fulfilled in AD 70 is heresy, since it holds to a version of the resurrection that is non-bodily.

II.  The Nature of the Resurrection Body

A.  Common misconceptions.
1.  We will be like angels (Lk. 20:37-39).
a.  Jesus’ point had to do with never dying, not the nature of the resurrection body.
b.  Angels are spirit-beings; humans are spirit+body beings.
2.  The resurrection body is spiritual, not physical (1 Cor. 15:42-49).
a.  The contrast here is not between “physical vs spiritual,” but between “natural (psychikon) vs spiritual (pneumatikon)” (v. 44).
b.  “Spiritual” in 1 Corinthians refers to that which is supernatural, made possible by the Spirit (see 2:14-15; 10:3-4).
c.  The resurrection body is supernaturally made as opposed to the natural processes, energized by the Spirit, and real.

B.  What the Bible says (notice that the Bible focuses on the nature of the resurrection body for the righteous, since the letters were addressed to Christians to give them encouragement).
1.  The resurrection body will be glorified like Christ’s (Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:49; Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Jn. 3:2).
2.  The resurrection body will be immortal (1 Cor. 15:51-58).
3.  The resurrection body will be “further clothed” (2 Cor. 4:7-5:4).

1.  Will there be recognition in the resurrection?
a.  Possibly, since the texts are written to reassure Christians they will be reunited with their dead loves ones.
b.  God can certainly make all things new and wipe away every tear.
2.  But the most important part of the resurrection is to know, and be known, by the Lord. 


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