Along with other bloggers, I was recently asked to respond to this question in 100 words or less. Here's what I wrote:
My husband threw a handful of crackers across the room. He was angry.
My daughter threw her arms out wide and said, "Tada!" She was proud.
My son's tears rolled down his cheeks. He was sad.
The physical expression made the feeling real.
I can't believe in Jesus' resurrection unless it was physical, unless it was an act of God's power affirming Jesus in his full humanity, as an integrated being, body, mind, and spirit. The resurrection was more than physical, but the physical made it real.
God raised Jesus from the dead. God rejoiced. And so do I.
Read other bloggers responses by clicking here (and do click–the first response, by Kara Root, is gorgeous and haunting).
Read an article by New Testament scholar Marcus Borg on the topic: "The Resurrection of Jesus: Physical/Bodily or Mystical/Spiritual?" I'm predisposed to be skeptical of Borg, and although I disagree with him on some points here, I also apprecite his approach to the subject. What do we lose if we talk about the resurrection as physical (both in terms of Scriptural witness and theological longevity)? What do we lose if we talk about it as spiritual (again, Scripturally and theologically)? And how can we communicate the both/and/neither/nor aspect of the resurrection today? It is both physical and spiritual and neither physical nor spiritual because it is something entirely new.