The state of final bliss is not one of abstract immortality. In a great deal of non-Christian thought, there is a dualism which conceives of the human body as exercising a degrading influence over the human spirit and the state of bliss is thought to consist in the release of the spirit from the defiling influence associated with bodily existence. From the outset the Bible contradicts this dualism. “The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground” (Gen. 2:7). Dignity belongs to the human body and man’s spirit was not imprisoned in it. God created man very good and man was body as well as spirit. The separation that takes place in death is not the debt of nature nor the inevitable outcome of man’s physical constitution but the wages of sin. Death is abnormal because it is the curse of sin.
When redemption is brought to bear upon man, it is brought to bear upon him in his totality. His body, no less than his spirit, is drawn within the scope of that redemption. The normal and the natural, disrupted by sin, is restored and the goal to be achieved in the consummation of redemption is not a blissful state of the soul’s immortality, but one in which death is swallowed up in victory; the corruptible puts on incorruption and the mortal immortality. This is why the Scripture lays such emphasis upon the resurrection of the body. Our Lord intimated that the resurrection was guaranteed by the fact that God is the God of his people and that he is not the God of the dead but of the living (Matt. 22:32). And Paul called the resurrection the redemption of the body and accorded it no lower a designation than “the adoption” (Rom. 8:23).
The Identity Of The Body
The resurrection of the body means resuscitation of what is laid in the tomb. ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more