In this week's "Life, Love, & Light" podcast, we recognize that Paul’s idea of a transformed spiritual body never addressed whether every single atom of the corrupted corpse would have to be reassembled by God to form a resurrected body. Nor did Paul discuss how the soul might continue to exist while separated from the body during the interim period after death and before resurrection. Furthermore, Paul did not specifically define where the singular identity of the human person lay. Was it inherent in the putrefied flesh? The liberated soul? The infused spirit? Or the resurrected body/soul/spirit unity of the whole person?
We examine various theories on the resurrected body developed by ancient theologians Irenaeus and Tertullian, seeking to grasp their concept of a body that will be reconstructed by God from bits and pieces of decayed and organic matter scattered over millenia. We discuss the inconsistencies of their approach as compared with a modern scientific understanding of mattter. And with the philosopher and theologian Origen, we explore the thorny problem of Identity: How does personal identity remain stable when the physical matter of the body is corrupted?
In order to be able to separate, gently and with discernment, the core teaching of Christian revelation from the complex theories of resurrection that were developed in answer to particular questions and controversies through the course of history, we must examine this history, however briefly. Then -- grounded in a richer context -- we may more confidently explore new ways of thinking about bodily resurrection that might make more sense to us in our current cultural environments. These explorations may also resonate more meaningfully with our own innermost spiritual longing and desire for transcendence.
NOTE: This series of podcasts is based on themes from my award-winning book, "Living Resurrected Lives: What it Means and Why it Matters," co-authored by my daughter, Eva Natanya, PhD (Cascade Books, 2020).
PLEASE SHARE these podcasts with your family and friends who may have serious questions about bodily resurrection. Blessings to all!