Sacred-Texts Christianity Index Previous Next
OF THE MANNER AND STATE IN WHICH MEN WILL RISE IN THE DAY OF THE RESURRECTION.
ALL classes and conditions of men will rise from the dead in the state of the perfect form of Christ, about thirty-three years of age, even as our p. 136 Redeemer rose from the grave. We shall rise with all our limbs perfect, and with the same constitutions, without addition or diminution. Some say that the hair and nails and prepuce will rise, and some say they will not; as if they were superfluous for the completion of the nature of man. Some say concerning the resurrection that a likeness only will rise, without parts and without the composition of the limbs of man; a mere similitude of hands and feet and hardness of bones. Others say that the whole man will be cast into one crystalline substance, and that all his parts will be mingled together; and they do not grant him an ordered arrangement of composition. Others say that the vessels which are inside the belly, such as the bowels, liver, etc., will not rise; but they err and stray from the truth, and do not understand that if one of the parts of the body perish, it is not perfect. For Paul shewed plainly and laid down an example of the resurrection in the grain of wheat: just as that grows up entire with its glory, without any portion of it having perished, even so we; for the whole man shall rise with all his limbs and parts, and ordered in his composition as now, only having acquired purification from the humours. And this is not surprising, that if an earthen vessel acquires firmness and lightness when it goes into the fiery furnace, without any change taking place in its shape or form, but is lightened of its heaviness and density, whilst it preserves its shape uninjured; so also should the Holy Spirit burn us in the furnace of the resurrection and drive forth from us all the foul material of the present (life), and clothe us with incorruptibility. 'It is sown an animal body; it rises a spiritual body1.' We shall neither see nor hear with all our bodily members, although some men have thought that the whole man will be sight and hearing; but we shall carry out action with these same usual limbs, if it happen to be necessary; although we shall not there need speech and conversation with one another, because each other's secrets will be revealed to us.
The things which certain stupid men invent, who indulge their fancy, and give bodily form to the punishment of sinners and the reward of the just and righteous, and say that there is at the resurrection a reckoning and a pair of scales, the Church does not receive; but each p. 137 one of us carries his light and his fire within him, and his heaviness and his lightness is round in his own pature. Just as stone and iron naturally possess the property of falling to the earth, and as the air naturally ascends upward on account of its rarity and its lightness; so also in the resurrection, he that is heavy and lying in sins, his sins will bring him down; and he that is free from the rust of sin, his purity will make him rise in the scale. And our Lord will ascend to heaven, and the angels (will go) before Him like ambassadors, and the just and the righteous will be upon His right hand and His left, and the children behind Him in the form of the life-giving Cross.
3 In the Oxford MS. chap. lix, fol. 204 b.
1 1 Cor. xv. 44.