letters to surfers

Why did the early Christians have such a big emphasis on the resurrection of the body?

Answer by Robert Brow   (www.brow.on.ca) June 2000

The resurrection of the body is the dividing line between Theism and all other religions and ideologies. Political ideologies base their explanatory model on the assumption that this life is all there is.

Various forms of Monism (including Hindu Advaita, Matthew Fox, and Bishop Robinson's Honest to God) picture some form of disembodied continuance in this world system, but not our resurrection into a personal body suited for heaven.

Islam and the Pharisaic form of Judaism both use a theistic model, and resurrection is very important as a sphere for being rewarded for proper behaviour in this life. What distinguishes our model of Trinitarian Theism is that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are a loving family oneness, the three Persons work together to perfect us, and heaven is pictured as a city where we will enjoy one another and contribute to its glory.

I might find fault with some of the literalism and fanciful explanations of Bible belt fundamentalists, but I view them as on my side of the Theistic fence. Some of them would belong to a similar salvation by good works model as Islam or Pharisaic Judaism, but most of them are Trinitarian like me and I expect to meet them in their resurrection body.

Meanwhile confusing a person's ignorance with lack of faith is what Gilbert Ryle called a category mistake. .

When I teach about life after death I use parables such as "The Caterpillar", the twins in their mother's womb discussing life after birth, and "My Android Helen" (all posted on this web site) which certainly picture bodily resurrection. But I could be very ignorant in trying to explain to a scientist how resurrection actually works.

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