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The Spiritual Body

The Spiritual Body

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Published by glennpease

Lord Bishop of Rochester

How are the dead raised up; and with what body do they come ?

1 COr. xv. 35.

Lord Bishop of Rochester

How are the dead raised up; and with what body do they come ?

1 COr. xv. 35.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 13, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE SPIRITUAL BODYBY ATHOY W. THOROLD, D.D.Lord Bishop of RochesterHow are the dead raised up; and with what body do they come ?1 COr. xv. 35.CT. PAUL presents this question, as savouringeither of levity or captiousness. While, of The naturecourse, it is possible to ask it in a reasonable %*j? rtseaand becoming spirit — the whole subject is in-tensely interesting to a thoughtful mind — weioo QUESTIOS OF FAITH AD DUTYmust always remember the limitations of ourknowledge. We will remember also how theSadducees, whom the apostle doubtless had inhis mind, strove, when tempting the Lord, todiscredit the doctrine of the resurrection by thesuggestion of extravagant contingencies, which,as he clearly showed, will never happen. Todesire to understand all that God reveals, and tobe content not to understand what it has notpleased Him to reveal, are but different phases of " the obedience of faith."" How are the dead raised up " is a questionwhich apparently points to the mode or mannerof the resurrection. The answer to be given,and it is the only answer, is, " by the mightypower of God." Each person of the blessedTrinity is said in Holy Scripture to have a sharein it. Call it by whatever name you please, anddescribe it as miraculous or supernatural, it is,it must be, the direct interposition of the personalaction of God. If God is what we usually con-ceive Him to be, Almighty, it is a childish andeven fatuous absurdity to deny Him the powerof raising the dead ; and this St. Paul had plainly
in his mind when he pleaded before Agrippa," Why should it be thought a thing incrediblewith you that God should raise the dead ? " If He is not God, and so the attribute of omnipo-tence does not belong to Him, certainly there isno resurrection. The matter is ended ; thegrave closes all ; the fool was right when he said,CHRIST RISEb ioi" There is no God." A verse in the Romanscompactly summarises the divine agency in thematter. Other passages corroborate the parti-culars of it. " If the spirit of Him that raisedup Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He thatraised up Jesus from the dead shall also quickenyour mortal bodies by His spirit that dwelleth inyou." It was the Father that raised up Jesus.So said St. Peter : " The God of our fathersraised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on atree. Him hath God exalted to His right handto be a Prince and a Saviour." St. Paul wroteto the Romans : " And declared to be the Son of God with power according to the spirit of holi-ness, by the resurrection from the dead." Butthe work of raising the dead in the generalresurrection at the last day the Father has com-mitted to the Son, as a function of the media-torial office. " As the Father raiseth up thedead and quickeneth them, even so the Sonquickeneth whom He will. For as the Fatherhath life in Himself, even so hath He given tothe Son to have life in Himself. The hour iscoming in the which all that are in the gravesshall hear His voice." But as St. Paul makesclear from the passage already quoted, it isthe Holy Spirit who will quicken our mortalbodies, when the end comes and the time isripe.Beyond this we cannot tell, for we do notknow. The method and the time of the resur-
102 QUESTIOS OF FAITH AD DUTYrcction are among the hidden things of God, andwe will leave them there.On the second limb of the question, " Withwhat body are they raised ? " the Apostleanimadverts with an almost severe irony. Heanswers it by constructing a parable. The deadbody is the seed. The grave is the earth inwhich it is deposited. The resurrection body isnot a mere reproduction of the seed thus depo-sited, but is something quite different — as diffe-rent as a full head of corn is from a single grain ;and with this additional distinction, that inearthly sowings many seeds prove unproductiveand are wasted, here " to every seed its ownbody." The divine sovereignty is asserted andmaintained. " God giveth it a body as it hathpleased Him." It is to be raised in incorruption,in glory, in power, a spiritual body, to bear theimage of the heavenly, when this corruptibleshall put on incorruption, and this mortal shallput on immortality.The Lord's It may be said that, after all, these are butrisen bodv . . .typical of vague and somewhat shadowy expressions, sug-ours. gesting great ideas, but not clothing them withobjective realities, enough for hope and a nobledelight in the contemplation of things which"God hath prepared for them that love Him,"but advisedly and mercifully obscure. We have,however, one distinct and typical instance of theresurrection life in all its completeness — that of our Lord during His forty days' sojourn before

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