Bodily Resurrection


Post-Vatican II theology has allowed more openness on the question of the resurrection with various answers stemming from multiple schools: some theologians consider the resurrection to be historical, others consider it outside space and time so therefore outside of history; some consider to be a literal resurrection, some consider it to be non-literal; some consider it to be a bodily resurrection, and others a spiritual resurrection.

In light of Catholic theologians taking new and newer stabs at exegesis and theology, what does the Church actually proclaim regarding the resurrection?


From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

643 Given all these testimonies, Christ’s Resurrection cannot be interpreted as something outside the physical order, and it is impossible not to acknowledge it as an historical fact. It is clear from the facts that the disciples’ faith was drastically put to the test by their master’s Passion and death on the cross, which he had foretold.502 The shock provoked by the Passion was so great that at least some of the disciples did not at once believe in the news of the Resurrection. Far from showing us a community seized by a mystical exaltation, the Gospels present us with disciples demoralized ("looking sad"503) and frightened. For they had not believed the holy women returning from the tomb and had regarded their words as an “idle tale”.504 When Jesus reveals himself to the Eleven on Easter evening, "he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen."505


The theologians tend to go off in all directions until the Church reels them in, but then many will simply ignore the Church. The Catholic Church teaches as it always has that Christ is the first to rise from the dead and that our resurrection will be in like manner. We will be united to our own bodies, that will be resurrected in a glorified state.


If Christ wasn’t risen bodily, then I’m wasting my time in this religion. Period.


FCEGM has given you the right answer–ALWAYS refer to the Catechism first if you want to know what the Church teaches, Epistemes.

To counter your characterization with a counter assertion: Vatican II “allowed” no such “openess” as you describe. (I hope you will be willing to cite chapter and verse from the *Documents of Vatican II *if you wish to maintain this opinion) .

Such “openess” is actually “entrapment” in falsehood. (remember a mind open to everything will fall for anything–“openess” as popularly embraced is a call to delusion, wishful thinking, relativism).

Theologian, Shmeologian–a Catholic theologian is only such if he is working from Catholic doctrine, unconditionally submitting all his work to the Magesterium, as true theolgian Thomas Aquinas did. The 'theologians" you instance as quoted above are entertaining heresy, and as such are anti-theologians.

A Catholic theologian works in the service of the Magesterium, and under that guidance, authority and judgement.

What does the Magesterium say on the Resurrection? see your Catholic Catechism. Simple. Any theologian contradicting this is certainly not a Catholic theologian (nor even a Christian theologian, since His literal bodily resurrection is a central tenet of Christianity).


I think St. Paul said the same thing!


Why? A spiritual resurrection makes sense to me.


What would a “spiritual” resurrection be? If Jesus’ body remained in the tomb, he did not rise from the dead.


Why must it be a physiological resurrection?


Because our bodies are good - so good that God Himself came to share in our physical nature. Our bodies have been part and parcel of what we have done in imitating Christ, thus they will share in the glory of our souls.


Because that is not the Authentic teaching which the Apostles received from Christ and passed down through the millenia to the Church. What The Church teaches is what Christ taught and that is an actual resurrection, body and soul, of the dead.


Does St. Paul not say that no flesh can enter heaven? If St. Paul believed flesh and blood could be immortal then flesh and blood would no longer represent mortality to him. If he meant “flesh and blood can inherit the kingdom of God, once they are transformed” or “once they are infused with the Spirit of Christ” or whatever one imagines, then that is what St. Paul would have said.


In all likelihood, the apostles originally believed in a spiritual resurrection, but a bodily resurrection was later developed to explain difficult passages found in the NT - specifically Jesus eating or having St. Thomas touch his wounds. The belief that Jesus returned as in a spiritual form is also consistent with the more prolific gospel stories in which he suddenly appears and disappears, or passes through walls, and with the stories in which the apostles don’t initially recognize him, or are told not to touch him.


Not that I recall. Do you have a reference?


He does:

1 Cor. 15:42-55:

So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown corruptible; it is raised incorruptible. It is sown dishonorable; it is raised glorious. It is sown weak; it is raised powerful. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual one. So, too, it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living being,” the last Adam a life-giving spirit. But the spiritual was not first; rather the natural and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, earthly; the second man, from heaven. As was the earthly one, so also are the earthly, and as is the heavenly one, so also are the heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthly one, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly one. This I declare, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in an instant, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For that which is corruptible must clothe itself with incorruptibility, and that which is mortal must clothe itself with immortality. And when this which is corruptible clothes itself with incorruptibility and this which is mortal clothes itself with immortality, then the word that is written shall come about: “Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”


Philippians 3:3, Galatians 5:17, Romans 7-8.

Everything Paul says about the flesh leads us to conclude that Paul believed flesh and blood don’t inherit “the kingdom” because only the spirit can fully inherit God’s rule


In verse 43, it says that the body is sown in weakness and raised in power. Romans 6:8-11 and Colossians 3:1 speak of people being resurrected spiritually at the time. Colossians 3:3, speaking of those who have been raised with Christ, says, “For you died.” So they have fulfilled 1 Corinthians 15:36, and clearly they can’t still have a mortal body, one which is sown in corruption. But they have exactly the same physical body. The wording of verses 42-43 suggests that the corruptible and incorruptible body are found within a person keeping the same physical body. Verse 44 says, “It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”


I read each of these and I cannot see how you link Paul’s teaching on “flesh” to what happens to our body in the Resurrection. What do think Paul means by “flesh” in these passages?


With this line of reasoning, I am wondering if you accept the Eucharist as truly Christ’s Body and Blood, or only as a spiritual reality.


St. Augustine says in one of his Sermons:

Let them then who eat, eat on, and them that drink, drink; let them hunger and thirst; eat Life, drink Life. That eating, is to be refreshed; but you are in such wise refreshed, as that that whereby you are refreshed, does not fail. That drinking, what is it but to live? Eat Life, drink Life; you will have life, and the Life is Entire. But then this shall be, that is, the Body and Blood of Christ shall be each man’s Life; if what is taken in the Sacrament visibly is in truth itself eaten spiritually, drunk spiritually.

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