Jesus's ressurection: Literal or symbolic?


Some New Testement scholers, more specifically Bishop Spong, have this veiw that, in order to fit in with morden day society we must give up the literal impression that Jesus rose from the dead.
He trys to claim that that the bible narrative is clearly symbolic; and in actuallity, Jesus Christ Died, and was buried in a shallow grave.

Are there any Catholics who have any free audio or links that refute this Bishop Spong’s claims. Feel free to comment also.



William Lane Craig (an evangelical philosopher), debated John Shelby Spong on the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth back on 2005. Spong did not do very well in his attempt to defend his view of a “spiritual” or non-physical resurrection. It is available to purchase in DVD form here:

An audio recording of the debate on mp3 is availble for free at:

Scroll down to William Lane Craig debates to download it.


Here is a great article defending the physical nature of the resurrection:


To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, if it’s not true we’re all fools.


Just a comment:

St. Paul sums it up for me.



“Bishop” Spong, LOL!!! :rotfl:

“Carl Sagan is a friend of mine. He says that if Jesus ascended literally, even if he travelled at the speed of light he wouldn’t be out of the galaxy by now.”

Says all.


Firstly, the Catholic faith is NOT subject to science, society, or popular opinion (it does, however, mesh perfectly with true science).

There are several threads of reasoning that we may look upon to see that Jesus must have risen, Body and Soul from the dead.
Firstly, we humans were created body and soul. God intended it as a package deal, and so we will all end up in Heaven, body and soul. So therefore, since Jesus was fully human, He will (at least eventually) end up in Heaven, body and soul. Why does it seem plausible that He rose, Body and Soul, nigh on 2000 years ago? Because He is also fully God. He led the way to Heaven, and so it is most fitting that He be present, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in Heaven before any of us mere mortals. Also, the physical resurrection provided a spectacular display of God’s power. Here was a dead person, now living, eating and drinking, and eventually floating up out of sight.
The absence of a physical resurrection would have been catastrophic to this new movement now known as Christianity. If anybody had known that Jesus didn’t rise bodily, surely they would have said something. Surely someone would have pointed out that the Gospels depicting an empty tomb were fictitious. Clearly the Romans and the Jews expected a physical resurrection, or there would not have been guards posted at the tomb. Speaking in worldly terms, if someone could have produced that body, things would have gone much smoother. Unless Jesus truly rose from the dead, nothing good came of that crucifixion.

Lastly, where does the shallow grave come in? Is this person an advocate of the “stolen body” hypothesis?


I think that St Thomas, whose feast is tommorrow, checked that out for us.

Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.

25] So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe."
Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.”

27] Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing."
28] Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"
29] Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

**John 20:24-29 **


Bishop Spong’s claim to fame…“An Episcopal Bishop Re-Thinks…”

He has to write that in every book title because as someone said…no one buys a book called…“A Parking Lot Attendent re-Thinks the Virgin Birth” or any other book like these:

LIVING IN SIN? A Bishop Rethinks Human Sexuality

RESCUING THE BIBLE FROM FUNDAMENTALISM: A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture.
BORN OF A WOMAN, A Bishop Rethinks the Birth of Jesus

RESURRECTION: MYTH OR REALITY? A Bishop’s Search for the Origins of Christianity


I think it comes down to this; if Jesus did not rise from the dead physically, then there is no reason to be Christian period. At least not a Christian in any meaningful sense of the word. With out the resurrection, there is no real reason to believe that Jesus was God. He might have been a prophet, but if he was merely a prophet, then how do we know Muhammed is not as well? Or maybe we should all convert to Judaism? Or maybe he wasn’t even a prophet and we should just become Unitarians?



Thank you, Jesus, that I don’t fit in with modern society. :smiley:


Literal…the Jewish leaders wouldn’t have had to bribe the guards otherwise…:wink:


Of course!:slight_smile: , Why would Roman guards be guarding the temple? That is a good answer; the fact that the priests at the time thought that the apostles would steal the body and claim he rose from the dead, strongly suggests, that the belief was in the “literal ressurection”. Thats a great answer. So is everybody else’s, but this one in particulor is most pesuasive.:wink:

God bless. And thankyou every one for your imput.


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