THE RESURRECTION of the BODY
as a REALITY of the FUTURE WORLD”
Pope John Paul II
“The Theology of the Body” Part 1.3.1,  (§64-72)
 

 


MS-WORD DOC    Divinization: 67.367.467.571.5


Pope John Paul II, “The Theology of the Body” [Male and Female He Created Them] Part One: THE WORDS of CHRIST [§ 64-72] Chapter Three: CHRIST APPEALS to the RESURRECTION:  THE RESURRECTION of the BODY AS A REALITY of the “FUTURE WORLD” (“Heaven”: General Audiences, 1981-1982)


1. [64] Marriage and Celibacy in the Light of the Resurrection of the Body

2. [65] The Living God Continually Renews the Reality of Life

3. [66] The Resurrection and Theological Anthropology

4. [67] The Resurrection Perfects the Person

5. [68] Christ’s Words on the Resurrection Complete the Revelation of the Body

6. [69) The New Threshold of the Complete Truth about Man

7. [70] The Doctrine of the Resurrection according to St. Paul

8. [71] The Risen Body Will Be Incorruptible, Glorious, Full of Dynamism, and Spiritual

9. [72] The Body’s Spiritualization Will Be the Source of Its Power and Incorruptibility


[Numbers in brackets refer to the sections of the original catecheses.  Chapter and subject headings are taken from Pope John Paul’s unpublished book, Male and Female He Created Them, which served as the basis of the catecheses.  Subject heading translations from the original Polish are by Fr. Wojtek Janusiewicz, revised by Michael Waldstein]


1. The Resurrection of the Body as a Reality of the “Future World” [§ 64-7C]

 

A. The Synoptics: “He Is Not God of the Dead but of the Living” [§ 64]

The Third Part of the Triptych [§ 64.1]

Witness to the Power of the Living God [§ 65.2]

The New Meaning of the Body [§ 66]

Spiritualization [§ 66.5]

Divinization [§ 67.3]

 

B. Pauline Interpretation of the Resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:42-49 [§ 70]

Final Victory over Death [§ 70.1]

The First Adam and the Last Adam [§ 70.5]



 1.[64]  General Audience: 11 November, 1981 MARRIAGE and CELIBACY in the LIGHT of the RESURRECTION of the BODY

 

 

 

 
  CHAPTER THREE: CHRIST APPEALS to the RESURRECTION
1. THE RESURRECTION of the BODY as a REALITY of theFUTURE WORLD” [§ 64-72]
 

 

 

 

 


    A. THE SYNOPTICS: “HE IS NOT GOD of the DEAD BUT of the LIVING” [§ 64]
 

 

 

 


   The Third Part of the Triptych [§ 64.1]

 

 

1. After a rather long pause, today we will resume the meditations which have been going on for some time, which we have called reflections on the theology of the body.

In continuing, it is opportune to go back to the words of the Gospel in which Christ referred to the resurrection. These words are of fundamental importance for understanding marriage in the Christian sense and also the renunciation of conjugal life for the kingdom of heaven.

The complex casuistry of the Old Testament in the field of marriage not only drove the Pharisees to go to Christ to pose to him the problem of the indissolubility of marriage (cf. Mt 19:3-9; Mk 10:2-12). Another time, it also drove the Sadducees to question him about the so-called levirate law. [1] This conversation is harmoniously reported by the synoptic Gospels (cf. Mt 22:24-30; Mk 12:18-27; Lk 20:27-40). Although all three accounts are almost identical, we note some differences, slight, but at the same time significant. Since the conversation is reported in three versions, those of Matthew, Mark and Luke, a deeper analysis is necessary, since it contains elements which have an essential significance for the theology of the body.

Alongside the other two important conversations, namely, the one in which Christ refers to the “beginning” (cf. Mt 19:3-9; Mk 10:2-12), and the other in which an appeal was made to man’s inner self (to the heart), indicating desire and the lust of the flesh as a source of sin (cf. Mt 5:27-32), the conversation which we now propose to analyze constitutes, I would say, the third element of the triptych of the enunciations of Christ himself: a triptych of words that are essential and constitutive for the theology of the body. In this conversation Jesus referred to the resurrection, thus revealing a completely new dimension of the mystery of man.

2. The revelation of this dimension of the body, stupendous in its content—and yet connected with the Gospel reread as a whole and in depth—emerges in the conversation with the Sadducees, “who say that there is no resurrection” (Mt 22:23). [2] They had come to Christ to set before him an argument which in their judgment confirmed the soundness of their position. This argument was to contradict “the hypothesis of the resurrection.” The Sadducees’ argument is the following: “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the wife, and raise up children for his brother” (Mk 12:19). The Sadducees were referring here to the so-called levirate law (cf. Dt 25:5-10). Drawing upon the prescription of this ancient law, they presented the following case: “There were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and when he died, he left no children. The second took her, and died, leaving no children, and the third likewise, and the seven left no children. Last of all the woman also died. In the resurrection whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife” (Mk 12:20-23). [3]

3. Christ’s answer is one of the answer-keys of the Gospel, in which there is revealed—precisely starting from purely human arguments and in contrast with them—another dimension of the question, that is, the one that corresponds to the wisdom and power of God himself. Similarly, the case had arisen of the tax coin with Caesar’s image and of the correct relationship between what is divine and what is human (Caesar’s) in the sphere of authority (cf. Mt 22:15-22). This time Jesus replied as follows: “Is not this why you are wrong, that you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (Mk 12:24-25). This is the fundamental reply to the case, that is, to the problem it contains. Knowing the thoughts of the Sadducees, and realizing their real intentions, Christ subsequently took up again the problem of the possibility of resurrection, denied by the Sadducees themselves: “As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not a God of the dead, but of the living” (Mk 12:26-27). As we can see, Christ quoted the same Moses to whom the Sadducees had referred, and ended with the affirmation: “You are quite wrong” (Mk 12:27).

4. Christ repeats this conclusive affirmation even a second time. In fact, he said it the first time at the beginning of his explanation. Then he said: “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God” (Mt 22:29). We read in Mark: “Is not this why you are wrong, that you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?” (12:24). In Luke’s version (20:27-36), on the contrary, Christ’s same answer is without polemical tones, without that, “You are quite wrong.” On the other hand, he proclaimed the same thing since in his answer he introduced some elements which are not found either in Matthew or in Mark. Here is the text: “Jesus said to them, ‘The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection’“ (Lk 20:34-36). With regard to the possibility of resurrection, Luke—like the other two synoptics—refers to Moses, that is, to the passage in Exodus 3:2-6. This passage narrates that the great legislator of the old covenant had heard from the bush, which “was burning, yet not consumed,” the following words: “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Ex 3:6). In the same place, when Moses had asked God’s name, he had heard the answer: “I am who am” (Ex 3:14).

In this way, therefore, speaking of the future resurrection of the body, Christ refers to the power of the living God. We will have to consider this subject in greater detail later.


2. [65]   General Audience: 18 November, 1981 THE LIVING GOD CONTINUALLY RENEWS THE VERY REALITY OF LIFE

1. “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God” (Mt 22:29), Christ said to the Sadducees, who—rejecting faith in the future resurrection of the body—had proposed to him the following case: “Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no children left his wife to his brother” (according to the Mosaic law of the “levirate”). “So too the second and third, down to the seventh. After them all, the woman died. In the resurrection, therefore, to which of the seven will she be wife?” (Mt 22:25-28)

Christ answers the Sadducees by stating, at the beginning and at the end of his reply, that they were greatly mistaken, not knowing either the Scriptures or the power of God (cf. Mk 12:24; Mt 22:29). Since the conversation with the Sadducees is reported by all three synoptic Gospels, let us briefly compare the texts in question.

 

 

 


     Witness to the Power of the Living God [§ 65.2]

 

 

 

2. Matthew’s version (22:24-30), although it does not refer to the burning bush, agrees almost completely with that of Mark (12:18-25). Both versions contain two essential elements: [4] the enunciation about the future resurrection of the body; 2) the enunciation about the state of the body of risen man.(1) These two elements are also found in Luke (20:27-36). [5] Especially in Matthew and Mark, the first element, concerning the future resurrection of the body, is combined with the words addressed to the Sadducees, according to which they “know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.” This statement deserves particular attention, because in it Christ defined the foundations of faith in the resurrection, to which he had referred in answering the question posed by the Sadducees with the concrete example of the Mosaic levirate law.

3. Unquestionably, the Sadducees treated the question of resurrection as a type of theory or hypothesis which can be disproved. [6] Jesus first shows them an error of method, that they do not know the Scriptures. Then he showed them an error of substance, that they do not accept what is revealed by the Scriptures—they do not know the power of God—they do not believe in him who revealed himself to Moses in the burning bush. It is a significant and very precise answer. Here Christ encounters men who consider themselves experts and competent interpreters of the Scriptures. To these men—that is, to the Sadducees—Jesus replies that mere literal knowledge of Scripture is not sufficient. The Scriptures are above all a means to know the power of the living God who reveals himself in them, just as he revealed himself to Moses in the bush. In this revelation he called himself “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob” [7] of those, therefore, who had been Moses’ ancestors in the faith that springs from the revelation of the living God. They had all been dead for a long time. However, Christ completed the reference to them with the statement that God “is not God of the dead, but of the living.” This statement, in which Christ interprets the words addressed to Moses from the burning bush, can be understood only if one admits the reality of a life which death did not end. Moses’ fathers in faith, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, are living persons for God (cf. Lk 20:38, “for all live for him”), although according to human criteria, they must be numbered among the dead. To reread the Scriptures correctly, and in particular the aforementioned words of God, means to know and accept with faith the power of the Giver of life, who is not bound by the law of death which rules man’s earthly history.

4. It seems that Christ’s answer to the Sadducees about the possibility of resurrection, [8] according to the version of all three synoptics, is to be interpreted in this way. The moment would come in which Christ would give the answer on this matter with his own resurrection. However, for now he referred to the testimony of the Old Testament, showing how to discover there the truth about immortality and resurrection. It is necessary to do so not by dwelling only on the sound of the words, but by going back to the power of God which is revealed by those words. The reference to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in that theophany granted to Moses, of which we read in the Book of Exodus (3:2-6), constitutes a testimony that the living God gives to those who live “for him”—to those who, thanks to his power, have life, even if according to the dimensions of history, it would be necessary to include them among those who have been dead for a long time.

5. The full significance of this testimony, which Jesus referred to in his conversation with the Sadducees, could be grasped (still only in the light of the Old Testament) in the following way: He who is—he who lives and is Life—is the inexhaustible source of existence and of life, as is revealed at the “beginning,” in Genesis (cf. Gn 1:3). Due to sin, physical death has become man’s lot (cf. Gn 3:19), [9] and he has been forbidden (cf. Gn 3:22) access to the Tree of Life (the great symbol of the book of Genesis). Yet the living God, making his covenant with man (Abraham, the patriarchs, Moses, Israel), continually renews, in this covenant, the reality of life. He reveals its perspective again and in a certain sense opens access again to the Tree of Life. Along with the covenant, this life, whose source is God himself, is communicated to those men who, as a result of breaking the first covenant, had lost access to the Tree of Life, and, in the dimensions of their earthly history, had been subject to death.

6. Christ is God’s ultimate word on this subject. The covenant, which with him and for him is established between God and mankind, opens an infinite perspective of life. Access to the Tree of Life—according to the original plan of the God of the covenant—is revealed to every man in its definitive fullness. This will be the meaning of the death and resurrection of Christ. This will be the testimony of the paschal mystery. However, the conversation with the Sadducees took place in the pre-paschal phase of Christ’s messianic mission. The course of the conversation according to Matthew (22:24-30), Mark (12:18-27), and Luke (20:27-36) manifests that Christ—who had spoken several times, especially in talks with his disciples, of the future resurrection of the Son of Man (cf., e.g., Mt 17:9, 23; 20:19 and parallels)—did not refer to this matter in the conversation with the Sadducees. The reasons are obvious and clear. The discussion was with the Sadducees, “who say that there is no resurrection” (as the evangelist stresses). That is, they questioned its very possibility. At the same time they considered themselves experts on the Old Testament Scriptures, and qualified interpreters of them. That is why Jesus referred to the Old Testament and showed, on its basis, that they did “not know the power of God.” [10]

7. Regarding the possibility of resurrection, Christ referred precisely to that power which goes hand in hand with the testimony of the living God, who is the God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob—and the God of Moses. God, whom the Sadducees “deprived” of this power, was no longer the true God of their fathers, but the God of their hypotheses and interpretations. Christ, on the contrary, had come to bear witness to the God of life in the whole truth of his power which is unfolded upon human life.


 

3. [66]   General Audience: 2 December, 1981 THE RESURRECTION and THEOLOGICAL ANTHROPOLOGY

 


     The New Meaning of the Body [§ 66]

 

 

 

1. “When they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage” (Mk 12:25). These words have a key meaning for the theology of the body. Christ uttered them after having affirmed, in the conversation with the Sadducees, that the resurrection is in conformity with the power of the living God. All three synoptic Gospels report the same statement, except that Luke’s version is different in some details from that of Matthew and Mark. Essential for them all is the fact that, in the future resurrection, human beings, after having reacquired their bodies in the fullness of the perfection characteristic of the image and likeness of God—after having reacquired them in their masculinity and femininity—”neither marry nor are given in marriage.” Luke expresses the same idea in chapter 20:34-35, in the following words: “The children of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage.”

2. As can be seen from these words, marriage, that union in which, according to Genesis, “A man cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh” (2:24)—the union characteristic of man right from the beginning—belongs exclusively to this age. Marriage and procreation do not constitute, on the other hand, the eschatological future of man. In the resurrection they lose, so to speak, their raison d’être. “That age,” of which Luke spoke (20:35), means the definitive fulfillment of mankind. It is the quantitative closing of that circle of beings, who were created in the image and likeness of God, in order that, multiplying through the conjugal “unity in the body” of men and women, they might subdue the earth. “That age” is not the world of the earth, but the world of God, who, as we know from the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians, will fill it entirely, becoming “everything to everyone” (1 Cor 15:28).

3. At the same time “that age,” which according to revelation is “the kingdom of God,” is also the definitive and eternal “homeland” of man (cf. Phil 3:20). It is the “Father’s house” (Jn 14:2). As man’s new homeland, that age emerges definitively from the present world, which is temporal—subjected to death, that is, to the destruction of the body (cf. Gen 3:19, “to dust you shall return”)—through the resurrection. According to Christ’s words reported by the synoptic Gospels, the resurrection means not only the recovery of corporeity and the re-establishment of human life in its integrity by means of the union of the body with the soul, but also a completely new state of human life itself.

We find the confirmation of this new state of the body in the resurrection of Christ (cf. Rom 6:5-11). The words reported by the synoptic Gospels (Mt 22:30; Mk 12:25; Lk 20:34-35) will ring out then (that is, after Christ’s resurrection) to those who had heard them. I would say almost with a new probative force, and at the same time they will acquire the character of a convincing promise. For the present, however, we will dwell on these words in their pre-paschal phase, referring only to the situation in which they were spoken. There is no doubt that already in the answer given to the Sadducees, Christ revealed the new condition of the human body in the resurrection. He did so precisely by proposing a reference and a comparison with the condition in which man had participated since the “beginning.”

4. The words, “They neither marry nor are given in marriage” seem to affirm at the same time that human bodies, recovered and at the same time renewed in the resurrection, will keep their masculine or feminine peculiarity. The sense of being a male or a female in the body will be constituted and understood in that age in a different way from what it had been from the beginning, and then in the whole dimension of earthly existence. The words of Genesis: “A man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh” (2:24), constituted right from the beginning that condition and relationship of masculinity and femininity, extended also to the body, which must rightly be defined as conjugal and at the same time as procreative and generative. It is connected with the blessing of fertility, pronounced by God (Elohim) when he created man “male and female” (Gn 1:27). The words Christ spoke about the resurrection enable us to deduce that the dimension of masculinity and femininity—that is, being male and female in the body—will again be constituted together with the resurrection of the body in “that age.”

 

 

 


    Spiritualization [§ 66.5]

 

 

5. Is it possible to say something more detailed on this subject? Beyond all doubt, Christ’s words reported by the synoptic Gospels (especially in the version of Luke 20:27-40) authorize us to do so. We read there that “Those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead...cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God” (Matthew and Mark report only that “They are like angels in heaven”). This statement makes it possible above all to deduce a spiritualization of man according to a different dimension from that of earthly life (and even different from that of the beginning itself). It is obvious that it is not a question here of transforming man’s nature into that of the angels, that is, a purely spiritual one. The context indicates clearly that in that age man will keep his own human psychosomatic nature. If it were otherwise, it would be meaningless to speak of the resurrection.

The resurrection means the restoring to the real life of human corporeity, which was subjected to death in its temporal phase. In the expression of Luke (20:36) just quoted (and in that of Mt 22:30 and Mk 12:25), it is certainly a question of human, that is, psychosomatic nature. The comparison with heavenly beings, used in the context, is no novelty in the Bible. Among others, it is said in a psalm, exalting man as the work of the Creator, “You have made him little less than the angels” (Ps 8:5). It must be supposed that in the resurrection this similarity will become greater. It will not be through a disincarnation of man, but by means of another kind (we could also say another degree) of spiritualization of his somatic nature—that is, by means of another “system of forces” within man. The resurrection means a new submission of the body to the spirit.

5. Before beginning to develop this subject, it should be recalled that the truth about the resurrection had a key meaning for the formation of all theological anthropology, which could be considered simply as an anthropology of the resurrection. As a result of reflection on the resurrection, Thomas Aquinas neglected in his metaphysical (and at the same time theological) anthropology Plato’s philosophical conception on the relationship between the soul and the body and drew closer to the conception of Aristotle. [11] The resurrection bears witness, at least indirectly, that the body, in the composite being of man as a whole, is not only connected temporarily with the soul (as its earthly “prison,” as Plato believed). [12] But together with the soul it constitutes the unity and integrity of the human being. Aristotle taught precisely that, [13] unlike Plato. If St. Thomas accepted Aristotle’s conception in his anthropology, he did so considering the truth about the resurrection. The truth about the resurrection clearly affirmed, in fact, that the eschatological perfection and happiness of man cannot be understood as a state of the soul alone, separated (according to Plato: liberated) from the body. But it must be understood as the state of man definitively and perfectly “integrated” through such a union of the soul and the body, which qualifies and definitively ensures this perfect integrity.

Let us interrupt at this point our reflection on the words spoken by Christ  about the resurrection. The great wealth of content enclosed in these words induces us to take them up again in further considerations.


 

 

4. [67]   THE RESURRECTION PERFECTS THE PERSON

 


THE RESURRECTION
PERFECTS THE PERSON
“The Theology of the Body” Part 4, (§67)
  General Audience: 9 December, 1981
 

 


1. “At the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (Mt 22:30; cf. Mk 12:25). “They are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection” (Lk 20:36).

Let us try to understand these words of Christ about the future resurrection in order to draw a conclusion with regard to the spiritualization of man, different from that of earthly life. We could speak here also of a perfect system of forces in mutual relations between what is spiritual in man and what is physical. As a result of original sin, historical man experiences a multiple imperfection in this system of forces, which is expressed in St. Paul’s well-known words: “I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind” (Rom 7:23).

Eschatological man will be free from that opposition. In the resurrection the body will return to perfect unity and harmony with the spirit. Man will no longer experience the opposition between what is spiritual and what is physical in him. Spiritualization means not only that the spirit will dominate the body, but, I would say, that it will fully permeate the body, and that the forces of the spirit will permeate the energies of the body.

2. In earthly life, the dominion of the spirit over the body—and the simultaneous subordination of the body to the spirit—can, as the result of persevering work on themselves, express a personality that is spiritually mature. However, the fact that the energies of the spirit succeed in dominating the forces of the body does not remove the possibility of their mutual opposition. The spiritualization to which the synoptic Gospels refer in the texts analyzed here (cf. Mt 22:30; Mk 12:25; Lk 20:34-35), already lies beyond this possibility. It is therefore a perfect spiritualization, in which the possibility that “another law is at war with the law of...the mind” (cf. Rom 7:23) is completely eliminated. This state which—as is evident—is differentiated essentially (and not only with regard to degree) from what we experience in earthly life, does not signify any disincarnation of the body nor, consequently, a dehumanization of man. On the contrary, it signifies his perfect realization. In fact, in the composite, psychosomatic being which man is, perfection cannot consist in a mutual opposition of spirit and body. But it consists in a deep harmony between them, in safeguarding the primacy of the spirit. In the “other world,” this primacy will be realized and will be manifested in a perfect spontaneity, without any opposition on the part of the body. However, that must not be understood as a definitive victory of the spirit over the body. The resurrection will consist in the perfect participation of all that is physical in man in what is spiritual in him. At the same time it will consist in the perfect realization of what is personal in man.

 

Divinization [§ 67.3] 

 


DIVINIZATION [theosis]

 


ANASTASIS TRANSFIGURATION ASSUMPTION

3. The words of the synoptic Gospels testify that the state of man in the other world will not only be a state of perfect spiritualization, but also of fundamental divinization of his humanity. The “sons of the resurrection” — as we read in Luke 20:36 — are not only equal to angels, but are also sons of God. The conclusion can be drawn that the degree of spiritualization characteristic of eschatological man will have its source in the degree of his divinization, incomparably superior to the one that can be attained in earthly life.

It must be added that here it is a question not only of a different degree, but in a way, of another kind of divinization.

Participation in divine nature, participation in the interior life of God himself, penetration and permeation of what is essentially human by what is essentially divine, will then reach its peak, so that the life of the human spirit will arrive at such fullness which previously had been absolutely inaccessible to it.

This new spiritualization will therefore be the fruit of grace, that is, of the communication of God in his very divinity, not only to man’s soul, but to his whole psychosomatic subjectivity.

We speak here of subjectivity (and not only of “nature”), because that divinization is to be understood

not only as an interior state of man (that is, of the subject) capable of seeing God face to face,

but also as a new formation of the whole personal subjectivity of man in accordance with union with God in his Trinitarian mystery and of intimacy with him in the perfect communion of persons.

This intimacy—with all its subjective intensity—will not absorb man’s personal subjectivity, but rather will make it stand out to an incomparably greater and fuller extent.

 

 

4. Divinization in the other world, as indicated by Christ’s words, will bring the human spirit such a range of experience of truth and love such as man would never have been able to attain in earthly life. When Christ speaks of the resurrection, he proves at the same time that the human body will also take part, in its way, in this eschatological experience of truth and love, united with the vision of God face to face. When Christ says that those who take part in the future resurrection “neither marry nor are given in marriage” (Mk 12:25), his words—as has already been pointed out—affirm not only the end of earthly history, bound up with marriage and procreation, but also seem to reveal the new meaning of the body. Is it possible, in this case, at the level of biblical eschatology, to think of the discovery of the nuptial meaning of the body, above all as the virginal meaning of being male and female, as regards the body? To answer this question, which emerges from the words reported by the synoptic Gospels, we should penetrate more deeply into the essence of what will be the beatific vision of the divine Being, a vision of God face to face in the future life. It is also necessary to let oneself be guided by that range of experience of truth and love which goes beyond the limits of the cognitive and spiritual possibilities of man in temporality, and in which he will become a participant in the other world.

 

 

5. This eschatological experience of the living God will not only concentrate in itself all man’s spiritual energies, but, at the same time, it will reveal to him, in a deep and experiential way, the self-communication of God to the whole of creation and, in particular, to man. This is the most personal self-giving by God, in his very divinity, to man: to that being who, from the beginning, bears within himself the image and likeness of God. In this way, in the other world the object of the vision will be that mystery hidden in the Father from eternity, a mystery which in time was revealed in Christ, in order to be accomplished incessantly through the Holy Spirit. That mystery will become, if we may use the expression, the content of the eschatological experience and the form of the entire human existence in the dimension of the other world. Eternal life must be understood in the eschatological sense, that is, as the full and perfect experience of that grace (charis) of God, in which man becomes a participant through faith during earthly life, and which, on the contrary, will not only have to reveal itself in all its penetrating depth to those who take part in the other world, but also will have to be experienced in its beatifying reality.

We suspend here our reflection centered on Christ’s words about the future resurrection of the body. In this spiritualization and divinization in which man will participate in the resurrection, we discover—in an eschatological dimension—the same characteristics that qualified the nuptial meaning of the body. We discover them in the meeting with the mystery of the living God, which is revealed through the vision of him face to face.

 

 


5. [68]   General Audience: 16 December, 1981 CHRIST’S WORDS on the RESURRECTION COMPLETE THE REVELATION of the BODY

1. “In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (Mt 22:30, similarly Mk 12:25). “They are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection” (Lk 20:36).

The eschatological communion (communio) of man with God, constituted thanks to the love of a perfect union, will be nourished by the vision, face to face, of contemplation of that more perfect communion—because it is purely divine—which is the trinitarian communion of the divine Persons in the unity of the same divinity.

2. Christ’s words, reported by the synoptic Gospels, enable us to deduce that participants in the “other world”—in this union with the living God which springs from the beatific vision of his unity and trinitarian communion—will not only keep their authentic subjectivity, but will acquire it to a far more perfect extent than in earthly life. Furthermore, this will confirm the law of the integral order of the person, according to which the perfection of communion is not only conditioned by the perfection or spiritual maturity of the subject, but also in turn determines it. Those who participate in the future world, that is, in perfect communion with the living God, will enjoy a perfectly mature subjectivity. In this perfect subjectivity, while keeping masculinity and femininity in their risen, glorious body, “They neither marry nor are given in marriage.” This is explained not only with the end of history, but also, and above all, with the eschatological authenticity of the response to that self-communication of the divine subject. This will constitute the beatifying experience of the gift of himself on God’s part, which is absolutely superior to any experience proper to earthly life.

3. The reciprocal gift of oneself to God—a gift in which man will concentrate and express all the energies of his own personal and at the same time psychosomatic subjectivity—will be the response to God’s gift of himself to man. [14] In this mutual gift of himself by man, a gift which will become completely and definitively beatifying, as a response worthy of a personal subject to God’s gift of Himself, virginity, or rather the virginal state of the body, will be totally manifested as the eschatological fulfillment of the nuptial meaning of the body, as the specific sign and the authentic expression of all personal subjectivity. In this way, therefore, that eschatological situation in which “They neither marry nor are given in marriage” has its solid foundation in the future state of the personal subject. This will happen when, as a result of the vision of God face to face, there will be born in him a love of such depth and power of concentration on God himself, as to completely absorb his whole psychosomatic subjectivity.

4. This concentration of knowledge (vision) and love on God himself—a concentration that cannot be other than full participation in the interior life of God, that is, in the very trinitarian reality—will be at the same time the discovery, in God, of the whole “world” of relations, constitutive of his perennial order (cosmos). This concentration will be above all man’s rediscovery of himself, not only in the depth of his own person, but also in that union which is proper to the world of persons in their psychosomatic constitution. This is certainly a union of communion. The concentration of knowledge and love on God himself in the trinitarian communion of Persons can find a beatifying response in those who become participants in the other world, only through realizing mutual communion adapted to created persons. For this reason we profess faith in the “communion of saints” (communio sanctorum), and we profess it in organic connection with faith in the resurrection of the dead. Christ’s words which affirm that in the other world, “They neither marry nor are given in marriage” are at the basis of these contents of our faith. At the same time they require an adequate interpretation in its light. We must think of the reality of the other world in the categories of the rediscovery of a new, perfect subjectivity of everyone and at the same time of the rediscovery of a new, perfect intersubjectivity of all. In this way, this reality signifies the real and definitive fulfillment of human subjectivity, and on this basis, the definitive fulfillment of the nuptial meaning of the body. The complete concentration of created subjectivity, redeemed and glorified, on God himself will not take man away from this fulfillment, in fact—on the contrary—it will introduce him into it and consolidate him in it. One can say, finally, that in this way eschatological reality will become the source of the perfect realization of the trinitarian order in the created world of persons.

5. The words with which Christ referred to the future resurrection—words confirmed in a singular way by his own resurrection—complete what in the present reflections we are accustomed to call the revelation of the body. This revelation penetrates in a way into the heart of the reality which we are experiencing. This reality is above all man, his body, the body of historical man. At the same time, this revelation enables us to go beyond the sphere of this experience in two directions—in the first place, in the direction of that beginning which Christ referred to in his conversation with the Pharisees regarding the indissolubility of marriage (cf. Mt 19:3-9); in the second place, in the direction of the other world, to which the Master drew the attention of his listeners in the presence of the Sadducees, who “say that there is no resurrection” (Mt 22:23). These two extensions of the sphere of the experience of the body (if we may say so) are not completely beyond the reach of our (obviously theological) understanding of the body. What the human body is in the sphere of man’s historical experience is not completely cut off from those two dimensions of his existence, which are revealed through Christ’s words.

6. It is clear that here it is a question not so much of the body in abstract, but of man who is at once spiritual and physical. Continuing in the two directions indicated by Christ’s words, and linking up again with the experience of the body in the dimension of our earthly existence (therefore in the historical dimension), we can make a certain theological reconstruction. This is a reconstruction of what might have been the experience of the body on the basis of man’s revealed beginning, and also of what it will be in the dimension of the other world. The possibility of this reconstruction, which extends our experience of man-body, indicates, at least indirectly, the consistency of man’s theological image in these three dimensions, which together contribute to the constitution of the theology of the body.


6. [69]   General Audience: 13 January, 1982 THE NEW THRESHOLD of COMPLETE TRUTH ABOUT MAN

1. “In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (Mt 22:30, similarly Mk 12:25). “They are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection” (Lk 20:36).

The eschatological communion (communio) of man with God, constituted thanks to the love of a perfect union, will be nourished by the vision, face to face, of contemplation of that more perfect communion—because it is purely divine—which is the trinitarian communion of the divine Persons in the unity of the same divinity.

2. Christ’s words, reported by the synoptic Gospels, enable us to deduce that participants in the “other world”—in this union with the living God which springs from the beatific vision of his unity and trinitarian communion—will not only keep their authentic subjectivity, but will acquire it to a far more perfect extent than in earthly life. Furthermore, this will confirm the law of the integral order of the person, according to which the perfection of communion is not only conditioned by the perfection or spiritual maturity of the subject, but also in turn determines it. Those who participate in the future world, that is, in perfect communion with the living God, will enjoy a perfectly mature subjectivity. In this perfect subjectivity, while keeping masculinity and femininity in their risen, glorious body, “They neither marry nor are given in marriage.” This is explained not only with the end of history, but also, and above all, with the eschatological authenticity of the response to that self-communication of the divine subject. This will constitute the beatifying experience of the gift of himself on God’s part, which is absolutely superior to any experience proper to earthly life.

3. The reciprocal gift of oneself to God—a gift in which man will concentrate and express all the energies of his own personal and at the same time psychosomatic subjectivity—will be the response to God’s gift of himself to man. [15] In this mutual gift of himself by man, a gift which will become completely and definitively beatifying, as a response worthy of a personal subject to God’s gift of Himself, virginity, or rather the virginal state of the body, will be totally manifested as the eschatological fulfillment of the nuptial meaning of the body, as the specific sign and the authentic expression of all personal subjectivity. In this way, therefore, that eschatological situation in which “They neither marry nor are given in marriage” has its solid foundation in the future state of the personal subject. This will happen when, as a result of the vision of God face to face, there will be born in him a love of such depth and power of concentration on God himself, as to completely absorb his whole psychosomatic subjectivity.

4. This concentration of knowledge (vision) and love on God himself—a concentration that cannot be other than full participation in the interior life of God, that is, in the very trinitarian reality—will be at the same time the discovery, in God, of the whole “world” of relations, constitutive of his perennial order (cosmos). This concentration will be above all man’s rediscovery of himself, not only in the depth of his own person, but also in that union which is proper to the world of persons in their psychosomatic constitution. This is certainly a union of communion. The concentration of knowledge and love on God himself in the trinitarian communion of Persons can find a beatifying response in those who become participants in the other world, only through realizing mutual communion adapted to created persons. For this reason we profess faith in the “communion of saints” (communio sanctorum), and we profess it in organic connection with faith in the resurrection of the dead. Christ’s words which affirm that in the other world, “They neither marry nor are given in marriage” are at the basis of these contents of our faith. At the same time they require an adequate interpretation in its light. We must think of the reality of the other world in the categories of the rediscovery of a new, perfect subjectivity of everyone and at the same time of the rediscovery of a new, perfect intersubjectivity of all. In this way, this reality signifies the real and definitive fulfillment of human subjectivity, and on this basis, the definitive fulfillment of the nuptial meaning of the body. The complete concentration of created subjectivity, redeemed and glorified, on God himself will not take man away from this fulfillment, in fact—on the contrary—it will introduce him into it and consolidate him in it. One can say, finally, that in this way eschatological reality will become the source of the perfect realization of the trinitarian order in the created world of persons.

5. The words with which Christ referred to the future resurrection—words confirmed in a singular way by his own resurrection—complete what in the present reflections we are accustomed to call the revelation of the body. This revelation penetrates in a way into the heart of the reality which we are experiencing. This reality is above all man, his body, the body of historical man. At the same time, this revelation enables us to go beyond the sphere of this experience in two directions—in the first place, in the direction of that beginning which Christ referred to in his conversation with the Pharisees regarding the indissolubility of marriage (cf. Mt 19:3-9); in the second place, in the direction of the other world, to which the Master drew the attention of his listeners in the presence of the Sadducees, who “say that there is no resurrection” (Mt 22:23). These two extensions of the sphere of the experience of the body (if we may say so) are not completely beyond the reach of our (obviously theological) understanding of the body. What the human body is in the sphere of man’s historical experience is not completely cut off from those two dimensions of his existence, which are revealed through Christ’s words.

6. It is clear that here it is a question not so much of the body in abstract, but of man who is at once spiritual and physical. Continuing in the two directions indicated by Christ’s words, and linking up again with the experience of the body in the dimension of our earthly existence (therefore in the historical dimension), we can make a certain theological reconstruction. This is a reconstruction of what might have been the experience of the body on the basis of man’s revealed beginning, and also of what it will be in the dimension of the other world. The possibility of this reconstruction, which extends our experience of man-body, indicates, at least indirectly, the consistency of man’s theological image in these three dimensions, which together contribute to the constitution of the theology of the body.


 

7. [70]   General Audience: 27 January, 1982 THE DOCTRINE of the RESURRECTION ACCORDING to ST. PAUL

 


B. PAULINE INTERPRETATION of the RESURRECTION
in 1 Corinthians 15:42-49
[§ 70]
 

 

 

 7. [70] General Audience: 27 January, 1982 THE DOCTRINE of the RESURRECTION ACCORDING to ST. PAUL

 

 


     Final Victory over Death [§ 70.1]

 

 

1. During the preceding audiences we reflected on Christ’s words about the other world, which will emerge together with the resurrection of bodies. Those words had an extraordinarily intense resonance in the teaching of St. Paul. Between the answer given to the Sadducees, transmitted by the synoptic Gospels (cf. Mt 22:30; Mk 12:25; Lk 20:35-36), and Paul’s apostolate there took place first of all the fact of the resurrection of Christ himself and a series of meetings with the risen Christ. Among these must be included, as the last link, the event that occurred in the neighborhood of Damascus. Saul or Paul of Tarsus who, on his conversion, became the Apostle of the Gentiles, also had his own post-paschal experience, similar to that of the other apostles. At the basis of his faith in the resurrection, which he expresses above all in the First Letter to the Corinthians (ch. 15), there is certainly that meeting with the risen Christ, which became the beginning and foundation of his apostolate.

2. It is difficult to sum up here and comment adequately on the stupendous and ample argumentation of the fifteenth chapter of the First Letter to the Corinthians in all its details. It is significant that, while Christ replied to the Sadducees, who “say that there is no resurrection” (Lk 20:27), with the words reported by the synoptic Gospels, Paul, on his part, replied or rather engaged in polemics (in conformity with his temperament) with those who contested it. [16] In his (pre-paschal) answer, Christ did not refer to his own resurrection, but appealed to the fundamental reality of the Old Testament covenant, to the reality of the living God. The conviction of the possibility of the resurrection is based on this: the living God “is not God of the dead, but of the living” (Mk 12:27). Paul’s post-paschal argumentation on the future resurrection referred above all to the reality and the truth of the resurrection of Christ. In fact, he defends this truth even as the foundation of the faith in its integrity: “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.... But, in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead” (1 Cor 15:14, 20).

3. Here we are on the same line as revelation. The resurrection of Christ is the last and the fullest word of the self-revelation of the living God as “not God of the dead, but of the living” (Mk 12:27). It is the last and fullest confirmation of the truth about God which is expressed right from the beginning through this revelation. Furthermore, the resurrection is the reply of the God of life to the historical inevitability of death, to which man was subjected from the moment of breaking the first covenant and which, together with sin, entered his history. This answer about the victory won over death is illustrated by the First Letter to the Corinthians (ch. 15) with extraordinary perspicacity. It presents the resurrection of Christ as the beginning of that eschatological fulfillment, in which, through him and in him, everything will return to the Father, everything will be subjected to him, that is, handed back definitively, “that God may be everything to everyone” (1 Cor 15:28). And then—in this definitive victory over sin, over what opposed the creature to the Creator—death also will be vanquished: “The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Cor 15:26).

4. The words that can be considered the synthesis of Pauline anthropology concerning the resurrection take their place in this context. It will be opportune to dwell longer here on these words. We read in the First Letter to the Corinthians 15:42-46 about the resurrection of the dead: “What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual which is first but the physical, and then the spiritual.”

 

 


  The First Adam and the Last Adam [§ 70.5]

 

 

5. Between this Pauline anthropology of the resurrection and the one that emerges from the text of the synoptic Gospels (Mt 22:30; Mk 12:25; Lk 20:35-36), there exists an essential consistency, only the text of First Letter to the Corinthians is more developed. Paul studies in depth what Christ had proclaimed. At the same time, he penetrates the various aspects of that truth which had been expressed concisely and substantially in the words written in the synoptic Gospels. It is also significant for the Pauline text that man’s eschatological perspective, based on faith in the resurrection of the dead, is united with reference to the beginning as well as with deep awareness of man’s historical situation. The man whom Paul addressed in the First Letter to the Corinthians and who (like the Sadducees) is contrary to the possibility of the resurrection, has also his (historical) experience of the body. From this experience it emerges quite clearly that the body is perishable, weak, physical, in dishonor.

6. Paul confronts such a man, to whom his words are addressed—either in the community of Corinth or also, I would say, in all times—with the risen Christ, the last Adam. Doing so, Paul invites him, in a way, to follow in the footsteps of his own post-paschal experience. At the same time he recalls to him the first Adam. That is, he induces him to turn to the beginning, to that first truth about man and the world which is at the basis of the revelation of the mystery of the living God. In this way, Paul reproduces in his synthesis all that Christ had announced when he had referred, at three different moments, to the beginning in the conversation with the Pharisees (cf. Mt 19:3-8; Mk 10:2-9); to the human heart, as the place of struggle with lusts within man, during the Sermon on the Mount (Cf. Mt 5:27); and to the resurrection as the reality of the “other world,” in the conversation with the Sadducees (cf. Mt 22:30; Mk 12:25; Lk 20:35-36).

7. It belongs to the style of Paul’s synthesis that it plunges its roots into the revealed mystery of creation and redemption as a whole, from which it is developed and in the light of which alone it can be explained. According to the biblical narrative, the creation of man is an enlivening of matter by means of the spirit, thanks to which “the first man Adam became a living being” (1 Cor 15:45). The Pauline text repeats here the words of Genesis (2:7), that is, of the second narrative of the creation of man (the so-called Yahwist narrative). From the same source it is known that this original “animation of the body” underwent corruption because of sin.

At this point of the First Letter to the Corinthians the author does not speak directly of original sin. Yet the series of definitions which he attributes to the body of historical man, writing that it is “perishable...weak...physical...in dishonor...” indicates sufficiently what the consequence of sin is, according to revelation. Paul himself will call it elsewhere “bondage to decay” (Rom 8:21). The whole of creation is subjected indirectly to this “bondage to decay” owing to the sin of man, who was placed by the Creator in the midst of the visible world in order to subdue it (cf. Gn 1:28). So man’s sin has a dimension that is not only interior, but also cosmic. According to this dimension, the body—which Paul (in conformity with his experience) characterizes as “perishable...weak...physical...in dishonor...”—expresses in itself the state of creation after sin. This creation “has been groaning in travail together until now” (Rom 8:22).

However, just as labor pains are united with the desire for birth, with the hope of a new child, so, too, the whole of creation “waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God...” and cherishes the hope to “be set free from its bondage to decay, and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom 8:19-21).

8. Through this cosmic context of the affirmation contained in the Letter to the Romans—in a way, through the “body of all creatures”—let us try to understand completely the Pauline interpretation of the resurrection. According to Paul, this image of the body of historical man, so deeply realistic and adapted to the universal experience of men, conceals within itself not only the “bondage of decay,” but also hope, like the hope that accompanies labor pains. That happens because the Apostle grasps in this image also the presence of the mystery of redemption. Awareness of that mystery comes precisely from all man’s experiences which can be defined as the “bondage of decay.” It comes because redemption operates in man’s soul by means of the gifts of the Spirit: “We ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Rom 8:23). Redemption is the way to the resurrection. The resurrection constitutes the definitive accomplishment of the redemption of the body.

We will come back to the analysis of the Pauline text in the First Letter to the Corinthians in our further reflections.


8. [71]   General Audience: 3 February, 1982 THE RISEN BODY WILL BE INCORRUPTIBLE GLORIOUS, FULL of DYNAMISM, SPIRITUAL

1. From the words of Christ on the future resurrection of the body, reported by all three synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), we have passed to the Pauline anthropology of the resurrection. We are analyzing the First Letter to the Corinthians 15:42-49.

In the resurrection the human body, according to the words of the Apostle, is seen “incorruptible, glorious, full of dynamism, spiritual.” The resurrection is not only a manifestation of the life that conquers death—almost a final return to the tree of life, from which man had been separated at the moment of original sin—but is also a revelation of the ultimate destiny of man in all the fullness of his psychosomatic nature and his personal subjectivity. Paul of Tarsus—who following in the footsteps of the other apostles,  had experienced in his meeting with the risen Christ the state of his glorified body—basing himself on this experience, Paul announces in his Letter to the Romans “the redemption of the body” (Rom 8:23) and in his Letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 15:42-49) the completion of this redemption in the future resurrection.

2. The literary method Paul applies here perfectly corresponds to his style, which uses antitheses that simultaneously bring together those things which they contrast. In this way they are useful in having us understand Pauline thought about the resurrection. It concerns both its “cosmic” dimension and also the characteristic of the internal structure of the “earthly” and the “heavenly” man. The Apostle, in fact, in contrasting Adam and Christ (risen)—that is, the first Adam with the second Adam—in a certain way shows two poles between which, in the mystery of creation and redemption, man has been placed in the cosmos. One could say that man has been put in tension between these two poles in the perspective of his eternal destiny regarding, from beginning to end, his human nature itself. When Paul writes: “The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven” (1 Cor 15:47), he has in mind both Adam-man and also Christ as man. Between these two poles—between the first and the second Adam—the process takes place that he expresses in the following words: “As we have borne the image of the man of earth, so we will bear the image of the man of heaven” (1 Cor 15:49).

3. This “man of heaven”—the man of the resurrection whose prototype is the risen Christ—is not so much an antithesis and negation of the “man of earth” (whose prototype is the first Adam), but is above all his completion and confirmation. It is the completion and confirmation of what corresponds to the psychosomatic makeup of humanity, in the sphere of his eternal destiny, that is, in the thought and the plan of him who from the beginning created man in his own image and likeness. The humanity of the first Adam, the “man of earth,” bears in itself a particular potential (which is a capacity and readiness) to receive all that became the second Adam, the man of heaven, namely, Christ, what he became in his resurrection. That humanity which all men, children of the first Adam, share, and which, along with the heritage of sin—being carnal—at the same time is corruptible, and bears in itself the potentiality of incorruptibility.

That humanity which, in all its psychosomatic makeup appears ignoble, and yet bears within itself the interior desire for glory, that is, the tendency and the capacity to become “glorious” in the image of the risen Christ. Finally, the same humanity about which the Apostle—in conformity with the experience of all men—says that it is “weak” and has an “animal body,” bears in itself the aspiration to become full of dynamism and spiritual.

4. We are speaking here of human nature in its integrity, that is, of human nature in its psychosomatic makeup. However, Paul speaks of the body. Nevertheless we can admit, on the basis of the immediate context and the remote one, that for him it is not a question only of the body, but of the entire man in his corporeity, therefore also of his ontological complexity. There is no doubt here that precisely in the whole visible world (cosmos) that one body which is the human body bears in itself the potentiality for resurrection, that is, the aspiration and capacity to become definitively incorruptible, glorious, full of dynamism, spiritual. This happens because, persisting from the beginning in the psychosomatic unity of the personal being, he can receive and reproduce in this earthly image and likeness of God also the heavenly image of the second Adam, Christ.

The Pauline anthropology of the resurrection is cosmic and universal at the same time. Every man bears in himself the image of Adam and every man is also called to bear in himself the image of Christ, the image of the risen one. This image is the reality of the “other world,” the eschatological reality (St. Paul writes, “We will bear”). But in the meantime it is already in a certain way a reality of this world, since it was revealed in this world through the resurrection of Christ. It is a reality ingrafted in the man of this world, a reality that is developing in him toward final completion.


5. All the antitheses that are suggested in Paul’s text help to construct a valid sketch of the anthropology of the resurrection. This sketch is at the same time more detailed than the one which comes from the text of the synoptic Gospels (cf. Mt 22:30; Mk 12:25; Lk 20:34-35). But on the other hand it is in a certain sense more unilateral. The words of Christ which the synoptics report open before us the perspective of the eschatological perfection of the body, fully subject to the divinizing profundity of the vision of God face to face. In that vision it will find its inexhaustible source of perpetual virginity (united to the nuptial meaning of the body), and of the perpetual intersubjectivity of all men, who will become (as males and females) sharers in the resurrection. The Pauline sketch of the eschatological perfection of the glorified body seems to remain rather in the sphere of the interior structure of the man-person. His interpretation of the future resurrection would seem to link up again with body-spirit dualism which constitutes the source of the interior system of forces in man.

6. This system of forces will undergo a radical change in the resurrection. Paul’s words, which explicitly suggest this, cannot however be understood or interpreted in the spirit of dualistic anthropology, [17] which we will try to show in the continuation of our analysis. In fact, it will be suitable to dedicate yet another reflection to the anthropology of the resurrection in the light of the First Letter to the Corinthians.


9. [72]   General Audience: 10 February, 1982 THE BODY’S SPIRITUALIZATION WILL BE SOURCE of its POWER and INCORRUPTIBILITY

1. From Christ’s words on the future resurrection of the body, recorded by all three synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), our reflections have brought us to what St. Paul wrote on the subject in the First Letter to the Corinthians (ch. 15). Our analysis is centered above all on what might be called the anthropology of the resurrection according to St. Paul. He contrasts the state of the “earthly” man (i.e., historical) with the state of the risen man, characterizing in a lapidary and at the same time penetrating manner, the interior system of forces specific to each of these states.

2. That this interior system of forces should undergo a radical transformation would seem to be indicated, first of all, by the contrast between the weak body and the body full of power. Paul writes: “What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power” (1 Cor 15:42-45). “Weak,” therefore, is the description of the body which—in metaphysical terms—rises from the temporal soil of humanity. The Pauline metaphor corresponds likewise to the scientific terminology which defines man’s beginning as a body by the use of the same term (semen, seed).

If, in the Apostle’s view, the human body which arises from earthly seed is weak, this means not only that it is perishable, subject to death, and to all that leads to it, but also that it is an animal body.[18] The body full of power, however, which man will inherit from the second Adam, Christ, in virtue of the future resurrection, will be a spiritual body. It will be imperishable, no longer subject to the threat of death. Thus the antinomy, weak—full of power, refers explicitly not only to the body considered separately, but also to the whole constitution of man considered in his corporeal nature. Only within the framework of such a constitution can the body become spiritual: and this spiritualization of the body will be the source of its power and incorruptibility (or immortality).

3. This theme has its origin already in the first chapter of Genesis. It can be said that St. Paul sees the reality of the future resurrection as a certain restitutio in integrum, that is, as the reintegration and at the same time as the attaining of the fullness of humanity. It is not truly a restitution, because in that case the resurrection would be, in a certain sense, a return to the state which the soul enjoyed before sin, apart from the knowledge of good and evil (cf. Gn 1-2). But such a return does not correspond to the internal logic of the whole economy of salvation, to the most profound meaning of the mystery of the redemption. Restitutio in integrum, linked with the resurrection and the reality of the other world, can only be an introduction to a new fullness. This will be a fullness that presupposes the whole of human history, formed by the drama of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (cf. Gn 3) and at the same time permeated by the text of the First Letter to the Corinthians.

4. According to the text of First Corinthians, man, in whom concupiscence prevails over the spiritual, that is, the “animal body” (1 Cor 15:44), is condemned to death. He should rise, however, as a spiritual body, man in whom the Spirit will achieve a just supremacy over the body, spirituality over sensuality. It is easy to understand that Paul is here thinking of sensuality as the sum total of the factors limiting human spirituality, that is, as a force that “ties down” the spirit (not necessarily in the Platonic sense) by restricting its own faculty of knowing (seeing) the truth and also the faculty to will freely and to love in truth. However, here it cannot be a question of that fundamental function of the senses which serves to liberate spirituality, that is to say, of the simple faculty of knowing and willing proper to the psychosomatic compositum of the human subject.

Just as one speaks of the resurrection of the body, that is, of man in his true corporeal nature, consequently the spiritual body should mean precisely the perfect sensitivity of the senses, their perfect harmonization with the activity of the human spirit in truth and liberty. The animal body, which is the earthly antithesis of the spiritual body, indicates sensuality as a force prejudicial to man, precisely because while living—”in the knowledge of good and evil”—he is often attracted and impelled toward evil.

5. It cannot be forgotten that here it is not so much a question of anthropological dualism, but of a basic antinomy. Constituting it is not only the body (as the Aristotelian hyle), but also the soul, or man as a “living being” (cf. Gn 2:7). Its constituents are—on the one hand, the whole man, the sum total of his psychosomatic subjectivity, inasmuch as he remains under the influence of the vivifying Spirit of Christ,—on the other hand, the same man inasmuch as he resists and opposes this Spirit. In the second case man is an animal body (and his works are works of the flesh). If, however, he remains under the influence of the Holy Spirit, man is spiritual (and produces the “fruit of the Spirit”) (Gal 5:22).

6. Consequently, it can be said that we are dealing with the anthropology of the resurrection not only in First Corinthians 15, but that the whole of St. Paul’s anthropology (and ethics) are permeated with the mystery of the resurrection through which we have definitively received the Holy Spirit. Chapter 15 of First Corinthians constitutes the Pauline interpretation of the other world and of man’s state in that world. In it each one, together with the resurrection of the body, will fully participate in the gift of the vivifying Spirit, that is, in the fruit of Christ’s resurrection.

7. Concluding the analysis of the anthropology of the resurrection according to First Corinthians, it is fitting to turn our minds again to Christ’s words on the resurrection and on the other world which the evangelists Matthew, Mark and Luke quote. We recall that in his reply to the Sadducees, Christ linked faith in the resurrection with the entire revelation of the God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob and of Moses (Mt 22:32). At the same time, while rejecting the objection proposed by those who questioned him, he uttered these significant words: “When they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage” (Mk 12:25). We devoted our previous reflections to these words in their immediate context, passing on then to the analysis of St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 15).

These reflections have a fundamental significance for the whole theology of the body, for an understanding both of marriage and of celibacy for the kingdom of heaven. Our further analyses will be devoted to this latter subject.

 

 

 


APPENDIX: Original Titles and Number of Catecheses as Delivered

1. [64] Marriage and Celibacy in the Light of the Resurrection of the Body        p. 1

2.[65] The Living God Continually Renews the Reality of Life        p. 3

3.[66] The Resurrection and Theological Anthropology         p. 5

4.[67] The Resurrection Perfects the Person        p. 8

5. [68] Christ’s Words on the Resurrection Complete the Revelation of the Body       p. 9

6. [69) The New Threshold of the Complete Truth about Man         p. 11

7. [70] The Doctrine of the Resurrection according to St. Paul         p. 13

8. [71] The Risen Body Will Be Incorruptible, Glorious, Full of Dynamism, and Spiritual    p. 15

9. [72] The Body’s Spiritualization Will Be the Source of Its Power and Incorruptibility      p. 17

 


 

[1] 1. This law, contained in Dt 25:7-10, concerns brothers who lived under the same roof. If one of them died without leaving children, the dead man’s brother had to marry his brother’s widow. The child born of this marriage was recognized as the son of the deceased, so that his stock would not be extinguished and the inheritance would be kept in the family (cf. 3:9-4:12).

[2] In the time of Christ, the Sadducees formed, within Judaism, a sect bound to the circle of the priestly aristocracy. In opposition to the oral tradition and theology elaborated by the Pharisees, they proposed the literal interpretation of the Pentateuch, which they considered the main source of the Jahwist religion. Since there was no mention of life after death in the most ancient books of the Bible, the Sadducees rejected the eschatology proclaimed by the Pharisees, affirming that “souls die together with the body” (cf. Joseph, Antiquitates Judaicae, XVII, 1.4, 16).
The conceptions of the Sadducees are not directly known to us, however, since all their writings were lost after the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70, when the sect itself disappeared. We get what little information there is about the Sadducees from the writings of their ideological opponents.

[3] The Sadducees, turning to Jesus for a purely theoretical “case,” at the same time attacked the primitive conception of the Pharisees on life after the resurrection of the body. They insinuated, in fact, that faith in the resurrection of the body leads to admitting polyandry, which is contrary to God’s law.

[4] Although the expression “the resurrection of the body” is not known in the New Testament. (It will appear for the first time in St. Clement: 2 Clem 9:1; and in Justin: Dial 80:5.) which uses the expression “resurrection of the dead,” intending thereby man in his integrity, it is possible, however, to find in many New Testament texts faith in the immortality of the soul and its existence also outside the body (cf., for example, Lk 23:43; Phil 1:23-24; 2 Cor 5:6-8).

[5] Luke’s text contains some new elements which are an object of discussion among exegetes.

[6] As is known, in the Judaism of that period there was no clearly formulated doctrine concerning the resurrection; there existed only the various theories launched by the individual schools.
The Pharisees, who cultivated theological speculation, greatly developed the doctrine on the resurrection, seeing allusions to it in all the Old Testament books. They understood the future resurrection, however, in an earthly and primitive way, announcing, for example, an enormous increase of crops and of fertility in life after the resurrection.
The Sadducees, on the other hand, polemicized with such a conception, starting from the premise that the Pentateuch does not speak of eschatology. It must also be kept in mind that in the first century the canon of the Old Testament books had not yet been established.
The case presented by the Sadducees directly attacks the Pharisaic concept of the resurrection. In fact, the Sadducees were of the opinion that Christ was one of their followers.
Christ’s answer equally corrects the conceptions of the Pharisees and those of the Sadducees.

[7] This expression does not mean: “God who was honored by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” but: “God who took care of the patriarchs and liberated them.”
This formula returns in Ex 3:6; 3:15, 16; 4:5, always in the context of the promised liberation of Israel. The name of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a token and guarantee of this liberation.
The God of X is synonymous with help, support and shelter for Israel. A similar sense is found in Gn 49:24: “God of Jacob—the Shepherd and Rock of Israel, the God of your Fathers who will help you” (cf. Gn 49:24-25; cf. also Gn 24:27; 26:24; 28:13; 32:10; 46:3).
Cf. F. Dreyfus, O.P., “L’argument scripturaire de Jesus en faveur de la résurrection des morts (Mk 12:26-27),” Revue Biblique, Vol. 66 (1959), p. 218.
In Judaic exegesis in Jesus’ time, the formula: “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” in which all three names of the patriarchs are mentioned, indicated God’s relationship with the people of the covenant as a community.
Cf. E. Ellis, “Jesus, the Sadducees and Qumran,” New Testament Studies, Vol. 10 (1963-64), p. 275.

[8] In our modern way of understanding this Gospel text, the reasoning of Jesus concerns only immortality; if in fact the patriarchs still now live after their death, before the eschatological resurrection of the body, then the statement of Jesus concerns the immortality of the soul and does not speak of the resurrection of the body.
But the reasoning of Jesus was addressed to the Sadducees who did not know the dualism of body and soul, accepting only the biblical psycho-physical unity of man who is “the body and the breath of life.” Therefore, according to them the soul dies with the body. The affirmation of Jesus, according to which the patriarchs are alive, could mean for the Sadducees only resurrection with the body.

[9] We will not dwell here on the concept of death in the purely Old Testament sense, but consider theological anthropology as a whole.

[10] This is the determinant argument that proves the authenticity of the discussion with the Sadducees.
If the passage were “a post-paschal addition of the Christian community” (as R. Bultmann thought, for example), faith in the resurrection of the body would be supported by the fact of the resurrection of Christ, which imposed itself as an irresistible force, as St. Paul, for example, has us understand (cf. 1 Cor 15:12).
Cf. J. Jeremias, Neutestamentliche Theologie, I Teil (Gutersloh: Mohn, 1971); cf. besides I. H. Marshall, The Gospel of Luke (Exeter: The Paternoster Press, 1978), p. 738.
The reference to the Pentateuch—while in the Old Testament there were texts which dealt directly with resurrection (as, for example, Is 26:19 or Dt 12:2)—bears witness that the conversation really took place with the Sadducees, who considered the Pentateuch the only decisive authority.
The structure of the controversy shows that this was a rabbinic discussion, according to the classical models in use in the academies of that time.
Cf. J. Le Moyne, OSB, Les Sadducéens (Paris: Gabalda, 1972), pp. 124f.; E. Lohmeyer, Das Evangelium des Markus (Göttingen: 1959), p. 257; D. Daube, New Testament and Rabbinic Judaism (London: 1956), pp. 158-163; J. Radamakers, SJ, La bonne nouvelle de Jésus selon St. Marc (Bruxelles: Institut d’Etudes Théologiques, 1974), p. 313.

[11] Cf., e.g.: Habet autem anima alium modum essendi cum unitur corpori, et cum furerit a corpore separata, manente tamen eadem animae natura; non ita quod uniri corpori sit ei accidentale, sed per rationem suae naturae corpori unitur... [“Now the soul has one mode of being when in the body, and another when apart from it, its nature remaining always the same; but this does not mean that its union with the body is an accidental thing, for, on the contrary, such union belongs to its very nature...”] (St. Thomas, Sum. Theol. 1a, q. 89, a. 1 [New York: Benziger, 1947]).
   Anima, quandiu est corpori coniuncta, non potest aliquid intelligere non convertendo se ad phantasmata, ut per experimentum patet. Si autem hoc non est ex natura animae, sed per accidens hoc convenit ei ex eo quod corpori alligatur, sicut Platonici posuereunt, de facili quaestio solvi posset. Nam remoto impedimento corporis, rediret anima ad suam naturam, ut intelligeret intelligibilia simpliciter, non convertendo se ad phantasmata, sicut est de aliis substantiis separatis. Sed secundum hoc non esset anima corpori unita propter melius animae, si peius intelligeret corpori unita quam separata; sed hoc esset solum propter melius corporis, quod est irrationabile, cum materia sit propter formam, et non e converso. [The soul united to the body can understand only by turning to the phantasms, as experience shows. Did this not proceed from the soul’s very nature, but accidentally through its being bound up with the body, as the Platonists said, the difficulty would vanish; for in that case when the body was once removed, the soul would at once return to its own nature, and would understand intelligible things simply, without turning to the phantasms, as is exemplified in the case of other separate substances. In that case, however, the union of soul and body would not be for the soul’s good, for evidently it would understand worse in the body than out of it; but for the good of the body, which would be unreasonable, since matter exists on account of the form, and not the form for the sake of matter] (Ibidem).
   Secundum se convenit animae corpori uniri, sicut secundum se convenit corpori levi esse sursum....ita anima humana manet in suo esse cum fuerit a corpore separata, habens aptitudinem et inclinationem naturalem ad corporis unionem. [To be united to the body belongs to the soul by reason of itself, as it belongs to a light body by reason of itself to be raised up.... So the human soul retains its proper existence when separated from the body, having an aptitude and a natural inclination to be united to the body] (Ibidem Ia, q. 76, a. 1, ad 6).

[12] . To men soma estin hemin sema (Platone, Gorgias 493 A; cf. also Phaedo 66B; Cratylus 400C).

[13] Aristotle, De anima, II, 412a, 19-22; cf. also Metaph. 1029, b 11; 1030, b 14.

[14] “In the biblical conception...it is a question of a ‘dialogic’ immortality (resuscitation!), that is, that immortality does not derive merely from the obvious truth that the indivisible cannot die, but from the saving act of him who loves, who has the power to do so; therefore man cannot completely disappear, because he is known and loved by God. If all love postulates eternity, love of God not only wishes it, but actuates it and is it.
...Since the immortality presented by the Bible does not derive from the power of what is in itself indestructible, but from being accepted in the dialogue with the Creator, for this reason it must be called resuscitation... J. Ratzinger, Risurrezione della carne—aspetto teologico, Sacramentum Mundi, Vol. 7 (Brescia: Morcelliana, 1977), pp. 160-161).

[15] “In the biblical conception...it is a question of a ‘dialogic’ immortality (resuscitation!), that is, that immortality does not derive merely from the obvious truth that the indivisible cannot die, but from the saving act of him who loves, who has the power to do so; therefore man cannot completely disappear, because he is known and loved by God. If all love postulates eternity, love of God not only wishes it, but actuates it and is it.
...Since the immortality presented by the Bible does not derive from the power of what is in itself indestructible, but from being accepted in the dialogue with the Creator, for this reason it must be called resuscitation... J. Ratzinger, Risurrezione della carne—aspetto teologico, Sacramentum Mundi, Vol. 7 (Brescia: Morcelliana, 1977), pp. 160-161).

[16] Among the Corinthians there were probably movements of thought marked by Platonic dualism and neo-Pythagoreanism of a religious shade, Stoicism and Epicureanism. All Greek philosophies, moreover, denied the resurrection of the body. Paul had already experienced in Athens the reaction of the Greeks to the doctrine of the resurrection, during his address at the Areopagus (cf. Acts 17:32).

[17] “Paul takes absolutely no account of the Greek dichotomy between ‘soul and body’.... The Apostle resorts to a kind of trichotomy in which the totality of man is body, soul and spirit.... All these terms are alive and the division itself has no fixed limit. He insists on the fact that body and soul are capable of being ‘pneumatic,’ spiritual” (B. Rigaux, Dieu l’a ressuscité. Exégèse et Théologie biblique [Gembloux: Duculot, 1973], pp. 406-408).

[18] The original Greek uses the term psychikon. In St. Paul it is found only in First Corinthians (2:14; 15:44; 15:46) and not elsewhere, probably because of the pre-gnostic tendencies of the Corinthians, and it has a pejorative connotation. As regards its meaning, it corresponds to the term “carnal” (cf. 2 Cor 1:12; 10:4).
However, in the other Pauline letters, “psyche” and its derivatives signify man in his manifestations, the individual’s way of living, and even the human person in a positive sense (e.g., to indicate the ideal of life of the ecclesial community: miâ-i psychê-i = “in one spirit—Phil 1:27; sympsychoi = “by being of the same mind”—Phil 2:2; isópsychon “like him”—Phil 2:20; cf. R. Jewett, Paul’s
Anthropological Terms. A Study of Their Use in Conflict Settings [Leiden: Brill, 1971], pp. 2, 448-449).

 


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