O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
This is the fourth and last of my questions regarding the preterist understanding of resurrection and is to some extent not an exegetical question.
2000 years of Christian history has understood the resurrection as a biological, physical reanimation. When resurrection is redefined, are we not then creating a new Christianity that has not been in existence? If we are indeed starting something new are we not thereby denying the very faith we claim to hold to? For the faith that has been passed down the generations in faith for a physical resurrection?
Simply put: What is answer to the charge that preterism cannot be true because it denies what has been believed from the beginning?
Thanks for the interaction.
You wrote: 2000 yrs of church history has also shown that so called scholars have misunderstood near as much post cross as the rabbis did about the coming of Messiah.
First, are you agreeing that indeed 2000 yrs of church history has taught a physical resurrection? Are you agreeing that the preterist understanding of resurrection is a novel concept? If that is so, are we thereby not rejecting the very faith we claim to hold. IF Christianity has always taught a physical resurrection, is anything which teaches contrary still Christianity?
Second, while it is true that scholars have misunderstood much, the important points to realise about the misunderstandings are that 1) the correct understanding has been held at some time 2) the error was never held unanimously.
Contrast this with the teaching on the resurrection, it was UNANIMOUSLY understood as being physical over the entire 2000 yrs of Christian history.
While there have been differences in various doctrines, there is uniformity on the question of resurrection, so it is not enough to point out that people have had differences and errors in other doctrines for on the issue of resurrection there is complete agreement.
What then is the explanation for the universal belief in a physical resurrection? Where did the belief come from? Where did the truth go?
We are not free to rewrite history, ours is to discover what happened and this is the question. What happened in the doctrine of resurrection? What is the historic reconstruction which explains the universal replacement of the understanding of resurrection or are we saying that people were taught the wrong thing from the beginning?
Is there any resource available that has dealt with the issue i.e. an historical reconstruction of the development of the doctrine of resurrection accounting for the change to a belief in physical resurrection? Such a resource would be most helpful.
Doug Wilkinson's new book "Making Sense of the Millennium" available at Amazon on Kindle has attempted to reconcile that issue. What I think you might find interesting is his research shows that our modern understanding of "physical" and "spiritual" would be dramatically different from the everyday Greek and Jew of the 1st century. Based on both the Stoic understanding of the day, and our new Einsteinian understanding of quantum physics and relativity, "physical" can include the invisible "spirit" realm. The problem is most of us still use the word "physical" to mean visible matter based on Newtonian physics.
Regarding Paul, he specifically says that what is sown is not what is raised, and that it is sown natural but raised spiritual. If what he meant by body was the human body, it would preclude the biological corpse from being raised. It would mean (assuming the individual body view) that by "body" Paul meant a spiritual body that essentially was the same as before death but just invisible.
Now, I don't believe that Paul meant our modern understanding of "physical" when he said "natural," (I subscribe to a corporate body view of 1 Cor 15 with individual afterlife ramifications implied). We need to understand "natural" from how Paul used it elsewhere, and from the common meaning of the day (which I've learned, very few of the Lexicon's have accurately understood the original common meaning of the day).
Second, it's a precipitous slope to say that the church has always believed in a "physical" resurrection (as you define it, a casket resurrection, rather than how ancient Jews and Greeks probably defined it, material that is invisible). There's no way of knowing what the church believed for a hundred years after the apostles, and even then only a handful of people wrote, and they often contradicted each other. Basically nothing is written on resurrection until 3-400 years later, when the idea of the self-same body began to be used in Christian writings for the very first time, and even then only a small handful of people wrote, who again, often contradicted themselves. By that time, some of the newer Greek thinking of the nature of man within the church, partly by a reaction to Gnosticism, had influence on what believers started to say about the nature of resurrection. Again, the issue for the church for the first 400 years wasn't the nature of the resurrection, but mostly over the nature of Christ and Gnosticism.
Ultimately, if the church teaches something flat out contrary to Paul, then it is the church that is wrong not Paul, regardless of how long it has been taught. It is widely believed that the Roman Catholic Church has taught serious error for 1600 years, so where does that leave us?
Thanks Jerel, unfortunately I wont be able to buy Doug's book anytime soon, Im sure it is quite informing.
You said it's a precipitous slope to say that the church has always believed in a "physical" resurrection (as you define it, a casket resurrection, rather than how ancient Jews and Greeks probably defined it, material that is invisible).
When I say "physical" this is to try and be clear as possible about what I am referring to since "death", "bodily", "resurrection" etc have various meanings but what I would really be meaning is resurrection from biological death. Im not being technical when I use "physical" but the point about Stoic understanding is noted. I do not have a problem with the physical being inclusive of the invisible spirit realm, the point of unity is that resurrection is rescue from biological death (at least if my surmising of the individual body view is correct).
You said There's no way of knowing what the church believed for a hundred years after the apostles, and even then only a handful of people wrote, and they often contradicted each other.
I will need to do some research before I comment on what the early church taught or rather what surviving writings tell us about what the writer believed, but the question is not on the points they disagreed but on the points they did agree.
Surely we believe that the apostles taught the people in a way that the people understood what was being taught. Surely we believe that the true message of the apostles was know by someone other than the apostles and was transmitted to the next generation. It is beyond dispute that as the message spread it would gain variations and errors but in trying to recover the original teaching we look at the common ground in the messages that went in around. I think what is common in the variations of the message is deemed to be a correct representation of what was originally taught.
IF it was common ground that resurrection was rescue from biological death then would we not be bound to say that the original message was one of rescue from physical death?
This is why I asked, what historical reconstruction is submitted in explaining where the truth went, where the error came from and why it was universally accepted. I think we cannot go by without addressing the historical development (and I guess its in "Making Sense of the Millennium").
It is the universal absence of one understanding and the universal acceptance of another concept of resurrection that raises the question whether the "new" concept was ever held.
The importance of this is in answer to your point that if the church teaches something flat out contrary to Paul, then it is the church that is wrong not Paul, regardless of how long it has been taught.
If the church has always taught something wrong, then Paul's audience never understood him. I fail to believe that the truth could be completely wiped out leaving no evidence, and that is the question: what does the evidence say. (Im reminded of Jehovah's witnesses who claim YHWH was used in the New Testament yet this is contrary to ALL evidence. Seventh Day Adventists also have their problem with evidence). It thus leans more and more to concluding that Paul taught his audience exactly what they taught the next generation i.e. resurrection from biological death.
So, I began by asking verses, and unfortunately the 3 discussions died out before all my questions were answered, hence I do not yet agree that Paul did not teach rescue from biological death.
Given that there is no agreement about what Paul taught, the next best option is what the early church taught.
Well, then let's not call it physical anymore (an erroneous word), let's call what you are talking about, biological resurrection (reanimation of the human body to it's pre-mortem conditions). Besides the numerous questions that raises (at what age, with scars or without, what about those blown up in bombs or amputees), it still remains yet to be proven by you (you are only operating by unproved assumption right now) that the church has always and forever taught a "biological" resurrection. I know they haven't, and I've done the research to prove so to myself to satisfaction, but you refuse to do the research, so what else is there to be said?
I never used the word "always" in regards to my argument about if the church has taught something contrary to Paul then Paul is to be believed not the church. You added that. Your argument there is a non sequitur.
I actually do believe that Paul would have been understood by his audience. It then falls upon us to try to put ourselves in their feet with their common worldview and scriptural understanding. If Paul didn't redefine their understanding of "natural" and "spiritual" then we need to take it at face value. What I've been saying is you need to do the homework to determine what they understood about "natural" and "spiritual." You say you haven't yet but somehow you already have all the answers??? If you did the homework you should see that there is no room in 1 Cor 15 for a self-same biological resurrection.
Hebrews 11 talks about women receiving their dead back to life, but all the OT worthies were looking forward to a "Better Resurrection" than that. It wasn't "biological resurrection" that was the "better" one. Jesus' resurrection wasn't simply from biological death (John calls that resurrection a "sign" in John 20, and a sign never points to itself but to some deeper reality); it was from Hadean death or Sheol death. Separation from God. Adam's death the day he ate the fruit (expulsion from the garden). As the Psalmist says, and Peter quotes, his soul wasn't abandoned to Sheol (like David's was).
Finally, the apostle John himself said that when Jesus appeared he and they would be like him, but he didn't know what that would be like. How could that be, if the resurrection body of individuals was self-same? If it was in the same mirror pattern as Jesus' (who John saw and touched and beheld), then how is it that John that they didn't know what they'd be like? Seems like it would have been a great opportunity for John to say, "self-same body!"
Jerel: Jesus' resurrection wasn't simply from biological death (John calls that resurrection a "sign" in John 20, and a sign never points to itself but to some deeper reality); it was from Hadean death or Sheol death.
Very good and important point Jerel.
As to your last paragraph, I concur and have written in a similar vein HERE.
Thanks for the thoughts and the article.
However the point people seem to miss that it is the questions I am raising that hinder me from accepting full preterism (as opposed to the point you are raising).
I would really appreciate if you could engage those questions.
Thanks as always for the interaction, I really appreciate the interaction.
First let me state why this question is important to me: I came across partial preterism in 2008 and as usual (I think) this leads to interaction with full preterism. At that time I was a dispensationalist. It was exciting to learn that Matt 24 was fulfilled, the end of the age etc. Then came the issue of the resurrection, now this was no longer fun, it was disturbing, but the time statements were irrefutable, the connections between various verses undeniable and the conclusion (that resurrection occurred in AD70) inescapable. I was about to embrace full preterism (as disturbing as it was) but then 1) it felt like denying the faith 2) old guard Rodreck Edwards asked this very question (about the historic teaching of the church). It was at that time I stopped and began to think about this question and realised I could not embrace full preterism unless I had an answer to this question.
The simple trend of thought is that Paul taught his audience, they understood him, they taught their contemporaries who understood them and they taught the next generation and on and on. The answer then to the question would be an historical study as to the teaching of the church on resurrection and show what they believed in from the earliest and how that doctrine was corrupted. I believe you said this is contained in "Making Sense of the Millennium" which unfortunately I cannot purchase now.
To however say "It doesnt matter what the church has believed from the earliest" will not satisfy an honest inquirer who has not yet embraced full preterism, the corruption of the doctrine on resurrection has to be demonstrated. Rodreck Edwards say it Sola Scripture not Solo scripture. In as much as YEC need to find acceptable explanations to the evidence, so too those who say the resurrection was corporate.
Besides the numerous questions that raises (at what age, with scars or without, what about those blown up in bombs or amputees),
Im not clear as to the end of your questions i.e. are you saying these questions make a biological resurrection impossible? are you saying even in the Stoic meaning of "spiritual body" they are a challenge? If God said He would do it, those are His problems but surely there is nothing impossible with God.
I was disappointed with this comment:
you refuse to do the research, so what else is there to be said?
I do not know what gave you that idea, instead I specifically said "I will need to do some research before I comment on what the early church taught"
I said I am unable to purchase Doug's book anytime soon, NOT that I refused to purchase it. What I have done is read N T Wright's chapter on non-canonical writings of the Early Church in his book The Resurrection of the Son of God and am eager to know what you mean by "I know they [early church] haven't [taught a biological resurrection], and I've done the research to prove so to myself to satisfaction" and "Basically nothing is written on resurrection until 3-400 years later"
NT Wright seems to document well what the early writers taught regarding the resurrection and the questions they were engaging, so I am quite perplexed by your comments and would appreciate the light you can shed in this regard.
You wrote: I never used the word "always" in regards to my argument about if the church has taught something contrary to Paul
True you never did, that was all me, and that is MY question i.e. the always and from the earliest. I added that so that MY question is clear. It is beyond dispute that the church can teach something contrary to Paul e.g. what the Roman catholic did, but such teachings can be traced to when they were INTRODUCED in the church, and what was believed BEFORE the error was introduced. IF it can be shown what the church believed about resurrection BEFORE it was defined as a biological resurrection, when the error of a biological resurrection entered the church, your work is done and this question is answered. BUT if it proves from the earliest that the church believed in a biological resurrection then it seem that either the church NEVER got the message right, quickly swapped its hope for an error OR that we 2000yrs removed from the apostles understand them better than their contemporaries (notice the IF there). IF the church has always taught a biological resurrection, have we not denied the faith of the church if we now believe in a "corporate" resurrection?
You wrote:I actually do believe that Paul would have been understood by his audience. It then falls upon us to try to put ourselves in their feet with their common worldview and scriptural understanding. If Paul didn't redefine their understanding of "natural" and "spiritual" then we need to take it at face value.
I agree completely, all the more reason to know what the early church believed, else we could be the ones in error.
You wrote: You say you haven't yet but somehow you already have all the answers???
If that is the way I am coming across, it is simply because I am a poor communicator. I am not saying I know everything, I am simply trying to express the questions in my mind but believe me when I say I am an honest inquirer. Where you have corrected me I do not remember where I have ignored correction.
You wrote: If you did the homework you should see that there is no room in 1 Cor 15 for a self-same biological resurrection.
I started a discussion on 1 Cor 15 where I asked the questions I have regarding 1 Cor 15 (and 2 other texts), I would greatly appreciate if you could go to that thread and address my questions so that I may be enlightened. As long as those questions are unanswered I do not yet agree that Paul did not teach rescue from biological death. Coming on to this forum and asking the questions is part of the "homework" I am doing, but I am getting no joy.
I could grant you all the point that you ended your post with, but the questions I have regarding the 3 texts (1 Cor 15, Acts 23 and Luke 20) still need to be answered.
Ok Jefrey I'm going to try to answer this. I appreciate you taking the time to explain your background. I guess because I have a little more time right now than usual I'm spending it in this dialogue when normally I wouldn't (just because of other priorities I have in my life right now).
In your second paragraph, I would take exception with the idea that what the apostles taught, was clearly and unmistakably passed down from generation to generation. Within Paul's own life he was constantly clearing up misunderstandings after he himself left them! Most of his letters were written to clear up problems, and some of them seem to have never cleared up! As a student of church history for the last 15 years, I've learned that it's not simplistic at all to say what was universally accepted and what wasn't. We only have a few recorded writings of a few individuals, and they didn't even agree. Some of the doctrine the early church fathers were forming (Roman Catholicism) was vehemently disagreed with by the reformers, but some was carried over (Presbyterianism looks a whole lot more like Catholicism than does Mennonite or Baptist practices). The concept of a flesh and blood self same body was not creedalized until hundreds of years after the apostles. Before that time, the idea of a "self-same body" could have carried a much different understanding than what it does today (because of several influences we have, namely unquestioned traditions, newtonian views of physics, lack of understanding of Jewish and Stoic thought, etc).
I never said ""It doesnt matter what the church has believed from the earliest", that is changing my words in order to defeat my argument.
What I was saying regarding amputees etc was that if one is going to hold that Jesus' resurrection body is the pattern of ours (and several of us have already disproved that from Scripture but you continually ignore those points), then one has to be consistent. If he was raised exactly how he was when he died (same age, scars, biological imperfections, etc), than so would we.
I apologize for saying "you refuse to do the homework." I assumed that, based on your difficult attitude in this discussion on this site for the past several months. The book I suggested is available on kindle for $5.99. I'm not sure if you don't have the money, or don't have an electronic devise, but I bet if you emailed Doug he might be willing to either converse with you or find a way to get you some answers to your questions. I'll leave it up to you to take the next step.
Your questions about NT Wright and the introduction of the idea of biological self same body might be better answered by Doug. I don't have that info with me where I'm at right now (waiting room of my auto mechanic), and it would require me to go back through all my resources to find it. I didn't document it, just had one of those "ah hah" moments while I was reading through various books on church history.
Regarding 1 Cor 15, I made my points earlier in another post and they haven't been answered yet. Many people have answered. You and Dave went round and round. I'm not so sure that the problem is no one is giving you good answers, I see the problem as you are ignoring the answers you are given. Quick question: If Paul said what is sown is not what is raised, and flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom (assuming the Individual Body view here for a moment, not the corporate body view), then how is it that the biological corpse is what is raised in your and the traditional church view? Doesn't that contradict Paul from just a basic reading? How do you reinterpret Paul to make him fit your tradition? Just curious.
And I am glad you have found some time to discuss with me. I really appreciate your attitude and time. I am disappointed with my self for having a "difficult attitude". While I do not let go of issues without proper understanding it is always my hope that at least in attitude I should have sterling results, will need to revisit that. However, I am not being argumentative, its just that perhaps Im slow, thanks for the patience.
Points duly noted that "Within Paul's own life he was constantly clearing up misunderstandings after he himself left them!" and "I've learned that it's not simplistic at all to say what was universally accepted and what wasn't". However, do these comments apply on the issue at hand i.e. resurrection? Did the fathers disagree about resurrection?
The concept of a flesh and blood self same body was not creedalized until hundreds of years after the apostles.
As far as I know, creeds became necessary to differentiate the truth from error, when there was no controversy about an issue, there was no need for it to be creedalized. So perhaps lack of discussion about resurrection comes from there being a universally accepted doctrine on resurrection, who knows, I havent done the study.
I never said ""It doesnt matter what the church has believed from the earliest", that is changing my words in order to defeat my argument.
True, again, true. You will realise I didnt say that you had said it. That was again all me. It was a way of bringing to the fore exactly the pressure the question has to me. I guess I should have added "you did not say that". Sorry for the veiled implication.
if one is going to hold that Jesus' resurrection body is the pattern of ours (and several of us have already disproved that from Scripture but you continually ignore those points),
I honestly do not remember when you brought this up nor when I ignored it. But again, the issue is not that I am trying to defend the traditional view as it is that I need answers on the points that I do not understand concerning the corporate resurrection view. Like I said, these questions are what hinder me from embracing full preterism. IOW, you dont have to disprove the traditional view, you simply have to explain your view on the points that I ask. So, I will not offer any would be answers to the question of self same body etc, I hope you dont mind. If you really want another answer other than the one I gave above (surely there is nothing impossible with God) you can tell me, but I really would prefer not to defend the traditional view.
I apologize for saying "you refuse to do the homework." I assumed that, based on your difficult attitude in this discussion on this site for the past several months.
You know Jerel, I really dont want to be difficult, you have no idea what it means for me for you guys to take the time to interact with me, you have no idea how much I long to have these questions answered and how simply unbearable it is not to find answers. However, what would help me the most is for you to be specific i.e. dont just say I am difficult or ignoring arguments, but give the examples when I ignore and when I am difficult, that way the issues can be resolved. I honestly do not realise when I am being difficult and unreasonable hence specifics would be most welcome.
I'm not sure if you don't have the money, or don't have an electronic devise
I dont have the devise and being in Zimbabwe, the whole purchasing procedure of it is another hassle.
I bet if you emailed Doug he might be willing to either converse with you or find a way to get you some answers to your questions.
I would email him if I had his email :)
Can you provide me with his email? ROFL
I will try contact him on the blog about the book.
Your questions about NT Wright and the introduction of the idea of biological self same body might be better answered by Doug.
Will contact him and see how it goes, but if you do come across and info and have the time, I would appreciate hearing you out.
Regarding 1 Cor 15, I made my points earlier in another post and they haven't been answered yet.
Im not sure whether you are referring to discussions that I started or others, I have not gone back to previous discussions and given my input but like I said, I am not out to defend the traditional view, but rather to understand and quiz the corporate view ( I hope also to interact with the IBD view). If you are referring to discussions I started, then that was just an oversight on my part, if you bring them up I will gladly comment (hoping you are not asking me to defend the traditional view).
You and Dave went round and round.
I know there was a time we went round and round, particularly on the "dead ones" but Dave gave up trying to explain the issue to me just when I had finally understood (at least I hope I had) what he was saying was the difference between "perish" and "not resurrect". But after that we had been making good progress, he just went quiet when I asked who the "dead" are in verses 21, 35, 42 and 52 but at that time we were no longer going round and round.
Similarly with Davo, at the end we came to common ground.
I'm not so sure that the problem is no one is giving you good answers, I see the problem as you are ignoring the answers you are given.
Again, specifics are the only way to make for progress because I am totally clueless as to what I have ignored. But tell you what, I am going to compile a list of what I deem unanswered questions and post them so that there is no more ignoring of answers and hopefully people will be patient enough to answer again. But surely you can see that the questions on Acts 23 have not been answered and I am surely not guilty of ignoring answers (at least on that discussion).
If Paul said what is sown is not what is raised, and flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom (assuming the Individual Body view here for a moment, not the corporate body view), then how is it that the biological corpse is what is raised in your and the traditional church view?
I am afraid to try and explain much because experience has shown that when I try explain anything only mind numbing heaps of hyper complex spaghetti come out. But since you asked :)
Verse 37, is an answer to the questions in verse 35. So depending on what assumptions you make about verse 35 you simply look for a coherent explanation in verse 37. I take verse 35 as asking "at what age, with scars or without, what about those blown up in bombs or amputees"
Paul's answer is simply that like a seed transforms into a plant so too the biological corpse will transform into the spiritual body that God will give. In other words there is continuity but RADICAL change. Hence the "is not what is raised" simply point to the transformation i.e. the plant is not the seed but the plant comes from a transformation of the seed.