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Sermon Podcast | Audio | Video : Christian Books : Chapter X.--Doctrine of the Resurrection of the Body, Continued How are the Dead Raised? and with What Body Do They Come? These Questions Answered in Such a Sense as to Maintain the Truth of the Raised Body, Against Marcion. Christ as the Second Adam Conn

The Five Books Against Marcion by Tertullian

Chapter X.--Doctrine of the Resurrection of the Body, Continued How are the Dead Raised? and with What Body Do They Come? These Questions Answered in Such a Sense as to Maintain the Truth of the Raised Body, Against Marcion. Christ as the Second Adam Conn

Let us now return to the resurrection, to the defence of which against heretics of all sorts we have given indeed sufficient attention in another work of ours. But we will not be wanting (in some defence of the doctrine) even here, in consideration of such persons as are ignorant of that little treatise. |What,| asks he, |shall they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not?| Now, never mind that practice, (whatever it may have been.) The Februarian lustrations will perhaps answer him (quite as well), by praying for the dead. Do not then suppose that the apostle here indicates some new god as the author and advocate of this (baptism for the dead. His only aim in alluding to it was) that he might all the more firmly insist upon the resurrection of the body, in proportion as they who were vainly baptized for the dead resorted to the practice from their belief of such a resurrection. We have the apostle in another passage defining |but one baptism.| To be |baptized for the dead| therefore means, in fact, to be baptized for the body; for, as we have shown, it is the body which becomes dead. What, then, shall they do who are baptized for the body, if the body rises not again? We stand, then, on firm ground (when we say) that the next question which the apostle has discussed equally relates to the body. But |some man will say, How are the dead raised up? With what body do they come?'| Having established the doctrine of the resurrection which was denied, it was natural to discuss what would be the sort of body (in the resurrection), of which no one had an idea. On this point we have other opponents with whom to engage. For Marcion does not in any wise admit the resurrection of the flesh, and it is only the salvation of the soul which he promises; consequently the question which he raises is not concerning the sort of body, but the very substance thereof. Notwithstanding, he is most plainly refuted even from what the apostle advances respecting the quality of the body, in answer to those who ask, |How are the dead raised up? with what body do they come?| For as he treated of the sort of body, he of course ipso facto proclaimed in the argument that it was a body which would rise again. Indeed, since he proposes as his examples |wheat grain, or some other grain, to which God giveth a body, such as it hath pleased Him;| since also he says, that |to every seed is its own body;| that, consequently, |there is one kind of flesh of men, whilst there is another of beasts, and (another) of birds; that there are also celestial bodies and bodies terrestrial; and that there is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars| -- does he not therefore intimate that there is to be a resurrection of the flesh or body, which he illustrates by fleshly and corporeal samples? Does he not also guarantee that the resurrection shall be accomplished by that God from whom proceed all the (creatures which have served him for) examples? |So also,| says he, |is the resurrection of the dead.| How? Just as the grain, which is sown a body, springs up a body. This sowing of the body he called the dissolving thereof in the ground, |because it is sown in corruption,| (but |is raised) to honour and power.| Now, just as in the case of the grain, so here: to Him will belong the work in the revival of the body, who ordered the process in the dissolution thereof. If, however, you remove the body from the resurrection which you submitted to the dissolution, what becomes of the diversity in the issue? Likewise, |although it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.| Now, although the natural principle of life and the spirit have each a body proper to itself, so that the |natural body| may fairly be taken to signify the soul, and |the spiritual body| the spirit, yet that is no reason for supposing the apostle to say that the soul is to become spirit in the resurrection, but that the body (which, as being born along with the soul, and as retaining its life by means of the soul, admits of being called animal (or natural ) will become spiritual, since it rises through the Spirit to an eternal life. In short, since it is not the soul, but the flesh which is |sown in corruption,| when it turns to decay in the ground, it follows that (after such dissolution) the soul is no longer the natural body, but the flesh, which was the natural body, (is the subject of the future change), forasmuch as of a natural body it is made a spiritual body, as he says further down, |That was not first which is spiritual.| For to this effect he just before remarked of Christ Himself: |The first man Adam was made a living soul, the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.| Our heretic, however, in the excess of his folly, being unwilling that the statement should remain in this shape, altered |last Adam| into |last Lord;| because he feared, of course, that if he allowed the Lord to be the last (or second) Adam, we should contend that Christ, being the second Adam, must needs belong to that God who owned also the first Adam. But the falsification is transparent. For why is there a first Adam, unless it be that there is also a second Adam? For things are not classed together unless they be severally alike, and have an identity of either name, or substance, or origin. Now, although among things which are even individually diverse, one must be first and another last, yet they must have one author. If, however, the author be a different one, he himself indeed may be called the last. But the thing which he introduces is the first, and that only can be the last, which is like this first in nature. It is, however, not like the first in nature, when it is not the work of the same author. In like manner (the heretic) will be refuted also with the word |man: | |The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.| Now, since the first was a man, how can there be a second, unless he is a man also? Or, else, if the second is |Lord,| was the first |Lord| also? It is, however, quite enough for me, that in his Gospel he admits the Son of man to be both Christ and Man; so that he will not be able to deny Him (in this passage), in the |Adam| and the |man| (of the apostle). What follows will also be too much for him. For when the apostle says, |As is the earthy,| that is, man, |such also are they that are earthy| -- men again, of course; |therefore as is the heavenly,| meaning the Man, from heaven, |such are the men also that are heavenly.| For he could not possibly have opposed to earthly men any heavenly beings that were not men also; his object being the more accurately to distinguish their state and expectation by using this name in common for them both. For in respect of their present state and their future expectation he calls men earthly and heavenly, still reserving their parity of name, according as they are reckoned (as to their ultimate condition ) in Adam or in Christ. Therefore, when exhorting them to cherish the hope of heaven, he says: |As we have borne the image of the earthy, so let us also bear the image of the heavenly,| -- language which relates not to any condition of resurrection life, but to the rule of the present time. He says, Let us bear, as a precept; not We shall bear, in the sense of a promise -- wishing us to walk even as he himself was walking, and to put off the likeness of the earthly, that is, of the old man, in the works of the flesh. For what are this next words? |Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.| He means the works of the flesh and blood, which, in his Epistle to the Galatians, deprive men of the kingdom of God. In other passages also he is accustomed to put the natural condition instead of the works that are done therein, as when he says, that |they who are in the flesh cannot please God.| Now, when shall we be able to please God except whilst we are in this flesh? There is, I imagine, no other time wherein a man can work. If, however, whilst we are even naturally living in the flesh, we yet eschew the deeds of the flesh, then we shall not be in the flesh; since, although we are not absent from the substance of the flesh, we are notwithstanding strangers to the sin thereof. Now, since in the word flesh we are enjoined to put off, not the substance, but the works of the flesh, therefore in the use of the same word the kingdom of God is denied to the works of the flesh, not to the substance thereof. For not that is condemned in which evil is done, but only the evil which is done in it. To administer poison is a crime, but the cup in which it is given is not guilty. So the body is the vessel of the works of the flesh, whilst the soul which is within it mixes the poison of a wicked act. How then is it, that the soul, which is the real author of the works of the flesh, shall attain to the kingdom of God, after the deeds done in the body have been atoned for, whilst the body, which was nothing but (the soul's) ministering agent, must remain in condemnation? Is the cup to be punished, but the poisoner to escape? Not that we indeed claim the kingdom of God for the flesh: all we do is, to assert a resurrection for the substance thereof, as the gate of the kingdom through which it is entered. But the resurrection is one thing, and the kingdom is another. The resurrection is first, and afterwards the kingdom. We say, therefore, that the flesh rises again, but that when changed it obtains the kingdom. |For the dead shall be raised incorruptible,| even those who had been corruptible when their bodies fell into decay; |and we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. For this corruptible| -- and as he spake, the apostle seemingly pointed to his own flesh -- |must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality,| in order, indeed, that it may be rendered a fit substance for the kingdom of God. |For we shall be like the angels.| This will be the perfect change of our flesh -- only after its resurrection. Now if, on the contrary, there is to be no flesh, how then shall it put on incorruption and immortality? Having then become something else by its change, it will obtain the kingdom of God, no longer the (old) flesh and blood, but the body which God shall have given it. Rightly then does the apostle declare, |Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;| for this (honour) does he ascribe to the changed condition which ensues on the resurrection. Since, therefore, shall then be accomplished the word which was written by the Creator, |O death, where is thy victory| -- or thy struggle? |O death, where is thy sting?| -- written, I say, by the Creator, for He wrote them by His prophet -- to Him will belong the gift, that is, the kingdom, who proclaimed the word which is to be accomplished in the kingdom. And to none other God does he tell us that |thanks| are due, for having enabled us to achieve |the victory| even over death, than to Him from whom he received the very expression of the exulting and triumphant challenge to the mortal foe.
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