The Nature Of The Resurrection Body Of Christ -- By: Samuel Hutchings

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 052:208 (Oct 1895)
Article: The Nature Of The Resurrection Body Of Christ
Author: Samuel Hutchings


The Nature Of The Resurrection Body Of Christ

Rev. Samuel Hutchings

The nature of the resurrection body of Christ has been much discussed by learned men at different times in the church. Three opinions have prevailed. One, that his body was changed as to its substance at his resurrection, and so became a spiritual and wholly different body in its very essence. Another opinion held is, that Christ had after his resurrection the same body as before, but glorified, or, as the earlier writers termed it, changed as to its qualities and attributes. The third view, and the one generally held, is, that the body with which Christ rose, was the same material body of flesh and blood which was crucified and laid in the tomb.

The first opinion is akin to the ancient error of the Docetae, or Phantasiasts, who held that Christ was a man in appearance only; that all the actions of his life, before and after his resurrection, were a mere phantasm, without any reality whatever.

As this first opinion is mere fanciful speculation, unsupported by any evidence, and is directly opposed to the declaration of our Lord to the disciples, “A spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have,” no attempt at refutation is necessary.

The second view, that Christ had the same body in substance after the resurrection as before, but possessing new qualities and attributes, and not subject to the laws of flesh and blood, was held by some of the early Fathers. They de-

scribed the body of the risen Lord as ἀθάνατον, ἄφθαρτον, ἀδιάφθορον, αἰώνιον, immortala, impassibile, incorruptibile. Irenaeus, of the third century, speaks of Christ “as made incorruptible after the resurrection.” The earlier Lutheran divines who believed in the ubiquity of Christ’s body, described his risen body as glorious, the same in substance, but endued with new qualities, viz., impalpability, invisibility, and illocality. Among the moderns who have held this second view are Hahn, Olshausen, and Hengstenberg.

“This second view,” says Dr. Edward Robinson, “seems not to differ essentially from the preceding one, except in the single point of identity. In both, our Lord’s resurrection body is regarded as possessing like qualities and attributes; but in the former, these are connected with a different substance; while in this they are superinduced upon the same substance. That is to say, in the second view our Lord’s resurrection body has a relation to his former human body; while according to the first view it has no such relation.”

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