The Nature Of The Resurrection Body Of Jesus And Believers -- By: René A. López

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 170:678 (Apr 2013)
Article: The Nature Of The Resurrection Body Of Jesus And Believers
Author: René A. López


The Nature Of The Resurrection Body Of Jesus And Believers

René A. López

René A. López is Associate Professor of New Testament Studies, Liberty University, Baptist Theological Seminary, Lynchburg, Virginia, and Pastor, Iglesia Biblica Nuestra Fe, Dallas, Texas.

What kind of resurrected body will each believer have? Will it be an immaterial or a material body? If the body, which is made of flesh, is weak or evil, then circumventing this form of existence will be not only desirable but also necessary to exist in God’s holy presence. Such thoughts have led some to conclude that believers will have a bodiless existence.1

When a few years ago The Jesus Family Tomb was published and the Lost Tomb of Jesus documentary film aired worldwide (involving James Cameron, Simcha Jacobovici, Charles Pellegrino, and James Tabor), advocates claimed that Jesus rose spiritually, not bodily.2 They said Christians should venerate the Jesus

ossuary found in Talpiot, Jerusalem, in 1980, since this did not pose a problem to the Christian faith that is founded on Jesus’ resurrection.3 However, does a spiritual resurrection present a problem to the Christian faith, or does the validity and eternal salvation of Christians hinge on the physical resurrection of Jesus and believers? Furthermore since it is well documented that first-century Judaism believed in a bodily resurrection,4 would Jesus’ resurrection and that of believers be an exception to the rule? In other words what is the nature of Jesus’ resurrection body and that of believers?

Physical Resurrection, Not A Spiritual Resurrection

Regarding the resurrection bodies of believers Paul wrote, “It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body” (1 Cor. 15:44).5 Interestingly this passage actually says the opposite of what most people claim. Many wrongly interpret the words “spiritual body” to mean an “immaterial” body (i.e., composed of “spirit”) or a body composed of a semi-spiritual “light substance.”6

The Gospel accounts of Jesus’ resurrection show that He now possesses a body that is similar to His former state but yet is different from it.

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