Summary Against Modern Thought: On Bodily Resurrection

Summary Against Modern Thought: On Bodily Resurrection

Previous post.

What comes after “the end”. The proofs here are, as should be obvious, almost entirely scripture-based.


1 Now, we have shown above that we have been freed by Christ from what we incurred by the sin of the first man; and, when the first man sinned, not only was the sin itself passed on to us, but also, death, which is the punishment of sin, in the Apostle’s words: “By one man sin entered into this world and by sin death” (Rom. 5:12).

Therefore, it necessarily is by Christ that we are freed from each of these; namely, from the fault and from death. Accordingly, the Apostle says in the same place: “If by one man’s offence death reigned through vie; much more they who receive abundance…of the gift and of justice shall reign in life through one, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:17).

2 Therefore, in order to make each of these clear to us in Himself, He chose both to die and to rise. He chose to die, indeed, to cleanse us from sin; hence, the Apostle says: “As it is appointed unto men once to die, so also Christ was offered once to exhaust the sins of many” (Heb. 9). But He chose to rise to free us from death; hence, the Apostle says: “Christ is risen from the dead, the firstfruits of them that sleep. For by a man came death and by a man the resurrection of the dead” (1 Cor. 15:20-21).

3 It is, then, the effect of the death of Christ in regard to the remission of sin which we achieve in the sacraments, for, it has already been said, the sacraments work in the power of the passion of Christ.

4 But the effect of the resurrection of Christ in regard to our liberation from death we shall achieve at the end of the world, when we shall all rise by the power of Christ. Hence, the Apostle says: “If Christ be preached that He arose again from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there be no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen again. And if Christ be not risen again then is our preaching vain and our faith is vain (1 Cor. 15:12`14). It is, then, a necessary tenet of faith to believe that there will be a resurrection of the dead.

5 There are, however, some who are perverse in their understanding of this and they do not believe in the future resurrection of bodies, but attempt to ascribe what we read about the resurrection in the Scriptures to a spiritual resurrection in which some arise from the death of sin by grace.

6 But this error is rejected by the Apostle himself, he says: “But shun profane and vain babblings: for they grow much towards ungodliness, And their speech spreads like a canker: of whom are Hymenaeus and Philebus: who have erred from the truth of the faith, saying that the resurrection is past already” (2 Tim. 2:16-18). And this was not understandable except of a spiritual resurrection. It is, therefore, contrary to the truth of the faith to accept a spiritual resurrection and deny a bodily one.

7 There is more. It is clear from what the Apostle says to the Corinthians that the words cited are to be understood of a bodily resurrection. For, after a bit, he adds, “It is sown a natural body, it shall rise a spiritual body,” wherein, manifestly, the body’s resurrection is touched on; and a little later he adds: “This corruptible must put on incorruption; and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Cor. 15:44, 53). But the corruptible and the mortal mean the body. Therefore, it is the body that will rise.

8 Moreover, our Lord promises both resurrections, for He says: “Amen, Amen, I say unto you that the hour comes and now is when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they that hear shall live.” And this seems to pertain to the spiritual resurrection of souls, which even then was beginning to be completed, when some were cleaving to Christ in faith. But, later, it is the bodily resurrection He expresses, saying: “The hour is coming, when all who are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God” (John 5:25, 28). For, clearly, souls are not in the graves, but bodies. Therefore, this predicts the bodily resurrection.

9 The bodily resurrection was also expressly foretold by Job. For he says: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and on the last day I shall rise out of the earth, and shall be clothed again with my skin, and in my flesh I shall see my God” (Job 19:75-76).

10 Moreover, to establish that there will be a resurrection of the flesh there is an evident supporting argument which is based on the points made earlier. For we showed in Book II that the souls of men are immortal. They persist, then, after their bodies, released from their bodies. It is also clear from what was said in Book II that the soul is naturally united to the body, for in its essence it is the form of the body. It, then, contrary to the nature of the soul to be without the body. But nothing which is contrary to nature can be perpetual.

Perpetually, then, the soul will not be without the body. Since, then, it persists perpetually, it must once again be united to the body; and this is to rise again. Therefore, the immortality of souls seems to demand a future resurrection of bodies.

11 Furthermore, there was shown in Book III the natural desire of man to tend to happiness. But ultimate happiness is the perfection of the happy one. Therefore, anyone to whom some perfection is wanting does not yet have perfect happiness, because his desire is not entirely at rest, for every imperfect thing naturally desires to achieve its perfection. But the soul separated from the body is in a way imperfect, as is every part existing outside of its whole, for the soul is naturally a part of human nature. Therefore, man cannot achieve his ultimate happiness unless the soul be once again united to the body, especially since it was shown that in this life man cannot arrive at his ultimate happiness.

12 Moreover, as was shown in Book III, by divine providence sinners deserve punishment, and those who do well a reward. But in this life men, composed of soul and body, sin or act rightly. Therefore, in both the soul and the body men deserve reward or punishment. But that in this life they cannot achieve the reward of ultimate happiness is clear from the points made in Book III. And time after time sins are not punished in this life; rather, in fact, as we read in Job (21:7) here “the wicked live, are advanced, and are strengthened with riches.” Necessarily, then, we must assert a repeated union of the soul with the body, so that man can be rewarded and punished in the body as well as in the soul.

Notes In other words, all will be resurrected. But not all will enjoy it.


  1. Tony

    …. all will be resurrected. But not all will enjoy it.

    Amen brother!


  2. Amen! This is why my bodily death is just something that is not frightening to me. When my hour comes, I accept it. I will rise again. I accept Christ as my saviour. I confess that I have sinned. I have been baptized with water. I accept the Holy Spirit and may God do what He wills with me.

  3. C-Marie

    Amen!! Beautiful, cdquarles and Tony! Thank you, Matt!!!

    At Mass today, I was upset about one of my nephews and his family. At the consecration, Jesus said “I am here. Be comforted.” And at once I was in His peace with a huge smile on my face!!

    God bless, C-Marie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *