If you’re resurrected, you have to be resurrected as something. Here’s what our good saint things that something is. Two short chapters this week.
ON THE PLACE OF THE GLORIFIED BODIES
1 Now, because place must be in proportion to that which is in place, there is this consequence: Since the bodies of the risen will achieve the characteristics of heavenly bodies, they, too, will have a place in the heavens, or, rather, “above all the heavens,” so as to be at once with Christ, whose power will lead them to this glory. The Apostle says of Him: “He ascended above all the heavens that He might fill all things” (Eph. 4:10).
2 It seems frivolity, of course, to make an argument against this divine promise out of the natural position of the elements, alleging the impossibility of elevating the body of man, since it is earthly and by its nature holds the lowest place, to a place above the lighter elements.
For, manifestly, by the power of the soul the body which it perfects need not follow the inclinations of the elements. For even now, by its power, so long as we live the soul holds the body together lest it be dissolved by the contrariety of the elements; and also by the power of the soul to move the body is raised high; and it will be raised the more fully, as the motive power will have the greater strength.
But, manifestly, it will be then a soul of perfect power when it will be united to God by vision. Therefore, it ought not be looked on as difficult if the body be then preserved by the power of the soul immune from every corruption and be lifted up above every body whatever.
3 Neither does this divine promise meet an impossibility in the assertion that celestial bodies are unbreakable so the glorious bodies may not be elevated above them. For the divine power will bring it about that the glorious bodies can be simultaneously where the other bodies are; an indication of this was given in the body of Christ when He came to the disciples, “the doors being shut” (John 20:26).
ON THE SEX AND AGE OF THE RISEN
1 One ought, nevertheless, not bold that among the bodies ,of the risen the feminine sex will be absent, as some have thought. For, since the resurrection is to restore the deficiencies of nature, nothing that belongs to the perfection of nature will be denied to the bodies of the risen. Of course, just as other bodily members belong to the integrity of the human body, so do those which serve for generation, not only in men but also in women. Therefore, in each of the cases members of this sort will rise.
2 Neither is this opposed by the fact that there will be no use for those members, as was shown above. For, if for this reason such members are not to be in the risen, for an equal reason there would be no members which serve nutrition in the risen, because neither will there be use of food after the resurrection. Thus, then, a large portion of the members would be wanting in the body of the risen. They will, therefore, have all the members of this sort, even though there be no use for them, to re-establish the integrity of the natural body. Hence, they will not be in vain.
Notes This is still not a very strong argument.
3 In like fashion, also, the frailty of the feminine sex is not in opposition to the perfection of the risen. For this frailty is not due to a shortcoming of nature, but to an intention of nature. And this very distinction of nature among human beings will point out the perfection of nature and the divine wisdom as well, which disposes all things in a certain order.
4 Nor is this position forced on us by the words of the Apostle: “Until we all meet into the unity of faith, and of knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13). For he did not say this because everyone in that meeting when the risen shall go forth “to meet Christ into the air” (1 Thes. 4:16) will have the male sex. He said it to point out the perfection of the Church and its power. For the whole Church when meeting Christ will be like a perfect man, as is clear from the words which precede and follow.
5 But all must rise in the age of Christ, which is that of youth, by reason of the perfection of nature which is found in that age alone. For the age of boyhood has not yet achieved the perfection of nature through increase; and by decrease old age has already withdrawn from that perfection.
Notes So, 20? 30? A range around that?
To the last point: Youth may excel in the physical aspect, but rarely in wisdom.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:
(Quotation from NIV since I don’t remember what translation is being used in the SAMT excerpts.)
Of course Aquinas in reality does NOT represent ancient thought but the beginnings of modern thought, and it was his strict defining of things into Scholasticism which brought about the opposition of the Reformation. Without him there would have been no Reformation because while things were nebulous, there was no standard position to oppose.
Joshua, I think the age thing here is just physical age. Perfect physical age I’m not sure of – I think the ideal age for women is probably younger than that for men – but I think it quite reasonable to suppose we’d have wise old minds in youthful bodies.
Why wouldn’t the transformation be something analogous to the transformation between caterpillar and butterfly? Dismissing old age as simply the degeneration compared to peak reproductive years is focusing on reproductive capabilities, which appears to be an earthly concern. As an example, men in their peak reproductive years have high testosterone levels which brings on a multitude of effects including increased propensity to violence and impulsiveness. Maturity, apart from actual changes to crystallization of knowledge, brings on a moderation of hormonal effects and reduces impulsiveness. Likewise women post-menopause are of considerably different character and effectively morphology compared to reproductive age women. It appears to me that logically a glorified heavenly body is your body inhabited by your soul but I see no necessity for congruence with an earthly body of any age, in the manner that different ages of man produce different bodily physiology and morphology even for a single person.
If God should ask me how I’d like to be physically reconstituted (at the General Resurrection) I’d want to be an old man with grey hair and beard. Even now I’m not so consumed with dementia that I can’t recall with horrors and shudders my youth. I recall also the revolting shallowness of unguided young women wanting to “assert themselves” in almost anything except their proper domain as mistress of the domestic foundation of Nation and Culture.
I can’t say often enough that it’s no accident that the very first Commandment after our duties to God is the Commandment to “honour your father (nation etc.) and your mother (culture, and all that). All the other Commandments are pretty much redundant as Jesus summarised “Love God above all else and love your neighbour as yourself”.
I sure as Hell wouldn’t want to be resurrected as the wretched bod I was in the ’70’s.
And I wouldn’t want to be surrounded by the silly, shallow, girls that got all the publicity back in that horrible dark age.
Anyhow, I’ll leave it to God to order a New Heaven and a New Earth according to His Eternal Design.