This is an honest question that I am putting out there for anyone to answer.
Why is it that in order to have a proper Christian theology a belief in the physical resurrection of Christ’s mortal body is such a pivotal matter?
It has beome so integral that it has made it’s way into the Apostles’ Creed, many congregation’s core beliefs, Sinner’s Prayer; it is considered to be one of the fundamental things one must profess to be “saved”. I simply ask why?
I am not going to waste anyone’s time by insulting their belief in Jesus; nor am I going to stoop to such trite, juvenile conclusions such as:
i) His body is missing conveniently because he never existed
ii) His followers stole the body
iii) Zombie Jesus!
I think that having a missing body does more to complicate matters for the argument of Christ than it helps; instead of people arguing if there was a historical Christ or if he was pure fabrication, we could just say “and there is his body–see“. I see no solid theological argument as to why he could not have left his old body in the tomb, gone to heaven in spirit and still be Christ.
If the body was stolen that would imply that the bible is actually truth, and according to the bible it would have been quite a task to get that body out of there. Also, the body would have to be put somewhere eventually, and seeing that it would be considered a holy relic, would eventually turn-up somewhere. Besides, if the disciples knew their Messiah was a total fake I highly doubt they would have allowed themselves to become persecuted and martyred in order to keep the world’s longest running gag going.
I kind of like that; thinking of it all as the world’s longest running joke. From Wikipedia,
A running gag is a literary device which often takes the form of an amusing joke or a comical reference and appears repeatedly throughout a work of literature or other form of storytelling. Running gags can begin with an instance of unintentional humor that is repeated in variations as the joke grows familiar and audiences anticipate reappearances of the gag.
Finally, even though Zombie Jesus makes for some very funny posters, stickers, t-shirts, and now the new motion picture (I have got to see that one); it does nothing to really help us… except maybe laugh.
Anyway, my question is why it so important? What does a resurrected Christ with his old body accomplish for the religion that a Christ who died, went to heaven in spirit and then got a new body can not?
Christians believe that the resurrection is basically their souls entering into the Kingdom of Heaven. Some also believe that they get new “perfected” bodies in heaven; others that they eventually come back to earth in these new perfected bodies and live on a new earth.
Christians do not believe that they keep their old bodies. They believe that these current bodies of flesh simply decay and die. Furthermore, they do not believe that if they were missing an eye here on earth that after the resurrection their new body would be missing an eye as well. Or that if they are fat here they will be fat there; that if they lost a leg in the war they are going to be limping around heaven for all eternity. So I do not see why the idea of Christ needing to keep his old body is one of importance to this community of believers. It actually seems to disagree with their own beliefs on what happens to their own form after death.
Jesus however seems to have not received a perfected body, like a good Christian would, but instead is still lugging around his old one. We even see him coming back down to the earth sometime later in the Scriptures, and he still has physical wounds, and holes that people can see, touch, and stick their fingers into. I feel kind of sorry for the guy; since all the Christians get shiny new bodies, and he has to spend the rest of eternity with a scarred up back, holes in his hands and feet, and God knows whatever other kinds of damage–I hear that thorny crown leaves one hell of a rug burn.
The Jewish religion, unlike the Christian on, does/did (depending on the various sects) preach that the resurrection was of this current physical body; there was no new perfected one. In fact, looking back at Christ’s preachings on the resurrection of the dead and the second coming–it pretty much reads like Jewish philosophy and not a very Christian one.
The whole theology of his resurrected body seems to be very un-Christian to me. It is starting to look to me like Jesus was “gasp” more of a Jew than a Christian.
Anyway, if anyone can explain any of this to me please feel free to do so. This is not an argument, this is me posing questions and seeking answers.
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