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6. Can We Resurrect The Dead



While there was no belief in personal afterlife with reward or punishment in Judaism before 200 BCE,[2] in later Judaism and Samaritanism it is believed that the God of Israel will one day give teḥiyyat ha-metim ("life to the dead") to the righteous during the Messianic Age, and they will live forever in the world to come (Olam Ha-Ba).[3] Jews today base this belief on the Book of Isaiah (Yeshayahu), Book of Ezekiel (Yeḥez'qel), and Book of Daniel (Dani'el). Samaritans base it solely on a passage called the Haazinu in the Samaritan Pentateuch, since they accept only the Torah and reject the rest of the Hebrew Bible.




6. Can We Resurrect the Dead



During the Second Temple period, Judaism developed a diversity of beliefs concerning the resurrection. The concept of resurrection of the physical body is found in 2 Maccabees, according to which it will happen through recreation of the flesh.[4] Resurrection of the dead also appears in detail in the extra-canonical books of Enoch,[5] in the Apocalypse of Baruch,[6] and 2 Esdras. According to the British scholar in ancient Judaism Philip R. Davies, there is "little or no clear reference ... either to immortality or to resurrection from the dead" in the Dead Sea scrolls texts.[7] Both Josephus and the New Testament record that the Sadducees did not believe in an afterlife,[8] but the sources vary on the beliefs of the Pharisees. The New Testament claims that the Pharisees believed in the resurrection, but does not specify whether this included the flesh or not.[9] According to Josephus, who himself was a Pharisee, the Pharisees held that only the soul was immortal and the souls of good people will be reincarnated and "pass into other bodies," while "the souls of the wicked will suffer eternal punishment."[10] Paul the Apostle, who also was a Pharisee,[11] said that at the resurrection what is "sown as a natural body is raised a spiritual body."[12] Jubilees refers only to the resurrection of the soul, or to a more general idea of an immortal soul.[13] The Second Temple Judaism tradition at Qumran held that there would be a resurrection of just and unjust, but of the very good and very bad,[14] and of Jews only.[15][16] The extent of the resurrection in 2 Baruch and 4 Ezra is debated by scholars.[17][18][19]


The resurrection of the dead is a core belief in the Mishnah which was assembled in the early centuries of the Christian era.[20] The belief in resurrection is expressed on all occasions in the Jewish liturgy; e.g., in the morning prayer Elohai Neshamah, in the Shemoneh 'Esreh and in the funeral services.[21] Jewish halakhic authority Maimonides set down his Thirteen Articles of Faith which have ever since been printed in all Rabbinic Siddur (prayer books). Resurrection is the thirteenth principle: "I firmly believe that there will take place a revival of the dead at a time which will please the Creator, blessed be His name."[22] Modern Orthodox Judaism holds belief in the resurrection of the dead to be one of the cardinal principles of Rabbinic Judaism.


Harry Sysling, in his 1996 study of Teḥiyyat Ha-Metim in the Palestinian Targumim, identifies a consistent usage of the term "second death" in texts from the Second Temple period and early rabbinical writings, but not in the Hebrew Bible.[23] "Second death" is identified with judgment, followed by resurrection from Gehinnom ("Gehenna") at the Last Day.[24]


In the canonical gospels, the resurrection of Jesus is described as a resurrection of the flesh: from the empty tomb in Mark; the women embracing the feet of the resurrected Jesus in Matthew; the insistence of the resurrected Jesus in Luke that he is of "flesh and bones" and not just a spirit or pneuma; to the resurrected Jesus encouraging the disciples to touch his wounds in John.


Most Christian denominations profess the Nicene Creed, which affirms the resurrection of the dead; most English versions of the Nicene Creed in current use include the phrase: "We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come."[28]


The Christian doctrine of resurrection is based on Christ's resurrection. There was no ancient Greek belief in a general resurrection of the dead. Indeed, they held that once a body had been destroyed, there was no possibility of returning to life as not even the gods could recreate the flesh.[citation needed]


Traditional Christian Churches, i.e. ones that adhere to the creeds, continue to uphold the belief that there will be a general and universal resurrection of the dead at "the end of time", as described by Paul when he said: "He hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world" (Acts 17:31 KJV) and "There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust" (Acts 24:15 KJV).


Early Christian church fathers defended the resurrection of the dead against the pagan belief that the immortal soul went to the underworld immediately after death. Currently, however, it is a popular Christian belief that the souls of the righteous go to Heaven.[31][32]


At the close of the medieval period, the modern era brought a shift in Christian thinking from an emphasis on the resurrection of the body back to the immortality of the soul.[33] This shift was a result of a change in the zeitgeist, as a reaction to the Renaissance and later to the Enlightenment. André Dartigues has observed that especially "from the 17th to the 19th century, the language of popular piety no longer evoked the resurrection of the soul but everlasting life. Although theological textbooks still mentioned resurrection, they dealt with it as a speculative question more than as an existential problem."[33]


This shift was supported not by any scripture, but largely by the popular religion of the Enlightenment, deism. Deism allowed for a supreme being, such as the philosophical first cause, but denied any significant personal or relational interaction with this figure. Deism, which was largely led by rationality and reason, could allow a belief in the immortality of the soul, but not necessarily in the resurrection of the dead. American deist Ethan Allen demonstrates this thinking in his work, Reason, the Only Oracle of Man (1784) where he argues in the preface that nearly every philosophical problem is beyond humanity's understanding, including the miracles of Christianity, although he does allow for the immortality of an immaterial soul.[34]


In Christian theology, it was once widely believed that to rise on Judgment Day the body had to be whole and preferably buried with the feet to the east so that the person would rise facing God.[35][36][37] An Act of Parliament from the reign of King Henry VIII stipulated that only the corpses of executed murderers could be used for dissection.[38] Restricting the supply to the cadavers of murderers was seen as an extra punishment for the crime. If one believes dismemberment stopped the possibility of resurrection of an intact body on judgment day, then a posthumous execution is an effective way of punishing a criminal.[39][40][41][42] Attitudes towards this issue changed very slowly in the United Kingdom and were not manifested in law until the passing of the Anatomy Act in 1832. Cremation was accepted more slowly; the first UK cremation did not take place till October 1882, on private land, and cremation was not declared lawful until 1884, when Dr. William Price, a Druid High priest, was tried and acquitted at South Glamorgan Assizes for the attempted cremation of the body of his baby son.[43]


In Catholicism, Augustine of Hippo believed in a universal resurrection of bodies for all immortal souls.[44] According to the Catholic Encyclopedia:.mw-parser-output .templatequoteoverflow:hidden;margin:1em 0;padding:0 40px.mw-parser-output .templatequote .templatequoteciteline-height:1.5em;text-align:left;padding-left:1.6em;margin-top:0


"No doctrine of the Christian Faith", says St. Augustine, "is so vehemently and so obstinately opposed as the doctrine of the resurrection of the flesh." This opposition had begun long before the days of St. Augustine.[45]


"The Fourth Lateran Council (1215) teaches that all men, whether elect or reprobate, "will rise again with their own bodies which they now bear about with them" (chapter "Firmiter"). In the language of the creeds and professions of faith this return to life is called resurrection of the body (resurrectio carnis, resurrectio mortuorum, anastasis ton nekron) for a double reason: first, since the soul cannot die, it cannot be said to return to life; second the heretical contention of Hymeneus and Philitus that the Scriptures denote by resurrection not the return to life of the body, but the rising of the soul from the death of sin to the life of grace, must be excluded."


But someone will ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?" You foolish man! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. and what you sow is not the body which is to be, but a bare kernel ....What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable.... the dead will be raised imperishable.... For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality.(1 Cor 15:35-37. 42. 53).


1038 The resurrection of all the dead, "of both the just and the unjust" (Acts 24:15), will precede the Last Judgment. This will be "the hour when all who are in the tombs will hear [the Son of man's] voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment" (Jn 5:28-29).[49]


In Anglicanism, scholars such as the Bishop of Durham N. T. Wright,[50] have defended the primacy of the resurrection in Christian faith. Interviewed by Time in 2008, senior Anglican bishop and theologian N. T. Wright spoke of "the idea of bodily resurrection that people deny when they talk about their 'souls going to Heaven,'" adding: "I've often heard people say, 'I'm going to heaven soon, and I won't need this stupid body there, thank goodness.' That's a very damaging distortion, all the more so for being unintentional." Instead, Wright explains: "In the Bible we are told that you die, and enter an intermediate state." This is "conscious," but "compared to being bodily alive, it will be like being asleep." This will be followed by resurrection into new bodies, he says. "Our culture is very interested in life after death, but the New Testament is much more interested in what I've called the life after life after death." 041b061a72


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