Friday, March 30, 2007

Resurrection sovereignty

The other morning, a couple of our neighbourhood "Jehovah's Witnesses" came knocking at my door. We discussed the resurrection of Jesus. The man explained that at his resurrection, the Lord divested himself of his body and became a "spirit person". I pointed out that in Luke's resurrection narrative, Jesus explicitly denies this saying, 'a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.' (Luke 24:39.) The man responded that Jesus seemed to have had a body, but that was just for appearance's sake. So, we can add post-resurrection Doceticism to the list of JW heresies.
It is highly important to realise that Jesus retained his full humanity when he was raised from the dead. Granted, his body was transformed and ultimately glorified, but it was the same body that was nailed to the cross and buried in a tomb. Jesus' resurrection was the pledge of a new creation. The JW's are supposed to be strong on the eschatological future of the earth. But it seems to have escaped them that if Jesus abandoned his body to become 'spirit', then the value of physical creation is undermined. God said of the original creation with Adam at it's head, "It is very good!" Of the renewed creation, headed up by the Last Adam, God might say, "It is very glorious!"
In addition, Christ's Lordship is conditioned by his humanity. As 'Rabbi' Duncan put it, 'The dust of the earth is an integral part of us. The dust of the earth is on the throne of the Majesty on High.' Donald Macleod's reflects further,
'The Lord's post-resurrection sovereignty is modified and enriched by all the experiences of his incarnate life. In its pre-resurrection phase the sovereignty had all the advantages of his love, pity and omniscience. It still retains these but now it is enhanced by his involvement in the common lot of men during his earthly ministry. Even for God, the only way to learn compassion is by experience. Today, the memories of Nazareth and Cana, of poverty and pain, of temptation and suffering, of Gethsemane and Calvary, are imprinted indelibly on the Lord's memory and profoundly influence the way he runs his administration. It is as the Lamb who bore the sin of the world that he now sits on the throne (Rev. 5:6). He remembers that we are dust and knows our humanness from the inside. He can say, as he observes us, 'I know exactly how that woman feels!' And because he himself lived on the outer limits of human endurance he can ensure that we shall not be tested above what we are able to bear.'
(From Glory to Golgotha, Christian Focus, 2002, p. 129 for Duncan quote and p. 137-138 for the rest)


Anonymous said...

hello, i'm a jw and it seems the person you talked to was slightly confused. we believed that he was resurrected as a spirit but materialized on various occasions to speak to his apostles and others.

was he resurrected as a spirit? in the verses previous paul is talking about how there is different kinds of resurrections. then goes on to talk about the resurrection of those that go to heaven...

1 Cor. 15: 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised up in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised up in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised up in power. 44 It is sown a physical body, it is raised up a spiritual body.

you said his body was transformed into what? a spirit?

also note that when god said that it was good, or perfect, it's as if to say perfectly designed for its purpose, not to say that all things that are perfect are equal. for the bible says that angels are higher than man and of course god is higher then the angels. yet all are perfect.

to say that jesus was resurrected as a spirit does now somehow undermine god's physical creations. jesus was a spirit before he became human, it only makes sense that he would return to being a spirit. he was raised a spirit simply because there would be no need to be raised as flesh when he could simply materialize into flesh when he needed to.

we also believe that jesus' being a human will make him uniquely fit to a compassionate king. no disagreement there.

if he was raised a human then it would no less change the value of his sacrifice nor his ability to rule. so its not really even something to disagree about.


Steven Carr said...

'The man explained that at his resurrection, the Lord divested himself of his body and became a "spirit person".'

1 Corinthians 15
'The first man Adam became a created being, the last Adam a life-giving spirit'.

'jesus was a spirit before he became human, it only makes sense that he would return to being a spirit.'

This is a plausible belief among people who believe Jesus was a god.

Presumably this is also what the early converts to Jesus-worship in Corinth believed, because they certainly did not believe that God would choose to raise a corpse from the dead.

Those Jesus-worshippers rubbished that idea.

Paul calls them people 'been enriched in every way — in all your speaking and in all your knowledge — because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you.'

I wonder if Paul would praise Exiled Preacher as much as he praised those Jesus-worshippers who scoffed at the idea of God choosing to raise a corpse.

Anonymous said...

jehovah's witnesses don't believe that jesus is god. we believe that jesus is the son of god. the first thing created. jehovah is god's name, that's why we are jehovah's witnesses not jesus' witnesses. infact jesus' name actually means jehovah is salvation.

john 17: 4-5: I have glorified you on the earth, having finished the work you have given me to do. 5 So now you, Father, glorify me alongside yourself with the glory that I had alongside you before the world was.

here it shows that god created jesus as a spirit creature before he had even created the physical universe. in fact if another verse the bible even calls jesus god's master worker, so jesus himself probably created much if not most of the physical universe under god's direction.

notice also what philippians 2:5-8 says: Keep this mental attitude in YOU that was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although he was existing in God’s form (that of a spirit creature), gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God. 7 No, but he emptied himself and took a slave’s form and came to be in the likeness of men. 8 More than that, when he found himself in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient as far as death, yes, death on a torture stake.

i added what's in parentheses.


Exiled Preacher said...


I couldn't disagree with you more on the resurrection and deity of Christ.

See here for a review of a helpful theological book on the Trinity and here for an earlier post that discusses the verses in 1 Corinthians you quoted.


I disagree with you too. You've said that kind of thing many times before. It still surprises me that you, and atheist are so obsessed with Christian eschatology. Haven't you got a hope of your own?

Anonymous said...

1 cor 15:50 - However, this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom, neither does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Look! I tell YOU a sacred secret: We shall not all fall asleep [in death], but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, during the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised up incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

i read your earlier post. however the bible clearly says that god is a spirit? so are angels so why wouldn't the resurrected jesus and those that go to heaven also be spirits.

and as far as the trinity i could probably show you a hundred or more scriptures that pretty clearly, and some in no uncertain terms disprove the trinity. have you ever researched the origins of the trinity? read the works of josephus. 1st century christians did not believe that jesus was part of a trinity. it wasn't until the 4th century when constantine made christianity the state religion and paganised it to attract converts. that is when the pagan solstice became christmas, easter celebrations, birthday celebrations and many other pegan things including the trinity became part of 'christianity.'


Exiled Preacher said...


You will know from my earlier posts that I simply don't agree with you on the nature of the Lord Jesus' resurrection body.

Your account of the development of the doctrine of the Trinity seems to own more to Dan Brown style conspiracy theories than actual historical research. Did you look up the review post on the Trinity that I referred to?

Anonymous said...

yea i read the book review. i consider myself open minded, but i really don't have time to read a whole book about the trinity right now, i'm a full time college student.

i found this article tho.

also did you know that the memorial of jesus death is coming up, its on april 2nd this year. did you know that the memorial of his death was the only thing that jesus told his follows to commemorate. he never told them to celebrate his birthday (no one even knows what it is) or even his resurrection (which was turned into a pagan holiday that rarely even falls on the right day). don't you think its odd that most religions celebrate things jesus did not command them to and are now filled with paganism, yet they do not commemorate the one day jesus did tell them too?

"19 Also, he took a loaf, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to them, saying: 'This means my body which is to be given in YOUR behalf. Keep doing this in remembrance of me.'” -luke 22:19


Exiled Preacher said...


We observe the Lord's Supper twice a month at our church. Easter and Christmas are simply traditions. We just use them as an opportunity to remind people of the incarnation and resurrection of the Son of God.

Don't take it for granted that what the JW's tell you about the Trinity is necessarily true. Read around the subject for yourself. I have often offered Christian literature to JW's on the door, but they usually refuse. It seems to me that most of them take for granted what they are told by the Watchtower authorities. This is sad, as the Watchtower puts a very biased slant on things.

I hope you are open minded enough to look into these things for yourself.

Steven Carr said...

It appears Exiled Preacher thinks that if he disagrees with somebody, he has refuted them.

Paul said Jesus became a spirit.

Exiled Preacher disagrees.

Therefore, Paul was wrong.

A very simple idea to understand. EP is right, therefore Paul is wrong.

Exiled Preacher said...

Not at all Steve. We have had this discussion many times before. I have referred you to previous posts where I deal with these matters in detail.

It is very simple I believe that your interpretation of Paul is wrong. You just keep on repeating repeating some dodgy second-hand scholarship as if saying something more than once makes your argument stronger. Besides, copying and pasting someone else's views isn't proper discussion.

I'm not going to enter into detailed argument with you if you have nothing new to say.

Paul is right, I am right, you are wrong. OK?

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