I believe in the resurrection of the body –  Friday, 24th Week in ordinary time – 1 Corinthians 15:12-20

I believe in the resurrection of the body –  Friday, 24th Week in ordinary time – 1 Corinthians 15:12-20

One must always be careful to separate people’s personal beliefs from that of Church teaching. Popular traditions and personal beliefs have a way of taking a life of its own; as in the case of this text and this issue. Paul is faced with a situation in Corinth that needed an immediate nipping in the bud and the matter in question concerned a central belief of the faith; the resurrection.

Clearly it was not the issue of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus that was up for public opinion; that was clearly accepted and established. One verse before our text takes off, Paul clearly states that the Corinthians did believe in the resurrection of Christ. It was not that the Corinthian Christians denied Jesus’ resurrection; there were some who denied our resurrection. They were asserting that the resurrection of Christians is an impossibility.

Who were these people? These are the “spirit filled people” whom Paul spoke of earlier in chapter 12. Somehow the chip they carried on their shoulder had now gone to their heads. These Corinthians were probably under the influence of Philonic wisdom and believed that they already possessed eternal life. So, to them, the resurrection of the body would have been meaningless because they principally attached no importance to the body.

So what could have brought about such a thought?
Corinth was home to many popular mystery religions which I have written/spoken about previously. These mystery cults claimed that their initiates had already overcome death and were living the life of the gods. While this is what we know about the mystery religions of that time, we cannot be sure to what extent these ideas influenced the Corinthians.

Besides this, Greek philosophy looked down on the resurrection as undesirable. They thought a “pure spirit” to be superior to a resurrected body. But within Judaism, we also know that the Sadducees too rejected the resurrection. They thought that the world beyond the dead was just wishful thinking. The bottom line is that some of the Corinthian Christians believed that they lived forever, but not in resurrected bodies.

In Paul’s reply to the Christians, denying that dead men are raised, it is important to note the form of  his argument. It is a circular one, designed to reduce to logical absurdity the position of his opponents. Paul shows how the resurrection of Jesus not only proves His own resurrection, but it proves the principle of resurrection. He answers them head on “How can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised and then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain.” (15:12-13)

Paul says that there are several consequences to such a belief and goes on to highlight four such consequences. If the resurrection of the dead, that is of men, is impossible, then the reports of the resurrection of Christ, who was truly man, must be false and belief in the reports of his resurrection are just a lie.

Without the reality of Christ’s resurrection, the Christian faith has no foundation. If that is so, then Paul and the other apostles have preached in vain and even worse, are liars; there is no real, resurrected Jesus whom they serve. That also implies that those who have preached Christ’s resurrection have born false witness of God and all that we have believed is futile. Worse still, if Christ is not risen, then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If there is no principle of resurrection, then the dead in Christ are lost forever. If there is no principle of resurrection, then the whole Christian life is a pitiful joke! If we don’t have something beyond this life to look forward to, why hassle with the problems in being a Christian?

See how important the truth of the resurrection is! This is not some side doctrine to be believed if one likes it. If you do not believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead in a resurrection body the way the Bible says He did, then you have no right to call yourself a Christian. This is one of the essential doctrines of the Christian faith.

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3 thoughts on “I believe in the resurrection of the body –  Friday, 24th Week in ordinary time – 1 Corinthians 15:12-20”

  • 1) i do not understand why the church gives the utmost importance to the resurrection of christ. as is written in the bible, some holy men were resurrected before christ. so if those holy men were resurrected, why not christ?

    2) is there life after death for normal human beings?
    from what i understand:
    according to hindus,: there is rebirth according to your karma.
    according to buddhists: similar to hindu teachings
    according to theosophy: similar to hindu teachings, but explained much better. humans have birth-death cycles. if you lived a good holy/moral life, you are reborn to a higher cycle. a bad /sinful life and you will be reborn to a lower cycle. for every good/moral life cycle you will be reborn to the next higher cycle and so forth until you attain the highest cycle…that of a saint…in gods kingdom.
    my personal belief is more inclined with theosophy than with the christian church of either heaven or hell awaits you after this life.

    if anybody can explain points 1) and 2) better from the christian churchs perspective, PLEASE DO.

  • So Mr.John, who were these holy men resurrected before Christ ?? and with what purpose ?? Seems to me that this is a case of – ” Little knowledge is dangerous ”

    If your claim is not hollow, it would have been so much easier for the whole world – people of all religions – to believe in Christ’s Resurrection.


    For the SHEER VASTNESS of JESUS’ TEACHINGS, AND THE IMPACT IT CONTINUES TO MAKE TILL THIS DATE, it would be a waste of time to bring up an answer to your query which may have value ony when its MIXED UP and COMPARED with HINDU BELIEFS..

  • thanks leopold for your comment.
    resurrection: rising from the dead.
    yes a few people were resurrected as per the old testament (check google). as for enoch, it was said that he went missing , so it was assumed that god raised him up (without death?)
    i made a comment as this is what i had read previously and had a question about it. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MY OTHER BELIEFS.


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