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.

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