Why a bodily resurrection?

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Puritan Board Freshman
Hi All,

I’ve poked around a bit, and can’t seem to find a post quite on this topic. There have been a few on the abundant clarity in scriptures of a literal, bodily resurrection. But, I couldn’t find much dealing with the significance of it.

It seems to me that, in the NT times, especially to Greek thinking, a bodily resurrection was philosophically problematic. Greek philosophy tended to see spirits as basically good, but corrupted by our physical bodies. NT teaching, especially Jesus, corrects this – it’s the sinful desires of the heart that are the problem. I can also see that the NT stresses the importance of Christ’s literal, bodily resurrection and points to our eventual bodily resurrection in a similar way.

To be clear, I’m not at all questioning what I see as clear teaching in scripture. What I’m wondering instead is why the NT writers seem to stress it so emphatically? Most evangelical leaders today would undoubtedly downplay (even more so than they already do!) if transplanted to NT times it in the name of being seeker sensitive. The NT writers seem to go out of their way to stress it. The reasons I have in the above paragraph (to me) don’t quite explain the prominence given this doctrine.

To ask my question another way, what difference does a bodily resurrection and a physical new heavens and new Earth make compared to a more ethereal, spiritual heaven, as humanity seems inclined to picture things?

Thanks in advance!


Staff member
I think it all stems from Genesis 1. God created a physical universe and it was very good.

God created Man in his image as a physical being, again, very good. Man was indeed the pinnacle of creation.

The importance of a physical resurrection is to demonstrate that God, in fact and without hindrance, intends to have a creation that is "very good."

Beyond that, I think we are getting into the secret counsel of God. Given our present infirmities, I doubt we can fathom the full significance of why God would create physicality. But create he did, and our modern tendency to downplay that only indicates the extent the fall has hindered our view of what God calls good.

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
For one thing, the promise of our bodily resurrection has vast implications for how we live today, in this life. We resist defiling our bodies and instead keep them pure and use them for God's glory. This is because Jesus has saved not just our souls, but our bodies as well. See 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 and 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1.


Puritan Board Junior
Man was made a living soul, and so the body must be raised for man to be complete. Not only
does the resurrection demonstrate the omnipotence of God, but also that sin, death, and the grave
has been swallowed up in victory by the redemptive work of Christ. But the Scripture says, "For if the dead rise not,
then is not Christ raised, "and,"since by man came death, by man came also resurrection of the dead."
The bodily resurrection vindicates the work of Christ. Man is sown a natural body and is raised a spiritual body,
the same body but glorified to inhabit another dimension and environment.(not necessarily a physical new heavens
and earth.)


Puritan Board Junior
The Greeks tended to downplay the physical because of their dualistic worldview in which matter tended to be bad and spirit good. In regards to the resurrection, the issue is that if one denies the bodily resurrection, then we have to ask: "what did Christ save in the end?" We can see this debate carried out in the early church when people were more eager to deny the physical, whereas today most people want to deny the spiritual.
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