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The Resurrection as Somatic Transformation

Now, if there be a somatic resurrection, we can not otherwise conceive of it than as a somatic transformation. There is not a simple return of what was lost in death; the organism returned is returned endowed and equipped with new powers; it is richer, even apart from the removal of its sin-caused defects. The normal, to be sure, is restored, but to it there are added faculties and qualities which should be regarded supernormal from the standpoint of the present state of existence.

—Geerhardus Vos, The Pauline Eschatology, 154–155.

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Bruce Sanders

4 years ago

I am surprised that you have not received a flood of disagreements to Vos’s quotation, or at least, calls for clarification.

Prior to “somatic resurrection” there is somatic death. The body that is buried does not remain intact awaiting Vos’s ‘transformation’, but rather, it is consumed by other life forms, which in turn are consumed upon their deaths. Over time, every atom of the original body is completely dispersed and all DNA is destroyed.

So, “if there be a somatic resurrection” (per Vos), then it is technically a ‘creation’, not a ‘transformation’ of the old.

Furthermore, it is not the ‘normal’ that is restored, despite the added faculties. To admit such is to say that a child who dies will be raised a child with child-like mentality … (this is but one example).

Regarding “supernormal qualities” … this statement is nondescript and only fuels speculation of idyllic attributes of interest to each believer.

Some believers might build their desired imagery using Paul’s “glorified risen Christ,” however, according to John, Jesus was crucified as a 30-year-old Jewish man and was raised as the first begotten of the dead looking like a 30-year-old Jewish man who had just been crucified, telling people they could put their finger into his wounds of crucifixion. Jesus may have had “supernormal qualities”; however, I suspect most individuals who believe in the resurrection expect a lot more than the ‘normal’ condition that the risen Jesus exemplified.

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