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Evidence of Post-Mortem Repentance/Salvation

I think Jonah was alive also because in verse 5 he says “Weeds were wrapped around my head” indicating he was aware of his physical condition. If his spirit was taken up to heaven by God, I doubt he would have felt the slimy seaweed all over his body.

About visiting spirits in prison, that part of the verse about the spirits disobeying around the time of Noah seems oddly specific if it was just the people who died during the flood. I believe that while there were fallen angels, only those who bred the Nephilim are the ones specifically tossed into tartaroo. This means those particular demons can’t get to us today. Your explanation would work if that was God’s plan. I would have to find more Bible verses that corroborate your explanation for me to believe it.

In discussing the possibility that Jonah actually died as he was submerged and swallowed, I usually point to three bits of scriptural evidence, (1) the sheol reference (abode of the dead), (2) the actual words in at least one translation (ESV), which say he died (Jonah 2:5, “The waters closed in over me to take my life”) and (3) the analogy Jesus makes with Jonah, an analogy that would make little sense if Jonah did not die and was not resurrected.

But I think there is more. If one looks at other miracles that saved people from what would normally kill them, one sees a very different narrative than what is seen in Jonah. Think of Daniel and his miraculous survival in the lion’s den, as reported in Daniel 6 and Shadrach’s, Meshach’s, and Abed-nego’s survival in the flames, as reported in Daniel 3. The wording in these two narratives makes it absolutely clear that the persons involved survived what would have normally killed them. In Jonah, such wording is absent. Instead we have Jonah talking as though he is in a dream, recalling what he thought happened during his ordeal. Unlike the narratives in the other miracles, nothing explicitly says that he was alive while being submerged in the sea and while being engulfed by the great fish. To the contrary, the words that do appear are at a minimum ambiguous about his condition at those times or even favor that he was dead.

Is anyone aware of other biblical examples that show such a contrast with the narrative of Jonah? I think if one finds a consistent difference in the narratives, that would add weight to the evidence that Jonah died and was resurrected, making the analogy with Jesus much stronger.

that would add weight to the evidence that Jonah died and was resurrected, making the analogy with Jesus much stronger.


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But didn’t Jesus believe Jonah really died by using Jonah’s experience as an analogy with his?

Yes, as listed in my post, that is the third example of evidence I use to argue that Jonah had died as a result of his experience. But I think comparing the Jonah narrative with narratives of similar miracles might offer more evidence.

btw Jason, I was reviewing this thread and realized I hadn’t thanked you for this post. If you have some references for some of the “ancient interpretation” that would be great.

Whoa! If Jonah did die and yet was alive through spirit or whatever was going on, then that really messes with my views of the state of the dead. This really throws me off. This is so… different from my Adventist teachings I’m used to. No wonder the posts are going way over my head.
Any insights or advice?

Hi Nick, It’s always challenging to rethink things one has always believed, especially to see/understand scripture from a different perspective.

Concerning the state of the dead, I’m reminded that Jesus said that God is not the God of the dead, but of the living (Mt. 22:31-32, Mark 12:26-27, Luke 20:37-38). The more I’ve considered this, the more it seems to me that “rise from the dead” = “life after death”. And of course, Paul notes that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” So when a person dies he/she leaves her body (signified by “absent from”, to depart from), and becomes fully present with the Lord, which could be translated “is at home with the Lord”.

I’ve come to believe that when a person dies, he sheds the flesh and comes into the full reality of his present spiritual condition, which for far too many people is not the kingdom of light, but the kingdom of darkness, needing the salvation of God. Those of us who have been privaledged to have been translated from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light come into the full reality of that kingdom. There is life after death (ressurection from the dead).

But of course, scripture is far from being a textbook on the afterlife, though I do look to it as a textbook on life!


One of the most abused scriptures known. Sherman, in no way do these words describe the state of the dead. Jesus words are an answer to the Sadducees who did not believe in the resurrection. Jesus said these words to show that there IS going to be a resurrection of the dead. And He didn’t mean a “spiritual resurrection” where the soul or spirit takes off at death to heaven or hell. He meant a physical resurrection such as He Himself had. After He was raised from death, He showed his disciples his wounds as evidence that it was He Himself, and not a ghost or spirit that was speaking to them. Look at the context.

*There came to him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children. And the second and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. Afterward the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.”

And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.” (Luke 20: 27-38)*

The whole passage is a discussion of the resurrection of people, not a discussion of the state of disembodied spirits. Notice right after Jesus was raised, a number of others were raised also:

…and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. (Matt 27:52)

Graves are not opened when people’s “soul” or “spirit” go somewhere after death, are they? Notice it was the bodies of the saints who were raised.

Notice it is not when they die, but on the last day, that Jesus will raise people to life. (John 6:39,40,44,54)

And this is probably the most frequently misquoted passage in the Bible. Paul DID NOT SAY "“to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” That’s just the way the preachers misquote it. We have heard this misquote so often, that our brains have just accepted it as being Paul’s words.

Again when we examine the context we see that the whole passage is about the resurrection (of the whole man) and not about ones “soul” or “spirit” going to heaven at death. The latter notion of a soul separate from the body was imported into Christendom from Greek philosophy and perhaps the cultural beliefs of other eastern cultures.

  • For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked.* (2 Cor 5:1-3 NKJV)

Paul thinks of the body as being a tent. But if the body is destroyed, we has a “building from God”, that is, the resurrection body which we shall receive when we are raised from the dead. He disctinctly says that when we have been “clothed” with the resurrection body, we shall not be found naked (that is, without a body). But if I understand you correctly, you would have us going to heaven “naked”, that is, without a body, being a disembodied spirit.

For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. (2 Cor 5:4-5 NKJV)

Again Paul says, “not because we want to be unclothed” (without a body) but further clothed (with the resurrection body), and that God “has prepared us for this very thing.”

So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord… We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. (2 Cor 5:6,8 NKJV)

So knowing that while we are at home in this mortal body, we are absent from the Lord. We would rather be absent from this present mortal body, and to be present with the Lord with our immortal resurrected body. “This mortal must put on immortality.” (I Cor 15, the great Resurrection Chapter).

Paidon, to me the Luke passage still seems to affirm that the dead have already recieved their immortal bodies and risen to life.

And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 38 Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.”

Note that Jesus says the dead are raised, not shall be raised.

Concerning the graves being opened in Mt.27, it was their mortal bodies that were raised, like with Lazarus. So some people came back to this life in their mortal bodies.

Concerning 2 Cor. 5:8, you are correct in that I misquoted it precisely. It says “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” So it was Paul’s desire to be absent from (vacates) the body and to be present (at home) with the Lord. To me this still seems to affirm that a person is at home with the Lord when one has vacated the body. And yes, the body that we shall have in the afterlife is not the physical body we have in this life.

But I certainly could be wrong.

It always seems ambiguous to me, Sherman – but I do think that Paul (in 1 Cor 15?) presents the spiritual body as springing in some way FROM the physical body, which is a seed for it. I’m not meaning to take this in a mechanistic way – I’m not sure exactly how it would work, and would hate to speculate much – but it does seem there is a connection between the present physical body and the spiritual body Paul speaks of.

Your idea of the dead being raised to life and immediately receiving their glorified bodies (unless Paidion is right, which he may be) makes sense to me. If there is life immediately after physical death (which I do think we have some scriptural suggestion of), then it makes sense to me what you said – that the resurrection occurs immediately for each person. I’ve read speculation that we would have some sort of “temporary” or “intermediary” bodies to be going on with until the resurrection, but that’s always seemed a bit of a stretch. To spend some time ‘with the Lord’ with NO bodies also doesn’t seem to make much sense to me either, though. If we have no boundaries, no containment as of a body I’m not sure how we could be persons at all, in the sense we think of as personhood. Maybe I’m missing something there.

Of course Jesus, when He was raised, left an empty tomb. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t happen for us! I do believe that His body was not allowed to see corruption, and that it was transformed, and that the tomb was literally empty. If we are to be transformed as He was, then I suppose if one wants to take this in a mechanistic way, our bodies also should disappear/be transformed, and that doesn’t happen. So either He was a special case or else we must await the physical resurrection in order to receive our new bodies. It’s all very confusing to me. But again, thanks for your thoughts on this. The idea of an immediate resurrection complete with spiritual bodies is intriguing.

John records Jesus as saying that He will raise his people to life on the last day—not when the person dies.

Joh 6:39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.
Joh 6:40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Joh 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
Joh 6:54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

If some people have already had their resurrection at death, then how can Christ raise them from death on the last day?

It seems to me that Paul was warning Timothy against a couple of people who were teaching that the resurrection had already happened:

But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. (2 Tim 2:16-18 ESV)

As I understand it… to “raise him up” is a euphemism for being established in Christ as a overcomer/conqueror Rev 3:21; 21:7], i.e., it references the rewards associated with the Parousia Mt 16:27]… something from my perspective being a past event, that was, Ad70.

But as for NT “resurrection” that was a covenant matter… rising up out of the OC age into the NC age. As to the likes of Hymenaeus and Philetus saying the resurrection was past… they understood correctly the nature of the resurrection, i.e., it was a rising up out of the OC age. Israel needed resurrecting because she was “dead in trespasses and sins”. However, Hymenaeus and Philetus were wrong on the timing of the resurrection, that is, the Parousia of Ad70 was still yet to happen.

Paul likewise says in kind here…

…that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.” Act 26:23

There is abundant biblical material proving Jesus was NOT “the first” to rise from the dead IF by this physical resurrection was meant. Note that this text does not say “rise from death” but rather, “from the dead”. The dead in this verse is plural meaning “dead ones”. Again, Israel of the OC was “dead in trespasses and sins” and Jesus was the FIRST to rise up out of the OC grave. In Jesus came Israel’s ultimate covenant renewal, i.e., “acceptance” by God and thus “life from the deadRom 11:15.

Logically one has to ask…IF “the resurrection” was to be a literal physical time/space event then HOW was it possible that certain ones were having their faith overturned? Because IF such a thing were true all one had to do was point to the evidence, i.e., open graves, people flying skyward, changed bodies etc, etc, etc, as per popular belief. Such was NOT the case. NT resurrection was all about COVENANT transition or transformation… from Old to New, from one to the other, from one glory to that which was more glorious 2Cor 3:11, 18].

Concerning 2 Cor. 5:8, you are correct in that I misquoted it precisely. It says “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” So it was Paul’s desire to be absent from (vacates) the body and to be present (at home) with the Lord. To me this still seems to affirm that a person is at home with the Lord when one has vacated the body. And yes, the body that we shall have in the afterlife is not the physical body we have in this life.

My understanding is that when we die our Spirit goes to be with the Lord but on the last day we receive our imperishable body. Until this last day we exist in an angelic form but it’s never precisely disclosed. I think Paul’s comments indicate he thought this also.

Hi Cindy. I’m in the same boat; scripture seems ambiuous, not well defined, on the subject to me. I can certainly see where Paidon is coming from, but it doesn’t seem to me to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together quite as well as seeing people rise to be with the Lord in shedding this temporal body. The person’s spiritual body is revealed fully when the temporal body is shed. I think it’s even possible that in Genesis when Adam and Eve sinned, the “skin” they were covered with was/is the “flesh” that we now are encased in. And this fleshly body is like a space suit that keeps us from fully experiencing either the kingdom of darkness or the kingdom of light in this present evil age. But I could certainly be wrong.

Cindy Skillman wrote:It always seems ambiguous to me, Sherman – …The idea of an immediate resurrection complete with spiritual bodies is intriguing.

Hi Cindy. I’m in the same boat; scripture seems ambiuous, not well defined, on the subject to me. I can certainly see where Paidon is coming from, but it doesn’t seem to me to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together quite as well as seeing people rise to be with the Lord in shedding this temporal body. The person’s spiritual body is revealed fully when the temporal body is shed.

It seems to me Paul made a half a dozen statements that sound similar including “to die is gain.” If Paul thought he would be laying in the ground it wouldn’t be a gain to die but it would be gain if he went to be with the Lord.
Now you can find plenty of verses in the OT that effectively say we know nothing in the grave but i think that changed upon Jesus resurrection.
However a resurrection as i understand it is a raising of a physical supernatural body which Jesus said would happen on the last day of this age.
So this event would be different then our “human spirit” first going to be the Lord at our individual deaths.

Jesus was was the first to have a true resurrection, that is, to be raised with an immortal body. That is the sense in which He was “the firstborn of many brethren” (Rom 8:29). All other disciples of Christ will be born into the resurrection when He returns.

All who were brought to life prior to Jesus’ resurrection, died again. For they were brought to life with the same old mortal body. They weren’t resurrected; they were resuscitated. But Paul, writing of the resurrection to come when Christ returns, said:

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1Co 15:53)

Paul was speaking of a true resurrection. Christ Himself was the firstfruits of the resurrection.

1Co 15:23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.

And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. (Col 1:18)

What a marvelous thought, Sherman. :slight_smile: I shall have to do some ruminating on that one. It had never occurred to me, but it does make a lot of sense. And thanks, Steve, and Paidion --I very much appreciate your insights as well. Paidion, I love your saying, that people Jesus (and Elijah, etc.) resuscitated people rather than resurrecting them. What a great way to put it.

The problem here Paidion as I see it is that there are no texts stating or examples given of Jesus having “an immortal body” post resurrection. In fact the gospel testify that Jesus could do in kind pre resurrection what he did post resurrection… neither required “an immortal body” –- at least we are not told of such, i.e., THIS then is a supposition.

Jesus is the beginning of the resurrection of the dead, for any 1st century Jew whether they affirmed it or rejected the doctrine this was a national and global event, either marking the beginning or the culmination of the restoration of Israel and Kingdom of God and His rescuing and saving judgment on the world, of full restoration and justice done in the world in and through the resurrection of His people as fulfilled humanity at last, the ones in whom the calling of Adam, renewed in Abraham is completed and world is run and saved through that raised humanity. It is the ultimate affirmation of creation as good, and resurrection is where creational monotheism and the restorative justice of God that comes out of it meets in the eschatological moment.

So Jesus wasn’t just some strange single odd event, a happy ending after the bad event of the crucifixion, or just to so we could ‘go to heaven’ which isn’t something the early Christians and drew from it at all, in fact the wide-spread influence of this two story concept of reality where so many modern Christians just read into the phrase resurrection or the phrase Kingdom of heaven or God to mean going to heaven ‘up there’ and see the goal as leaving this world for some non physical, not material realm somewhere else leaving this world behind is so far from the meaning and worldview in the NT, and from their creational monotheism it misses what is being said entirely and embraces a Platonic and Gnostic attitude towards creation and human physical existence that it is one of great tragedies with Christians for the last two or so centuries. No, in the NT conception and classical Christianity there is a one story universe, that comprises the two spheres of creation that are heaven and earth, and they overlap and move within each other and intersect, so heaven isn’t somewhere out there, somewhere else, it’s right here, their the two parts of creation made for each other, and that will become married together when God is all in all (heavenly Jerusalem comes down to earth, to unite and marry with it), of God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven (not heaven as it is in heaven, it’s already done in sphere of creation) God has no intention of abandoning creation or embodied humans whom he declares good, there isn’t a plan B, and this is what the resurrection of the dead is indicating and stating.

And this is the early Christian proclamation, that the looked and hoped for rescue of Israel, forgiveness of sins, the incoming Kingdom of God to Earth, and the rescue and renewal of the world had began, because the resurrection of the dead had began. The global event had began and split in two, the Messiah first as the first-fruits leading the way, and the rest of humanity following Him latter, this is the term and world Paul and the NT is speaking into, and resurrection only meant bodies in the 1st century, to anyone Gentile (who universally denied it), or Jews (some of whom affirmed it), but all understood the term to mean physical bodies coming back to life, the concept of non-physical resurrection is just a category mistake and would seem oxymoronic to 1st century ears, there was a wealth of language that referred to various concepts of non-physical states from the despair of Homeric dead of Hades to the exalted souls that finally escaped the prison of the bodies in Platonic and related beliefs and philosophies, to ideas of astral immortality (all of which affirming the dead stay dead) and among the Jews a wealth of their own language for the intermediate survival prior to resurrection such as soul, spirit or angel (which crops up in Acts), none of which could remotely be confused with resurrection, it was a completely different category, and to bring later blurring and confusing that collapses the two-stage process to how early Christians or Paul himself understood resurrection is anachronistic. It would not be until the late 2nd century that we began to see resurrection as a term used by anyone in a way that doesn’t refer to people being raised physically out beyond death into a new physically, and that was by Gnostic Christians who wished to clothe their views in Christian language and remain within Christian circles (hence the strained attempts to re-appropriate the term resurrection, if only they knew how effectively their views in these areas would largely be embraced in the end, making it rather sadly ironic).

And resurrection was more than just being returned and raised back to this corruptible mortal body, the whole point of the phrase, and the concept of the resurrection of the dead as an event, was that the people of God were being raised out and beyond death, beyond it’s hold or any decay or corruptibility, into an immortal physically (it is life after life after death). The very pronouncement of stating that the resurrection of the dead has began, though unexpectedly as Paul explains now split in two, which Jesus raised first and then us in Him following at His appearing, is stating unequivocally that Jesus is the first of the resurrection, in that He is the first to be raised through and out beyond death and decay, that’s the point, the resurrection of the dead has began, God’s Kingdom has the new creation as come in power to the world, in a way no one expected, being launched in the resurrection of the Messiah, that vindicates Him as Messiah and Lord of the world (this is way in the resurrection narratives the disciples don’t sudden say well that means we going to be raised or even less we are ‘going to heaven’, but rather, Jesus has been raised and has taken authority over the world, therefore we have a job to do). To say Jesus had been resurrected, that He was the first of the resurrection of the dead, in which and through which death was defeated and had no hold on Him, is to say He was raised by God through and out beyond death, into a new physical life that is incorruptible and immortal (hence why He is the first, no one else has been resurrected before, some in the OT narratives and the Lord’s ministry were raised back into corruptible mortal life, to die again, they had not been resurrected self-evidently, they would die again, to say Jesus was resurrected was to say He was raised out beyond death into an immortal physicality), the beginning and launch of the global resurrection of the dead, and the renewal of the whole world. It is the affirmation of creation, of the coming of the hoped for judgement and justice of God and the sweeping away of the decay and corruptibility that afflicts our corrupt bodies and world. Therefore Jesus resurrection both vindicated Him as Messiah and made clear to the disciples, to Paul, that God’s rescue and renewal had began in a way they hadn’t ever expected or foreseen, that the resurrection and new creation had been launched onto the world and Jesus was now the Lord of the world and the earth was under new management.

The first thing to remember with Paul’s letters (or for that matter the Gospel or Acts or Revelation) is they are a whole letter, and single and dense argument, and that any verse of chapter has to be read as part of that whole argument (and particularly looking towards the overall conclusions for where Paul’s thought is going with it). The whole of 1 Corinthians was dealing with various troubles in Corinth, one of which was Gentile Christians slipping back into the pagan denial of resurrection (which was linked with acting with various degrees of immoral behaviour since they believed God’s Kingdom had come in full and they waited to escape these bodies, and what they did now in their bodies didn’t matter, also has links with their hunger for spiritual experiences), and much of the letter is correcting this idea. It particularly enters into discussing the nature of the resurrection and the form of existence and body we shall possess emphasising and basing that it will be like that of the Lord’s (He is the first of the resurrection, the first-fruits and proto-type, what Paul had witnessed there was what he bases his thought and discussion on here), and states it will be a spiritual rather than a natural body. Now here is where modern ears, particularly here in the West mishear this importing ideas into the text that have not no place in first century language and worldview, bodies means bodies, not a spirit (they already had a wealth of language for that, some of which crops up at points in various NT documents themselves such as Peter’s angel when they believed he was dead (note they didn’t think he was resurrected at all) and the Pharisees when Paul is brought before the Sanhedrin and says he is being persecuted because of his belief in the resurrection of the dead causing the dispute (and major area of conflict between Pharisees and Sadducees parties, one that was and is intensely political, resurrection is a revolutionary concept that denies to tyrants their great weapon and helped inspire rebellion) at which point the Pharisees suggest Paul might have seen Jesus’ angel and got confused (note importantly again this a refusal of Paul’s declaration of Jesus’s resurrection or that the resurrection of the dead began with Him, they deny that resurrection, but it also shows very clearly that just as everyone else in the 1st century, everyone had a clear idea what resurrection from the dead was, and what it was not, it involved bodies, and being raised out and beyond death, and that Paul wasn’t making any novel use of the term in this respect), and phrases Paul will use elsewhere such as ‘absent from the body, away with Christ’ , or being in Paradise (a brief resting oasis awaiting the resurrection). Rather, to return to Corinthians, the very use of saying bodies means to any first century ear bodies, physical bodies (to read spiritual bodies as immaterial spirits, would be like say a square circle or a married bachelor in that context, it’s contradictory), anything else is anachronistic, what Paul is talking about what will (and what does in relation to Jesus) animates the resurrection body, in that our bodies and nature will be animated and given life by the Holy Spirit, a Spirit empowered body, rather than our current mortal corruptible bodies animated by psyche or soul, which he develops with the statement that the mortal will put on immortality, the corruptible incorruptible, importantly note we won’t put aside our mortal bodies (or even worse escape from them, that not a Christian idea and denies the goodness of creation) but rather our mortal bodies will be clothed with immortality and brought out beyond death into a body empowered and given life by the Holy Spirit Himself (and that is is the case already with Jesus, to whose resurrection body Paul is a eyewitness to). The difference again is what animates, not what the body is made of, it is the difference between a steam ship as opposed to a sail ship, rather than a steel or wooden ship, it’s what animates and drives the body, not what it’s made of. After all, that would mean when Paul would talk of growing and becoming a spiritual man rather than a natural man, said man would dissolve and become a immaterial ghost O_O, which is clearly not what Paul is saying (and the same applies here, it’s what animates not what the body is made of).

And this whole discussion is framed after discussing Jesus’ resurrection, repeating the tradition he received and handed on, together with the inclusion of himself as a last eyewitness to Jesus resurrection body, also discussion how then could some in Corinth say there was no resurrection of the dead, of which Jesus was the first fruits (which goes on to discuss based on Jesus what that involves and what our bodies will be like), and that if they are right we are in our sins still. This is because as Jesus is the first-fruits of the resurrection of the dead, than in Him the resurrection of the dead has began, and the Kingdom of God launched and the forgiveness of sins given, the return of YHVH to Israel and the end of exile for Israel and humanity and the beginning of the restoration and renewal of creation, and if Jesus was not ressurected (out and beyond death into incorruptible and immortal physicality) than they shown themselves to be liars, the resurrection of the dead has not began, God’s Kingdom has not come and Israel and humanity as not be returned from exile with the promised forgiveness of sins, and they still in their sins, in exile and under death’s power and are liars against God. And in the same part Paul affirms that the Lord has been raised, and in Him comes the resurrection of the dead, and shall all be made alive, first with the Messiah, leading the way, than at His appearing those who belong to Him, when He hands over dominion to God the Father after He has destroyed all dominion, power and authority (drawing on Psalm 2), reigning (He is reigning now, all power on heaven and earth are His, that what the Ascension is about) until all enemies are put under HIs feet and God’s reign is established with death at the last placed under His feet and destroyed at His appearing the raising of those who belong to Him, creation is renewed the decay of the old creation sweep away, and He hands it over to the Father so God is all in all. But is Paul indicates that (rather obviously, I don’t have an immortal body like the Lord’s yet, nor does anyone else that I know of :slight_smile: ) hasn’t happened to anyone but Jesus yet, it will happen to those fallen asleep but that is yet to happen, we and all creation are in the intermediate state between the inauguration and completion of creation and humanity and the defeat and destruction of death began in Christ, and it’s fulfilment at His appearing when God will be all in all.

And because of this (bearing in mind the problems the denial of resurrection of the dead had caused in Corinth, with the default return to pagan denials of resurrection and the subsequent view that only spiritual experiences mattered and therefore what they did in and through the body didn’t matter) Paul completes this section not with Christ has risen and we shall be raised so be relax in that knowledge, but rather turns to the collection of the church in Jerusalem going through a famine, because he has remained then that we should give ourselves to the work of the Lord, because it is not vain. What we do in and through our bodies is not lost or in vain, or who we affect affect the lives of others and their existence (or creation for that matter) because it won’t be lost, but rather the body and every act of love, kindness, justice, of giving to those in need, and of a holy life is not lost but will be taken up when we are raised and made part of the full, transfigured body to come, there is full continuity between our embodied life now and our embodied life then at His appearing (in fact to be fully human is to be embodied, our bodies are fully bound with who we are) the body is for the Lord and Lord is for the body, and is shall be raised at His appearing to be as He is. So what we do in and through our bodies now matters immensely, and what we do with others, and their lives matter immensely, and how we treat creation matters immensely, because of the resurrection and the renewal of creation, in Christ’s Resurrection is the ultimate affirmation of creation, and God’s intention to rescue, restore and bring humanity and creation to completion and defeat and sweep death and decay away, and that this has already began, and in the Spirit we begin to participate in it, and are the ones the Lord works through to see that new creation and resurrection life brought into the world, until He returns and brings all to completion.

So in short, Paul isn’t ambiguous here, it’s only the muddle we have made in collapsing the two stage nature of resurrection into one and confusing the hope of resurrection with a more Platonic creation abandoning concept of ‘going to heaven’ and reading that into Paul’s discussions of resurrection bodies (and Christ’s body) and for that matter Kingdom of heaven (which is God’s Kingdom coming to earth, so that His will is ever more done on earth as it is in heaven, and will be when Jesus appears, destroys death and hands over the Kingdom to the Father). Much of modern Christianity is so focused on ‘saving souls’ when God is interested in saving the whole of the human being and all creation, than many wonder what the resurrection is about and often think it refers just to the idea of going away to heaven.

But to borrow a phrase of Bishop Wright’s, heaven is nice, but isn’t the end of the world, this world is our home, and it will remain so forever, neither it nor our full existence will be left or sweep away but rather taken up and transfigured, empowered by the Holy Spirit in share in the full Life of God through the union with Christ, the first full human and the first the resurrection.

Last week I watched the move “Heaven is Real”, about the little boy who had a near death experience where while he’s in surgery he lifts above his body and sees the doctors working on him, his mom calling for prayer support in the waiting room, and his father in the chapel yelling at God. He then hears the angels singing, then meets Jesus, meets his sister who died when she was miscarried who did not have a name because their parents did not name her not knowing her gender, and meets his great-grandfather Pops which was a great comfor to his father because his father did not know if Pops had made it to heaven. It’s an interesting and inspirational movie.