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Re: [XTalk]: Physical bodies in heaven

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  • Mike Grondin
    ... As to what this has to do with 1 Peter, I refer you to 3:18-19, which I mentioned in a previous note. I m not, of course, claiming that Luke knew 1 Peter,
    Message 1 of 189 , Nov 1 12:21 PM
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      --- John Sabatino wrote to me:
      > I don't know what you mean specifically by "resurrection in spirit"
      > and what that has to do with 1 Peter, or how we know that Luke
      > knew of this and perceived it as "not good enough", but I'd be
      > appreciative if you could clarify.

      As to what this has to do with 1 Peter, I refer you to 3:18-19,
      which I mentioned in a previous note. I'm not, of course, claiming
      that Luke knew 1 Peter, but simply that resurrection as pneuma
      wasn't good enough for Luke's target audience.

      > I'm trying to understand what your overall theory is, and it looks
      > like you're saying that the original resurrection stories were
      > rendered more physical by Luke (among others) in an attempt to
      > make them seem more real -- to further establish that Jesus'
      > resurrection had indeed actually occured.

      Yep, you got it. (I thought it was rather clear, actually.)

      > If this is the case, and you think that Lk 24:39 is the proof of
      > this, I think you're begging the question.

      After reading the material that follows this in your note, and
      supposedly supports it, I still don't see it. Perhaps you can
      explain more briefly how you think I've begged the question.

      > Firstly, we should note that *if* Luke's goal in this passage is
      > to present evidence to those who disbelieve Jesus' resurrection
      > based on the supposition that the disciples merely saw a phantom,
      > then it is odd that he doesn't have the disciples follow through
      > and actually touch Jesus' body in disconfirmation.

      My guess is that Luke and/or his audience had some compunctions
      about anyone actually touching the Holy Body. Be that as it may,
      ISTM that this textual feature actually supports what my view
      implies - namely, that it was _touchability_ that was of primary
      importance - however that could be established. In Luke's mind, the
      mere offer to be touched (issued as it was by He-who-cannot-tell-a-
      lie) was apparently enough. But this may have been felt to beg the
      question, and so we get the further evolution in GJn, where actual
      touching IS involved, and where the connection with doubts about the
      resurrection is made plain. For Thomas (serving as stand-in for all
      those who doubted the resurrection), seeing was not believing.

      > But, many commentators have presented other interpretive options
      > here...
      > 1. Luke 24:39 may not be at all about presenting stronger
      > apologetic proofs *that* the resurrection *had occurred*.

      Which is to say that my view might be wrong. Sure it might. Almost
      anything is possible. It's a question of what's more likely.

      > Though admittedly the uncritical stance of more conservative
      > commentators like Bruce and Morris (and none the less likely
      > for that), it is equally possible that Luke thought this is
      > actually *how* it all occured.

      To my mind, this is certainly NOT "equally possible".

      > 2. If an apologetic motif is present, it may be that Luke is
      > answering those who *over-spiritualize* the resurrection -- not
      > doubt that it occurred. This still wouldn't imply any evolution
      > in the tradition, just competing views.

      But if one set of competing views chronologically succeeded and
      supplanted another, wouldn't you call that 'evolution'?

      > 3. Ernst, Grundmann, and others have seen in these passages an
      > anti-docetic tendancy.

      Given the claims of docetism that J's body was always mere
      appearance, ISTM that an easier, more direct, and more effective
      defense against it would have been to show that J had a normal
      physicality PRIOR to the resurrection. But if one argues that
      docetism arose in the first place because the resurrection had
      orginally been presented as "in the spirit", and so Luke was trying
      to correct that weakness, then I think my case is made.

      > 4. Luke may have a purely didactic purpose in mind here related
      > to the community's concerns about how they themselves [would] be
      > resurrected.

      Well, I think that this possibility is quite remote, but if it were
      true, what would that imply about their thinking? That they couldn't
      imagine being in heaven without having bodily (as opposed to mental)
      sensations? But that again seems to make my case, because that would
      seem to imply that physical was more real to them (not necessarily
      to Luke) than spiritual.

      > 5. Brown (1991:54) points out that "Luke's primary interest is
      > in the identity of the risen Jesus ("It really is I")..." and
      > that such emphasis on his bodily aspects may not be "too different
      > from having the two disciples at Emmaus recognize Jesus in the
      > breaking of bread." Jesus appears out of nowhere, his appearance
      > frightening/startling the disciples, after having entered into
      > his heavenly glory (Lk 24:26), and now must reveal his continuity
      > with their former teacher, presenting his wounds immediately
      > after the invitation to touch.

      I believe that there's some question about the authenticity of
      24:40, but in any case, I marvel at Brown's ability to avoid the
      obvious by elaborate misdirection. The eating and the offer to be
      touched are proofs of physicality, not proofs of identity.

      > So given that this deduction (more accurately labeled an opinion)
      > of your's regarding Lk 24:39 doesn't leap right off the page at
      > us, it doesn't follow that we're not committing an anachronism
      > when we assume that Luke would bother emphasizing physicality to
      > enhance the proofs of the resurrection.

      I don't think the case is much hurt by a double negative asserting
      mere logical possibility ("it doesn't follow that we're not
      committing an anachronism"), since that doesn't go at all toward
      showing that "we" ARE comitting an anachronism, but I notice that
      you continue to use the word "assume", and that is certainly not
      the right word to use in this situation. I believe that in fact the
      proof of physicality DOES "leap right off the page at us"; you
      believe that it does not. In either case, we're assessing the
      obviousness of a possible implication, not making an assumption.

      > Indeed, in order to further convince a Greek audience of the
      > reality of the resurrection, he might do the exact opposite,
      > given that some would have seen the soul as more "real" than the
      > body, and certainly a more likely candidate for postmortem
      > survival.
      (Plato, and Riley on Plato, are then quoted)

      Yes, I agree that for an intellectual who held to Plato's view of
      the psyche, it would be as you say, but I don't quite see how
      psyche, or Plato's view of it, enters the picture at this point.
      Luke's physical proofs were directed against pneuma, not psyche,
      and for Paul, psyche was associated with corruptibility, i.e.,
      normal or earthly physicality, if you will. That's the one part of
      my response; the other would be that I simply don't buy it that a
      general "Greek audience" would have seriously believed that a
      spiritual substance was "more real" than a physical substance.
      Maybe they believed that demons were AS REAL AS coins, but ask your
      typical Greek shop-keeper of the time whether he'd accept heavenly
      coin in return for his goods, and you'd find out pretty quick which
      kind of coin he took to be more real. (The relevance to Luke being
      that a physical human body was evidently more real to his audience
      than a pneumatic entity in the form of a human body.) I think it's
      safe to say that ordinary Greek folks of the time probably agreed
      with the contemporary playwright-critic of Plato, that the
      philosopher's head was "in the clouds". Now if Luke had been writing
      just for Platonistic philosophers, or for folks who wouldn't bite a
      coin to see if it was genuine, he might have done as you suggest.
      But he wasn't, so he didn't.

      > Was the Holy Spirit that filled and empowered the disciples at
      > Pentecost really any less real to Luke than the resurrected Jesus?

      Do you mean, was Holy Pneuma less real for him than physical bodies?
      I suppose one would have to say not - even if quickly to add that
      the proof of the presence of the HS was always physical. Note, for
      example, that the evidence that Luke presents for the HS being at
      work in the disciples was that they went out in public and spoke in
      tongues. Without that, how could one show that the disciples really
      had the HS? And without normal physicality, how could one show that
      J had actually been resurrected? The first attempt was via various
      "appearances", but that evidently didn't work for most folks.

      > But putting that aside, the problem is that the conditions of this
      > general principle have not been met. You've simply assumed that
      > writer X believed Y.

      OK, let me back-and-fill a bit here. The text certainly doesn't
      support a claim that Luke himself believed that the resurrection
      necessarily involved normal human physicality, and if I said or
      implied that, I'll have to eat my words. What I thought I was saying
      was that the text shows (to my mind rather clearly) that he and/or
      his target audience believed that there was a need for physical
      proof. Now I think that the only counter-argument that has any force
      is to show that, IN SPITE OF what the text SEEMS to imply, it
      actually doesn't. But you're evidently unwilling to grant even that.
      As near as I can make out, what you seem to be saying is that the
      text COULDN'T HAVE BEEN in the nature of a physical proof (because
      Luke and his audience were X's, and X's had certain beliefs contrary
      to that), therefore it CAN'T EVEN SEEM TO BE a physical proof. But
      that's such a bad argument, I have to assume that that's not what
      you meant.

      Mike Grondin
      Mt. Clemens, MI
    • Patrick Narkinsky
      ... I would take a different tack: that Jesus was the first fruits of the general resurrection and that, by raising him from the dead, God has promised to do
      Message 189 of 189 , Jan 1, 2005
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        On Dec 31, 2004, at 10:44 PM, Horace Jeffery Hodges wrote:

        > The difference that most Christians would ascribe to
        > Jesus is that he is divine, being one person of the
        > triune Godhead, whereas everyone else who will be
        > resurrected (whether physically or spiritually) is
        > human, all too human.

        I would take a different tack: that Jesus was the "first fruits" of the
        general resurrection and that, by raising him from the dead, God has
        promised to do likewise for those who are "in" Christ. I take this to
        be Paul's take as well (see 1Cor 15.12-20).

        However, I doubt that that this is the average pew-sitter's view, at
        least in Evangelical circles. In my experience, their emphasis would
        be on Jesus' crucifixion resurrection as an act of atonement, and what
        was unique about Jesus was his innocence. That is, Jesus was a perfect
        sacrifice, without sin, who could therefore atone for the sins of all
        mankind. Those who take this point of view tend not to think of
        "heaven" in terms of resurrection, and even Jesus' resurrection would
        be emphasized much less than Jesus' crucifixion. Even the Left-Behind
        crowd talks about the general resurrection of the dead as being "raised
        up" or something, reserving the term "resurrection" for Jesus himself.


        Patrick Narkinsky - patrick@...

        "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts."
        - Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan
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