Tuesday, 16 October 2007

eternally untethered?

"To our bodies turn we then, that so
Weak men on love revealed may look ;
Love's mysteries in souls do grow,
But yet the body is his book". John Donne - The Ecstasy.

There is a common theme in most of the world's beliefs - afterlife of any kind is something not of this world. You can enjoy all sorts of pleasures, become all sorts of forms of energy or 'life force' or nothing whatsoever if you prefer - even come back as some other creature, but one thing these views all pretty well share is that the body is over and done with - it's dead and gone.

I wonder how it must have been on that day when the one known as Jesus of Nazareth, presumed rightly, by all natural standards, to have been executed by the horror of crucifixion and then buried for so long that there was no doubt concerning his death, stood again amidst His friends alive in the very body that had been dead - how can you deal with something like that?

The Apostle Paul tells us that the resurrection of Jesus is just the 'first fruits' of what is to come - a day when every person will once more stand alive clothed in the bodies they had lost in death, but now bodies that are tempered with immortality. I wonder at the shock this will cause to all those who have expected eternity to be some dis-embodied 'spirit' realm.

Because of what we can term the 'time and space' (historical) reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are urged to place our confidence in the work and promises of God, that we might find that astonishing day ahead a day of joy and not an everlasting anguish.

The poison of this 'intermediate' sphere - creation tainted by sin and death - has been drawn at the cross and the tomb. Both our present life and coming physical death, then, are just an introduction to a far greater reality.

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