Resurrection

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The resurrection of Jesus - a painting from 1778 by the German painter Johann Heinrich Tischbein.

Resurrection means bringing someone back to life after they have died.

Polytheistic religions[change | change source]

The idea of resurrection is found in writings of ancient polytheistic religions in the Middle East. Some Egyptian and Canaanite writings tell of gods resurrecting such as Osiris and Baal.

In Greek religion, many men and women resurrected from the dead. Alcmene, Castor, Heracles, and Melicertes, are some of the people who were thought to have resurrected.

Abrahamic Religions[change | change source]

Christians believe that Jesus Christ was resurrected. They also believe in resurrection for all people after death (see Saint Paul's first letter to the Corinthians).

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is documented by various authors in the New Testament. The resurrection is a key part of Christian faith because it signifies that God was fully satisfied with the work of Jesus in dying on the cross to save mankind. It is also important because it prefigures the resurrection of all Christian believers. But most importantly the fact that Jesus Christ was resurrected to an imperishable state (see below) means that he lives for ever. As such, there is a 'man in heaven' at the current time. He is the advocate for us before the throne of God. He is also with us by his Spirit in this world.

In both the case of Jesus Christ and everyone else's resurrection the bible makes it clear that the resurrected body is changed from the original. This is because the human body in its current form is understood to be weak and frail. However, the resurrected person lives for ever.

In illustration Saint Paul refers to a seed and its tree. This life's body is like a seed, and the resurrection body is like the tree which comes from it. From this analogy Paul illustrates two important principles:

  1. That the seed must fall into the ground to 'die' in order for the next life to be possible - "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable." - Corinthians 1 15:50
  2. That the new body bears little resembles to what we have now. Resurrected Christians are not zombies but completely new people. - "The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body." - Corinthians 1 15:42-44.

In Islam, the Quran refers to a bodily resurrection of those who died.