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 being resurrected, such as Osiris and Baal.

In Greek mythology, many men and women were given eternal life by being resurrected from the dead. In their stories, some who came back to life as gods were Alcmene, Castor, Heracles, and Melicertes. But the Greek philosophers at that time did not believe in a physical rebirth.

Abrahamic Religions[change | change source]

Christianity[change | change source]

Christians believe that Jesus Christ was resurrected. They also believe in resurrection for all people after they die. This is based on the Gospels and on Saint Paul's writings in the New Testament. The resurrection of Jesus is the Christian belief that he returned to life by a miracle. He died by crucifixion on Friday and rose from his tomb to new life on Sunday morning. This belief is celebrated at Easter.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is written about by the evangelists in the New Testament. They are the authors of the four Gospels in the New Testament. Christians believe the resurrection is a central part of the Christian faith. Jesus died on the cross to save mankind. When he was resurrected, Jesus defeated death. He is alive forever and sitting at God's right hand on a throne. This gives Christians the hope of a new life after death. This is because his resurrection mirrors the future for all Christians after they die.

With Jesus Christ and with humans, the Bible shows that the resurrected body is changed from the original. This is because the human body, while alive, is weak and frail. But, the resurrected person lives for ever.

All four Gospels tell about Jesus being raised from the dead. They also write about three times that Jesus brings a dead person back to life:

  • Daughter of Jairus.[Mk 5:21-43] Jairus, a patron of a synagogue, asks Jesus to heal his daughter, but while Jesus is on the way, Jairus is told his daughter was dead. Jesus tells him she was only sleeping, and wakes her with the words Talitha kum.
  • The Young Man from Nain.[Lk 7:11-17] A young man, the son of a widow, was on the way to be buried in Nain. Jesus sees the widow crying and so he tells her not to cry. Jesus tells the dead man inside to get up, and he does so.
  • The Raising of Lazarus.[Jn 11:1-44] A close friend of Jesus who had been dead for four days is brought back to life. Jesus goes to his grave and commands him to get up.

Islam[change | change source]

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