TERTULLIAN ON THE RESURRECTION
OF THE FLESH
1 The resurrection of the dead is Christian men's confidence.
By believing it we are what we claim to be. This belief the truth
exacts: the truth is what God reveals. But the multitude mocks,
reckoning that nothing remains over after death. Yet they offer
sacrifices to the deceased, and that with most lavish devotion in
accordance with their customs and the seasonableness of victuals,
so as to create the supposition that those whom they deny to have
any sensation are even conscious of being in need. I however shall
with better reason mock at the multitude, especially on occasions
when they savagely burn up those very deceased whom they
presently supply with gluttonous meals, with the same fires both
currying favour and provoking hostility. Thus does piety toy with
cruelty. Is it sacrifice, or insult, to cremate to the cremated?
Doubtless at times even philosophers conjoin their own
with the multitude. That there is nothing after death is
Epicurus' doctrine: and Seneca affirms that after death all things
come to an end, including death itself. But it is enough if the not
younger judgement of Pythagoras, as well as Empedocles and the
Platonics, make the contrary claim that the soul is immortal, yea
more, assert that it is destined very soon afterwards to return into
bodies, albeit not the same bodies, nor human bodies only, with
the result that Euphorbus is reborn as Pythagoras, and Homer as a
peacock. At least they have pronounced that the soul has a
corporal recurrence (the alteration of its quality is more tolerable
than the denial of it), knocking at truth's door though not entering
into its house. Thus not even when it goes astray is the world
ignorant of the resurrection of the dead.
2 If however even among God's people there is a sect more akin
to the Epicureans than to the Prophets, we shall take cognizance of
what Christ says to the Sadducees.1 For to Christ it was reserved
to lay bare all things formerly hidden, to give direction to things
1 Cf. Matt. 22. 23-33.
in doubt, to fill up things sampled, to make present the things that
were preached of, certainly to prove the resurrection of the dead
not only by himself but also in himself. Now however we arm
ourselves against other Sadducees, who hold only part of the views
of those former. Just so, they acknowledge half a resurrection,
that is, of the soul alone, spurning the flesh as they also spurn even
the Lord of the flesh. In fact the only people who envy the bodily
substance its salvation are precisely these heretical upholders of a
second deity. Consequently, forced to assign Christ also to a
dispensation lest he be considered to belong to the Creator,
they have first gone astray in respect of his flesh, maintaining
either, according to Marcion and Basilides, that it had no true
existence, or, according to the successors of Valentinus, with
Apelles, that it was of a quality of its own. And thus it follows
that they shut the door against the salvation of that substance of
which they deny that Christ is partaker: for they are aware that it
is equipped with the strongest precedent of resurrection if already
in Christ the flesh has risen again. For that reason I also have issued
a preparatory volume On the Flesh of Christ, in which I both prove
its substantiality as opposed to the emptiness of a phantasm, and
vindicate its humanity as opposed to its having a special quality of
its own, it being flesh of such condition as to have registered Christ
as both Man and Son of Man. For while we prove that he is
possessed of flesh and of body, we forthwith as by a precedent
judgement forestall the possibility of belief in any other God but
the Creator, inasmuch as we show that Christ, in whom God is
discerned, is such a one as is promised by the Creator. Forestalled
for the future as concerning God the author of flesh and Christ the
redeemer of flesh, they shall next be refuted in respect of the
resurrection of the flesh. Appropriately so. And after this fashion
I affirm that one ought as a rule to enter upon disputation with
heretics----for due order demands that deduction should always be
made from first principles----that agreement should first be reached
concerning him by whom one says the thing under enquiry has
been ordained. And this is the reason why heretics also, from a
consciousness of their weakness, never discuss things in due order.
For, well aware what heavy weather they make when insinuating
a second deity in opposition to the God of the world, by nature
known to all on the evidence of his works, and undoubtedly prior
in the types and more manifest in the preachings, these people,
under cover of what they say is a more pressing case----that is, of
man's salvation demanding enquiry before all else----begin with
questions on the resurrection, because it is harder to believe the
resurrection of the flesh than the unity of the deity: and thus,
having stripped the discussion of the strength of its proper
sequence and burdened it instead with scruples which belittle the
flesh, they step by step, as a result of the bankruptcy and
of the hope, water it down into conformity with the mind of
that other deity. For each several individual, cast down or thrust
back from his stance on that hope which he had embraced in the
sight of the Creator, thereafter is easily led away, without further
suggestion from elsewhere, to surmise an author of the other hope.
For by diversity of promises is suggested a diversity of gods. Thus
we find many enmeshed, while they are first caused to crash in
respect of the resurrection of the flesh, and afterwards crash in
respect of the unity of the deity. So, as far as heretics are
I have shown in what formation we must attack them:
and the attack has already been made, under each one's docket,
concerning the one only God and his Christ against Marcion, and
concerning the Lord's flesh against four heresies, chiefly to pave the
way for the present discussion: so that we have now to consider
only the resurrection of the flesh, as though it were uncertain in
our, that is the Creator's, sight. For there are many unlearned, and
a number doubtful of their own faith, and not a few plain men,
who will need to be equipped, guided, and protected, seeing that
on this flank also the unity of the deity calls for defence. For just as
its foundations are shaken by the denial of the resurrection of the
flesh, so by the vindication of it they are made strong. The salvation
of the soul I believe needs no discussion: for almost all heretics, in
whatever way they accept it, at least do not deny it. We may leave
to his own devices the one single solitary Lucan, who spares not
even this entity, but in Aristotelian fashion disperses it and
substitutes something else for it: for he expects to rise again as a third
something, neither soul nor flesh, that is, not a man, but a bear
perhaps, being a Lucanian. He also has from me a treatise Concerning
the whole Status of the Soul. This I maintain is in a primary
sense immortal, while I admit the defection of the flesh alone and
make a special assertion of its refection, reducing to an orderly body
of material all things that elsewhere I have postponed after
upon them as each case arose. For as it is common practice for
some things to be sampled beforehand, so must they of necessity be
postponed, provided the things sampled be fully supplied in their
own stock,and the things postponed be paid up in their own account.
3 Now it is possible even on the basis of popular ideas to be
knowledgeable in the things of God, though for evidence of the
truth, not in support of falsehood, to establish what is in
with the divine ordinance, not what is opposed to it. For
some things are known even by nature, as is the immortality of the
soul among many people and as is our God among all.
I shall use the pronouncement of one Plato who declares,
'All soul is immortal':1 I shall use also the private knowledge of
the people <of Israel> when it calls to witness the God of gods:
I shall use also other nations' popular ideas, which proclaim that
God is judge,' God sees', and 'I entrust it to God'. But when they
say, 'What is dead is dead', and 'Live whilst thou livest', and
'After death all things come to an end, even death itself, then
I shall remember that the heart of the multitude is reckoned by
God as ashes,2 and that the very wisdom of the world is declared
foolishness:3 then, if the heretic take shelter under the vices of the
multitude or the devices of the world, I shall say, 'Depart from the
gentile, O heretic: even though there is substantial unity among
all you who fabricate a god, yet so long as you do this in Christ's
name, so long as you regard yourself as a Christian, you are a
different man from the gentile: give him back his own ideas, for
neither does he equip himself with yours. Why, if you have sight,
do you lean on a blind guide? Why, if you have put on Christ, do
you accept clothing from one naked?4 Why, if you have been
armed by the apostle,5 do you use another man's shield? Rather
1 Plato, Phaedrus, 245 c.
2 Cf. Isa. 44. 20.
3 Cf. 1 Cor. 1. 20;
4 Cf. Gal. 3. 27; Rom. 13. 14.
5 Cf. Eph. 6. 13-17.
let that man learn from you to confess the resurrection of the flesh
than you from him to repudiate it: for even though there were
cause for Christians to deny it, it were better for them to be
equipped of their own knowledge, not of the multitude's
Thus one cannot be a Christian who denies that resurrection
which Christians confess, and denies it by such arguments as
non-Christians use. In short, take away from heretics the ideas
they have in common with the gentiles, and make them base
their questionings on the scriptures alone, and they will not be
able to stand. For popular ideas are commended by their very
simplicity and by the agreeableness of their pronouncements
and the familiarity of the thoughts, and are considered the more
trustworthy in that they define things open and apparent and
generally known: whereas divine reason is in the marrow, not
on the surface, and is frequently in opposition to things as they
4 For this reason heretics immediately begin operations and lay
their foundations and afterwards erect their scaffolding with those
materials by which they know it is easy for them to entice men's
minds, the popularity of the ideas making things favourable for
them. Is there anything a heretic says, which a gentile has not
already said, and said more frequently? Is there not, forthwith and
throughout, reviling of the flesh, attacks upon its origin, its
material, its fate, its whole destiny, as being from its first
foul from the excrement of the earth, more foul thereafter
because of the slime of its own seed, paltry, unstable, reproachable,
troublesome, burdensome, and (following on the whole
of its baseness) fated to fall back into the earth from whence
it came and to be described as a corpse, and destined to perish
from that description too into no description at all from
into a death of any and every designation? 'Do you then,
as a philosopher, wish to persuade us that this flesh, when it has been
ravished from your sight and touch and remembrance----that it is
sometime to recover itself to wholeness out of corruption, to
concreteness out of vacuity, to fullness out of emptiness, in short to
somethingness out of nothingness, and that even the funeral pyre
or the sea or the bellies of wild beasts or the crops of birds or the
intestines of fishes or the peculiar gluttony of time itself will give it
back again? And is this same flesh which has disappeared to be an
object of hope simply that the lame and the one-eyed and the blind
and the leprous and the palsied may revert, so as to wish they had
not returned, to what they were before? Or are they to be whole,
so as to be apprehensive of suffering the same things a second time?
Then what of the appurtenances of the flesh? Will these all again
be necessary to it, and particularly food and drink? And will it again
have to breathe with lungs and heave in its intestines and be
with its private parts and have trouble with all its members?
Must it again expect sores and wounds and fever and gout and death?
In that case the hope of the recovery of the flesh will amount to just
this, the desire to escape from it a second time.' Now I have
expressed this somewhat more decently, out of respect for my
pen: but how much licence is given even to foulspeaking, you
may find out for yourselves in these people's discussions, whether
they be gentiles or heretics.
5 Therefore since also all the unlearned still think in terms of
popular ideas, and doubters and plain men through these same
ideas are disquieted anew, and since in every case the first battering-
ram poised against us is this by which the quality of the flesh is
shaken, we too shall of necessity begin by providing the quality of
the flesh with defence-works, routing the vilification of it by
means of an encomium. Thus the heretics challenge us to displays
of rhetoric, as philosophers do to exercises in philosophy. Though
this trivial fragile body, which they are not afraid to call an evil
thing, had been the handiwork of angels (as Menander and Marcus
hold), though it had been fabricated by some fiery being, this too
an angel (as Apelles teaches), the patronage of secondary deities
would have sufficed for the dignity of the flesh: we do
angels----after God. So then, whichsoever each heretic's
supreme god is, I should with complete justification deduce the
nobility of the flesh from that god from whom had proceeded the
will to produce it. For assuredly, when he knew it was being
made, he would have forbidden it to be made if he had not desired
it to be made. Thus according to them also the flesh no less belongs
to a god. No part of a work can fail to belong to him who has
permitted it to be. Observe moreover that the majority of the
sects, especially all the more durable ones, concede the whole
formation of man to our God. How great he is is sufficiently
known to you who believe him the only one. Then let the flesh
begin to find favour with you, in view of the greatness of its
artificer. 'But', you reply, 'the world also is God's work, and yet,
on no less authority than the apostle's, the fashion of this world
passeth away,1 and the fact that the world is God's work cannot be
taken as a proof that it will be restored again: and in fact, if the
whole universe is not to be reconstituted after its decease, why
should a portion of it be?' Evidently it cannot, if the portion is
equated with the whole. But I appeal to the differences between
them: in the first place that all things were made by the word of
God,2 and without it was nothing, whereas the flesh came into
being both by the word of God, for the sake of the general rule, so
that nothing should exist without the word (for he had already
said, Let us make man),3 and besides this by his hand, for the sake of
pre-eminence, lest it should be kept equal with the whole: And
God, it says, formed man.4 Without doubt this is a factor of great
unlikeness, in proportion to the quality of the two objects: for the
things which were made are inferior to him for whom they were
made; and indeed they were made for man, to whom shortly
afterwards God put them in subjection. Rightly therefore the
whole universe of things, being servants, came into existence by
behest and command and by the sole power of the voice: whereas
man, being their lord, was for this very purpose constructed by
God himself, that he might be capable of being a lord because
made by the Lord. And remember that 'man' in the strict sense
means the flesh, for this was the first possessor of the designation
'man': And God formed man, clay from the earth----already is he man
who is still clay----and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and
man----that is, the clay----became a living soul,5 and God placed in
paradise the man whom he had formed. Thus 'man' is first that
which was formed, and afterwards is the whole man. This
I would offer, so that you may understand that whatsoever
1 1 Cor. 7. 31. 2 Cf.
3 Gen. 1. 26.
4 Gen. 1. 27.
5 Gen. 2. 7, 8.
at all was provided and promised beforehand by God to man
became a debt not to the soul only but also to the flesh, if not by
kindred of origin surely at least by prior possession of the name.
6 So I shall follow out my project, if perchance I may but vindicate
for the flesh as much as he conferred upon it who made it even
then with cause for pride: because that paltry thing, clay, came
into God's hands----whatever they may be----though it would have
been blessed enough had it been no more than touched. For what
if, by no further operation, it had at once taken form and fashion
at the touch of God? So great was the matter in hand, the thing
which was being constructed of that material: and so it as often
receives honour as it is worked upon by God's hands, when
touched, when broken off the lump, when kneaded, when
moulded. Recollect that God was wholly concerned with it and
intent upon it, with hand, mind, work, counsel, wisdom,
and especially with that affection which prescribed its
features. For whatever expression the clay took upon it, the
thought was of Christ who was to become man (which the clay
was) and of the Word who was to become flesh (which at that
time the earth was). For the Father had already spoken to the Son
in these words, Let us make man unto our own image and likeness.
And God made man (the same thing of course as 'formed'):1 unto
the image of God ('of Christ', it means) made he him. For the Word
also is God, who being in the form of God thought it not robbery
to be equal with God.2 Thus that clay, already putting on the image
of Christ who was to be in the flesh, was not only a work of God
but also a token of him. What is the use now, with intent to sully
the origin of the flesh, of flinging about the name of earth, as of a
dirty ignoble element, when even though some other material had
been to hand for the sculpturing of man, it were needful to bear in
mind the dignity of the Artificer who both by choosing judged it
worthy and by handling made it so? The hand of Phidias builds out
of ivory the Olympian Jove, which is worshipped, being no longer
the tusk of a wild beast, and a very stupid one at that, but this
world's supreme divinity, not because the elephant is so great but
because Phidias is: and could not the living God, the true God, by
1 Gen. 1. 26, 27.
2 Cf. Phil. 2. 6.
his own operation have cleaned away any baseness of his material,
and healed it of all infirmity? Or shall we have to suppose it more
honourable for a man to have formed a god than for God to have
formed man? For even if clay was an offence, it is now something
else: it is flesh I now take hold of, not earth. Even though the flesh
also hear it said, Earth thou art and unto earth shah thou return,1 it is
its origin which is being recounted, not its substance which is being
revoked. It has been made possible for a thing to be more noble
than its origin, and richer by reason of change: for even gold is
earth, because it is from the earth, yet it is no longer earth after it
becomes gold, but another material by far, more resplendent and
noble by contrast with the dullness of its origin. So also God was
not precluded from smelting the gold of flesh from what you
the foulness of clay, removing the reproach of its birth.
7 But lest the dignity of the flesh appear somewhat watered down
because the divine hand did not actually touch it, as it had the clay,
<I answer that> since it did touch the clay, with the intent that
forthwith it should become flesh instead of clay, it by that very
fact served the interests of the flesh. And moreover I would have
you learn how and when flesh blossomed out of clay. For it can
not be the case, as some will have it, that those coats of skins which
Adam and Eve put on when stripped of paradise,2 were themselves
a transforming of clay into flesh: for somewhat earlier Adam had
already recognized in the female's flesh the offshoot of his own
substance----This is now bone out of my bones and flesh out of my flesh3
--------and the transfusion from the male into the female was itself
made good with flesh, though I suppose it would have had to be
made good with clay if Adam had still been clay. Therefore the
clay was blotted out and swallowed up into flesh. When? When
man was made into a living soul by the breath of God,4 a fiery
breath, competent as it were to bake clay into a different quality,
into flesh as though into earthenware. Thus also the potter may
with a tempered blast of fire re-embody potter's clay into a firmer
material, and out of one species extract another, more useful than
the original, and now of its own kind and designation. For
1 Gen. 3. 19. 2 Cf. Gen. 3. 21.
3 Gen. 2. 23.
4 Cf. Gen. 2. 7.
although it is written, Shall the potter's clay say to the potter1----that
is) shall man say to God----, and although the apostle says, In
vessels of earthenware,2 yet man is called potter's clay because he was
previously clay, and flesh is called earthenware because it was made
of clay by means of the heat of the divine breathing. It was
that coats of skins (that is, cuticle) were drawn on over it and
clothed it: and the proof of this is, that if you strip off the skin you
leave the flesh naked. Thus what today becomes spoil if it is
stripped off, became a garment while it was being made a
Hence also the apostle, when he called circumcision a
despoiling of the flesh,3 affirmed that the skin is a coat. This being
so, you have both clay glorious from God's hand, and flesh more
glorious from God's breathing: and by this breathing the flesh at
the same time laid aside the rudiments of clay and took upon it the
adornments of soul. Your care for your property is not greater
than God's: yet you mount Scythian and Indian gems, and the
gleaming pearls of the Red Sea, neither in lead nor bronze nor
iron nor even silver, but in choice gold carefully separated from its
dross, while for all precious wines and ointments you first provide
suitable vessels, and likewise for swords of perfect ironwork you
make scabbards of equal dignity: and is it conceivable that God
has consigned to some very cheap receptacle the reflection of his
own soul, the breath of his own spirit, the workmanship of his
own mouth, and has thus by giving it an unworthy lodging
definitely brought about its damnation? But did he give it a
lodging, or not rather entwine and commingle it with the flesh?
Yes, in such close concretion that it may be considered uncertain
whether the flesh is the vehicle of the soul or the soul the vehicle of
the flesh, whether the flesh is at the service of the soul or the soul at
the service of the flesh. Yet though it is more credible that the soul,
as more akin to God, is the rider and the master, this also redounds
to the glory of the flesh, that it both contains this soul which is
God's kin, and puts it in possession of that selfsame mastery. For
what enjoyment of nature, what fruition of the world, what
savouring of the elements, does the soul feed upon except by
means of the flesh? What think you? Through it as intermediary
1 Rom. 9. 20. 2 2 Cor. 4. 7.
3 Cf. Col. 2. 11.
it is enriched by the whole apparatus of the senses, sight, hearing,
taste, smell, touch. Through it it is aspersed with divine power,
seeing it provides for nothing except by speech previously
expressed, at least in silence: for speech also derives from the flesh
as its organ. By the flesh are the manual arts, by the flesh are
liberal and professional studies, by the flesh are activities,
and services: and to such a degree does the whole of the
soul's living belong to the flesh, that to the soul to cease to live is
exactly the same thing as to retire from the flesh. Thus also dying
itself belongs to the flesh, because to it living belongs. Moreover, if
it is through the flesh that all things are subject to the soul, they are
subject to the flesh as well: you must of necessity have for partner
in your use of a thing the instrument by which you use it. Thus
the flesh, while it is reckoned the servant and handmaid of the soul,
is found to be its consort and coheir: if in things temporal, why
not also in things eternal?
8 Thus far let it suffice me to have produced judgements in
favour of the flesh as it were from the common law of human
nature. We must next consider also from the private law of the
Christian nation how great a prerogative this pitiful and squalid
substance enjoys in the sight of God: though it would be sufficient
for it that no soul can ever obtain salvation unless while it is in the
flesh it has become a believer. To such a degree is the flesh the
pivot of salvation, that since by it the soul becomes linked with
God, it is the flesh which makes possible the soul's election by God.
For example, the flesh is washed that the soul may be made
the flesh is anointed that the soul may be consecrated: the
flesh is signed <with the cross> that the soul too may be protected:
the flesh is overshadowed by the imposition of the hand that the
soul may be illumined by the Spirit: the flesh feeds on the Body
and Blood of Christ so that the soul also may be replete with God.
There is then no possibility of these, which the work associates,
being divided in the wages. For those sacrifices also that are
pleasing to God----I mean these conflicts of the soul, fastings,
deferred and meagre food, and the squalor which accompanies
this observance----the flesh initiates at its own proper
Virginity besides, and widowhood, and the secret continent
dissimulation of matrimony, and abstention from second marriages,
are offered in sacrifice to God from the possessions of the flesh.
Come now, what think you of the flesh when for the faith of the
Name it is dragged into public and fights it out exposed to popular
hatred, when it is tormented in prisons by loathsome exile from
light, by lack of adornment, by squalor, filth, abusive food, free
not even in sleep, since even on its bed it is chained, and is mangled
even by its mattress----when next even in daylight it is rent by
every contrivance of torture, when at length it is destroyed by
execution, having striven to pay Christ back by dying for him,
often enough by means of the same cross, not to mention also more
dire devices of punishment? Yea, most blessed it is and most
glorious, when it is able in the presence of Christ the Lord to meet
so great a debt, so as to owe him naught but what it has ceased to
owe him, so much the more bound as having been set free.
9 So then, to resume. The flesh, which God with his own hands
constructed in God's image, which from his own breathing he
made animate in the likeness of his own abounding life, which he
set in authority over the denizens, the fruits, the dominion of his
whole workmanship, which he has clothed with his own mysteries
and doctrines, whose cleanliness he loves, whose discipline he
approves, whose sufferings he counts precious to himself----shall
this not rise again, so many times over a thing of God? God
forbid, God forbid, that God should abandon to eternal
the work of his own hands, the product of his own skill, the
receptacle of his own breath, the queen of his own creation, the
heir of his generosity, the priest of his cult, the warrior of his
testimony, the sister of his Christ. We know that God is good:1
that he alone is supremely good we learn in addition from his
Christ. He who enjoins love, first of himself, and afterwards
towards one's neighbour,2 himself also performs that which he
commands. He loves the flesh, which in so many ways is his
neighbour: weak though it be, yet strength is made perfect in
weakness:3 feeble, yet none know the need of a physician except
such as are sick:4 uncomely, yet upon uncomely things we bestow
1 Cf. Matt. 19. 17; Luke 18. 19.
2 Cf. Matt. 22. 37.
3 Cf. 2 Cor. 12. 9.
4 cf. Luke 5. 31.
the greater comeliness:1 lost, yet he says, I am come to save that which
is lost:2 sinful, yet he says, I would rather have the saving of a sinner
than his death:3 condemned, yet he says, I will smite and I will heal.4
Why do you reprove the flesh for those attributes which look to
God, which hope towards God? These are honoured by him, for to
their rescue he came. I would boldly say: If the flesh had not had
these disabilities, God's kindness, grace, mercy, every beneficent
function of God's, would have remained inoperative.
10 You retain the scriptures by which the flesh is brought under
a cloud: retain those also by which it is made glorious. You read
when it is brought low: apply your eyes also whenever it is lifted
up. All flesh is grass:5 not this pronouncement alone did Isaiah
make, but also, All flesh shall see the salvation of God.6 The Lord is
recorded in Genesis as saying, My Spirit shall not abide upon these men,
seeing they are flesh:7 but he is also heard, through Joel, saying,
I will pour forth of my Spirit upon all flesh.8 The apostle also you
ought to know not from that single theme in which he frequently
stigmatizes the flesh.9 For though he says that in his flesh dwelleth
no good thing,10 though he affirms that those who are in the flesh
cannot please God, because the flesh lusteth against the spirit11----
and any other expressions he uses with the effect of accusing not
indeed the substance but the activity of the flesh----I shall reply later
on that no reproach ought in a particular sense to be brought
against the flesh, but only for a reproof to the soul which subdues
the flesh to menial service to itself. Enough for the present that
Paul is also <described> in those scriptures as bearing in his body
the marks of Christ,12 as saying that our body, being the temple of
God, must not be defiled,13 as making our bodies the members of
Christ14, and admonishing us to uplift and magnify God in our
body.15 And so, if the ignominies of the flesh involve rejection
of its resurrection, why shall not its dignities rather suggest its
acceptance? For it is more consistent with God to restore to
1 Cf. 1 Cor. 12. 23. 2 Luke 19. 10.
3 Ezek. 18. 23.
4 Deut. 32. 39.
5 Isa. 40. 6.
6 Cf. Isa. 40. 5.
7 Gen. 6. 3.
8 Joel 2. 28.
9 Cf. Rom. 7. 18.
10 Cf. Rom. 8. 8.
11 Cf. Gal. 5. 17. 12 Cf. Gal. 6. 17.
13 Cf. 1 Cor. 3. 16, 17. 14 Cf. 1 Cor. 6. 15.
15 Cf. 1 Cor. 6. 20.
salvation that of which he has perhaps for a time disapproved,
than to surrender to perdition that of which he has even expressed
11 Thus far in commendation of the flesh against those enemies
who are none the less its greatest friends. For no man lives so
carnally as those who deny a carnal resurrection; for while denying
the penalty they also despise the discipline. Concerning these the
paraclete also expressly says, by Prisca the prophetess, 'Lumps of
flesh they are, and the flesh they hate'. And now that the flesh is
protected by warrants strong enough to establish its claim to be
worthy of salvation, must we not also reckon up the power, the
authority, the liberty of action of God himself, asking whether he
is not great enough to be competent to rebuild and restore the
tabernacle of the flesh after it has fallen down or been swallowed
up or in whatsoever manner been dismantled? Or has he not
published for us some instances of this his right, in the records of
nature, lest any persons perchance be still athirst to know God,
belief in whom is conditioned by belief that he can do all things?
Certainly among philosophers you have such as claim that this
world is unbegotten and uncreated: but it is much more to the
point that almost all the sects, admitting that this world is begotten
and created, ascribe its foundation to our God. Trust therefore
that he has brought forth this everything out of nothing, and you
will at once know God by trusting that God has so much power.
Some indeed, too weak for this prior belief, will have it that the
universe was constructed by him from subjacent material,
to the philosophers. Yet even if this were in fact the case, since
the allegation would be that by the refashioning of the material he
produced very different substances and very different species
from the material itself, I should no less maintain that he brought
them forth out of nothing, seeing he had brought forth things
which had been in fact non-existent. For what does it matter
whether a thing is brought forth out of nothing or out of
so long as what was not comes into being, when even not to
have been is to have been nothing? So also on the contrary, to
have been is to have been something. As it is, although it does
matter, yet I win approval in either case. For if out of nothing
God has built up all things, he will be able also out of nothing to
produce the flesh reduced to nothing: or if out of material he has
contrived things other than it, he will be able also out of something
other than it to recall the flesh, into whatsoever it may have been
drained away. And certainly he who has made is competent to
remake, seeing it is a greater thing to make than to remake, to give
a beginning than to give back again. Thus may you believe that
the restitution of the flesh is easier than its institution.
12 Look next at actual instances of divine power. Day dies into
night and is on every side buried in darkness. The beauty of the
world puts on mourning, its every substance is blackened. All
things are squalid, silent, numb: everywhere there is vacation,
cessation of business: such lamentation is there for the light that is
lost. And yet again the same light, entire and whole, together
with its adornment and endowment, together with the sun,
revives for the whole world, slaying its own death, the night,
stripping off its funeral-trappings, the darkness, becoming heir to
its own self, until night also revive, herself also with her own
appurtenance. For there is also a rekindling of the beams of the
stars, which the lighting up of morning had put out; there is a
returning home of constellations which have been abroad, which
the dividing; of seasons had removed; ,a refurbishing of the mirrors
of the moon, which the date of the month had worn away; a
revolution of winters and summers, of springs and autumns, with
their own functions, fashions, and fruits. Moreover the earth also
learns from heaven: to clothe the trees after their stripping,
to colour the flowers anew, to dress itself in grass again, to bring to
light the same seeds as have perished, and not to bring them to
light until they have perished. A marvellous exchange: by
defrauding she preserves, so as to give back she takes away, so as to
guard she wastes, so as to make alive she slays, so as to make whole
she corrupts, so that she may even multiply she first goes bankrupt,
inasmuch as she restores things more abundant and more elegant
than she has abolished, destruction verily being profit, injury
interest, and loss gain. To put it in one word, the whole creation is
recurrent. Whatsoever you are to meet with has been: whatsoever
you are to lose will be. Nothing exists for the first time. All
things return to their estate after having departed: all things begin
when they have ceased. They come to an end simply that they may
come to be: nothing perishes except with a view to salvation.
Therefore this whole revolving scheme of things is an attestation
of the resurrection of the dead. God wrote down resurrection in
works before he put it in writing, he preached it by acts of power
before he told of it in words. He first gave you nature for a
teacher, intending also to add prophecy, so that as previously a
disciple of nature you might the more readily believe prophecy,
might at once assent on hearing what you had already everywhere
seen, and might not doubt that God is also a raiser up of the flesh
when you knew that he is a restorer of all things. And further, if
all things rise again for man, for whose benefit they are adminis-
tered, and moreover not for man except as including the flesh,
how could that flesh utterly perish, for the sake and for the benefit
of which all things are kept from perishing?
13 If the universe is not a satisfactory parable of the resurrection,
if the creation sets the seal on nothing of this sort, in that its single
elements are alleged not so much to die as to cease to be, and are
supposed not to be re-animated but to be re-formed, accept what
is a very complete and unshakable example of this hope, seeing it
is an animate creature, one subject to life and to death. I refer to
that bird, the special property of the East, notable because there is
only one of it at a time, portentous in respect of its progeny, the
bird which renews itself while of its own will performing its own
obsequies, deceasing and inheriting by a death which is a birth,
phoenix again where just now there was none, once more himself
who but now was not, another and the same. What more
and with better attestation meets this case, what other fact
has such a proof? God also says, in his own scriptures, And thou
shalt flourish like the phoenix,1 that is, out of death, out of burial, so
that you may believe that the substance of the body can be exacted
of the flames as well. Our Lord has declared that we are of more
value than many sparrows:2 if not also phoenixes, there is not
much in it. But shall men die once for all, while birds of Arabia
are assured of their resurrection?
1 Ps. 92. 12. 2 Cf. Matt. 10. 31.
14 Such for the mean while being the broad outlines of those
divine powers which God has wrought out in parables as well as
expressed in speech, let us now come to his actual edicts and
decrees, since this is the way we are at present arranging this division
of our subject-matter. For we began with the dignity of the flesh,
asking whether it is the kind of thing for which after collapse
salvation is practicable: and thereafter we proceeded to treat of the
power of God, whether it is great enough to be accustomed to
confer salvation on a thing which has collapsed. Now, if we have
proved both points, I would ask you to raise the question of
purpose, whether there is one good enough to establish the
of the flesh as necessary, and as indubitably in every way
a debt to reason: because it is still possible to suggest that although
the flesh be capable of restoration, and although deity be competent
to restore it, for all that, restoration will need to have a purpose to
justify it. Hear then of its purpose, you who are a disciple of God
who is supremely good and also righteous, supremely good in
respect of what is his, righteous in respect of what is ours. For if
man had not become a delinquent he would have known God
only as supremely good, by that nature which is properly his; but
now he also experiences him as righteous, by the necessity of his
own purpose, yet also supremely good precisely in this that he is
also righteous. For while he displays righteousness by aiding that
which is good and punishing that which is bad, both the sentences
he gives are a tribute to the good, whether he is exacting vengeance
of the one or rewarding the other. But in my books against
Marcion you will learn more fully whether this is the whole of
what God is. Meanwhile such is our----necessarily Judge because
Lord, necessarily Lord because Maker, necessarily Maker because
God. Hence also that----whatever you may call him----of the
heretics is necessarily not judge, for he is not lord, necessarily not
lord, for he is not maker, and I suppose then not god, seeing he is
neither maker, which God is, nor lord, which a maker is.
since it is most appropriate for one who is God and Lord and
Maker to appoint for man judgement concerning precisely this,
whether or not he has taken care to acknowledge and respect
his Lord and Maker, and since the resurrection will bring that
judgement into actuality, this will be the whole purpose, yea
the necessity, of the resurrection, such a provision of judgement
as is most appropriate to God. And concerning the ordering of
it you have to discern whether the divine censureship presides
over the judgement of both the human substances, the flesh no
less than the soul: for that which it is fitting should be judged,
will with good reason also be raised up again. I affirm that
God's judgement must be believed to be in the first place plenary
and complete, as being by that time final, and thereafter
so that it may in this also be just as not being in any
respect defective, and in this also worthy of God that in
with all his great patience it is plenary and complete: and
that thus the plenity and completeness of judgement can be
assured only by the production <in court> of the whole man----in
fact that the whole man appears <in court> in the assemblage of
both substances----and consequently he must be made present
in both, seeing he needs to be judged as a whole, as assuredly he
has not lived except as a whole. Therefore in that state in which he
has lived, in that will he be judged, because he has to be judged in
respect of his life as he has lived it. For life is the purpose of
and this must be made complete in as many substances as it
has employed in living.
15 Well now, let our opponents first sever the warp and woof of
flesh and soul in life's administration, that then they may be bold
enough to make such a severance also in life's remuneration: let
them deny their association in workmanship, so as with good
reason to be able also to deny it in wages. Let the flesh be no
partner in the sentence, if it has not also been partner in the suit.
Let the soul alone be recalled, if it alone has departed. It has
no more been alone in departure than it was alone in running
that course from which it has departed, I mean this present life.
So far is the soul from being alone in the conduct of life, that not
even the thoughts, though only thoughts, though not by means of
the flesh brought into effect, do we remove from the partnership
of the flesh, seeing that it is in the flesh and in company with the
flesh and by means of the flesh that that is wrought by the soul which
is wrought in the heart. Indeed this portion of the flesh, the soul's
citadel, our Lord himself censures in his castigation of thoughts:
Why think ye evil in your hearts?1 and, Whoso looketh for the sake of
lusting hath already committed adultery in his heart.2 Thus, apart from
either deed or performance, thought is an activity of the flesh. But
even if that headquarters of the senses, which is called <in Greek>
hegemonicon, is established in the brain, or perhaps in the space
between the eyebrows, or wherever philosophers decide, any and
every thinking-house of the soul must be flesh. Never is soul apart
from flesh, so long as it is in the flesh: it performs no act without it,
for apart from it it does not exist. Can you still ask whether
thoughts too are administered by means of the flesh, when by
means of the flesh they are externally cognizable? Let the soul
consider a matter: the countenance tells the tale, the face is a
mirror of all intentions. Can they deny it association in things
done, when they cannot deny it association in things thought of?
And these are the very people who enumerate the delinquencies of
the flesh: consequently, as a sinner it will be liable to punishment.
We however set in opposition even the virtues of the flesh: con-
sequently, having also done well, it will be liable to reward. And
if it is the soul which gives leading and impulse to all acts, to the
flesh belongs the obedience. But we ought not to think that God is
either an unjust judge or an indolent one----unjust if he excludes
from rewards an ally in good works, indolent if he shelters from
penalties an ally in evil ones----when man's judgement is considered
the more perfect in that it cites even the abettors of every act,
neither sparing them nor envying them but that they may share
with their principals the fruit either of penalty or of grace.
16 But when we assign empire to the soul and submission to the
flesh, we must take precautions lest our opponents overturn even
this by a further quibble, being content in this manner to place the
flesh in the employment of the soul, not as a free servant, lest
consequently they be forced to acknowledge it as an associate. For
they will allege that servants and associates have free choice in
service and association, with power over their own will in both
directions, as being themselves also men, and that therefore they
share the merits or demerits of those principals to whom of their
1 Matt. 9. 4. 2 Matt. 5. 28.
own will they have lent their assistance; whereas the flesh, having
no thoughts of its own, and no sensations, having of itself neither
assent nor refusal, attends upon the soul rather in the guise of a
receptacle, as a tool and not as a servant: and that thus the
is set in respect of the soul alone, as to how it has used its
receptacle the flesh, while the receptacle itself is not liable to
sentence, since neither is a cup condemned if someone has mixed
poison in it, nor does a sword receive capital sentence if someone
has committed highway-robbery with it. In that case, we reply,
the flesh will be innocent, in so far as evil actions are not to be
imputed to it, and there is nothing to prevent its being saved on
the ground of innocence. For though good works be not imputed
to it, as neither are evil, yet does it rather befit the kindness of God
to absolve the innocent. Welldoers he must absolve: but it
to him who is supremely good to grant even more than he
must. Moreover, as for the cup----I do not mean one that has held
poison, one into which someone has spewed out his life, but one
tainted with the breath of a witch or a sodomite or a gladiator or a
hangman----I wonder if you would condemn it any less than those
people's kisses. Even one that is clouded with our own filth or
that is not mixed to our taste, we are wont to smash, to signify
more clearly our annoyance with the pageboy. And as for the
sword that is drunken with murders, is there anyone who will not
expel it from his whole house, not to speak of his bed-chamber or
his pillow-head, under the impression, I suppose, that his dreams
could not help but be of the remonstrances of the souls which
would oppress and disquiet one who had taken to his bed their
own blood? On the other hand, a cup with a good conscience,
which has been praised because of the servant's care, will also be
adorned from the garland of him who drinks from it, or honoured
by the strewing of flowers: and a sword nobly bloodied in war, a
man-slayer of a better sort, will have its credit rewarded by
consecration. 'Is it possible therefore to attach sentence even to
receptacles and tools, that they too may share in the merits of their
owners and principals?' I shall proceed to deal faithfully with this
quibble also----though the facts are of a different kind and not fully
met by the illustration. For any vessel or tool comes into use from
without, its material being entirely external to man's substance;
whereas the flesh, being since its origin in the womb conceived and
formed and brought to birth in company with the soul, is also in
every operation commingled with it. For although in the apostle
it is called a vessel, which he commands to be held in honour,1 yet
by the same apostle it is called the outer man,2 being in fact that
clay which first was engraved with the inscription 'man', not
'cup', or 'sword', or any sort of 'receptacle'. For it is called a
vessel in view of the containership by which it contains and
encloses the soul, but 'man' because of the community of nature
which makes it in operations not a tool but a servant. So also, as a
servant, it will be held to judgement, even though of itself it does
no thinking, because it is the portion of that which thinks, not its
chattel. The apostle, with this in mind, that the flesh does nothing
of itself that is not imputed to the soul, none the less judges the
flesh sinful,3 lest because it seems to be set in motion by the soul it
should be thought to have been set free of judgement. So also
when he enjoins upon the flesh some works of praise----Glorify and
uplift God in your body4----though aware that these activities are
performed by the soul, yet he enjoins them on the flesh as well,
just because he also promises it the fruits of them. Else neither
would rebuke have appertained to it if it were a stranger to blame,
nor behest if a foreigner to glory: for both rebuke and behest would
have been void as regards the flesh if there had been a void also of
the wages which are expected at the resurrection.
17 The more artless supporters of my opinion will think that
another reason why the flesh will need to be brought under
review at the judgement is that otherwise the soul would be
incapable of experiencing torment or refreshment, as being
incorporal: for such is the vulgar idea. I however both state here,
and have proved in a treatise of its own, that the soul is corporal,
having its own particular kind of substance and solidity by which it
is capable both of perception and of suffering. For that even now
souls are tormented or comforted among those below, though
unclothed, and as yet exiles from the flesh, the instance of Lazarus5
1 Cf. 1 Thess. 4. 4. 2 Cf. 2 Cor. 4. 16.
3 cf. Rom. 8. 3.
4 1 Cor. 6. 20.
5 Cf. Lk. 16.
will prove. Thus I have left it possible for my adversary to say, 'In
that case, having its own bodily constitution, it will of its own
suffice for the faculty of suffering and perception, and so will have
no need for the flesh to be brought up for judgement'. Nay
rather, it will have need, not in the sense that without the flesh it is
devoid of sensation, but that it is essential for it to have the flesh to
share in its sensations. For in so far as of its own it suffices for
acting, in so far does it also suffice for suffering. For acting
it is of its own less than sufficient: for of its own it has no more
than thought, will, desire, determination, while for
it awaits the activity of the flesh. Likewise also for suffering
it demands the alliance of the flesh, so as by means of it to be able
as completely to suffer as without it it was unable completely to
act. Consequently, of the things for which it is of its own sufficient,
concupiscence and thought and will, it is in the mean time
off the sentence. Certainly if these things had been sufficient
for the fullness of its deserts, so that deeds as well were not brought
under inquisition, it would have wholly sufficed for the perfection
of judgement that the soul should be judged concerning those
matters for the doing of which it had itself sufficed. But since deeds
also are bound by deserts, and deeds are effected through the flesh,
it is evidently not sufficient for the soul without the flesh to be
comforted or tormented for works which belong to the flesh as
well, even though it has body, even though it has members, for they
do not suffice it for completeness of sensation, any more than they
do for perfection of action. Consequently, to the extent to which
it has acted, to that extent it also suffers among those below, being
the first to taste of judgement as it was the first to contract the fault,
yet waiting for the flesh so that it may pay the penalty of its deeds
besides by means of that flesh to which it has made its thoughts
into commands. This in fact will be the reason for the judgement
being appointed for the last end, namely, that by the presentment
of the flesh it may be possible for the whole divine censure to be
made complete. Otherwise the punishment of which souls even
now have the foretaste among those below would not be reserved
until the end, if it were designed for souls alone.
18 So far let it suffice me to have laid foundations for the
of the meaning of all the scriptures which promise the restoration
of the flesh. Since this has the advocacy of so many competent
authorities----I mean the dignities of the substance itself, the power
of God, instances of that power, the reasons for judgement, and its
implications----surely the scriptures will require to be understood
in accordance with the precedent of all these authorities, and not in
accordance with devices of heretics which proceed from mere
unbelief; because the restitution of a substance withdrawn in
destruction is considered incredible not because this is either
beyond the deserts of the substance itself or beyond the power of
God or without pertinence to the judgement. Incredible clearly it
would be, had it not been divinely preached: except that even
though that preaching had not been given by God, yet should we
have needed to assume it of our own accord, as not having been
preached simply because so many authorities had constituted a
previous judgement in its favour. Yet since it resounds in divine
words as well, it is so much the more impossible for it to be
otherwise interpreted than those facts require which even without
divine words are sufficiently persuasive.
Let us then first consider under what heading this hope has been
promulgated. One divine edict, I suppose, is posted in the sight of
all: THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD: two words, sharp,
and clear. These I shall confront, these I shall discuss, asking
to which substance they assign themselves. When I am told that
resurrection is man's destiny, I must needs ask what part of him it
is whose lot it is to fall, since nothing will expect to rise again
except that which has previously succumbed. Only one who is
unaware that it is the flesh which falls by means of death, can be
ignorant of it also standing up by means of life. The sentence of
God is that which nature pronounces, Earth thou art and into the
earth shalt thou go.1 Even one who has not heard, sees it happen: all
death is a collapse of the members. This destiny of the body the
Lord also made manifest when, clothed with that very substance,
he said, Pull down this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.2
He shows to what it appertains to be pulled down, to be thrown
to the ground, to lie low, that to which it also appertains to be
1 Gen. 3. 19. 2
lifted up and raised again----though he also carried about with him
a soul that was troubled even unto death,1 yet which did not fall
by means of death----because the scripture also says, He had spoken
of his body.2 And so truly is it the flesh that is overthrown in
death, that thereafter it is described as cadaver, from cadere. The
soul however has no name signifying falling, because in its proper
habit it does not collapse: indeed it is it which, when expired,
produces collapse in the body, just as it is it which, when it was
breathed in, raised it up from the ground.3 It cannot fall, seeing
that by entering in it raised it up: it cannot collapse, seeing that by
its exit it throws down. Let me speak more particularly: not even
into sleep does the soul fall down along with the body, not even then
is it laid supine along with the flesh: for in sleep it moves and stirs,
whereas if it were lying down it would be quiet, and it would be
lying down if it fell. Thus, as it does not collapse in the image of
death, neither does it fall down in death's verity.
Now for the second word 'of the dead', distinguish no less
clearly to which substance it adheres. Although in this matter
I admit that at times mortality is ascribed by heretics to the soul----
with the result that if mortal soul is to attain to resurrection there
is a presumption that the flesh too, being no less mortal, will share
in the resurrection----yet now the sole right to the term must be
claimed for that which is entitled to it. At once then, by the very
fact that resurrection appertains to a thing liable to fall, namely
flesh, that same flesh will be indicated in the designation 'dead',
because the resurrection which is described as 'of the dead' is the
resurrection of a thing liable to fall. So also we learn through
Abraham, the father of the faith, a close friend of God: for in
demanding of the sons of Heth a place to bury Sarah he says,
Give me then the possession of a burying-place with you, and I will
bury my dead man,4 the flesh of course: for he would not have
wanted room to bury a soul, even if the soul were considered
mortal, even if it merited being described as 'dead man'. But if
dead man' is the body, the resurrection, since it is described as 'of
the dead', will specifically be of bodies.
1 Cf. Matt. 26. 38. 2
3 Cf. Gen. 2. 7.
4 Gen. 23. 4.
19 So then our inspection of the decree and of its contents,
through our outright insistence that the terms mean what they
say, must needs have the effect that, if our opponents cause
trouble by the allegation of figures and enigmas, things more
manifest in each case shall prevail, and things more certain lay
down the law concerning the uncertain. For some people, taking
hold upon a well-established usage of prophetic diction (which is
frequently, though not always, allegorical and figurative) distort
also the resurrection of the dead (though it is manifestly
into an unreal signification, asserting that even death
itself must be spiritually understood. For death, they say, is not
really and truly this which is close to hand, the separation of flesh
and soul, but ignorance of God, whereby man, being dead to God,
lies low in error no less than in a tomb. So also, they add, the
resurrection must be maintained to be that by which a man, having
come to the truth, has been reanimated and revivified to God,
and, the death of ignorance being dispelled, has as it were burst
forth from the tomb of the old man:1 because the Lord also likened
the scribes and pharisees to whitened sepulchres.2 Thereafter then,
having by faith obtained resurrection, they are, they say, with the
Lord, whom they have put on in baptism. In fact, by this device
they are accustomed often enough to trick our people even in
conversation, pretending that they too admit the resurrection of
the flesh. 'Woe', they say, 'to him who has not risen again in this
flesh', to avoid shocking them at the outset by a forthright
repudiation of resurrection. But secretly, in their private thoughts,
their meaning is, Woe to him who has not, while he is in this
flesh, obtained knowledge of heretical secrets: for among them
resurrection has this meaning. Also some, maintaining that the
resurrection begins from the release of the soul, interpret ' come
forth from the tomb' as 'escape from the world' (on the ground
that the world is a habitation of dead men, that is, of men who
know not God) or even 'escape from the body' (on the ground
that the body, in the guise of a tomb, encloses and imprisons the
soul in the death which is this world's life).
20 As against this kind of guesswork I shall push down their
1 Cf. Eph. 4. 22; Col. 3. 9.
2 Cf. Matt. 23. 27.
primary scaffoldwork, that by which they claim that the prophets
did all their preaching by means of pictures: for, if this had been
the case, not even the pictures would have been recognizable,
unless the verities had been first preached from which the pictures
might be sketched out. And in fact, if all things are figures, what
can that be of which they are figures? How can you hold out a
mirror, if there is nowhere a face? But to such a degree were all
things not pictures, but truths as well, nor all things shadows, but
bodies as well, that in regard to the Lord himself all the more
outstanding facts were preached more clearly than light. For it was
not in a figure that the Virgin conceived in the womb, nor was it
indirectly that she bore Emmanuel, God with us:1 and if it was
indirectly that he was to receive the strength of Damascus and the
spoils of Samaria,2 yet openly was he to come into judgement with
the elders and princes of the people.3 So too the heathen raged, in
the person of Pilate, and the peoples imagined vain things, in the
person of Israel: the kings of the earth stood up, Herod, and the rulers
were gathered together, Annas and Caiaphas, against the Lord and
against his Christ.4 He was also brought as a sheep to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before his shearer, Herod in fact; and was voiceless ----
so he opened not his mouth5 ---- while he gave his back to smitings and
his cheeks to the palms of hands, and turned not his face from
missiles of spittings.6 Also he was numbered among the
transgressors,7 was pierced in the hands and the feet, suffered the casting
of lots upon his vesture, and bitter things to drink,8 and the
of the heads of those that mocked,9 when he had been priced at
thirty pieces of silver by the traitor.10 Are there any figures here in
Isaiah, any pictures in David, any enigmas in Jeremiah? And these
also prophesied of his miracles, again not by parables. Or were the
eyes of the blind not made open, did not the tongue of the dumb
speak plain, did withered hands and feeble knees not become
strong again, did not lame men leap as an hart?11 For although we
1 Cf. Isa. 7. 14; Matt. 1. 23. 2 Cf. Isa. 8. 4.
3 Cf. Isa. 3. 14.
4 Ps. 2. 1-2. 5 Isa. 53. 7.
6 Cf. Isa. 50. 6.
7 Cf. Isa. 53. 12.
8 Cf. Ps. 22. 16, 18.
9 Cf. Ps. 22. 7.
10 Cf. Zech. 11, 12; Matt. 27. 9.
11 Cf. Isa. 35. 5, 6.
are wont to interpret these things spiritually as well, equating them
with the diseases of the soul which the Lord healed, yet since they
were also fulfilled in fleshly sort they show that the prophets
preached in both forms, saving this, that most of their expressions
can be claimed as bare and simple and clear of every mist of
allegory, as when they cry aloud of the deaths of nations and
cities, Tyre and Egypt and Babylon and Edom and the ships of
Carthage, and when they make orations on Israel's own plagues
and pardons, captivities and restorations, and the death of the final
dispersion.1 Is anyone disposed to interpret these, and not rather
acknowledge them? Facts are contained in the writings: the
writings are read in the facts. Thus the form of prophetic discourse
is allegorical neither always nor in all places, but sometimes and in
21 Well then, you ask, if 'sometimes and in some places', why
are they not to be spiritually understood in the edict of the
resurrection? Because, in fact, there is a high degree of difference.
In the first place, what will become of all those other passages of
divine scripture which so openly attest a corporal resurrection as
to admit of no suspicion of a figurative signification? And indeed
it would be equitable, as I have already postulated, that things
uncertain should be prejudged by things certain, and things obscure
by things manifest, at the least so that between the disagreement
of things certain and things uncertain, of things manifest and things
obscure, faith should not be frittered away, truth brought into
danger, and God himself stigmatized as inconstant. Secondly,
because it is not likely that that aspect of the mystery to which the
whole faith is entrusted, on which the whole discipline is supported,
should turn out to have been ambiguously announced and
obscurely propounded, when the hope of resurrection, unless it
were manifest in respect of peril and of reward, would persuade no
one to a religion, particularly of this kind, which is the object of
public hatred and hostile accusation. No work is certain, of which
the wages are uncertain: no fear is well founded, of a peril which is
in doubt. Yet both the wages and the peril depend on the issue of
the resurrection. Moreover, if such open prophecy has launched
1 Cf. Isa. 23, 24.
God's temporal and local and personal decrees and judgements
against cities and nations and kings, how can his eternal and
universal ordinances against the whole human race have fled from
the light that is themselves?1 For the greater these are, the clearer
they would need to be, so as to be believed to be the greater. And
I suppose that to God one can ascribe neither envy nor guile nor
cowardice nor the fear of displeasing, which are the usual reasons
why the promulgation of great matters is wrapped up in subtilties.
22 Next I shall affirm that we must pay attention to those
scriptures also which forbid us, after the manner of these soulful
men----let me not call them spiritual----either to assume that the
resurrection is already present in the acknowledgement of the
truth, or to claim that it ensues immediately upon departure from
this life. For just as the times of the hope as a whole are determined
in the sacred page, and it is not permissible for it to be established
earlier, so likewise it will not be permissible for the scriptures
concerning it to be so interpreted as to allow it to be established
earlier. Our prayers, I suppose, yearn for Christ's coming, for the
sunset of this age, for the world also to pass away, at the great day
of the Lord, the day of wrath and retribution, that last and secret
day, known to none save the Father,2 yet marked beforehand by
signs and wonders and clashes of the elements and strifes of nations.3
I should search the prophecies, if the Lord himself had kept
silence----except that the prophecies too were the Lord's voice: but
it matters more that he seals them with his own mouth. When
asked by the disciples when those things would come to pass which
he had just then hurled forth concerning the death of the Temple,
he set in array the order of the times, first the Judaic until the
destruction of Jerusalem,4 and thereafter the general ones until the
conclusion of the age.5 For after he had declared, And then shall
Jerusalem be trampled down among the gentiles, until the times of the
gentiles be fulfilled6----that is, for them to be made God's elect, and
gathered in with the remnants of Israel----from then on he preached
against the world and the age,7 in the manner of Joel and Daniel
1 Cf. Isa. 13. 13; Zeph. 2. 1;
2 Cf. Acts 1. 7. 3 cf. Luke 21. 7.
4 Cf. Luke 21. 9-24.
5 Cf. Luke 21. 25-8.
6 Luke 21. 24. 7 Cf. Luke 21. 25-6.
and the whole assembly of the prophets, that there shall be signs in
the sun and the moon and the stars, constraint of nations, with
perplexity at the roaring of the sea, and the emotions of men who
wax cold through fear and expectation of the things that threaten
the world. For the powers of the heavens, he says, shall be shaken, and
then shall they see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with
great power and glory. But when these things begin to come to pass, ye
shall look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption will have
drawn nigh.1 Now he says it 'draws nigh', not 'is already present',
and 'when these things begin to come to pass', not 'when they
have come to pass', because when they have come to pass, then
will our redemption be present, which until then will continue to
be said to draw nigh, while meantime it lifts up and bestirs our
minds towards that fruit of hope which is even now nigh at hand.
Of this there is also appended a parable, of the trees which wax
tender to form the bud which is the precursor of flower, and
of fruit.2 So also ye, when ye have seen all these things come to
pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand: watch therefore
at every season, that ye may be worthy to escape all these things, and
may stand before the Son of Man3----evidently by means of the
resurrection, when all those things have previously been accomplished.
Thus, although in the acknowledgement of the mystery it comes
to bud, yet it comes to flower and fruit at the Lord's actual
presence. Who then in so untimely, so unripe, a sort, has
the Lord, now at the right hand of God, to shake terribly
the earth, as Isaiah says,4 when, I suppose, it is still intact? Who has
already subdued Christ's enemies under his feet, as David says,5 as
though swifter than the Father, while still every assembly of the
proletariat cries out for 'Christians to the lion'? Who has
Jesus coming down from heaven in like manner as the
apostles saw him going up, according to the angels' decree?6 Until
this present day no tribe unto tribe have smitten their breasts,7
recognizing him whom they pierced:8 no one yet has welcomed
1 Luke 21. 26-8; Dan. 7. 13.
2 Cf. Luke 21. 29-31.
3 Luke 21. 31, 36. 4 Cf. Isa. 2. 19.
5 Cf. Ps. 110. 1.
6 Cf. Acts 1. 11. 7 Cf. Zech. 12. 12.
8 Cf. Zech. 12. 10.
Elijah,1 no one yet has fled from Antichrist,2 no one yet has wept
for the death of Babylon.3 And is there any now who has risen
again, except a heretic? He, to be sure, has already come forth
from the sepulchre of the body, while even yet liable to fevers and
boils, and has already trodden down the enemies, although even
yet he has to wrestle with the rulers of the world:4 and in fact he is
now reigning, though he still has to pay to Caesar the things which
are Caesar's own.5
23 The apostle indeed teaches, when writing to the Colossians,
that we were at one time dead, alienated, and enemies of the mind
of the Lord, when we were engaged in evil works,6 but that
we were buried together with Christ in baptism, and raised
up together in him through faith in the effectual working of God
who raised him from the dead:7 And you, when ye were dead in
trespasses and the undrcumdsion of your flesh, did he quicken together
with him, having for given you all trespasses:8 and again, If ye died with
Christ from the elements of the world, how is it that, as though living in
the world, some of you pass judgement?9 But since he in such sense
makes us dead spiritually as yet to acknowledge that we shall also
sometime die corporally, clearly, on the same principle, when he
reckons us spiritually raised again he equally does not deny that we
shall rise again corporally. If, he says in fact, ye have risen again
with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting
at the right hand of God: set your thoughts on the things which are above,
not on those which are beneath.10 Thus he indicates a resurrection in
mind, by which alone as yet we are able to reach up to heavenly
things, things which we should neither be seeking nor setting our
thoughts on if we were now in possession of them. He adds also,
For ye died----'to trespasses' of course, not 'to yourselves'----and your
life is hid with Christ in God.11 Consequently that life, being hidden,
is not yet within our grasp: and so also John says, And it hath not
yet been made manifest what we shall he: we know that if he shall have
been made manifest we shall be like him.12 So far are we from being
1 Cf. Mal. 4. 5.
2 Cf. Apoc. 12.
3 cf. Apoc. 18.
4 Cf. Eph. 6. 12.
5 cf. Matt. 22. 21. 6 Cf. Col. 1. 21.
7 Cf. Col. 2. 12.
8 Col. 2. 13. 9 Col. 2. 20.
10 Col. 3. 1-2.
11 Col. 3. 3. 12 1 John 3. 2.
already that which we know not: for we should certainly know it
if we were it already. Thus in this part of the course there is a
contemplation of the hope by means of faith, not its actual
and not the possession but the expectation of it. And of this
hope and expectation Paul says to the Galatians, For we by the
Spirit look for the hope of righteousness as a result of faith.1 He does
not say 'we hold': and by 'righteousness' he means the
of God resulting from the judgement by which we shall be
judged in respect of the reward: and on tenterhooks for this reward
he himself, when writing to the Philippians, says, If by any means
I may arrive at the resurrection from the dead: not that I have already
received it or am made perfect.2 And yet he had become a believer,
and knew all mysteries, being a vessel of election, a doctor of the
gentiles:3 but he still adds, But I follow after, if that I may apprehend
that in which I have been apprehended by Christ. More than that:
Brethren, I count not myself yet to have apprehended: one thing
however, forgetting things behind, and stretching myself out to the things in
front, I follow on after the mark towards the palm of blamelessness
which induced me to enter for the race4----evidently towards the
resurrection from the dead, yet at its due time, as he says to the
Galatians, Be not weary of well-doing, for in due time we shall reap:5
as also to Timothy concerning Onesiphorus, May the Lord grant
him to find mercy in that day.6 And with a view to that day and time
he instructs Timothy himself to keep the commandment
blameless, until the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ,
which at its due time he shall show, who is the blessed and only
potentate, the King of kings----meaning God.7 And of these times
Peter also says in the Acts, Repent ye therefore and look around, that
your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come upon
you from the presence of God, and he may send Christ who before was
appointed for you, whom the heavens must receive until the times of the
delivery of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of the holy
1 Gal. 5. 5.
2 Phil. 3. 11-12.
3 Cf. Acts 9. 15; 1 Tim. 2. 7.
4 Cf. Phil. 3. 12-14.
5 Gal. 6. 9.
6 2 Tim. 1. 18.
7 1 Tim. 6. 14-15. 8 Acts 3. 19-21.
24 What these times are, learn in company with the Thessalonians:
for we read, Even as ye turned from idols to serve the living
and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, even Jesus,1 whom
he raised from the dead. And again, For what is our hope or joy or
crown of rejoicing, but that ye also <may be> in the presence of our Lord
Jesus Christ, at his coming?2 Again, In the presence of our God and
Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ along with all his saints.3
And when teaching of their falling asleep, that it is the less to be
sorrowed for, he also at the same time sets forth the times of the
resurrection, saying, For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so
also them that are fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring forward with him.
For this we say unto you in a word of God, that we who are alive, who
remain behind until the coming of our Lord, shall not prevent those who
are fallen asleep: because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with
a rallying-cry and with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God,
and the dead in Christ will be the first to rise again, and then we who are
alive, who <remain>, shall be lifted up along with them in the clouds to
meet the Lord Christ in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.4
What voice of an archangel, what trumpet of God, has yet been
heard, except perhaps in the sleeping-places of heretics? For
though the word of the gospel can be described as a trumpet of
God, which has already called them, yet they must either have
already corporally died so as to have risen again, and in what sense
are they alive? or else have been snatched up in the clouds, and in
what sense are they here? Truly most miserable are they,5 as the
apostle has declared, for they must be reckoned as hoping in this
life only, because they shut out, while they snatch at it in advance,
that boon which is promised after it, being frustrate concerning
the truth no less than Phygellus and Hermogenes.6 For this reason
the majesty of the Holy Spirit, having discernment of thoughts of
that sort, alleges also in the same epistle to the Thessalonians, But
concerning the times and the spaces of times, brethren, there is no need to
write to you:for yourselves know most certainly that the day of the Lord
so cometh as a thief in the night: when they shall say 'Peace', and 'All
1 1 Thess. 1. 9-10.
2 1 Thess. 2. 19. 3 1 Thess. 3. 13.
4 1 Thess. 4. 14-17.
5 Cf. 1 Cor. 15. 19.
6 Cf. 1 Tim. 1. 19, 20; 2 Tim. 1.15.
things are safe', then shall sudden destruction come upon them.1 And in
the second epistle he speaks with more plenary carefulness to the
same persons: But I beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord
Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto him, that ye be not quickly
shaken in mind, nor disturbed, either by spirit or by speech (of false
prophets, of course) or by epistle (of false apostles) as if it were ours,
as though the day of the Lord were here. Let no man seduce you in any
way: because unless the disruption come first (of this empire, he means)
and the man of delinquency be revealed (that is, Antichrist), the son of
perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself over everything that is
called God or Worship, so as to sit in the Temple of God affirming that
he is god----remember ye not that when I was with you I used to say these
things to you? And now ye know what retaineth, that he may be revealed
at his own time. For the secret of iniquity is already at work: only
he who now retaineth, must retain, until he be taken out of the midst2----
who but the Roman state, whose disruption, being dispersed
among ten kings, will bring in Antichrist?----and then will the wicked
one be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will slay with the spirit of his
mouth and will bring to naught by the presence of his coming----whose
coming is according to the operation of Satan in all power and signs and
lying wonders and in all the seduction of unrighteousness to them that are
25 Again in the Apocalypse of John the order of the times is laid
down. This order, while beneath the altar they cry aloud for
vengeance and judgement,4 the souls of the martyrs have learned to
wait for, so that first the world may drink up its own plagues from
the vials of the angels,5 and that harlot city may receive from the
ten kings the death it deserves,6 and the beast Antichrist with his
false prophet may bring conflict upon the church,7 and thus, the
devil having for a season been bound in the abyss, the prerogative
of the first resurrection may be set in order from the thrones,8 and
thereafter, <the devil> having been given over to the fire,9 the
censorial roll of the universal resurrection10 may be judged out of
1 1 Thess. 5. 1-3.
2 2 Thess. 2. 1-7.
3 2 Thess. 2. 8-10.
4 Cf. Apoc. 6.
9-11. 5 Cf. Apoc. 15.
6 Cf. Apoc. 17.
7 Cf. Apoc. 19.
19-20. 8 Cf. Apoc. 20.
9 Cf. Apoc. 20.
10 Cf. Apoc. 20.
the books. Since therefore the scriptures both note down the
characteristics of the last times, and place the whole harvest of the
Christian hope at the obsequies of the age, it is evident either that
then is fulfilled the whole of what is promised us by God----and in
that case that which is claimed here and now by the heretics is void
----or else, if the acknowledgement of the mystery is also a
this belief is without prejudice to that other resurrection which
is preached at the last, and it follows that, by the very fact that this
one is claimed as spiritual, that other is already judged to be
because if there had been no announcement of one for that
time, this one might with good reason be claimed as the only one,
and solely spiritual; but since it is also advertised <as occurring> at
the last time, it is admittedly a corporal one, because for that time
no spiritual one is announced. For why should there be a second
announcement of a resurrection of the same character, a spiritual
character, when it would be seemly for it to be completed either
now without distinction of times, or else then at the whole
of the times? Thus it befits us rather <than them> even to
maintain that there is a spiritual resurrection at entrance into faith,
seeing we recognize its plenitude at the end of the age.
26 One further answer I shall give to their prior allegation that
the scriptures are allegorical, namely that we too have it no less in
our power by the support of figurative prophetic diction to prove
that the resurrection is corporal. For the primordial sentence of
God, by declaring that man is earth----Earth thou art and unto earth
shah thou go,1 according to the substance of the flesh of course,
which was taken from the earth and first received the name of
'man', as I have shown----gives me the rule of interpreting with
reference to the flesh whatsoever else of wrath or of grace God has
determined with reference to the earth, for the reason that the
earth is not in a strict sense exposed to his judgement, having
committed nothing either of good or of evil. Cursed indeed is the
earth because it has drunk blood:2 but this itself is a metaphor for
the flesh of the homicide. For even though the earth has to receive
benefit or injury, this also is for man's sake, that he may receive
benefit or injury by virtue of what befalls his dwelling-place, by
1 Gen. 3. 19. 2 Cf. Gen. 4. 11.
so much the more as he himself must pay those penalties which
the earth for his sake is to suffer. And so, even when God utters
threats against the earth, I shall affirm that he is really threatening
the flesh: and when he makes any promise to the earth, I shall
understand that he is really making a promise to the flesh, as in
David, The Lord is king, the earth shall rejoice1----that is, the flesh of
the saints, to which pertains the fruition of the divine kingdom.
Then he adds, The earth saw it and was shaken, the mountains melted
like wax from before the face of the Lord2----this time the flesh of the
ungodly: for also, They shall look upon him who have pierced him?
So much so, that if one suppose that both pronouncements were
made, without metaphor, concerning the element of earth, how
with consistency can it be shaken and be melted from before the
face of the Lord, at whose reigning it has just now rejoiced? So
also in Isaiah, Ye shall eat the good things of the earth,4 we shall
understand the good things of the flesh, which await it when in the
kingdom of God it has been brought again into shape and made
angelic, and is to obtain things which the eye hath not seen nor the
ear heard, nor have they ascended into the heart of man.5 Else
it were somewhat vain that God should entice it to obedience
with the fruits of the field and the victuals of this life which, by
having once for all assigned the creation to man, he distributes
even to the irreligious and blasphemous by making it to rain upon
good men and bad and sending forth his sunshine upon just men
and unjust.6 A happy thing indeed faith is if it is to obtain things
which the enemies of God and of Christ not only use but even
abuse by worshipping the creation itself in opposition to the
Creator.7 Shall you reckon onions and truffles among the good
things of the earth, when the Lord declares that not even by bread
shall man live?8 Thus the Jews, by hoping for earthly things and
nothing more, lose the heavenly things, not knowing that even the
bread that was promised is of the heavenly <sort>,9 the oil that of
1 Ps. 97. 1.
2 Ps. 97. 4-5.
3 Zech. 12. 10; John 19. 37.
4 Isa. 1. 19.
5 Cf. 1 Cor. 2. 9.
6 Cf. Matt. 5. 45.
7 Cf. Rom. 1. 25.
8 Cf. Deut. 8. 3; Luke 4. 4; Matt. 4. 4.
9 Cf. John 6. 51.
divine unction, the water that of the Spirit, and the wine that of
the soul which receives strength from the vine which is Christ:1
even as they reckon the holy land itself to be strictly the Jewish
territory, though it ought rather to be interpreted as the Lord's
flesh, so that flesh thenceforth also in all who have put on Christ is a
holy land, truly holy through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit,
truly flowing with milk and honey through the sweetness of his
own hope,2 truly Judaean through the familiar converse of God ----
For he is not a Jew who is one openly, but who is one in secret?3 ---- so that
it is also the temple of God, and Jerusalem, to which Isaiah says,
Awake, awake, O Jerusalem, put on the strength of thine arm: awake as
in the beginning of the day4 ---- that is, in that integrity in which it was
before the sin of the transgression. For how can words of this kind
of exhortation and invitation befit that Jerusalem which killed the
prophets and stoned them that were sent unto her and at length
actually slew her own Lord?5 In fact to no earth at all is salvation
promised, for it must pass away, along with the fashion of the
whole world.6 Even if any be bold rather to argue that the holy
land is Paradise, which it is possible to say belongs also to the
fathers (I mean Adam and Eve), it will be seen to follow that the
promise of restoration to Paradise7 was made to the flesh whose
appointed task it was to inhabit and to keep it, to the end that man
may be called back there in that same condition in which he was
when driven out.
27 Also the mention of garments in the scriptures we have to
allegorize with reference to the hope of the flesh, because the
Apocalypse of John also says, These are they who have not defiled
their garments with women,8 meaning of course virgins and those
who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of kingdoms of
heaven.9 And thus they will be in white robes,10 that is, in the glory
of unwedded flesh. And in the gospel the wedding-garment can
be recognized as sanctity of the flesh.11 And so when Isaiah,
1 Cf. John 15.
2 Cf. Exod. 3.
3 Rom. 2. 28-9.
4 Isa. 51. 9.
5 cf. Matt. 23. 37; Luke 13. 34.
6 Cf. 1 Cor. 7. 31.
7 Cf. Gen. 31. 3, 48. 21.
8 Apoc. 14.
9 Cf. Matt. 19. 12.
10 Cf. Apoc. 3.
11 Cf. Matt. 22. 11.
what kind of fast the Lord has chosen, added a reference to the
wages of goodness and said, Then shall thy light break forth betimes,
and thy garments shall arise speedily,1 he wished these to be
understood not as shirt or cloak but as the flesh, and preached of the
dawning of the flesh which will rise again from the sunset of death.
To this extent have we as well as they an allegory at our disposal to
prove our case for a corporal resurrection. For also when we read,
O my people, enter into your larders for a little until my wrath pass by,2
the larders will be the sepulchres in which those will have to rest
for a little who have deceased at the bounds of the age during the
last wrath by the violence of Antichrist. Or else, why did he prefer
to use the expression 'larders' and not that of some other place of
storage, except that in larders flesh is kept which has been salted
and put by for use, so as to be brought out from them in due time?
For in like manner bodies also, having been treated with the spicery
of burial, are laid aside in tombs and sepulchres so as to come forth
from them when the Lord commands. And since this is
understood in this sense----for can any taking of refuge in
pantries preserve us from the wrath of God?----by the very fact
that he says, Until wrath pass by,3----the wrath which will extinguish
Antichrist----he indicates that after the wrath the flesh will come
forth from the sepulchre into which it will have been brought
before the wrath. For even from pantries nothing other is brought
out than what is brought in, and it is after the uprooting of Anti-
christ that the resurrection will be set in motion.
28 We know moreover that prophecy has been delivered in facts
no less than in words: the resurrection is preached by things done,
as well as by things said. When Moses hides his hand in his bosom
and brings it out dead, and again puts it in, and pulls it out alive, is
he not making this a forecast concerning man as a whole?4 In fact
by that set of three signs5 there was indicated, along with its due
order <of working>, the triple power of God, which will first
subdue to man the devil the serpent, formidable though he be, and
thereafter will withdraw the flesh from the bosom of death, and
1 Isa. 58. 8.
2 Isa. 26. 20.
3 Isa. 26. 20. 4 Cf.
5 Cf. Exod. 4.
then prosecute all blood with judgement. And of this God says, in
the same prophet, Because I will also require your blood of all beasts,
and of the hand of a man and of the hand of a brother will I require it.1
Now requisition implies demand of what is due, and demand of
what is due involves payment of debt, and in fact that will be paid
as a debt which under the heading of vengeance will be demanded
and required. For there will be no possibility of avenging that
which has entirely ceased to exist: but that will exist, when brought
again into being for the purpose of being avenged. And thus
everything that is preached with reference to blood has a reference
to flesh, for without flesh blood cannot be. The flesh will be raised
again so that the blood may be avenged.
There are also some things stated in such form as to be free from
the fog of allegory, yet which none the less thirst for an
of their very literalness, as is that in Isaiah, I will kill and will
make alive.2 Evidently the making alive is subsequent to the
killing. Consequently, as he kills by means of death, he will make
alive by means of resurrection. But it is the flesh which is killed by
means of death, and so it is the flesh also which will be made alive
by means of the resurrection. Evidently if to kill is to take the soul
away from the flesh, while to make alive, the contrary of it, is to
bring the soul back to the flesh, the flesh must needs rise again,
since to it the soul which was taken away by means of the killing is
to be brought back again by means of the making alive.
29 Consequently, if both allegorical scriptures and the arguments
of facts, as also plain words, though without naming the
substance itself, throw light upon the resurrection of the flesh, how
much more will it be impossible to call in question those scriptures
which by mention of their several elements fasten this hope upon
the corporal substances themselves. Hear Ezekiel: The hand of the
Lord, he says, came upon me and the Lord carried me out in the spirit and
set me in the midst of the field: this was packed with bones. And he led
me round and round over them, and behold they were many over the face
of the field, and behold they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of
man, shall these bones live? and I said, O Lord Adonai, thou knowest.
And he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones and say, O dry bones,
1 Gen. 9. 5.
2 Deut. 32. 39; cf. 1 Sam. 2. 6.
hear the word of the Lord: thus saith the Lord Adonai to these hones,
Behold I do bring spirit into you and ye shall live, and I will put sinews
upon you and will bring back flesh upon you and I will surround you
with skin and will put spirit in you and ye shall live and shall know that
I am the Lord. And I prophesied according to the commandment, and
behold a voice while I prophesied, and behold a movement, and bones came
near to bones. And I saw, and behold over the bones there came up
sinews and flesh, and flesh was laid about upon them, and spirit was not
in them. And he said to me, Prophesy to the spirit, son of man, prophesy
and say to the spirit, Thus saith the Lord Adonai, Come from the four
winds, O spirit, and breathe in these slain, and let them live. And
I prophesied to the spirit as he had commanded me, and the spirit entered
into them and they lived and stood firm upon their feet, an exceeding great
force. And he said unto me, Son of man, the whole house of Israel is
these bones: they themselves say, Our bones are dried up and our hope is
perished, we are made eunuchs among them. Therefore prophesy unto
them, Behold I do open your sepulchres and will carry you out of your
sepulchres, O my people, and will bring you into the land of Israel, and
ye shall know that I the Lord have opened your sepulchres and brought
you out of your sepulchres, O my people, and I will put spirit in you and
ye shall live and shall be at rest in your land and shall know that I the
Lord have spoken it and shall have done it, saith the Lord.1
30 I am aware in what fashion they weaken the force of this
preaching also, arguing that it is an allegory, because in saying, The
whole house of Israel is these bones,2 he has made them an image of
Israel and has transferred them from their proper condition: and
that thus there is a figured and not a true preaching of resurrection,
for there is delineated the Jewish state, which was in some sort
dead and withered up, and scattered in the field of the world: and
that consequently the image of resurrection is allegorized with
reference to it, in that it has to be gathered again and recompacted
bone to bone, that is, tribe to tribe and people to people, and to be
re-embodied in the flesh of possessions and the sinews of kingdom,
and thus to be brought out from its sepulchres, that is, the
and dismal habitations of captivity, and under the head of
refreshment be made to breathe again and be alive thereafter in its
1 Ezek. 37. 1-14.
2 Ezek. 37. 11.
own land of Judaea. And what after these things? Doubtless they
will die. And what after death? No resurrection, I think, unless
this is it which is revealed to Ezekiel. But resurrection is preached in
other places besides: consequently this also will be one, and they
are too bold in converting it into the state of the Jewish polity. Or
if that whose case we are arguing is another one, it makes no
difference to me so long as there is also a resurrection of bodies, as
there is of the Jewish polity. In short, by this very fact that the
reappearance of the Jewish state is figured by the re-embodiment and
reanimation of bones, there is proof that this also will take place
with bones: for it would not be possible for a parable to be devised
from bones unless that same thing were also going to take place
with bones. For although in an image there is a model of the
truth, the image itself is in the truth which it is itself: that must of
necessity exist first for itself, which is to be made a parable of
something else. A similitude concerning vacuity has no
and a parable concerning nullity has no pertinence. Thus we
shall need to believe that there will be also a revisceration and
reinspiration of bones, such as is described, so that it may be
for there to be expressed by it such a reshaping of the Jewish
polity as is modelled upon it. But it is more consonant with piety
for the truth to have its case proved by its own authority and the
plain meaning which the sense of the divine purpose demands.
For if this vision had had in view the Jewish polity, immediately
the location of the bones had been revealed he would have added,
The whole house of Israel is these bones,1 and the rest to follow. But
since, having pointed out the bones, he makes some allusion to
their own proper hope, not yet having mentioned Israel, and tests
the prophet's faith, Son of man, shall these bones live?, so that he
replied, O Lord, thou knowest2----God would certainly not have
tested the prophet's faith concerning something that was not going
to happen, which Israel had never heard of, which was no
object of belief. But inasmuch as the resurrection of the dead
was indeed being preached, though Israel, faithless because of its
unbelief, was offended and in view of the condition of the corpse
now some time dead had given up hope of its resurrection, or else
1 Ezek. 37. 11.
2 Ezek. 37. 3.
was directing its mind not towards it but rather towards its own
circumstances, for this reason God forearmed the prophet, as
though he too was in doubt, for steadfastness in preaching, by
revealing the order of the resurrection, and commended to the
people's belief that which he had revealed to the prophet, affirming
that the bones which were to rise again were those very people
who did not believe that the bones would rise again. Finally, at the
conclusion, he says, And ye shall know that I the Lord have spoken it
and shall have done it1----evidently intending to do that which he
had spoken: whereas he would not have been intending to do that
which he had spoken, if he had been intending to do it otherwise
than he had spoken it.
31 Clearly, if it were in an allegory that the people <of Israel>,
bemoaning the death of dispersion, were whispering that their
bones were dried up and their hope lost, we might reasonably
have thought that God had consoled a figurative despair with a
figurative promise. But since the damage of dispersion had not
yet come upon that people, whereas the hope of resurrection had
often collapsed among them, it is evident that on the ground that
bodies perish they were making unstable their confidence of
resurrection: and so God also was rebuilding that faith which the
people were pulling down. And yet, even if Israel's mourning at
that time was occasioned by some dismay at their present
it would not follow that the purpose of the revelation must
be understood as a parable, but as an attestation of the resurrection,
so as to lift them up towards that hope (I mean of eternal salvation
with its more indispensable restitution) and recall them from
consideration of their present affairs. For to this effect the prophet also
speaks elsewhere, Ye shall go forth----from the sepulchres----as calves
let loose from halters and ye shall tread down your enemies:2 and again,
Your heart shall rejoice and your bones shall come up like the grass3----
because the grass also is refashioned from the dissolution and cor-
ruption of the seed. To sum up: if the claim is that the figure of the
resurrection of the bones applies to the state of Israel and it alone,
why is it that not for Israel alone but for all the nations that same
hope is proclaimed of the reincorporation and reanimation of their
1 Ezek. 37. 14.
2 Mal. 4. 2.
3 Isa. 66. 14.
remains, along with the awakening of the dead from their
sepulchres? For of them, all it is said, The dead shall live and shall
arise from the sepulchres, for the dew which is from thee is healing to their
bones.1 Also in another place, All flesh shall come to worship in my
sight, saith the Lord:2 when? When the fashion of this world begins
to pass away. For he had first said, Even as the new heaven and the
new earth which I do make are in my sight, saith the Lord, so shall your
seed stand.3 Then also will be fulfilled what he says next, And they
shall go forth----surely from their sepulchres----and look upon the
<severed> limbs of those who have done wickedly, because their worm
shall not fail, nor shall their fire be quenched, and it shall be enough for
all flesh to see4----that flesh, in fact, which having been raised again
and come forth from the sepulchres will be worshipping the Lord
for this grace.
32 But lest it should seem that the only resurrection preached is
of those bodies which are consigned to sepulchres, you have it
written, And I will command the fishes of the sea and they shall spew up
the bones that are consumed and I will bring joint to joint and bone to
bone.5 In that case, you say, the fishes also will be raised up again,
as will the other beasts and the carnivorous fowl, so as to vomit
back those whom they have consumed: because in Moses you read
that the blood is required of all beasts.6 Not so: the beasts and
fishes are mentioned in the restitution of flesh and blood solely for
the clearer expression of the resurrection even of bodies devoured,
in that exaction is decreed upon the very devourers----but I
that Jonah is a sufficient proof that God has this power as
well,7 when he is disembarked from the sea-monster's belly
uncorrupt in respect of both substances, flesh and soul, and certainly
the whale's entrails would have been more competent to digest
the flesh in three days than would a coffin, a sepulchre, and the
long age of some peaceful and embalmed burial----saving the fact
that by beasts he has indicated in a figure men who are in an
exceptional degree fierce against the Christian name, or even the very
angels of iniquity, of whom the blood will be exacted by means of
1 Isa. 26. 19. 2 Isa. 66. 23.
3 Isa. 66. 22.
4 Isa. 66. 24.
5 Enoch 61. 5. 6 Cf. Gen. 9. 5.
7 Cf. Jonah 2. 10.
the penalty they will have to pay. Will any one then, who is
nearer akin to learning than to guesswork, and more diligent of
belief than of contention, who is rather in awe of the divine
wisdom than rashly confident of his own, when he hears that God
has appointed a certain destiny for flesh and skin and sinews and
bones, invent some other meaning for these, as though that which
is preached respecting these substances were not the destiny of
man? For either man has no destiny, neither the citizenship of the
kingdom nor the sternness of the judgement nor whatsoever the
resurrection consists of, or else, if that is man's destiny, it must be
the destiny of those substances which constitute man whose
destiny it is. This also I ask of these cunning transmuters of bones
and flesh and sinews and sepulchres: Why, whenever any
pronouncement is made respecting the soul, do they refrain from
interpreting soul as something else or from remoulding it into a
proof of the other entity, yet when any decree is published
some constituent of the body assert that it is anything and
everything except the thing named? If statements referring to the
body are parables, so are those which refer to the soul: if those
which refer to the soul are not, neither are those which refer to the
body. For man is as much body as soul, and consequently it is
impossible for one of his constituents to admit of enigmas while the
other excludes them.
33 That is enough concerning the prophetic document. I now
make my appeal to the Gospels, intending here also to confront
first of all that same subtilty of those who, because it is written, All
these things spake Jesus in parables and without a parable spake he not
unto them,1 namely the Jews, immediately claim that the Lord made
all his pronouncements in parables. For the disciples also say, Why
speakest thou in parables?2 and the Lord answers, Therefore speak
I unto them in parables that seeing they may not see and hearing they
may not hear,3 according to Isaiah.4 But if to the Jews in parables,
then not to all: if not to all in parables, then not always: and not all
things are parables but only some things, when he speaks to some.
But to some when to the Jews: sometimes evidently even to the
1 Matt. 13. 34. 2 Matt. 13. 10.
3 Matt. 13. 13.
4 Cf. Isa. 6. 9.
disciples. But observe how the scripture relates it: But he was
sneaking also a parable unto them.1 Consequently he used also to
speak that which was not parable, for it would not have been
noted when he did speak a parable if he was used always so to
speak. Moreover you will not find any parable which is not either
explained by him, like that of the sower regarding the
of the word;2 or else has light thrown on it beforehand by the
compiler of the Gospel, like that of the proud judge and the
persistent widow respecting perseverance in prayer;3 or else is
obviously to be surmised, like that of the figtree spared in hope, in
the likeness of Jewish unfruitfulness.4 But if not even parables
becloud the light of the gospel, even less will statements and
pronouncements, whose nature it is to be open, mean other than
they sound. But it is by pronouncements and statements that the
Lord propounds whether it be the judgement or the kingdom of
God or the resurrection. It will be more tolerable, he says, for Tyre
and Sidon in the day of judgement:5 and, Say unto them that the
kingdom of God hath come nigh:6 and, Thou shalt be recompensed at the
resurrection of the just.7 If the names of the things, that is,
and 'kingdom of God' and 'resurrection' have an evident
meaning, so that nothing of theirs can be constrained into a parable,
neither can those things be forced into parables which are preached
respecting the establishment, the administration, the downfall,
and the resurrection of the Jewish kingdom: and thus they will
establish their claim to be corporal, as being destined for corporal
beings, and in that case not spiritual, because not metaphorical.
And it is for this reason that I have already proved that the body
of the soul, as of the flesh, has owing to it rewards which will
be paid for that which they have wrought in common, so that the
corporeity of the soul may not, by supplying opportunity for
metaphors, exclude the corporeity of the flesh, seeing we must
believe that both the one and the other is a partaker of both
kingdom and judgement and resurrection. And now I proceed
with my purpose of proving that corporeity of the flesh is speci-
1 Luke 18. 9.
2 Cf. Matt. 13. 18-23.
3 Cf. Luke 18. 1-5. 4 Cf. Luke 13. 6-9.
5 Matt. 11. 24.
6 Matt. 10. 7.
7 Luke 14. 14.
fically indicated by our Lord at every mention of the resurrection,
without prejudice to the corporeity of the soul, which indeed
few have admitted.
34 In the first place, when he says he has come for the purpose of
saving that which has perished,1 what do you allege has perished?
Man, undoubtedly. In whole or in part? In whole, of course,
seeing that the transgression which is the cause of man's perdition,
having been committed alike by the prompting of the soul from
concupiscence and by the act of the flesh from tasting, has
involved the whole man in the indictment of transgression and
consequently infected him with the guilt of perdition. As then he
has totally perished by sinning, totally will he be saved, unless
perchance that sheep gets lost without its body, and without its
body is brought home.2 For if its flesh along with its soul (and this
is the whole animal) is carried on the good shepherd's shoulders,
this is obviously a precedent of man's being restored in respect of
both his substances. Else how unworthy of God, to bring half a
man back to salvation, almost to do less <than a man would do>,
when even of this world's princes the indulgence is always claimed
in full. Must the devil be understood to be more powerful for
man's damage, as smashing the whole man down, and God be
declared less powerful, as lifting less than the whole man up? And
yet the apostle submits that where sin abounded, there grace did
much more abound.3 How indeed shall a man be considered saved
when it will also be possible to say he has perished? Perished in the
flesh, I mean, though saved in soul: except that now even the soul
has to be classed with that which has perished, to make it possible
for it to be saved: for that which is to be saved must needs be the
same thing as has perished. But once more, either we accept the
soul's immortality, so that its perdition may be believed to issue
not in destruction but in chastisement, which means hell----and if
that is so, then salvation will have in view not the soul, it being of
its own nature safe through immortality, but rather the flesh,
which all agree is destructible----or else, if the soul also is
(that is, not immortal) as the flesh is, that standing rule that
1 Cf. Luke 19. 10.
2 Cf. Luke 15. 4-6.
3 Cf. Rom. 5. 20.
the Lord is to save that which is perishing will in equity have to
apply to the flesh which is certainly mortal and destructible. I have
no mind at present to play tug-of-war as to whether perdition lays
claim to man on this side or on that, so long as on both sides
points his way, equally balanced towards both his substances.
For in respect of whichever substance you suppose man to have
perished, in respect of the other he does not perish: and it must
follow that he is saved already in that in respect of which he does
not perish, while none the less he is to be brought to salvation in
that in respect of which he does perish. There you have the
of the whole man, in that whatsoever of him perishes the Lord
will bring to salvation, while whatsoever does not perish he is of
course not going to destroy. How can you still suspect that either
substance has anything to fear, when one of them is to attain to
salvation, while the other is not going to lose it? Moreover the
Lord again expresses the meaning of the matter when he says, I am
come not to do my own will but the Father's who hath sent me.1 What
will, I ask you? That of everything he hath given me I should lose
nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.2 What had Christ
received of the Father, if not that with which he had clothed
himself, manhood undoubtedly, warp and woof of flesh and soul?
Therefore he will suffer to perish neither of the things he has
received, not even any part of either, not even a little bit. But if
the flesh is a little bit, then not the flesh, because 'not even a little
bit', nor any of it, because 'not even any part'. And besides, if he
is not to raise the flesh up again at the last day, then it is not a little
bit that he will suffer to perish from manhood but (in respect of so
large a part I might say) almost the whole. When he adds further,
This is the Father's will, that every one that looketh upon the Son and
believeth in him should have eternal life, and that I should raise him up
at the last day,3 he builds up a resurrection with nothing left out:
for to each substance by means of its functions he assigns its proper
meed of salvation----to the flesh by means of which the Son was
looked upon, and to the soul by means of which he was believed
in. In that case, you will say, the promise was made to those
persons by whom Christ was <actually> seen. Clearly let it be so,
1 John 6. 38.
2 John 6. 39.
3 John 6. 40.
provided the same hope has seeped down to us from them. For if
at that time the acts of flesh and soul were fruitful to those who saw
and consequently believed, much more so for us----for, More
blessed are they who do not see, and <yet> will believe1----since even if to
those the resurrection of the flesh were denied, it would certainly
have been granted to such as are more blessed: for how could they
be blessed if they were partly to perish?
35 Moreover his injunction is that he is rather to be feared who
slays both body and soul in hell (that is, the Lord alone), not those
who slay the body but can do the soul no harm (meaning human
potentates).2 Here then is an acknowledgement that the soul is
immortal by nature, seeing it cannot be slain by men, and that
mortality is of the flesh, which is what is slain, and that thus also the
resurrection of the dead is of the flesh, for this will not be able to be
slain in hell unless it is first raised up again. But, seeing that here
also a captious question is raised concerning the interpretation of
'body', my understanding will be that a man's body is none other
than all that structure of the flesh, of whatever sort of materials it is
composed and diversified, that which is seen, is handled, that in
short which is slain by men. So also the body of a wall I shall not
admit to be any other than rubble, stones, and bricks. If anyone
suggests some occult body, let him display it, reveal it, prove that
it is even it that is slain by man, and the text shall refer to it. And
again, if the soul's body is brought up <against us>, the subtilty will
fall flat. For as the proposition is twofold, that body and soul are
slain in hell, body is distinguished from soul, and it remains for
body to be understood as that which is obvious, flesh in fact,
which just as it will be slain in hell if it has not rather feared being
slain by God, so will it be made alive unto life eternal if it has
preferred rather to be put to death by men. Further, if any man is
going to force the slaying of flesh and soul in hell to mean the
destruction and the end of both substances, not their chastisement
(as though they were to be consumed, not as though they were to
be punished) let him recollect that the preaching is that the fire of
hell is eternal, for eternal punishment,3 and thereafter let him
acknowledge that eternity of slaying is rather to be feared than
1 John 20. 29. 2 Cf. Matt. 10. 28.
3 Cf. Matt. 25. 46.
man's slaying, precisely because the latter is temporal. Then also he
will believe that those substances are eternal, seeing that the slaying
of them for punishment is eternal. Certainly, since after the
resurrection the body along with the soul is to be slain by God in hell,
there will be sufficient agreement on both points, resurrection of
the flesh no less than eternal slaying. Else would it be most absurd
if the flesh, having been raised up again, is to be slain in hell for the
express purpose of bringing it to an end, which is what would
happen to it if it were not raised up again: in such a case it will be
reconstituted with intent to terminate the existence of a thing
which has already attained to non-existence. Giving us support for
the same hope he also adds the instance of the sparrows,1 that one
out of two does not fall to the ground without God's will, so that
you may likewise believe that the flesh also which has fallen to the
earth can rise up again through the will of that same God. For
although this is not permitted to sparrows, yet we are more
valuable than many sparrows by the fact that when we fall we rise
again:2 and in fine, when he affirms that the hairs of our head are
all numbered he at once promises their salvation.3 For had they
been going to perish, what accountancy would have reduced them
to number? And surely this is the meaning of, That of all which the
Father hath given me I should lose nothing,4 that is, not even a hair, as
neither an eye nor a tooth. Moreover, whence can come weeping
and gnashing of teeth, if not from eyes and from teeth?5 In fact,
even when the body has been slain in hell and thrust down into
outer darkness----and this is a torture particularly attaching to eyes
----any one who at the marriage-feast is clothed in works less than
worthy will at once be bound hand and foot,6 which shows that he
will have risen again with a body. So again that reclining at meat in
the kingdom of God, and sitting on twelve thrones, and standing
then at the right hand or the left, and eating of the tree of life,7
are most trustworthy evidence of attitude of body.
36 Let us next consider whether, in the process of striking down
the Sadducees' trickery, he has not established our judgement
1 Cf. Matt. 10. 29.
2 Cf. Matt. 10. 31.
3 cf. Matt. 10. 30.
4 John 6. 39.
5 Cf. Matt. 8. 12, 25. 30.
6 Cf. Matt. 22. 13.
7 Cf. Apoc. 2.
instead. The purpose of the question, I suppose, was the pulling
down of the resurrection, inasmuch as the Sadducees admit the
salvation neither of soul nor of flesh: and consequently they
an argument applicable to their proposition from that aspect
<of human nature> from which the faith of the resurrection is
most plausibly weakened, under the pretext, that is, of the flesh,
whether or not it will marry after the resurrection, in the person of
the woman who, having been married to seven brothers, gave
reason for doubt to which of them she should be restored.1 Now
let the purport of both question and answer be kept in mind, and
the controversy has been met. For if, while the Sadducees rejected
the resurrection, our Lord was affirming it, both when he rebuked
them for ignorance of the scriptures (those which had preached
the resurrection) and for disbelief in the power of God (which is
certainly competent to raise the dead) and finally when he added,
But that the dead rise again,2 there is no doubt that by affirming the
existence of that which was denied (that is, the resurrection of the
dead in the presence of the God of the living)3 he also affirmed that
it is of a character such as was denied, is, in fact, of both the human
substances. For if he said they would not then marry,4 he gave
thereby no indication that they will not rise again: indeed he called
them sons of the resurrection,5 for by it in a sort of way they have
to be born: and after it they will not marry, but, having been raised
again.... For they will be like the angels, in that they are not to
marry because they are not to die, and also in that they are to pass
over into angelic quality by virtue of that garment of
by virtue of a transmutation of substance, substance however
raised up again. Else the question whether or not we are to
marry or to die once more would not have been asked, if they had
not been casting doubt upon the restitution of that substance which
is specifically the subject of death and of marriage, that is, the flesh.
Thus you have the Lord affirming as against the heretics of the
Jews that which is now being denied among the Sadducees of the
Christians, a complete and entire resurrection.
1 Cf. Matt. 22. 23-33; Mark 12. 18-23; Luke 20. 27-38.
2 Luke 20. 37.
3 Cf. Matt. 22. 32.
4 Cf. Luke 20. 36.
5 Luke 20. 36.
37 So again, if he says the flesh profiteth nothing,1 the meaning
must take direction from the context of that remark. For seeing
that they regarded his speech as hard and unbearable,2 as though he
had really prescribed his flesh for them to eat, since his purpose was
to assign the establishment of salvation to the Spirit, he first said,
It is the Spirit that quickeneth,3 and only then added, The flesh
profiteth nothing----towards quickening, of course. He also proceeds
to state how he wishes 'the Spirit' to be understood: The words
which I have spoken unto you are spirit and are life:4 as also previously,
He that heareth my discourses and believeth in him that hath sent
me hath eternal life and shall not come into judgement but shall pass
over from death into life.5 And so, when establishing discourse as the
life-giver (because the Discourse is spirit and life), he also said that
it is his flesh, because the Discourse also was made flesh, and
consequently must be sought after for an <efficient> cause of life, both
to be eaten by hearing and chewed over by the understanding and
digested by faith. For a little earlier he had pronounced that his
flesh is also heavenly bread,6 forcing from all sides, by the allegory
of essential food, the memory of their fathers who preferred the
bread and flesh of the Egyptians to the divine vocation.
turning back to their secret thoughts (because he had perceived
that these needed to be broken down) he said, The flesh
profiteth nothing.7 What has this to do with overthrowing the
resurrection of the flesh? Is it not possible for a thing to exist
which, although it profit nothing, yet can receive profit from
something else? The Spirit profiteth, for he giveth life: the flesh
profiteth nothing, for it is put to death. And so it is rather in
accordance with our <view> that he has determined the
of them both. For while showing what is profitable and what
is not profitable he no less threw light on what is profitable to
what, namely the Spirit to the flesh, the Lifegiver to that which is
put to death. For he says, The hour will come when the dead shall
hear the voice of the Son of God, and those that have heard shall live.8
What is the dead thing, if not the flesh? and what is the voice of
1 Cf. John 6. 63.
2 Cf. John 6. 60.
3 John 6. 63.
4 John 6. 63.
5 John 5. 24.
6 Cf. John 6. 51.
7 John 6. 63.
8 John 5. 25.
God, if not the Discourse? and what is the Discourse, if not the
Spirit, who with good reason will raise up the flesh, that thing
which he himself was made, from the death which he himself
suffered, from, the sepulchre into which he himself was brought?
Lastly, when he says, Marvel not, because the hour will come in which
all who are in the tombs will hear the voice of the Son of God and will
come forth, those that have done good things into the resurrection of life,
and those that have done evil things into the resurrection of judgement,1
no one will any longer be able to interpret the dead who are in the
tombs as anything else than bodies and flesh, seeing that tombs
themselves are nothing else than lodging-places for corpses. And
indeed the 'old men'2 themselves, that is, the sinners, those who
are dead through ignorance of God, those who the heretics argue
must be understood as tombs, it is openly stated in the preaching
will come forth from the tombs for judgement. And yet how can
tombs come forth from tombs?
38 We have considered the Lord's words. Now what should we
take to be the purport of his deeds, when he raises up the dead
from their coffins and sepulchres? For what purpose was that? If
for mere display of power or for present grace of reanimation, it
was not a very great thing for him to raise them up when they
were to die once more. But if it was rather with intent to commit
to safe keeping the faith of the resurrection which is to be, it
follows that this too is prejudged as corporal in accordance with the
pattern laid down by this proof of it. Nor shall I tolerate their
saying that on those occasions the resurrection, which is intended
for the soul alone, in its preliminary course reached as far as the
flesh because the resurrection of the invisible soul could not have
been made evident except by means of the raising up again of the
substance which is visible. They know God badly who think him
unable to do what they do not think him able to do. And yet they
know he was able, if they know John's document: for God who
subjected to view the souls, as yet bodiless, of the martyrs, which
were at rest beneath the altar,3 could certainly without flesh have
made them evident to men's eyes as they rose again. But I prefer
1 John 5. 28-9. 2 Cf. Eph. 4. 22; Col. 3. 9.
to think that God cannot tell lies, that he is weak in deception
only, so that he should not give the impression of having provided
proofs beforehand in one fashion and established the fact itself in
another. Nay rather, if he had not power without flesh to submit
a precedent of resurrection, even more so will he be unable
that same substance to bring into evidence the full effect which
the precedent represented. But no precedent is greater than that of
which it is a precedent: yet greater it is if souls along with body are
to be raised up again for a proof of their rising again without body,
with the result that man's complete salvation should be guarantee
for the half of it: for the very nature of precedents called rather for
that which might be considered smaller, I mean a resurrection of a
soul alone, as it might be a foretaste of flesh which was also to rise
again at its due time. And consequently, according to the truth as
we see it, those precedents of dead persons raised by the Lord did
indeed supply proof of the resuscitation of both flesh and soul, so
that this boon might be denied to neither substance, while yet, as
being precedents, they provided somewhat less than this: for those
persons were raised up not for glory nor for incorruptibility, but
so as to die once more.
39 Also the apostolic documents give evidence of what resurrection
Christ has announced. For the apostles had no other task, at
least in Israel, than the unsealing of the Old Testament and the
sealing of the New, and now rather of preaching God in Christ.
Thus even concerning the resurrection they introduced nothing
new, except that the resurrection itself they proclaimed to the
glory of Christ.1 Apart from that it was already accepted in simple
and acknowledged faith without any question as to its nature, the
Sadducees alone objecting: so much easier was it for the
of the dead to be totally denied than for a different construction
to be put upon it. You have Paul as a professor of his own
faith before the chief priests, under the chief captain, between the
Sadducees and the Pharisees.2 Men and brethren, he says, I am a
Pharisee and the son of Pharisees: of the hope now and of the
am I judged before you3----evidently a hope they shared----so that,
1 Cf. Luke 24. 26.
2 Cf. Acts 23. 1-9.
3 Acts 23. 6.
since he was already thought a transgressor of the law, he might
not in respect of the chief article of the whole faith, that is, the
resurrection, be suspected of thinking with the Sadducees. Thus
that faith of the resurrection which he would not seem to annul,
he straightway affirmed in agreement with the Pharisees while
rejecting those deniers of it, the Sadducees.1 Likewise also before
Agrippa he said he professed nothing beyond what the prophets
had proclaimed: so it follows that he retained the resurrection
also, in the form in which the prophets had proclaimed it. For
when he reminded them that it was written in Moses concerning
the resurrection of the dead, he recognized that it was corporal, one,
that is, in which a man's blood will have to be required.2 And so he
preached it in such form as the Pharisees too had accepted and as
the Lord himself had maintained, while the Sadducees, to avoid
believing it in that form, had totally denied its existence. Nor did
the Athenians understand that any other was envisaged by Paul.3 In
fact they mocked, which they would by no means have done if
they had heard from him of the restitution of the soul alone: for
they would have accepted it as a more common supposition of
their native philosophy. But when the preaching of a resurrection
previously unheard-of had shaken the gentiles by its very novelty,
and condign unbelief of so great a matter had begun to torment
the faith with questionings, thereupon the apostle also took care
throughout almost his whole writings to confirm the faith of this
hope, showing both that it exists and has not yet been
and (a matter that was more often brought into question)
that it is corporal, and (a point which was further in doubt) that it
is not corporal in some unusual sense.
40 Now no wonder if captious arguments are drawn even from
the apostle's own writings, seeing there must needs be heresies,4
and these could not exist unless it were also possible for the
scriptures to be perversely understood. The heresies then, seizing
upon the fact that the apostle has set forth two men, the inner,
which is the soul, and the outer, which is the flesh,5 have adjudged
1 Cf. Acts 26. 22. 2 Cf. Acts 26. 22; Gen. 9. 5.
3 Cf. Acts 17. 32.
4 Cf. 1 Cor. 11. 19.
5 Cf. 2 Cor. 4. 16.
salvation to the soul, the inner man, but destruction to the flesh,
the outer man, on the ground that it is written to the Corinthians,
Par although our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is being
renewed from day to day.1 Now the soul by itself is not man, for the
thing formed <by God> was already called 'man' before the soul
was threaded into it:2 nor is flesh without soul man, for after the
soul's exile it is enregistered as 'corpse'. Thus the term 'man' is so
to speak a pin joining together two inter-threaded substances, and
they cannot be described by this term except when they cohere.
But the apostle would rather have 'inner man' understood not as
soul but as mind and intelligence, that is, not as the substance itself
but as a flavour of the substance: for in writing to the Ephesians
that Christ should dwell in the inner man he meant that the Lord
must be made intimate to their thoughts. In fact he added By faith,
and In your hearts, and In love,3 setting down faith and love not as
pertaining to the substance of the soul but to its content, while by
saying In your hearts, which are of the substance of the flesh, he
had already assigned even the inner man to the flesh by locating it
in the heart. Look now in what sense he has suggested that tl
outward man is decaying while the inner man is being renewed
from day to day: and take care not to assert that the decay of the
flesh is that which it suffers after the day of death so as to disappear
for ever: rather was it that which, in the course of this life, before
death and even unto death, it was suffering for the sake of the
Name, by tribulations and distresses, tortures and executions. For
the inner man also will here and now need to be renewed by the
supply of the Spirit, progressing in faith and doctrine from day to
day, not hereafter, not after the resurrection, when we are to be
renewed certainly not from day to day but once and for all. Learn
from what follows: For our temporal and light affliction which is for
the present perfecteth for us by surpassing unto surpassing an eternal
weight of glory, while we look not at the things which are seen----that is,
the sufferings----but at the things which are not seen----that is, the
wages-----for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which
are not seen are eternal.4 For the oppressions and the injuries by
1 2 Cor. 4. 16.
2 Cf. Gen. 2. 7.
3 Eph. 3. 16-17.
4 2 Cor. 4. 17-18.
which the outer man is brought to decay, as being light and
temporal, he declares are for that reason to be despised, while he
gives preference to the weight of the eternal invisible wages and of
the glory, to compensate for the labours which the flesh here suffers
and is brought to decay: so far is he from meaning such decay as
these persons, with intent to discountenance the resurrection,
ascribe to the outer man to the perpetual destruction of the flesh.
So also he says in another place, Forasmuch as we suffer together, that
we may be also glorified together: for I reckon that the sufferings of this
time are not worthy in respect of the future glory which is to be revealed
towards us.1 Here also he shows that the inconveniences are less
than their rewards. Further, if it is by the flesh that we suffer
and it specially appertains to the flesh to be brought to
decay by sufferings, to the flesh also will pertain that which is
promised <as a reward> for suffering together. And in like manner,
with the intention of ascribing to the flesh its particular share in
afflictions, as he has already done, he says, But when we were come
into Macedonia our flesh had no release: and afterwards, so as to
grant to the soul the sharing of sufferings, he says, In all things
distressed: without were fightings----those which battle down the flesh----
within was fear2----that which afflicts the soul. Thus although the
outer man is decaying, it is understood to be decaying not as being
deprived of resurrection but as suffering vexation, and that not
apart from the inner man. So it will appertain to both to be
glorified together just as it does to suffer together: for association
in profits must of necessity run in accordance with partnership in
41 The apostle takes the same thought one step further when he
says that the rewards are greater than the vexations. For we know,
he says, that though the earthly house of our tabernacle is being dissolved,
we have a house not made by hand, eternal in the heavens:3 that is, in
recompense for our flesh being dissolved by sufferings, we shall
acquire a dwelling in the heavens. He remembered the gospel
pronouncement, Blessed are they that shall have suffered persecution
for righteousness' sake, because theirs is the kingdom of heaven.4 He did
1 Rom. 8. 17-18.
2 2 Cor. 7. 5.
3 2 Cor. 5. 1.
4 Matt. 5. 10.
not however deny the restitution of the flesh when he set in opposition
the recompense of the reward, since the recompense is owed
to that same thing to which the dissolution is accounted, namely,
the flesh. But in that he had called the flesh a house, he was
content tastefully to use the term 'house' in comparing the reward
also, promising to that very house which will be dissolved through
suffering a better house by virtue of the resurrection. For the
Lord also promises many mansions, as it were houses, at his
Father's.1 For all that, it can also be understood as our dwelling-
place the world, as that when this is dissolved an eternal abode is
promised in heaven, for as the things which follow manifestly
apply to the flesh they show that what goes before does not apply
to the flesh. For the apostle makes a change of subject when he
adds, For in this we groan, desiring to clothe ourselves with our
dwelling which is from heaven, if so be that, even unclothed, we shall not
be found naked:2 that is, we wish to clothe ourselves with the
heavenly virtue of eternity before being divested of the flesh. For
the special grant of this grace awaits those who at the Lord's
coming are found in the flesh and because of the hardnesses of the
times of Antichrist will be counted worthy, by the short-cut of a
death accomplished by means of change, to complete their course
along with those who rise again, as he writes to the Thessalonians:
For this we say unto you in a discourse of the Lord, that we who are alive,
who remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent those who
have fallen asleep: for the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a
rallying-cry and the voice and the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ
will rise again first: and thereafter, we along with them shall be caught up
together in the clouds to meet Christ, and so shall we ever be with the
42 The change which these undergo he reports to the Corin-
thians, saying, We shall all indeed rise again but we shall not all be
changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump----not
all, but those only, he means, who are found in the flesh: And the
dead, he continues, will rise again, and we shall be changed.4 Having
therefore first taken note of this order of events you will then refer
1 Cf. John 14. 2.
2 2 Cor. 5. 2-3.
3 1 Thess. 4. 15-17.
4 1 Cor. 15. 51-2.
what follows to the sense already indicated. For when he adds,
For this corruptible thing must put on incorruption, and this mortal thing
must put on immortality,1 this will be that dwelling-place from
heaven with which, while groaning in this flesh, we desire to be
clothed upon, surely 'upon' the flesh in which we shall be found:
because he says we who are in the tabernacle are burdened because
we would not be unclothed but rather clothed upon, that the
mortal thing may be swallowed up of life,2 evidently while it is
being changed by being clothed upon with that which is from
heaven. For who will not desire, while still in the flesh, to be
clothed upon with immortality, and to carry on his life without a
break, having profited over death by a change substituted for it, so
as not to experience the hell which will exact the uttermost
Otherwise he will have to acquire his change even after the
resurrection, having first experienced hell. For from now on
I pronounce that the flesh will certainly rise again, and that, as a
result of the change which will supervene, it will take upon it
angelic attire. Otherwise, if the flesh is to need to be changed in
the case of those only who are found in the flesh, so that the mortal
thing may be swallowed up of life,4 that is, the flesh swallowed up
by that heavenly and eternal overgarment, then those who
found dead either will not attain to life, being already deprived of
the material and, so to speak, the food on which life can feed, that
is, the flesh; or else it must needs be that these also receive it back,
so that in them too, if they are to attain to life, it may be possible
for the mortal thing to be swallowed up of life. 'But', you say,
'in the case of the dead, that mortal thing will already have been
swallowed up.' Not indeed in them all. For it is conceivable that
a good number will be found in the state of having died the day
before, corpses so fresh that it can seem that nothing in them has
been swallowed up. For in fact your supposition is that' swallowed
up' means nothing less than suppressed, abolished, removed from
all sense-perception, a thing which in every way has ceased to
make its presence felt. But no one will deny that even those very
ancient corpses of the giants have not been swallowed up, for their
1 1 Cor. 15. 53.
2 Cf. 2 Cor. 5. 4.
3 Cf. Matt. 5. 26; Luke 12. 59.
4 Cf. 2 Cor. 5. 4.
skeletons still survive. I have already spoken of this elsewhere.1
Moreover quite recently in this city, when the foundations of the
Odeum were being laid, to the desecration of many ancient
burials, the populace was aghast at bones almost five hundred years
old, yet still moist, and hair still scented. All admit that not only
do bones endure, but teeth also continue undecayed, and that both
these are preserved, as it were seeds of a body which is to come to
fruit at the resurrection. Finally, although in all the dead the
mortal thing shall then be found to have been swallowed up,2
certainly this will be by death, by time, by age, and surely not by
life, by the overgarment, or by the bestowal of immortality. For
by alleging that the mortal thing will be swallowed up by these, he
denies that it will be swallowed up by the others: and obviously it
will be appropriate for this to be accomplished by divine power,
and not by the laws of nature. Consequently, as that which is
mortal has to be swallowed up of life, it is on all counts necessary
for it to put in an appearance in order to be swallowed up, and to
be swallowed up in order to be changed. If you say that a fire has to
be lighted, you cannot say that the means of its being lighted is in
one case necessary and in another not. So also when he inserts, If
so be that unclothed we shall not be found naked,3 evidently speaking of
those who will be overtaken by the day of the Lord not alive or in
the flesh, he denies the nakedness of those he has just referred to as
unclothed, for no other reason than that he would have them
understood to be dressed again in the same substance of which they
had been stripped. For they will be found as it were naked when
the flesh has been laid aside or partly stripped offer worn away, for
even this can be called nakedness: afterwards they will receive it
back, so that being reclothed with flesh they may be able also to be
clothed upon with immortality. For to be clothed upon can
evidently only apply to one who is already dressed.
43 Likewise when he says, Being therefore always confident, and
knowing that while we are at home in the body we are on pilgrimage from
the Lord, for we are advancing by faith, not by sight,4 it is evident that
this too is not concerned with the vilifying of the flesh as though it
1 Cf. De Anima 51.
2 Cf. 2 Cor. 5. 4.
3 2 Cor. 5. 3.
4 2 Cor. 5. 6-7.
separated us from the Lord. For here also is brought to our attention
an exhortation to despise this present life, inasmuch as we are
in exile from the Lord as long as we live, advancing by faith and
not by sight, that is, in hope and not in reality. And consequently
he adds, But being confident, and thinking it good rather to be on
pilgrimage from the body and to be at home with the Lord,1 evidently so
as to advance rather by sight than by faith, by. reality rather than
by hope. You see how here too he relates the belittling of bodies
to the excellence of martyrdoms. For no one is at home with the
Lord immediately on going into exile from the body except by
the prerogative of martyrdom, in which case he will take up his
lodging in paradise and not in hell. But was the apostle short of
words to signify departure from the body, or had he a good reason
for using a novel expression? Yes, it was because he would signify
a temporary absence from the body, that he spoke of our being on
pilgrimage from it, because one who is on pilgrimage will also
return to his home. After that he says, now with reference to all,
We are eager, whether on pilgrimage or at home, to be pleasing to God:
for we must all be presented before the judgement-seat of Christ Jesus.2
If all, then the whole: if them all, then both inner and outer
man, that is, bodies no less than souls: so that each one, he says, may
receive back the things by means of the body according to what he hath
done, a good thing or else an evil one.3 How, I ask, do you read this?
For he has drawn it up as it were confusedly, by transposition of
words. Does he mean the things which must be received back by
means of the body, or the things which were done by means of the
body? Now if he means the things which must be received back
by means of the body, beyond doubt the resurrection is corporal:
while if he means the things which were done by means of the
body, by means of the body surely they must be recompensed, for
by means of it they were performed. So, seeing the apostle's
discussion is unravelled by the kind of conclusion in which the
resurrection of the flesh is proved, the whole of it from its
will need to be understood in these terms, for they are in
harmony with its conclusion.
1 2 Cor. 5.8.
2 2 Cor. 5. 9-10.
3 2 Cor. 5. 10.
44 If you look back now at the preceding sentences, beyond the
point at which the mention of outer and inner man was
shall you not find both the dignity and the hope of the flesh
unimpaired? For when, speaking of the light which God has made
to shine in our hearts unto the illumination of the knowledge of
his glory in the person of Christ, the apostle says that we have this
treasure in earthen vessels, that is, in the flesh,2 is the flesh, because
it is earthen, to be thrown down in accordance with its origin
from mud, or not rather to be lifted up because it is a receptacle of
divine treasure? Yea more, if that very light of God, that true light
which is in the person of Christ, contains life in itself, and that life
along with the light is deposited in flesh, is that flesh to perish in
which life is deposited? Evidently so, if the treasure itself is to
perish: for things entrusted to perishable things themselves perish,
like new wine put in old wineskins.3 When again he adds, Always
bearing about in our body the dying of Christ Jesus,4 what manner of
thing is this, which can first be called the temple of God,5 and then
the sepulchre of Christ? But to what purpose do we bear about
in the body the dying of the Lord? So that the life also, he says, may
be manifested. Where? In the body. Which? The mortal body.6 In
the flesh then, which evidently is mortal according to guilt, but
vital according to grace: and see how great a grace, that in it the
life of Christ should be manifested. Can it then be that in a thing
alien to salvation, a substance destined to perpetual dissolution,
there shall be manifested that life of Christ which is eternal,
perennial, incorruptible, which was from the first the life of God?
Or what period of the Lord's life will be manifested in our body?
That life indeed which he lived until his passion, was not only
manifest among the Jews but has now also been published to all
the gentiles. Therefore he means that which has broken down the
adamantine gates of death and the brazen bolts of hell,7 that life
which from thenceforth has become ours. Once more, it is to be
manifested in the body. When? After death. How? When we rise
again in the body, as Christ did. For, so that no one may argue
1 Cf. 2 Cor. 4. 16.
2 Cf. 2 Cor. 4. 6-7.
3 Cf. Matt. 9. 17; Mark 2. 22; Luke 5. 37.
4 2 Cor. 4. 10.
5 Cf. 1 Cor. 3. 16.
6 2 Cor. 4. 11.
7 Cf. Ps. 107. 16.
that the life of Jesus has now to be manifested in our body by
means of the discipline of holiness and patience and righteousness
and wisdom, qualities in which the Lord's life came to flower, the
apostle's very foresighted statement subjoins, Forasmuch as we who
live are being delivered to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life also may
be manifested in our mortal body.1 Thus he means that this will come
to pass in our body after we are dead. But if then, how, unless it
has been raised again? Accordingly he also says, at the conclusion,
Knowing that he who hath raised up Jesus will also raise us up along
with him,2 because he has already risen again from the dead: unless
it is that 'along with him' means 'like him'. But if it means 'like
him', then certainly not without flesh.
45 Yet once more, by another piece of blindness, they stumble
up against two men, the old man and the new,3 when the apostle
enjoins us to put off the old man, who is being corrupted through
the lusts of deceit, and to be renewed in the spirit of the mind and
to put on the new man who according to God has been created in
the righteousness and religion of the truth: so that here also, by
making a distinction into two substances, <assigning> oldness to
flesh and newness to soul, they may claim perpetual corruption for
the old <man>, that is, the flesh. Yet if the distinction is according
to substances, neither is the soul the new man because it is later,
nor is the flesh the old man because earlier. For how short a time
was there between the hand of God and his breathing! I would be
bold to say, Even if the flesh were much earlier than the soul, by
the very fact that it waited for itself to be filled with soul it made
the soul earlier. For every consummation and perfection, though
subsequent in sequence, is previous in effect. A thing is earlier
than earlier if without it earlier things cannot exist. If the flesh is
the old man, when did it become so? From the beginning? Yet
Adam was wholly new, and no man reverts back from new to
old. For ever since the blessing of their procreation flesh and soul
come into existence together,4 without reckoning of time, as
things which are simultaneously sown in the womb, as I have
taught in my treatise On the Soul.5 They are contemporaries at
1 2 Cor. 4. 11.
2 2 Cor. 4. 14.
3 Cf. Eph. 4. 21-24.
4 Cf. Gen. 1. 28.
5 Cf. De Anima 27.
conception, of one age at birth. They bring to birth as one these
two men, certainly of double substance, though not of double age,
since neither is the elder. It is easier to regard us as being wholly
either old or new: for how we can be one without the other, we
know not. But the apostle sets a clear mark upon the old man: for
he says, Put off the man who is old according to former conversation,1
not 'according to the decrepitude of some substance or other'. For
he is not instructing us to put away the flesh, but those things
which he elsewhere describes as carnal,2 bringing accusation not
against bodies but against works, of which also he adds here,
Putting away lying, speak the truth each man to his neighbour, for we are
members one of another. But be ye angry and sin not: let not the sun go
down upon your wrath, neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole
steal no more, yea rather let him labour by working with his hands, that
he may have to impart to him that is in need. Let no ugly speech proceed
out of your mouth, but that which is best for the edifying of faith, that it
may minister grace to the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of
God, in whom ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all
and wrath and clamour and blasphemy be taken away from you, with
all malice. But be kind one to another, merciful, forgiving one another,
even as God hath in Christ forgiven you.3 Why then do these who
regard the flesh as the old man not bring speedy death upon
so that by putting off the old man they may hasten to meet
the apostle's precepts? We however, in our belief that the whole
faith must be administered in the flesh, and even through the
flesh----for to it belongs the mouth for bringing forth every
speech, and the tongue for not blaspheming, and the heart for not
being indignant, and the hands for working and for imparting----
claim that both the oldness of man and his newness imply not
a substantial but a moral difference. And thus no less do we
acknowledge that the same man who was old according to his
former conversation is said <by the apostle> to be corrupt
according to the lusts of deceit in the same sense as <he is called> old
according to his former conversation----not corrupt according to
the flesh by a perpetual destruction, but rather, his flesh being
1 Eph. 4. 22.
2 Cf. Gal. 5. 19.
3 Eph. 4. 25-32.
saved, both the same man and a saved man, seeing he has stripped
himself not of his corporeity but of his vicious conduct.
46 You may find the apostle always like this, condemning the
works of the flesh in such terms as to seem to condemn the flesh,
yet by the provision of thoughts from elsewhere, or even from the
same context, taking precaution that no one should so think. For
when he says that those who are in the flesh cannot please God,1 he
immediately recalls us from corrupt to sound understanding by
adding, But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit.2 For by denying
that those were in the flesh who it was evident were in the flesh, he
indicated that they were not in the works of the flesh, and thus in
fine that those who could not please God were not such as were in
the flesh but such as lived in fleshly fashion; while those did please
God who though located in the flesh were walking according to
the Spirit. And again he says that the body indeed is dead----yet
because of transgression, even as he says the Spirit is life because of
righteousness.3 But, when opposing life to the death which is
situated in the flesh, there is no doubt that he promised life as a
result of righteousness in the same sphere in which he decreed
death as a result of transgression: else in vain did he oppose life to
death, if it is not in the same sphere as that death to which he
opposed it----evidently with the idea of its being expelled from the
body. Now if life expels death from the body it can only do so by
penetrating that in which that is which it expels. But why should
I argue with such complexity, when the apostle speaks with less
reserve? For if, he says, the Spirit of him who raised up Jesus dwelleth
in you, he who raised up Jesus from the dead will also raise up your
mortal bodies because of his Spirit who dwelleth in you.4 So that even if
someone has made up his mind that 'mortal body' means the soul,
yet since he cannot deny that the flesh also is a mortal body, he is
forced to acknowledge the raising up of the flesh as well, according
as each of them shares that quality which the other has. From
what follows, you may learn once more that it is the works of the
flesh that are condemned, not the flesh itself. Therefore, brethren, he
says, we are debtors not to the flesh to live after the flesh: for if ye live
1 Cf. Rom. 8. 8.
2 Rom. 8. 9.
3 Cf. Rom. 8. 10.
4 Rom. 8. 11.
after the flesh ye shall die: but if by the Spirit ye mortify the deeds of the
flesh ye shall live.1 So then, that I may reply to all the questions
severally: if it is to those who are situated in the flesh but are
dwelling according to the Spirit, that salvation is promised, in that
case it is not the flesh, but the operation of the flesh, which is
hostile to salvation. But when the operation of the flesh, which is
the cause of death, has been expelled, the flesh is at once proved to
be saved, since it is free from the cause of death: For, he says, the
law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath set me free from the law of
transgression and death2----evidently that law which he has already
said dwells in our members.3 Consequently our members will no
longer be held to the law of death, because neither are they held to
the law of transgression, from both which laws they have been set
free. For, that wherein the law was powerless, that in which it was
being made weak through the flesh, God, having sent his own Son in the
likeness of the flesh of transgression, and by means of transgression, hath
condemned transgression in the flesh4----not the flesh in the
transgression, for neither is a house to be condemned along with its
inhabitant. For he has said that sin is an inhabitant of our body.5
But when the transgression was condemned the flesh was acquitted,
just as, when transgression was uncondemned, the flesh was under
bond to the law of death and transgression. Thus though he has
described the mind of the flesh as death,6 and consequently as
enmity towards God, yet he does not so describe the flesh itself. To
what then, you will ask, is the mind of the flesh to be accounted, if
not to that substance itself? Evidently to it, if you prove that the
flesh has any consciousness of its own. But if apart from the soul it
has no mind, you must understand that the mind of the flesh is to be
referred to the soul, though it is for a time accounted to the flesh
because it is for the sake of the flesh and by means of the flesh that
it is administered. And for this reason he says that transgression
dwells in the flesh,7 because the soul also, by which transgression is
introduced, is an inmate of the flesh, and the flesh has indeed been
put to death, not however on its own account but on account of
1 Rom. 8. 12-13.
2 Rom. 8. 2.
3 Cf. Rom. 7. 23.
4 Rom. 8. 3.
5 cf. Rom. 7. 17.
6 Cf. Rom. 8. 6-7.
7 Cf. Rom. 7. 17.
the transgression. For he says also in another place, How, even
now, as though living in the world, do ye pass judgement?,1 when he is
not writing to dead men but to those who ought to be ceasing to
live in worldly fashion.
47 It will be this worldly living which he calls the old man, who
he says was crucified together with Christ,2 not a corporal
but a moral character. Otherwise, if we do not so take it,
our corporal constitution has not been crucified together, nor has
our flesh suffered the cross of Christ; but as he has added, That the
body of transgression may be made void,3 by amendment of life, not by
destruction of its substance, even so he says, That henceforth we may
not be in bondage to transgression,4 so that, having on this reckoning
also died together with Christ, we may believe that we shall also
be alive along with him. For he says, Even so ye, reckon ye
dead indeed:5 to what? to the flesh? No, but to transgression.
Consequently they will be saved to the flesh, but alive to God in
Christ Jesus, by means of the flesh surely to which they will not be
dead, seeing they are dead to transgression, not to the flesh. For he
adds yet once more, Let not therefore transgression reign in your
mortal body for you to obey it and to present your members to
transgression as weapons of unrighteousness: but present yourselves to God as
those that are alive from the dead----not 'as those alive' but 'as those
alive from the dead'----and your members as weapons of righteousness.6
And again, As ye have presented your members as servants of
and iniquity unto iniquity, so also now present your members as
servants of righteousness unto sanctifying. For when ye were the slaves
of transgression ye were free of righteousness. What fruit therefore had ye
in respect of the things of which ye are now ashamed? For the end of
those things is death. Now however, having been made free from
and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto sanctifying,
and the end everlasting life: for the wages of transgression is death, but
God's gratuity is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.7 Thus while
throughout this whole sequence of thoughts he dissevers our
members from unrighteousness and transgression and conjoins
1 Col. 2. 20.
2 Cf. Rom. 6. 6.
4 Ibid. 5 Rom. 6. 11.
6 Rom. 6. 11-13.
7 Rom. 6. 19-23.
them to righteousness and holiness, transferring them also from the
wages which is death to the gratuity which is life eternal, he
evidently promises the flesh the recompense of salvation: for it
would on no account have been fitting to demand of it any
discipline of its own in holiness and righteousness unless to it also
had pertained the prize of the discipline, nor for baptism itself to be
entrusted to it if it were not also by means of regeneration being
set on the way towards restitution: for the apostle makes this
point as well, Know ye not that whosoever we are that have been
baptized into Jesus have been baptized into his death? Therefore we are
buried together with him by means of baptism into death, so that even as
Christ hath risen from the dead so we also should proceed in newness of
life.1 And lest you should think that that is spoken only of this life
which, starting from faith, must after baptism be lived in newness,
with great precaution he adds, For if we have been planted together by
a likeness of Christ's death, we shall also belong to the resurrection.2 For
by a likeness we die, in baptism; but in actuality we rise again, in
the flesh, as Christ also did. So that as the offence reigned in death, so
also grace may reign through righteousness unto life everlasting through
Jesus Christ our Lord.3 How 'so also', if not, no less than he, in the
flesh? For where death was, there also is the life after death,
because the life was first there where afterwards the death was.
For if the reign of death has no other effect than the dissolution of
the flesh, it logically follows that life, being contrary to death, must
have the contrary effect, namely the redintegration of the flesh, to
the end that as death had swallowed it up by gaining the mastery,4
so also, the mortal thing being swallowed up by immortality, death
may be in a position to be asked, O death where is thy sting? O death
where is thy striving?5 Thus then will grace superabound where also
iniquity has abounded.6 And thus also will strength be made perfect
in weakness,7 by saving what has perished, quickening what has
died, healing what was smitten, curing what is sick, redeeming
what was stolen, freeing what was enslaved, recalling what was led
astray, raising up what was stricken down:8 raising it even from
1 Rom. 6. 3-4.
2 Rom. 6. 5.
3 Rom. 5. 21.
4 Cf. Isa. 25. 8.
5 1 Cor. 15. 55. 6 Cf. Rom. 5. 20.
7 Cf. 2 Cor. 12. 9.
8 Cf. Ezek. 34. 16.
earth to heaven, where the Philippians also learn from the apostle
that our citizenship is, from whence also we look for our Saviour Jesus
Christ, who will transfigure the body of our humility into conformity
with the body of his glory1----without doubt after the resurrection,
seeing that even Christ himself was not glorified until after his
passion. It will be these bodies of ours which he prays the Romans
to present as a sacrifice, living, holy, well-pleasing to God.2 How
can the sacrifice be living, if the bodies are to perish? How holy,
if they are inadmissible to sacred use? How well-pleasing, if they
are damned? Come now, how will these shunners of the light of
the scriptures understand that to the Thessalonians which I think
is written as with a beam of the sun itself, so bright it is?----And
may the God of peace sanctify you wholly. Is that not enough? Yet he
proceeds, And may your entire body and soul and spirit he preserved
without complaint at the presence of the Lord.3 There you have the
whole substance of man, with salvation for its destiny, and that at
no other time than at the coming of the Lord, which is the key of
48 But, you object, Flesh and blood cannot obtain by inheritance the
kingdom of God.5 I am aware that this also is written, but have
purposely deferred it until now, with the intention of laying flat at
the final assault the obstruction the enemy build up at the very first
onset, after first knocking down all the questionings with which it
has been as it were buttressed. But in this case also the context will
call for review, so that this thought too may be controlled by
the precedent of what it springs from. The apostle, I suppose,
having set before the Corinthians the complete definition of the
church discipline,6 had bound up the sum-total of his own gospel
and of their faith in his delivery of our Lord's death and
so as to derive the rule of our hope also from that whereon it
might stand firm. And so he adds, But if Christ is preached that he
hath risen from the dead, how say some among you that there is not a
resurrection of the dead? For if there is not, neither is Christ risen. If
Christ is not risen, our preaching is void, your faith also is void. We shall
1 Cf. Phil. 3. 20, 21.
2 Cf. Rom. 12. 1.
3 1 Thess. 5. 23.
4 Cf. Apoc. 1.
5 1 Cor. 15. 50.
6 Cf. 1 Cor. 15. 1-8.
be found even false witnesses of God, seeing we have borne witness that
he hath raised Christ up again, when he hath not raised him up. For if
the dead rise not again, neither is Christ risen again. If Christ is not
risen again your faith is vain, because ye are yet in your sins, and those
who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.1 To belief of what fact
do you think he is by these means building us up? The
of the dead, you reply, which was under denial. Surely
desiring it to be believed by the example of the Lord's
resurrection? Certainly, you say. Now is an example applied out of
diversity or out of similarity? Evidently, you say, of similarity.
Then how did Christ rise again? In the flesh, or not? Undoubtedly
if you hear that he died, that he was buried, according to the
scriptures,2 and not otherwise than in the flesh, you must no less
admit that he was raised again in the flesh: for that very thing
which died in death, which lay down in burial, this it is which has
also risen again, not so much Christ in the flesh as the flesh in
Christ. Therefore if we are to rise again after Christ's example, and
he rose again in the flesh----well, we shall not be rising again after
Christ's example if we are not ourselves also to rise again in the
flesh. Since, he says, by man <came> death, by man <came> also the
resurrection,3 so as to distinguish the two authors, Adam the author
of death, Christ the author of the resurrection, and yet, by
together the authors under the name of 'man', to determine
that the resurrection is of the same substance as the death was. For
if as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive,4 they will
be made alive in Christ in the flesh, just as in Adam they die in the
flesh. But every one in his own order,5 because of course in his own
body: for the order will be regulated in accordance with already
regulated deserts. But since deserts are accounted to the body as
well, so of necessity the order of the bodies must be regulated, to
make it possible for the order of deserts to be. And again, if some
are baptized for the dead,6 we shall enquire whether this is with
good reason. Certainly he suggests that they had instituted that
custom on the assumption by which they supposed that vicarious
baptism would be of benefit even to another flesh towards the hope
1 1 Cor. 15. 12-18.
2 Cf. 1 Cor. 15. 3-4.
3 1 Cor. 15. 21.
4 1 Cor. 15. 22.
5 1 Cor. 15. 23.
6 Cf. 1 Cor. 15. 29.
of resurrection, which, unless it were corporal, would not be
bound up with a corporal baptism. He asks why they themselves
also are baptized <if the dead rise not>, that is, if the bodies that are
baptized do not rise again? For the soul is sanctified not by the
washing but by the profession of faith. And why, he asks, stand we
in jeopardy every hour?1----evidently by virtue of the flesh. I die
daily2----surely by the perils of that flesh by which he also fought
with beasts at Ephesus,3 meaning those beasts of the Asiatic
of which he speaks in the second epistle to the same people:
For we would not have you ignorant, brethren, of our affliction in Asia,
that above measure we were burdened beyond our strength, so that we
were in doubt even of life.4 All these experiences, if I mistake not, he
recounts because he does not wish the strivings of the flesh to be
believed to be in vain, and does wish the resurrection of the flesh
to be believed with full assurance: for the striving of that of which
there will be no resurrection must be held to be in vain. But some
man will say, How will the dead rise again, and with what body will
they come?5 Here at last he discourses of the qualities of bodies,
whether they be the same bodies, or others, that are resumed. But
as this kind of question may be considered to come later, it shall
suffice meanwhile that by this theme also the resurrection is defined
as corporal, since it is with the quality of bodies that the discussion
49 We have now reached 'flesh and blood', in very truth <the
hub> of the whole enquiry. Under what conditions the apostle has
disinherited these substances from the kingdom of God, we may
no less than before learn from what precedes. The first man, he says,
is from the earth, choic, that is, composed of mud, and this is Adam:
the second man is from heaven,6 that is, the Word of God, and this is
Christ, who is, however, though from heaven, man in no other
sense than that he is himself also flesh and blood, which man is, and
Adam was. For he has already been described as the last Adam,7
deriving his partnership in that name from community of
because Adam also was flesh without human generation, as
1 1 Cor. 15. 30.
2 1 Cor. 15. 31.
3 Cf. 1 Cor. 15. 32.
4 2 Cor. 1. 8.
5 1 Cor. 15. 35.
6 1 Cor. 15. 47.
7 Cf. 1 Cor. 15. 45.
Christ is. Therefore, As is the choic one, such are they also that are
choic: as is the heavenly one, such are they also that are heavenly.1 Such
in substance? Or such at first in discipline and afterwards in the
dignity which has been the aim of the discipline? Yet even in
substance choic men and heavenly can by no means be dissevered
when once the apostle has described them as men. For even if
Christ alone is truly heavenly, nay rather even more than heavenly,
and yet is man, as being flesh and soul, and as far as this condition
of the substances goes is in no degree distinguished from the choic
quality, it follows that those who after his fashion are heavenly
must be understood to have been declared heavenly not on the
ground of their present substance but on the ground of their future
splendour: because at the previous point from which that
derived it was shown that it is by difference of dignity that
there is one glory of the more than heavenly and another of the
more than earthly, and one glory of the sun, another of the moon,
and another of the stars, seeing that star also differs from star in
glory,2 yet not in substance. Consequently, having premised that
there is in the same substance a difference of the dignity which
must now be sought after and hereafter will be attained, he adds
also an exhortation for us even here to seek after Christ's attire by
discipline, and there to attain to his altitude by glory: As we have
worn the image of the choic man, let us also wear the image of him who is
more than heavenly.3 For we have worn the image of the choic man
by partnership in transgression, by fellowship in death, by exile
from paradise. For though it is in the flesh that here the image of
Adam is worn, yet it is not the flesh we are enjoined to take off:4
and if not the flesh, then it is the life and manners, so that we may
thereby also wear in us the image of the heavenly, though we are not
yet gods, not yet established in heaven, but according to the
of Christ are proceeding in holiness and righteousness and
truth. And to such a degree does he turn all this in the direction of
discipline, that he says the image of Christ must be worn here, in
this flesh, and in this time of discipline. For by saying 'let us wear',
in the imperative mood, he speaks for this present time, in which
1 1 Cor. 15. 48.
2 Cf. 1 Cor. 15. 40-1.
3 1 Cor. 15. 49.
4 Cf. Eph. 4. 22.
man is no other substance than flesh and soul: so that, even if this
faith has in view some other substance, that is, a heavenly one,
even so this substance is promised to that which is enjoined to
labour towards it. Since therefore he makes the image of the choic
and of the heavenly a matter of life and manners, the former to be
forsworn, the latter to be sought after, and afterwards adds, For
this I say----that is, 'because of what I have just said', because 'for' is
a conjunction which refers back the completion of the thought to
what precedes----that flesh and blood cannot obtain by inheritance the
kingdom of God,1 he requires us to understand by 'flesh and blood'
no other thing than the previously mentioned 'image of the choic
man': and if this image has its origin in our 'former conversation',
and the former conversation is incapable of the kingdom of God, it
follows that flesh and blood, as not being capable of the kingdom
of God, are reduced to 'former conversation'. Of course, if the
apostle never has named a substance when he has meant its works,
you may deny that he does so here.2 But if he has said that men
who were still actually in the flesh were not in the flesh, meaning
that they were not in the works of the flesh, you must not break
down his rule when he makes alien from the kingdom of God, not
a substance, but the works of the substance. Also when he had
made these matters clear to the Galatians,3 he affirmed that he
forewarned them and had forewarned them that those who do such
things will not obtain by inheritance the kingdom of God, that is,
while they were not wearing the image of the heavenly, as they had
worn the image of the choic, and thus, as a result of their old life and
manners, could be reckoned as none other than flesh and blood.
For even if the apostle had suddenly broken forth into this
pronouncement of the exclusion of flesh and blood from the kingdom
of God, without the groundwork of any previous thought, should
we not forthwith interpret these two substances as the old man,
given up to flesh and blood, that is, to eating and drinking, the old
man to whom it appertains to say, in opposition to the faith of the
resurrection, Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die?4 For
by this interjection too the apostle has laid an accusation against
1 1 Cor. 15. 50.
2 Cf. 2 Cor. 10. 3.
3 Cf. Gal. 5. 21.
4 1 Cor. 15. 32.
flesh and blood in respect of the fruits of them, which are eating
50 But, even if we leave out interpretations such as these, which
censure the works of flesh and blood, it will be permissible to
vindicate for the resurrection the substances themselves, understood
as they actually are. For it is not resurrection which is in set terms
denied to flesh and blood, but the kingdom of God, which is a
concomitant of the resurrection, though there is also a resurrection
unto judgement: rather, a general resurrection of the flesh is even
confirmed by the very fact that a specific one is excepted. For
while announcement is made into what state it does not rise
again, one tacitly understands into what state it does rise again.
And thus, while the work of the substance, not its genus,
in accordance with its merits a distinction in resurrection,
it is evident from this besides that flesh and blood are kept out of
the kingdom of God on account of guilt, not of substance, yet that
on account of the general rule they do rise again to judgement,
just because they do not rise again to the kingdom. I will add even
this, that with good reason the apostle said that flesh and blood
cannot obtain by inheritance the kingdom of God alone and by
themselves,1 so as to show once more that the Spirit in them was
necessary. For it is the Spirit that quickeneth unto the kingdom of
God: the flesh profiteth nothing.2 But it can receive profit from
something else, namely the Spirit, and through the Spirit the works of
the Spirit as well. And so all flesh and blood, without distinction,
do rise again in their proper quality; but those to whom it
to approach to the kingdom of God will, before they are
able to obtain it, have to clothe themselves with that principle
of incorruptibility and immortality without which they cannot
approach to the kingdom of God. With good reason then, as
I said, flesh and blood alone are too weak to be capable of the
kingdom of God. Now however, since that corruptible thing,
which is the flesh, has to be swallowed up by incorruptibility, and
that mortal thing, which is the blood, by immortality,3 in
of the change, after the resurrection, with good reason
1 Cf. 1 Cor. 15. 50.
2 John 6. 63.
3 Cf. 1 Cor. 15. 53-4.
can flesh and blood, when changed and swallowed up, obtain by
inheritance the kingdom of God: not however without being
raised again. There are some who, because of the circumcision,
would have flesh and blood taken to mean Judaism, itself an alien
from the kingdom of God, on the ground that it too is reckoned
for oldness and that it is elsewhere stigmatized by this description
by the apostle, who, after the revelation of the Son of God in him
for preaching him among the gentiles, immediately conferred not
with flesh and blood, that is, the circumcision, which is Judaism, as
he writes to the Galatians.1
51 But this that I have reserved to the end will remain valid for
all, even for the apostle himself, who would indeed have stood
convicted of great lack of reflection if with such precipitancy as
some allege, with his eyes shut as the saying is, he did, without
distinction or condition, thrust out all flesh and blood in general
from the kingdom of God and, in effect, from the very palace of
heaven, when Jesus is even now sitting there at the right hand of
the Father,2 Man albeit God, the last Adam3 albeit the primal
Word, flesh and blood albeit purer than ours, yet, the same in
both the substance and the form in which he ascended, in like
manner also will descend, as the angels affirm,4 recognizable in fact
by those who have wounded him.5 He, who in view of the deposit
of both parties entrusted to him is designated joint-trustee of God
and men,6 preserves in himself the deposit of the flesh as an earnest
of the whole sum.7 For just as he has left to us the earnest of the
Spirit, so he has received from us the earnest of the flesh and has
carried it into heaven as a pledge that the whole sum will
be conveyed thither. Have no fear, flesh and blood: you
have already in Christ taken seizin of heaven and of the kingdom
of God. Else, if they deny that you are in Christ, let them, as they
have denied heaven to you, deny also that Christ is in heaven. So
he says, Neither will corruption have for an inheritance incorruption,8
not wishing you to suppose that flesh and blood are corruption,
1 Cf. Gal. 1. 16.
2 Cf. Mark 16. 19.
3 Cf. 1 Cor. 15. 45.
4 Cf. Acts 1. 11.
5 Cf. John 19. 37; Zech. 12. 10.
6 Cf. 1 Tim. 2. 5.
7 Cf. 2 Cor. 5. 5.
8 1 Cor. 15. 50.
seeing these are themselves the rather subject to corruption,
through death in fact, since it is by death that flesh and blood are
not only corrupted but even consumed; but seeing that he had
declared that the works of flesh and blood cannot obtain the
kingdom of God, with the intention of stressing this further he
took away even from corruption itself, which is death, to which
the works of flesh and blood are conducive, the inheritance of
incorruption. For a little later he did in a sort of way describe the
death of death itself, saying, Death is swallowed up in striving:
O death, where is thy sting? O death where is thy power? Now the
sting of death is transgression, and this is what corruption must
mean. And the strength of transgression is the law,1 doubtless that
other law which he locates in his members, fighting against the
law of his mind,2 indeed that very faculty of transgressing in spite
of the will. For as he has already said that the last enemy to be
destroyed is death,3 it is in this way that neither will corruption
attain to an inheritance of incorruption, that is, neither will death
survive. When and how will it expire? When in a moment, in the
twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, even the dead will rise again
uncorrupted----who are these but those who were formerly
that is, bodies, which means flesh and blood? And we shall
be changed4----from what condition if not that in which we shall be
found to be? For this corruptible thing must put on incorruption and
this mortal thing must put on immortality5----what is a mortal thing if
not the flesh, and what is a corruptible thing if not the blood? And
lest you should think the apostle had anything else in mind,...
taking forethought for himself and toiling for you to understand
that the statement referred to the flesh: when he says 'this
thing' and 'this mortal thing' he touches his skin while
speaking. Certainly he could not have spoken the word 'this'
except of something actually there and present to sight: it is a term
expressing corporal demonstration. But a corruptible thing must
needs be one thing, and corruption another: a mortal thing be one
thing, and mortality another. For that which experiences is one
thing, and that which causes the experience is another. So those
1 1 Cor. 15. 54-6.
2 Cf. Rom. 7. 23. 3 cf. 1 Cor. 15. 26.
4 Cf. 1 Cor. 15. 50-2.
5 1 Cor. 15. 53.
things which experience corruption and mortality, namely flesh
and blood, must of necessity also experience incorruption and
52 Let us next enquire with what body he contends the dead will
come.1 And it is well that he has burst at once into exposition, as
though someone were asking that kind of question. Thou fool, he
says, that which thou sowest is not made alive except it have died.2
Upon this let there once be agreement, from the illustration of the
seed, that the flesh which is made alive is none other than that
which will have died, and then what follows will be crystal clear.
For there will be no room for any interpretation which
the rule laid down by the illustration: lest because there
follows, And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body which
shall be,3 on that account you suppose a body will rise again which
is not that which is sown in dying. But you have missed the point
of the illustration. For never, when wheat is sown and dissolved in
the earth, does barley force itself up, but only that same species of
grain, and the same nature and quality and form. In fact, where
does it come from if it is not the same? For even the corruption is
the thing itself since it is a corruption of the thing itself. For does
he not also suggest in what sense the body sown is not that which
shall be, when he says, But naked grain, it may chance of wheat or of
something of that kind: but God giveth it a body according as he will?4----
'giveth', surely, to that grain which he says is sown naked.
Evidently, you say. In that case that grain is conserved to which
God is to give a body. But how is it conserved, if it has ceased to
exist, if it does not rise again, if it does not rise again as its own self?
If it does not rise again it is not conserved: and if again it is not
conserved it cannot receive a body from God. But it is obvious
that it is certainly conserved. To what purpose then will God give
it a body according as he wishes, when it has all the time that naked
body which is its own, unless with the intention of its rising again
not naked? Consequently there will be an additional body, which
is built up over the body, and that over which it is built up is not
abolished but increased. But a thing that is increased is conserved.
1 Cf. 1 Cor. 15. 35.
2 1 Cor. 15. 36.
3 1 Cor. 15. 37.
4 1 Cor. 15. 37-8.
For when sown it is merely grain, without the clothing of its husk
or the foundation of its ear or the defences of its beard or the pride
of its stalk: but when it rises up it has made interest by
is built up in compactness, is drawn up in rank, fortified with
apparel, and clothed in every sense. These it has from God as
another body into which it is changed not by destruction but by
enlargement. And to every one of the seeds he has assigned its
own body,1 which is not its own, that is, not its original one, so
that afterwards that one also is its own which it acquires from God
from without. Obey then the illustration, and retain the reflection
of it for the flesh, trusting that the identical flesh which has been
sown will bear fruit, itself, though fuller, not another, though it
return in another guise. For it too will receive such equipment
and adornment as it pleases God to clothe it with according to its
deserts. Doubtless it is with this intention that he says, All flesh is
not the same flesh,2 so as to deny not community of substance but
equivalence of honour, bringing back the body into difference not
of species but of rank. For this purpose he also adds the figurative
illustrations of the beasts and the heavenly bodies. There is one
flesh of man, that is, of the servant of God, who is truly a man:
another of cattle, that is, the heathen, of whom the prophet also says,
Man is compared to irrational cattle:3 another flesh of birds, that is, of the
martyrs, who strive towards higher things: another of fishes, those
for whom the water of baptism suffices. So also he sets in contrast
arguments concerning the supercelestial bodies: There is one glory
of the sun, which is Christ: and another of the moon, the church: and
another of the stars, the seed of Abraham: for star also differs from star
in glory... also earthly bodies and heavenly, Jews in fact and
Otherwise, if not figuratively, it is idle enough that he has
set the flesh of mules and kites, and the bodies of the celestial
luminaries, by the side of human bodies, if they have no bearing
either on comparison of condition or on attaining to the
Finally, having by this means proved difference of glory, not
of substance, he says, So also is the resurrection of the dead.5 How
'so'? Differing in no other respect but in glory alone. For once
1 Cf. 1 Cor. 15. 38.
2 1 Cor. 15. 39. 3 Ps. 49. 20.
4 1 Cor. 15. 41.
5 1 Cor. 15. 42.
more, referring the resurrection to the same substance, and with
his eye again on the grain of corn, he says, It is sown in corruption, it
rises again in incorruption; it is sown in dishonour, it rises again in
glory; it is shown in weakness, it rises again in power; it is sown a body
informed by soul, it rises again informed by spirit.1 Certainly nothing
else rises again but what is sown, nothing else is sown but what is
dissolved in the ground, and nothing else is dissolved in the ground
but flesh. For it was this flesh which the sentence of God hurled
down, Earth thou art and unto earth shalt thou go,2 because from the
earth it had been taken. Hence also the apostle had the idea of
using the expression 'it is sown' when it is returned to the earth,
because the earth is a repository for seeds, which have to be
deposited in it and withdrawn from it again. And thus again he
puts the seal on the matter when he insists, For so it is written,3 that
you may not think being sown means anything else than, ' Unto
earth shalt thou go, from which thou wast taken': and so it refers
to the flesh and nothing else, since so it is written.
53 But there are some who, so as to filch from the flesh that
recurrence, argue that soul-informed body means soul. But since
it is agreed and determined that that body will rise again which
has been sown, they shall be challenged to produce <as in court>
the article in dispute. Or else let them prove that a soul has been
sown after death, that is, has died, has been cast to the ground,
dismembered, dissolved, a sentence which God has not decreed
against it: let them set before us its corruption and dishonour, its
weakness, so that it may appertain to it to rise up also to
incorruption and glory and power. For in Lazarus, the pre-eminent
instance of resurrection,4 it was the flesh which lay down in
the flesh which all but decayed into dishonour, the flesh
which meanwhile stank to corruption: and yet as flesh Lazarus
rose again----along with the soul indeed, but that soul uncorrupt,
which no one had bound with linen bands, no one had placed in a
sepulchre, no one had perceived to be stinking, no one had seen
buried four days before. Everything that Lazarus was, everything
that happened at his death, all men's flesh even today experiences,
1 1 Cor. 15. 42-4.
2 Gen. 3. 19.
3 1 Cor. 15. 45.
4 Cf. John 11.
but so does no man's soul. That flesh then in which the apostle's
pen is in evidence, concerning which it is agreed he is speaking,
that it must be which is both soul-informed body when it is sown,
and spirit-informed when it is wakened up. For he again lends you
a hand towards understanding it so when, no less on the authority
of the same scripture, he recalls that the first man, Adam, was made
into a living soul.1 If Adam is the first man, and the flesh was man
before the soul was, without doubt it must be the flesh which was
made into a soul. And then, being made into a soul, since it was
already a body, of course it had become a soul-informed body.
What would they have it called but that which it has become by
means of the soul, that which it was not before it received the soul,
that which after the soul has departed it will not be, except when it
rises again? For when it has received back the soul it is again made
a soul-informed body, so that it may become a spirit-informed
one: for nothing rises again but what has already been. Thus the
very reason which makes it possible for the flesh to be termed soul-
informed body, makes it totally impossible for the soul to be so
called. For the flesh was body before it was soul-informed body;
but afterwards, having become animate, it has become a soul-
informed body: whereas the soul, although it is a body, yet as it is
not an animate body but rather an animating one, cannot be
termed a soul-informed body, nor can it become that which is
the effect of its own action. For when it accrues to some other
thing it makes that other thing soul-informed; but if it does not
accrue to some other thing, how can it make itself soul-informed?
As therefore the flesh is first a soul-informed body when it receives
the soul, so also it is afterwards a spirit-informed body when it
clothes itself with spirit. When the apostle sets out this sequence he
rightly makes it a matter of distinction in Adam's case as also in
Christ's, for these are as it were the heads from which the
arises. And since he also calls Christ the last Adam,2 from this
you must acknowledge that he has wrought with all his powers of
doctrine for the resurrection not of the soul but of the flesh. For if
the first man Adam was flesh and not soul, and afterwards was
made into a living soul, and the last Adam, Christ, is Adam because
1 Cf. 1 Cor. 15. 45. 2 Cf. ibid.
he is man, and man because he is flesh and not because he is soul----
and thus he adds, That was not first which is spirit-informed but that
which is soul-informed, and afterwards that which is spirit-informed,1
according to the two Adams----does he not seem to you to be
making this distinction of soul-informed body and spirit-informed
body within the same flesh, seeing he has previously built up this
distinction in both Adams, that is, in both men? For in respect of
what substance Christ and Adam are one another's peers, namely
the flesh----albeit the soul too, yet it is on account of the flesh that
both of them are man, for flesh is the prior man----in respect of this
it has been possible for them to be set in sequence, so that one
should be reckoned the first, and the other the last, man or Adam.
Now opposites cannot be arranged in sequence, in respect of
at any rate: though in respect of place and time and circumstances
perhaps they can. But here they are termed the first and
the last in respect of the substance of flesh----even as again the first
man is from the earth, while the second is from heaven----because
although he is from heaven according to the Spirit, yet he is Man
according to the flesh. And so, since in both Adams the setting in
sequence applies to the flesh, not to the soul, as they are
the first man into a living soul, the last into a life-giving
Spirit, no less does the distinction between the two Adams
constitute a previous judgement that the distinction belongs to the
flesh: and in consequence, the statement, That was not first which is
spirit-informed but that which is soul-informed, and afterwards that
which is spirit-informed, applies to the flesh, and so the flesh again
must be understood above to be that which is both sown a soul-
informed body and rises again a spirit-informed body, because that
was not first which is spirit-informed but that which is soul-
informed, because the first Adam was made into a soul and the last
Adam into a spirit.2 All of it concerns man, and all of it concerns
flesh since it concerns man. What then shall we say? Does not the
flesh even now have the Spirit, by faith,3 so that we have to enquire
in what sense it is said to be sown a soul-informed body? It is true
that even here and now the flesh has received the Spirit, but as an
1 1 Cor. 15. 46. 2 Cf. 1 Cor. 15. 44.
3 Cf. Gal. 5. 5.
earnest; but of the soul it has received not an earnest but the fullness.
And thus even for that reason, on account of the major substance,
it has received the name of soul-informed body, and in that
substance it is sown; but in due course it will become, through the
fullness of the Spirit, a spirit-informed body besides, and in that
fullness it is raised up again. What wonder is it if it has received its
name from that which has filled it throughout rather than from
that which has bedewed it from without?
54 Questionings frequently have their material supplied not only
by the contexts in which expressions are used, but also by equivocal
terms. For because this saying too is found in the apostle, That the
mortal thing----that is, the flesh----may be swallowed up by life,1 they
seize upon 'swallowed up' also as indicating destruction----of the
flesh, of course----as though we were not also said to swallow up
anger and sorrow, that is, to hide them and cover them up and
confine them within ourselves. And in fact, since this too is in
scripture, This mortal thing must put on immortality,2 we are shown
in what manner the mortal thing is swallowed up by life, namely
by being clothed with immortality and thus hidden and covered
by it and confined within it, not by being consumed and lost. In
that case, you reply, death too will be saved when it has been
swallowed up. Distinguish then the equivocal terms in accordance
with their meanings, and you will understand aright. For death is
one thing, and the mortal thing is another; and so death will be
swallowed up in one manner, and the mortal thing in another.
Death is not capable of immortality: the mortal thing is capable of
it. In fact it is also written that this mortal thing must put on
immortality.3 How then is it capable of that? By being swallowed
up by life. How is it swallowed up by life? By being received
and brought back and enclosed within it. Death however is
inevitably swallowed up into destruction, seeing that its own
swallowing up has this effect: Death, he says, swallowed it up by
prevailing,4 and consequently it was itself swallowed up unto
striving. O death, where is thy sting? O death, where is thy striving?5
It follows that life also, the enemy of death, will through striving
1 2 Cor. 5. 4.
2 1 Cor. 15. 53.
3 Cf. 1 Cor. 15. 53.
4 Isa. 25. 8.
5 1 Cor. 15. 55.
swallow up unto salvation that which through its own striving
death had swallowed up unto destruction.
55 So then, although by proving that the flesh will rise again we
thereby prove that the very same flesh will rise again as is under
discussion, yet each several expression of doubt, along with the
purpose it has in view, demands its particular confrontation,
although already defeated with other weapons. And so I shall
interpret more fully the force and implication of 'change', since it
is this that generally speaking suggests the assumption that it is
another flesh that will rise again, the allegation being that to be
changed is totally to cease to exist, to be destroyed in respect of
what originally was. But change must be distinguished from
everything that argues destruction: for change is one thing, and
destruction is another. But it will not be another if the flesh is to be
changed in such a sense as to be destroyed. It will however be
destroyed when changed, if it does not during the change remain
itself, that same flesh which will have been brought into view at
the resurrection. For just as it is destroyed if it does not rise again,
so, even if it rises, yet is abstracted during the change, it is no less
destroyed: for it will no less cease to be than if it had not risen
again. And how pointless it is for it to rise again for the express
purpose of not existing, when it was possible for it not to have
risen again so as not to exist, because it had already begun being
non-existent. There is no possible means of combining the
change and destruction, which are directly opposite in their
effects. The latter destroys, the former changes. As then that
which is destroyed is not changed, so that which is changed is not
destroyed. For to be destroyed is for a thing, which has existed,
totally to cease to exist: to be changed is to continue to exist, in
another form. But while it exists in another form it can continue
to be itself: for it possesses an existence which is not totally
destroyed, since it has undergone change, not destruction. And,
for a proof that a thing can be changed and none the less be itself,
the man as a whole does during this life in substance remain
yet changes in various ways, in outward aspect and in the very
constitution of his body, in health and circumstances and honour
age, in occupation, business, craft, in means, abode, laws, and
morals, yet loses nothing of his manhood, nor is so made into
someone else as to cease to be himself: in fact he is not made into
someone else but into something else. To this law of change the
divine documents also bear witness. Moses' hand is changed, and
in fact is bloodless, white, and cold, as though quite dead;1 but yet,
as its heat returns and its colour flows back, it is the same flesh and
blood. Afterwards again, his face is changed, with glory it was
impossible to gaze upon:2 yet it was still Moses who was veiled
from sight. So also Stephen was clothed with angelic excellence,
but it was the same pair of knees that bent to the stoning.3 The
Lord also, at his withdrawal into the mountain, exchanged his
garments for light, yet preserved the features recognizable by
Peter:4 and there also Moses and Elijah, the one in the reflection of
flesh he had not yet received back again, the other in the verity of
flesh which had not yet died, taught us that for all that the
appearance of the body continues the same even in glory.
And so Paul, equipped with this example, says, Who shall change
the body of our humility to be conformed to the body of his glory.5 But if
you claim that transfiguration and conversion amount to the
removal of each several substance, in that case when Saul was
converted into another man6 he withdrew from his own body,
and Satan himself, when transfigured into an angel of light,7 loses
his proper quality. I think not. Thus also, when the resurrection
takes effect, it will be possible to be changed, converted, and
reformed, while the substance remains unimpaired.
56 For how absurd, and moreover how unjust, and on both
grounds how unworthy of God, for one substance to do the work
and another to be checked off with the wages, this flesh being
butchered in martyrdom while another receives the crown, and,
the other way round, this flesh wallowing in foulnesses while
another receives damnation. Is it not better to dissociate the whole
faith from the hope of the resurrection than to play tricks with the
gravity and righteousness of God? Or for Marcion to be brought
to life again instead of Valentinus? For it is not credible that either
1 Cf. Exod. 4.
2 Cf. 2 Cor. 3. 7.
3 Cf. Acts 7. 59-60.
4 Cf. Matt. 17. 2-8. 5 Phil. 3. 21.
6 Cf. 1 Sam. 10. 6.
7 Cf. 2 Cor. 11. 14.
the mind or the memory or the conscience of the man who today
is, is abolished by reason of that festal garment of immortality and
incorruption, since in that case the revenue and usufruct of
resurrection, and the stability of divine judgement upon both
substances, would be ineffective. If I do not remember that it is
I whose the deserts are, how shall I give glory to God? How shall
I sing to him the new song,1 if I am unaware that it is I from whom
thanks are due? But why is it change of the flesh alone that
receives special treatment, and not change of the soul as well,
it has in all things been in command of the flesh? How comes
it that the same soul which in this flesh has run the whole of life's
race, the same which in this flesh has learned of God and put on
Christ and sowed the seed which is the hope of salvation, should
reap its harvest in I know not what other flesh? Highly favoured
indeed is that flesh to which life will be awarded without its
deserving. But if the soul too is not to be changed, there is then no
resurrection of the soul either: for it too will not be credited with
having risen again, if it is not another when it has risen.
57 Next we have that well-known subtilty of vulgar unbelief:
'If, they suggest,' the very same substance is recalled to existence,
along with its own shape, outline and quality, then it retains also
the rest of its distinguishing marks: and so the blind and lame and
palsied----and however one was marked at his decease, so will he
also return.' Well now, even if so, are you too proud, in
state, to obtain so great a grace from God? For even now,
admitting the salvation of the soul alone, are you not assigning that
salvation to man reduced to half? What is belief in the
unless believing it entire? For if the flesh is to be restored
from dissolution, much more will it be recalled from discomfort.
Greater things prescribe the rule for the lesser. Is not the
or the crippling of any member the death of that member? If
general death is rescinded by resurrection, what of partial death?
If we are changed into glory, how much more into health. The
defects that accrue to bodies are an accident: their integrity is a
property. In the latter we are born. Even if we are crippled in the
womb, this happens to one who is already man: the species is there
1 Cf. Ps. 96. 1;
before the accident. As life is given us by God, so also is it given
again: as we were when we received it, so are we also when we
receive it back. Our restoration is a gift to nature, not to injury:
we live again as what we are born, not as what damage makes us.
God is not raising the dead, if he does not raise them up entire: for
what dead man is entire, even if he is entire when he dies? Who is
in health, that has ceased to breathe? What body is uninjured when
it is dead, cold, pallid, stiff, a corpse? When is a man more weak,
than when he is wholly weak? When is he more palsied, than
when he is motionless? Thus for a dead man to be raised again is
precisely the same as for him to be made entire: otherwise he will
still be dead, to the extent to which he has not risen again. God is
competent to remake that which he has made. That this power and
this generosity are his, he has already given pledges in Christ: nay
more, he has set him in evidence not only as one who raises up the
flesh again, but also as one who makes it whole. And consequently
the apostle also says, And the dead shall rise again uncorrupted.1 How
so, unless entire, though previously corrupt by damage to health
no less than by long abiding in their burying-place? For
also, when he made the double statement that this corruptible
thing must put on incorruption and this mortal thing must
put on immortality,2 he was not merely repeating the sentence, but
was giving expression to a difference: for by assigning immortality
to the rescinding of death, and incorruption to the obliteration of
corruption, he made the one apply to resurrection and the other to
redintegration. And I suppose even to the Thessalonians he
promised integrity of the whole substance.3 And so not even for
the future will corporal defects be a matter of fear. Integrity,
whether preserved or restored, will be capable of incurring no
harm from the time when even what it had lost is given back to it.
For when you postulate that the flesh, if it be said that it will be the
same flesh when it rises again, will again meet with the same
misfortunes, you rashly take up the cause of nature against its Lord,
you impiously conduct a defence of the law against grace, as if it
were not feasible for God both to change nature and to preserve it,
1 1 Cor. 15. 52.
2 Cf. 1 Cor. 15. 53.
3 Cf. 1 Thess. 5. 23.
without any law <to control him>. In such a case what is the
meaning of, Things which are impossible with men are possible with
God,1 and, God hath chosen the foolish things of the world so that he
may confound the world's wise things?2 I ask you, if you have
changed your servant's status by setting him free, is it true that,
because his flesh and soul will remain the same as were formerly
subject to stripes and shackles and brandings, they will therefore
have to continue to suffer them? I trow not. Rather is he
honoured with the splendour of a white garment and the dignity
of a gold ring, and with his patron's name and tribe and hospitality.
Allow God also this right to reshape condition, not nature, by
virtue of that mutation, while the possibility of injury is
and protection conferred. Thus the flesh will indeed remain,
even after the resurrection, to that extent passible to which it is
itself and the same self, while yet impassible in that it has received
its freedom from its Lord, with the express intent that it should
not be capable of suffering any more.
58 Everlasting joy, says Isaiah, upon their head. There is nothing
everlasting until after the resurrection. Sorrow and mourning and
sighing, he says, hath fled away from them.3 Likewise also the angel
to John, And God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes4----
evidently the same eyes as had formerly wept, as would still have
been capable of weeping unless divine indulgence had dried up
every shower of a tear. And again, For God shall wipe away every
tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death:5 and therefore
no more corruption, since it will have been driven away by
incorruption precisely as death will have been by immortality. If
sorrow and mourning and sighing, and death itself, arise from
injuries to soul and flesh, how shall they be removed unless their
causes, the injuries of flesh and soul, have ceased? What room is
there for adverse accidents in the presence of God? What room for
hostile attacks in the presence of Christ? What room for demonic
assaults in the presence of the Holy Spirit, after the devil himself
along with his angels has been drowned in the fires?6 What room
for necessity or for what is called fortune or fate? What stripes for
1 Matt. 19. 26. 2 1 Cor. 1. 27.
3 Isa. 35. 10.
4 Apoc. 7.
4. 6 Cf. Apoc. 20.
those raised up again, after their pardon? What wrath for those
reconciled, after grace? What weakness after strength? What
feebleness after healing? That the clothes and shoes of the children
of Israel were neither worn out nor became old those forty years;
that in their bodies too due measure of comfort and propriety
kept down the easy growth of nails and hair, lest even their
immoderation should be accounted corruption;1 that the
fires injured neither the hats nor the trousers of the three
brethren, though these are garments foreign to the Jews;2 that
Jonah, though swallowed up by the beast of the sea in whose belly
wrecked ships were daily digested, is spewed out unhurt three days
later;3 that today Enoch and Elijah, not yet made perfect by
resurrection, because they have not yet experienced death, yet
being translated from the world and by this very fact now
of eternity, are acquiring immunity of the flesh from every
fault and every loss and every injury and insult;4 to what faith do
these facts bear witness except that by which we must needs believe
that these are proofs of future integrity? For, on the apostle's
authority, they were figures of us,5 and have been written so that
we may believe that God is both more powerful than any law
concerning bodies, and that he is by so much the more also the
preserver of the flesh in that he has protected even its clothes and its
59 But, you object, the age to come is of another, an eternal
dispensation: and so the substance of this world, which is not
eternal, cannot obtain possession of its opposites. Evidently so, if
man was made for the sake of the future dispensation, and not that
dispensation for the sake of man. But when the apostle writes,
Whether the world or life or death or things future or things present, all
are yours,6 he appoints the same persons heirs even of things future.
Isaiah gives you no support. When he says, All flesh is grass,7 and
elsewhere, And all flesh shall see the salvation of God,8 he has made a
distinction of destinies, not of substances. For who denies that the
1 Cf. Deut. 8. 4.
2 Cf. Dan. 3. 27.
3 Cf. Jonah 2. 10. 4 Cf. Gen. 5. 24; 2 Kings 2. 11.
5 1 Cor. 10. 11.
6 1 Cor. 3. 22.
7 Isa. 40. 6.
8 Cf. Isa. 40. 5.
judgement of God stands in the double sentence of salvation and
penalty? So all flesh is grass, which is destined to the fire: and all
flesh shall see the salvation of God, which is ordained to salvation.
I for my part am aware that it was not with some other flesh that
I committed adulteries, and that it is not now with some other
flesh that I am striving towards continence. If there is any man
who is carrying about two sets of privy members, he can even
now strip off the grass which is impure flesh and reserve to
that flesh alone which is to see the salvation of our Lord. But
when the same prophet shows that the nations also are at one time
reckoned as dust and spittle, and are at another time to hope and to
believe in the name and the arm of the Lord, do we make any
mistake about the nations? And is it because of diversity of
that some are to believe, while others are reckoned for dust?
No, for even Christ shone forth as the true light of the nations,1
within the ocean, and from this sky which broods over us: and
these very Valentinians have here learned to go astray: nor will
there be some other fashion of the nations which believe, but only
that which is theirs who do not believe, of flesh, and of soul. As
then he has distinguished, not in species but in destiny, nations
which are the same, so also the kinds of flesh, which in these
nations is one substance, he has opposed to one another not in
material but in reward.
60 But see: so that they may still pile up controversy for the
flesh, and in particular for the flesh in its own identity, they argue
also about the functions of its members, either alleging that they
ought to continue for ever in their own activities and effects, as
being appurtenances of that identical bodily constitution; or else,
because it is agreed that the functions of the members will cease,
they cancel the bodily constitution as well, seeing its continuance
is, they say, not credible without the members, as neither are the
members credible without their functions. For to what purpose
from thenceforth, they ask, this cave of the mouth and guardroom
of the teeth and precipice of the throat and crossways of the gullet
and cesspool of the belly and intricate length of the intestines,
when there is to be no occasion for eating and drinking? To what
1 Cf. John 1. 9.
purpose do members like these take in, break up, swallow down,
divert, digest, eject? To what purpose the hands and the feet and
all the muscles by which men work, when even thought for food
is to cease? To what purpose the loins, privy to the seed, and the
rest of the reproductive organs of both sexes, with the lodgements
of conception and the fountains of the breasts, when cohabitation
and childbearing and nurture are to pass away? In short, to what
purpose the whole body, when it is to be wholly inactive? Now it
was with this in view that we laid down as foundation that it is not
reasonable for the ordinances of future things and things present to
be brought into conflict, seeing that the change will by then
intervene: and so now we add as superstructure that those
of the members do by the necessities of this life remain until,
and only until, the life itself be transferred from temporality to
eternity, even as the soul-informed body will be transferred to
spirit-informed, when this mortal thing puts on immortality and
this corruptible thing incorruption. But when life itself has been
delivered from necessities the members also will be delivered from
their functions: but they will not for that reason be unnecessary.
For though they be delivered from their functions, yet are they
retained for judgements, that every man may receive through his
body according as he hath done. For God's judgement-seat
demands a man in full being: in full being however he cannot be
without the members, for of their substances, though not their
functions, he consists----unless perchance you are going to affirm
that a ship is in full being without keel, without stem, without
stern, without the integrity of its whole structure. Yet even a ship,
broken by storm or fallen to pieces by decay, we have often seen,
when all its members have been replaced and rehabilitated,
of its sameness even by the inscription 'restored': are we to be
anxious about God's craftsmanship and authority and rights?
Besides, if a rich and generous owner, while granting to his private
sentiment or his public reputation the boon of the ship's
and that alone, has expressed the wish for it to work no more,
will you say that it has no need of its original structure, from now
on to be inactive, since thus it beseems the bare salvation of a ship
without work to do? This then and this alone it suffices for us to
know, whether God, in designing man for salvation, has included
the flesh in that design, whether he will have it exist anew in its
own identity. And you will have no right, on the ground that the
members will in future be inactive, to deny the possibility of its
existing anew: for it is feasible for a thing to exist anew and none
the less be inactive. But it cannot be said even to be inactive, if it
does not exist. Moreover, if it exist, it will be possible for it also
not to be inactive: for in God's presence nothing can be inactive.
61 But, my friend, you have had given you a mouth for eating
and drinking: why not rather for speaking, to make you different
from the rest of animals? Why not rather for praising God, to
make you superior even to men? In fact Adam pronounced names
for the animals before he plucked of the tree: he was even a
prophet before he was an eater. But, you say, you have had teeth
given you for gnawing flesh-meat: why not rather for a crown to
all your yawning and gaping? Why not rather for modifying the
strokes of the tongue, for making the articulations of the voice
significant by tripping them up? In fact, listen to and look at men
without teeth, that you may find out the need for the adornment
of the mouth and the instrumentality of the teeth. The lower parts
in man and in woman are perforated----so that there, you say, the
lusts may be in motion: why not rather that the excreta may be
filtered? Also women have within them a place where the seed
may be garnered: why not where there may be a diversion of the
overplus of the blood which the less energetic sex has not the
strength to throw off? For even this must be spoken, in that these,
in their zeal for putting the resurrection to shame, wantonly rail as
they will at what functions they will of what members they will,
not considering that then the very causes of necessity will first be
inoperative, of food hunger, and of drink thirst, and of
child-bearing, and of labour livelihood. For when death has
been taken away, neither the supports of livelihood for the
preservation of life, nor the replenishment of the race, will be a
burden to the members. Moreover even today it will be possible
for the intestines and the genitals to be inoperative. Moses and
Elijah, fasting for forty days, were nourished on God alone:1 for
1 Cf. Exod. 24.
18; 1 Kings 19. 8.
even as early as that was authorization given to, Not in bread shall a
man live, but in the word of God.1 There you have the outline-sketch
of virtue to be. We also, as we are able, give the mouth release
from food, and even withdraw sex from copulation. How many
voluntary eunuchs are there, how many virgins wedded to Christ,
how many barren of both sexes equipped with genitals that bear
no fruit. For if even here and now it is possible for both the
functions and the emoluments of the members to be inactive with
a temporal inactivity, as in a temporal dispensation, while for all
that the man is none the less in full being, it follows that when the
man is in full being, and the more so then, as in an eternal
the more shall we not feel the need for things which here and
now we have accustomed ourselves not to feel the need of.
62 But the Lord's pronouncement shall conclude this discussion:
They will be, he says, like angels.2 If in not marrying, because also
not dying, evidently also in submitting to no similar necessity of
their corporal constitution: because angels also have at times been
as men, eating and drinking and holding out their feet to be
washed: for they had clothed themselves with a human exterior,
while preserving within their proper substance.3 Therefore if
angels, made like men, did in the same substance of spirit admit of
carnal handling, why should not men also, made like angels, enter,
in the same substance of flesh, upon a spiritual dispensation, being,
under their angelic clothing, no more tied to the usages of the
flesh than the angels then, under human clothing, were tied to the
usages of the spirit: not precluded from continuing in the flesh
because they do not also continue in the usages of the flesh, since
neither did the angels fail to continue in the spirit because they did
not continue in the usages of the spirit? Moreover, he did not say,
'They will be angels', so as not to deny their manhood, but 'like
angels', so as to conserve their manhood: he did not deprive them
of their substance when he added to it a similarity.
63 So then the flesh will rise again, all of it indeed, itself, entire.
Wherever it is, it is on deposit with God through the faithful
trustee of God and men,4 Jesus Christ, who will payback both God
1 Deut. 8. 3; cf. Matt. 4. 4; Luke 4. 4.
2 Matt. 22. 30.
3 Cf. Gen. 18. 4-8.
4 Cf. 1
Tim. 2. 5.
to man and man to God, spirit to flesh and flesh to spirit. He has
already made an alliance of both in himself, has brought the bride
to the bridegroom and the bridegroom to the bride. For even if
one shall claim that the soul is the bride, the flesh will go with the
soul, at least in the name of dowry: the soul must be no prostitute,
to be taken up by the bridegroom without assets. She has her
chattels, her raiment, her serving-maid, the flesh: it will
her as a foster-sister. But it is the flesh which is the bride, for
in Christ Jesus it has taken the Spirit for bridegroom by means of
blood.1 What you regard as its death you must know is a retirement.
It is not the soul alone which is laid aside. The flesh also has
meanwhile its places of retirement, in water, in fire, in birds, in beasts:
when it seems to be dissolved into these it is being as it were
poured out into vessels. If the vessels themselves fail, when it has
flowed out from them also into its own place of origin, the earth, it
will be as it were drawn in again by indirect ways, so that out of
the earth that one may once more be brought into view who from
the Lord will receive the name of Adam----Behold Adam is become as
one of us2----truly then with knowledge of the evil which he has
escaped, and of the good which he has entered into. Why, O soul,
dost thou envy the flesh? No one is so much thy neighbour for
thee to love next after God: no one is more thy brother than this
which along with thee is even born in God. Thou more than others
oughtest to have craved resurrection for it: it was through thee it
sinned, if it did sin. But no wonder if thou hate that flesh, whose
Author thou hast also rejected, that flesh which even in Christ
thou art wont either to deny or to change, at the same time
corrupting, at least with pen or comment, the very Word of God
who was made flesh, as well as foisting in apocryphal mysteries,
fables of blasphemy. But yet God Almighty, while in these last
days, against these devices of unbelief and frowardness, by his
most provident grace he pours forth of his Spirit upon all flesh,
upon his servants and handmaids,3 has also put life into the
struggling faith of the resurrection of the flesh, and has by clear lights
upon words and meanings purged the original documents of all
1 Cf. Exod. 4.
25. 2 Gen. 3. 22.
3 Cf. Joel 2. 28.
darkness of ambiguity. For because there must needs have been
heresies,1 that those who were approved might be made manifest,
and heresies could have had no boldness apart from a few
of the scriptures, therefore the original testaments are seen
to have furnished them certain materials, though these themselves
are capable of correction by the same scriptures. But since also it
was not right for the Holy Spirit to dissemble, but rather to
superabound with the kind of utterances which should not unwittingly
sow seed for heretics' trickery, nay rather should pull up their old
growths, therefore he has, by the new prophecy pouring in from
the Paraclete, dispelled all former ambiguities, and what they will
have it are parables, by an open and clear preaching of the whole
mystery: and if you drink his fountain, you will be athirst for no
doctrine, no heat of questionings will scorch you, and you will
also be refreshed with draughts of the resurrection of the flesh
wheresoever you turn.
1 Cf. 1 Cor. 11. 19.