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THE MAGICAL & GLORIOUS RESURRECTION BODY OF JESUS

The central doctrine of Christianity is how Jesus rose again in a body that was very different from what he was like before. It needed no food, it could go through walls, it was immortal and free from the risk of sickness and it could change form. Not a single text in the Bible says that anybody witnessed to this.

 

The apostles, at least John and Peter, seem prone to seeing apparitions of "men."  "And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem (Luke 9.30).  The vision was of men as if they had bodies.  Oddly the New Testament never records a glorious Jesus, except during this vision which happened long before the resurrection, and here we have glorious Moses and glorious Elijah as well.

 

The angels who talked and ate with Abraham and acted like men show that the Bible imagines beings without a body can seem to have one - see Genesis 18:1,2; Heb 13:2.

 

The gospels say that Jesus did not look the same and showed up in locked rooms. But that is not the same as saying he had the power to alter his features by magic and pass through walls. All they saw was a man who ate and who seemed normal. Paul speaks of seeing a glorious Jesus but it is to be expected that when apparitions are reported that one person at least will think they see something supernatural. Knock, Fatima and Lourdes had trouble from people who tried to imitate the "real" visionaries who saw Mary and reported some odd things. And besides what did Paul mean by seeing Jesus? Did he just see a light? And the Christians did not necessarily interpret glory as meaning anything supernatural. The gospel of John says that Jesus showed his glory at Cana when it came to the knowledge of some that he had turned water into wine. It is not talking about his appearance.


I wrote elsewhere that the New Testament says Jesus was an apparition not a man. There is no contradiction. If the early Church interpreted their experiences of a normal Jesus as apparitions then there is no contradiction. You can have an apparition of what seems to be a normal man.

 

The Church has known for centuries that the notion of Jesus being a mere resuscitated corpse is not going to appeal to anybody or make much of a spiritual

difference to their lives. And part of us wants bodies that are not prone to sickness and weakness and death. We want to think Jesus got a body like that and will give us similar bodies. That is why the Church invented a new doctrine about the magical glorious body of Jesus.

 

According to Christianity, “The Bible says that Jesus was radiant and healthy and happy after he left his tomb after he died. He wouldn’t have been if the swoon theory, the thought that Jesus survived the crucifixion and met up with his disciples again, were right. If the disciples saw a sick and bleeding Jesus they would not believe that he really rose from the dead.” The doctrine that the resurrection requires the resuscitation of the whole body of Jesus is wrong. Nor does the New Testament ever say that Jesus looked well after his resurrection. There are no accounts of him being bathed in light in the gospels following his crucifixion or of how beautiful and angelic he looked.

 

Lets assume that the swoon theory is right. The disciples probably surmised that God was up to one of his plans that look like madness in human eyes if they saw a Jesus who looked like a crucifixion survivor. They might have thought that that God left Jesus in the state a survivor of crucifixion would be in if that was the kind of Jesus they saw. Jesus had made them more than familiar with and used to that idea about God’s mysterious plans.

 

The New Testament never says that Jesus was glorious and free from weakness and bleeding when his disciples saw him after he rose though Paul described him as glorious when he appeared to him. John says he had wounds and Luke says he still ate. He looked so ordinary to the men he went with to Emmaus that to say that the gospels support the view that Jesus behaved magically after his comeback from the dead is to be delusional.  The time the men walked with a man to Emmaus and then decided it was Jesus is interesting for it means they walked with him for perhaps hours and still did not realise it was Jesus.

 

All the Bible says is that Jesus was immortal after his resurrection (Romans 6:9). Even Paul’s statement that Jesus has a spiritual body now does not refute me for Jesus might have had a spiritual body that materialised and behaved exactly as a normal one would. Perhaps it was a normal body then and had gradually evolved into a spiritual one. The stories about Jesus appearing and disappearing never actually say he came and went back into thin air. They can be read more naturally so they should be. For example, if you say your friend instantly disappeared people know what you mean and it is not a dematerialisation. There is nothing to persuade us that Jesus was not just a crucifixion survivor. Many say that the ascension story could be interpreted as Jesus walking up a mountain into a cloud. The idea that he levitated is not there at all.

 

The apostles might have thought that it was a good thing to lie or tell what they thought was the truth about Jesus being raised even if it did not look that way.

 

If Jesus really rose from the dead or survived the Jews and Romans would have looked for him even if it was just to discredit the supernatural resurrection story. Why then is this not mentioned in the gospels? What were they hiding?

 

Matthew 28:17 tells us that when the disciples saw the risen Jesus some doubted and would not worship him. We do not know if they doubted that it was Jesus or that Jesus was really raised from the dead and had survived naturally. Bearing in mind their credulity in relation to things miraculous, and the testimonies that Jesus rose that would have impressed them, it is probably the latter. But at least it shows that Jesus looked like an ordinary man and not like the holy pictures. He looked so tangible and human that they doubted.

 

John’s Jesus tells Mary Magdalene not to touch him for he had not ascended into Heaven to his Father. He did not mean that she was not good enough to touch him for he was not like that according to John. And if he did then she would be less right to touch him if he ascended to God. He may have meant that she was hurting him for he had not ascended bodily to God to get that body turned into a perfect magical body. He says he will get one but not when. Or perhaps he did have the magical body which makes this fit Paul and that body was kept subject to ordinary conditions because he would not transform its behaviour and qualities until he went to Heaven.

 

I stated  in another page, Keep in mind that in theology, resurrection is not the same thing as revival or resuscitation. It is salvation of the body and giving it eternal life. In the John Gospel, Jesus tells Magdalene not to touch him. John does not tell us what he meant by saying, “Don’t touch me for I have not gone to the Father yet.” To the unbiased theologian Jesus talks as if he is only a revived corpse at that point in time. Going to the Father is possibly a way of saying God has not changed his body into the resurrection body that Paul talks about that is more like a spirit body than an ordinary one. The way is opened to saying that the spiritual body doctrine was not based on anything but theology and hypothesis for all the apostles said they met was a ordinary man back from the dead.

 

When Jesus ate fish before his friends according to Luke he seems to have had an ordinary body that needed food. He told them he was not a ghost and did this and asked them to touch him to prove it. It would not prove it if he could materialise a body and go through walls at will. I stated that none of this proves the physical resurrection of the whole body of Jesus and I still stand by that. The risen body could have been miraculously multiplied from some cells of the old one lying in the tomb and seemed to be the whole physical body revived. Perhaps it became a spiritual body later.

 

John says that Jesus entered the room where the apostles were hiding though the doors were locked. You don’t need a body that can pass through solid wood for locks to be unable to keep you out. This was probably the upper room where Jesus had held the last supper for there was no place else (he was not as popular as the Gospels say!) So Jesus could have had a key. They were so excited to see him that they might not have even thought about asking how he got in.

 

Hebrews 4 says that Jesus is able to sympathise for us now in Heaven because he knows what it was like to be a vulnerable man. Not only does this tell us that Jesus was not God for God incarnate could not be described as vulnerable even if he lets people hurt him for letting people hurt you is not like being hurt and unable to do anything about it but it also tells us that Jesus suffers the pain of compassion for us now through his recollection of what suffering is like. Only an ordinary body could undergo that pain.

 

The magic body doctrine is in the Bible but no evidence from the resurrection visions is offered for it. It cannot be found clearly in the gospels. It is just an interpretation. It is possible that when the apostles could not recognise the risen Jesus it could be because Jesus was sick and dying. Christians will object that he did a lot of walking for a man who was dying but how do they know there was nobody wheeling him around – somebody that the apostles knew nothing about?

 

When the Bible says that prophecy rather than witnesses verifies the resurrection it follows that all the witnesses agreed that they could have been deceived but it all depended on them interpreting prophecy right.

 

The Gospel of John purports to be the record of a witness to the resurrected Jesus. It is assumed that this person was claiming to be John the apostle.

 

Whoever it was, he later wrote: “It doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he [Christ] shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” Clearly he had not seen the risen Jesus at all. He was indicating that nobody did. If the author had seen Jesus as “he is,” he would have known what we would be like when in the resurrection we are made like him.

 

Paul wrote that we will resurrect like Jesus and we will have bodies that are copies of his glorious body. It does not say that glory is intrinsic to the body. Indeed there would need to be some glory in the resurrection for us to be motivated to want resurrection!

 

Bishop Wright

Antony Flew, a first class thinker and atheist let himself down by writing There is a God.

Flew's letting the nutty Anglican bishop of Durham, Wright, write Appendix B for the book is bizarre. The Appendix seeks to demonstrate that Jesus probably rose from the dead. Page 199 claims that the Jews of Jesus' time, and before, thought of resurrection as resuscitation of the body or a turning of the body into a luminous body that shines like a star. Wright says that the Christians had a different view which shows that they got it from the real experience of Jesus rising. But then he says that Jesus had a body that could be touched but which was free from pain and death which matches the resuscitation idea. Next we are subjected to arguments so weak and unconvincing and narrow that we have to question Flew's sanity when he wrote that Wright made a good case for the resurrection of Jesus.

 

Wright would regard the gospels as the best testimony to Jesus. But the gospels nowhere teach the view of resurrection that is important to Christianity.

 

They want to teach that God changes the body and gives it eternal life and glory and makes its inner virtue shine out and it can never suffer or do evil or die again. None of that was of any interest to the gospels. It is thought to have been of interest to Paul but there is no historical evidence that Paul had the authority to pass on Christ's teaching or that the apostles had the same understanding of the meaning of the resurrection as he did. The epistle of James has no interest in the resurrection.

 

Wright say that the gospels could have been written as late the 80's AD. He admits nobody knows and that some experts date them to 90 AD. This forces him to make an eccentric and fanciful and ignorant case for saying this does not matter. He needs to make the problem of the late authorship of the gospels vanish away for accounts appearing long after the event normally can't be taken very seriously. He claims the resurrection stories bear traces of being unchanged from the time of the resurrection. Christians have no choice but to use the kind of methods he uses otherwise all is lost. The fact remains that he only thinks there are no traces of change but other scholars agree. Opinion is not enough to base a religion on considering how demanding the religion is and how religion leads to violence.

 

Wright says that it is odd that the New Testament says Jesus rose according to the Old Testament scriptures but never mentions what scriptures from the Old Testament it means (page 206). He says the resurrection stories were early because they appeared before the Church developed a need to satisfy critics that the resurrection was prophesised by the scriptures. But the New Testament would have had certain scriptures in mind and just didn't mention them meaning people should look them up themselves. Wright reads far too much into the silence.

 

Paul perhaps needed the texts to convince the Jews that Jesus rose in his letters. He didn't use them either. Nothing should be read into the silence except perhaps that the texts don't work and the gospels are lying when they say there are texts that predict the resurrection of Jesus.

 

The Book of Acts says the apostles used certain texts to make it seem the resurrection was predicted and it quotes those texts. The apostles used them soon after the resurrection. If Wright is consistent then he must dismiss these stories as lies or too legendary. Wright knows his readers are mostly biased to follow Christianity so all he needs to do is make the faith look possibly and or probably true. He knows they won't look too close. This is what theologians and clergy have been doing for centuries.

 

He says it is odd how the resurrection visions have not been influenced by the narrative in Daniel 12 the only really important resurrection text in the Old Testament which speaks of resurrection bodies as shining like the stars. So we are to believe that just because the gospels and the early Church didn't tell us or leave a record that Daniel 12 didn't put the idea that the resurrection body is very different from the ordinary body in its head. He doesn't want to admit that reading it enough and forgetting where it was read and not caring was enough to inspire the Christian doctrine of the resurrection body. We have seen how he wants you to think the Christians learned it from the resurrection visions of Jesus as it was too odd and new to have come about any other way!
He argues that the (alleged) non-dependence on Daniel is a sign that these vision stories arose very early and were preserved in the four gospels.  The Bible speaks of Jesus shining like a star before his resurrection at the transfiguration. It simply for the most part does not say if Jesus shone or not after. However, the Book of Acts shows Wright to be lying to strengthen his case. Acts speaks of Paul seeing Jesus as a light and Paul was left blinded. The Book of Revelation describes the Risen Christ as being full of light and even carrying stars in his hand. The authors could use whatever source they wished about resurrection. Their not using Daniel 12 means nothing. They assumed their readers knew the Old Testament well or could read it. You may as well say that if I don't mention some popular book at this point that debunks the resurrection that I didn't consider that book any good!

 

He says on page 206 that if the resurrection tales were made up then we can't explain how the inventers put women in as the original witnesses. Women were not regarded as reliable so their being in the story proves the story was not invented but true (page 207). But the gospels were written for people who refused to adhere any longer to the outdated nonsense and unscriptural tradition that a woman was no good as a witness. And besides there were no men about when Jesus supposedly rose and appeared at the start so in a case like that female witnesses were acceptable. The Jews favoured male testimony but they regarded female testimony as highly when there as no male alternative.

 

He argues on page 208 that the resurrection stories indicate that Jesus was who and what he said he was for he rose and there is no trace of the later idea started by Paul that if Jesus rose we will rise too. Wright takes this silence as evidence of the early origin of the stories. Wright does not take the non-partisan silence about Jesus Christ to be evidence that Jesus never lived. People who should have mentioned Jesus did not. Here he expects short gospel accounts to mention the idea that Jesus rose to show us we will rise too if they were made up. And this despite the fact they had no need to. Perhaps the authors simply never thought of it.

 

Wright should realise that parapsychologists verify the paranormal have been proven wrong despite putting forward cases that seem very strong. If they can be wrong despite their powers of observation and reasoning not to mention their training why should we listen to some sketchy accounts from the first century according to which ordinary people supposedly saw the risen Jesus? Eyewitness testimony even on the spot is horrendously unreliable (page 179, God the Failed Hypothesis).

 

Wright utterly fails to make Christianity credible! How can it ever be credible when the religion is based on the lie that hating the sin is not personal? It feels personal. You hate the sinner in so far as you hate the sinner. You can't wish evil and judgement on a sin but on a sinner! This lie proves that the idea of an all-good God who loves sinners is impossible. Those who say they hate their father's alcoholism though they love him do not mean real hatred. They want to cure the alcoholism and do not see it as something to wish evil and judgement on.

 

Conclusion

 

The case for Jesus having a magic body is pure speculation. The bottom falls out of the Christian hope for a miracle and immortal and beautiful body patterned after that of Jesus.