And if Christ be not risen again, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain" 1 Corinthians sqq. The Apostle preached the resurrection of the dead as one of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity , at Athens , for instance Acts , 31, 32 , at Jerusalem xxiii, 6 , before Felix xxiv, 15 , before Agrippa xxvi, 8.
He insists on the same doctrine in his Epistles Romans ; 1 Corinthians ; sqq. Tradition It is not surprising that the Tradition of the early Church agrees with the clear teaching of both the Old and New Testaments. We have already referred to a number of creeds and professions of faith which may be considered as part of the Church's official expression of her faith.
Here we have only to point out a number of patristic passages, in which the Fathers teach the doctrine of the general resurrection in more or less explicit terms.
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Clement of Rome , I Corinthians 25 ; St. Justin Martyr , "De resurrect. XVII, in Matt. Ephraem , "De resurrect.
Many saw Jesus Christ alive after his death.
Basil , "Ep. Epiphanius , "In ancor. Ambrose , "De excessu frat.
XVII, ; St. Jerome , "Ep. Chrysostom Ps. Chrysostom , "Fragm. Job" in P. Peter Chrysologus, serm. Augustine "Enchirid. The general resurrection can hardly be proved from reason, though we may show its congruity. As the soul has a natural propensity to the body, its perpetual separation from the body would seem unnatural. As the body is the partner of the soul's crimes, and the companion of her virtues, the justice of God seems to demand that the body be the sharer in the soul's punishment and reward.
As the soul separated from the body is naturally imperfect, the consummation of its happiness , replete with every good, seems to demand the resurrection of the body. The first of these reasons appears to be urged by Christ Himself in Matthew ; the second reminds one of the words of St. Paul , 1 Corinthians , and 2 Thessalonians Besides urging the foregoing arguments, the Fathers appeal also to certain analogies found in revelation and in nature itself, e. Jonas in the whale's belly, the three children in the fiery furnace, Daniel in the lions' den, the carrying away of Henoch and Elias, the raising of the dead, the blossoming of Aaron's rod, the preservation of the garments of the Israelites in the desert , the grain of seed dying and springing up again, the egg, the season of the year, the succession of day and night.
Many pictures of early Christian art express these analogies. But in spite of the foregoing congruities, theologians more generally incline to the opinion that in the state of pure nature there would have been no resurrection of the body. Characteristics of the risen body All shall rise from the dead in their own, in their entire, and in immortal bodies; but the good shall rise to the resurrection of life, the wicked to the resurrection of Judgment.
Reflections about Jesus dominated Christian discourse from the apostolic age onward. Most of that Christological reflection took place in the eastern Mediterranean, where it utilized the language Greek and concepts of Classical antiquity. The Christological debate is quite unintelligible without an awareness of how it was shaped by that context.
Since there seem to be echoes of Classical concepts in Scripture, it is not surprising that Christian theologians appropriated them in order to explicate the meaning of Christian affirmations.
Two notions in particular played important roles: logos theology and preexistence. Logos theology, which was formulated by the Jewish philosopher Philo , sought to describe how God is active and effective through the divine will, reason, and power.
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Christian reflection understood Jesus as the manifestation of the divine will, reason, and power and therefore applied the concept of the logos to him—dramatically so in the opening of The Gospel According to John. There are intimations of the concept of preexistence both in the Hebrew Scriptures and in the thought of Classical antiquity.
The good thus existed with God before any earthly appearance, which is merely the transition from hiding to manifestation. The concept of preexistence is related to the notion that there is nothing that God does not know, that there is neither past nor future with God, and that God is the Lord of History. The entire structure of Christianity—and indeed of any hope for eternal life and for any meaning to human existence—stands or falls with Christ's resurrection. The fact of His resurrection is the most important event of history and therefore, appropriately, is the most certain fact in all history.
It is supported by a wider variety of testimonial and other evidence than any other historical event that has ever taken place since the world began.
It is therefore mandatory that every individual must face the issue of the claims of Christ on his own life and service. The preaching of the apostles note Acts ; ; ; ; ; ; , 23 ; etc. The first Christians were devout Jews, accustomed to worshipping the Lord faithfully on the seventh day of the week, but now they began meeting instead on the first day, because that was the day of the resurrection. Similarly, their greatest annual observance was the Passover , but this soon became Easter for them, when they realized that Christ had fulfilled the Passover, dying as the Lamb of God, and then rising again from the dead.
The Christian History and Development of Easter
These institutions—observance of the Lord's day and Easter, as well as the Lord's supper , and even the Christian Church itself—can be traced back to the apostolic period, and only the fact of the resurrection can account for them. There can be no doubt whatever that the apostles and early Christians, by the tens of thousands, believed and preached the resurrection. Is it possible they could have been wrong and that their faith was based on some wicked deception or some fanatical delusion?
They certainly had every reason to consider this possibility.
Article 2. Whether it was fitting for Christ to rise again on the third day?
Most of them suffered severely for their faith, losing their possessions and often their lives in the great Jewish and Roman persecutions of the first century. They would hardly have persisted in their testimony unless they had been firmly persuaded, after thorough consideration of all the facts, that their Savior had conquered death!
Some have suggested that these post-resurrection appearances of Christ were only visions or hallucinations, or perhaps a case of mistaken identity. But visions and hallucinations don't occur repeatedly like this, to individuals and to groups, indoors and outdoors. And certainly the disciples could recognize the One who had been with them every day for more than three years.