Re: Essay about errancy

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Wed Feb 04 2004 - 22:17:35 EST

Gough, Joshua wrote:
> George, thanks for the response, I will have to take a look at that book
> you mentioned. I agree that unless there is a full resurrection, it
> doesn't make sense. Christians often complain that scientists are guilty
> of reductionism in that they attempt to dissect humanity into bits and
> pieces, but are not Christians guilty of the same who attempt to reduce
> a human into a corporeal and non-corporeal makeup? Are we truly "one" or
> are we not?
> But, that brings up one question a chemistry professor of mine raised
> once:
> For a resurrection to occur, where do the elements of the body come
> from?
> That is, you and I have bodies that we now know, and really have always
> known, come from ingesting food and metabolizing the materials from that
> food. This is not reductionism, it is just the way nature works. We put
> food into our bodies and that food becomes our bodies.
> So, the fingers typing this note were once in the ground, and then were
> in food, but long before any of that, they were in the stars. Truly, we
> are star stuff.
> So, for a physical resurrection to occur of all beings who achieved
> God's righteousness seems to me to raise a huge problem. How many of the
> 77 billion (accurate?) human beings who have lived on this planet will
> be judged righteous and be raised? Is it just 144,000 or something like
> that? Did God foreknow this?
> Here's a thought experiment:
> Conceivably, you and I could actually have elements that were once part
> of the body of one those resurrected saints that eventually died again
> (we assume?)
> So, if you and I have elements in our physical constituency that once
> were the constituents of a righteous man from the past, then how does
> God raise both past righteous man and current me and you into a
> simultaneous creation? Does God do so by manipulating the physical
> constructs of the universe such that new elements are created to
> recombine into the exact configuration of the body to which he deems fit
> we inhabit at the time of resurrection? (How he decides what body I
> should inhabit is still in question, is it the one I had at 18, 23, now
> at 26, or maybe at 50?) Does God keep a database of our optimum
> constituencies and then remap our physical being in accordance with that
> optimization?
> We can pretend we "don't know" how he'll do it, but certainly we can ask
> questions as to just how given the laws of this universe that he _could_
> do it. Another thing with resurrection that troubles me is the concept
> of heaven. Supposedly God will not force us to accept his offer of
> forgiveness because that interferes with free will. Now, in order for us
> to be truly without pain or tears in a resurrection body, there is one
> thing God must do: Alter our state of being against our will because he
> presupposes he knows what is best for us and how we will best experience
> this life after death.
> God wants us to have no pain after death. He knows us. Therefore, he
> knows he has to alter us to remove pain. So, why is he unwilling in this
> life to alter us, but once we get to the other life he is perfectly
> willing, in fact has obligated himself to do such?
> All of that brings the question of if God truly has divine foreknowledge
> of all things, did he know about this dilemma before it happened? If he
> did, why did he create the world? Some would say he thought the risk
> worth the reward. Well what is that reward? The reward of having beings
> who he has to forcibly manipulate to ensure their eternal state of joy
> due to such beings' remembrance of their past formative experiences,
> sorrows, pains, joys, etc all of which would produce pangs of longing
> and remorse and alienation for not seeing their loved ones with them.
> But, that's all ok, right, because God will make it all better and
> perfect. So, if he's going to make it all perfect, why did he not make
> it all perfect from the get go? We cannot address this by going down the
> path of free choice because we've already seen that God has to eliminate
> free choice in order to ensure our eternal state of happiness. If God
> truly did not want an army of "praise you God" automatons, it seems then
> he's gone along way to ensuring that he gets just that unless the claims
> of removing all tears and eternal joy are simply untrue.
> Phew, back to real life, the only life I know of at least right now ;-)

Josh -
        Several people have already responded about the resurrection body & I'll add
some comments. But first I note that you go on to add several conundrums about free
will &c. Some of those are interesting questions but I think you should ask yourself if
a person really needs to have answers to those questions before deciding whether or not
to make a serious commitment to believe in Christ. Or is posing those questions just a
way of putting off the difficult task of making a commitment one way or another?

        Concerning the resurrection: It's clear that in I Corinthians 15 Paul is
talking about a _transformation_ of our present bodies, not simply resuscitating them &
returning them to their original condition: "It is sown a physical body, it is raised a
spiritual body" &c. At the same time it is the same _person_ who is to be raised, in
continuity with the person who has died. & that means that in some sense there is
continuity with the bodies we now have. "Spiritual" does not mean simply "immaterial"
but a body that is completely in accord with God's will and enlivened by the Spirit of
        The problems about where materials for risen bodies come from, the recycling of
our bodily material in the biosphere, what happens to people eaten by cannibals, organ
donors, &c all become non-problems when we realize that in quantum theory identical
particles really are identical. You can't say that this electron is "the same" as the
electron you had a minute before, but only that you have one electron. & so to the
extent that the resurrection body is composed of atoms (& what extent that is we don't
know), all we can speak of - & all we need to speak of - is the same pattern of atoms.
I dealt with this in an article titled "Quantum Theory and Resurrection Reality" in CTNS
Bulletin 11, 25, 1991. I'll be glad to send a copy to anyone but I'll need a snailmail



George L. Murphy
Received on Wed Feb 4 22:21:24 2004

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