Re: Seeing a life-giving spirit with a camcorder

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Tue Oct 18 2005 - 22:34:06 EDT

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Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2005 4:47 PM
Subject: Re: Seeing a life-giving spirit with a camcorder

> wrote:
>> I'm curious to know your own answers, Steven. Now it's my turn to ask
>> questions. Let me put to you a middle case. What would a camcorder have
>> seen, if it were present at the wedding at Cana? Or at the feeding of
>> the
>> thousands? Or at the healing of the lame man or the blind man? Anything
>> at
>> all? Would the wedding guests have drunk wine that they could not see?
>> Would the thousands have eaten food they could not see?
> Wel, of course, the miracles are as much literary constructs as the Koran
> and the Book of Mormon, and for much the same reasons.
> By applying techniques developed by Christians,
> shows the literary nature of
> these reports.
> <skip>
>> This is easy IMO to defend from Paul's own very
>> non-Platonic interpretation of his own quite mystical experience, as well
>> as
>> from Thomas' actions and Peter's clear reference to the "resurrection of
>> Jesus Christ from the dead," using a term and concept that had a clear
>> meaning to a second Temple Jew, as NT Wright shows so well in The
>> Resurrection of the Son of God (I recommend this particular book, esp its
>> lengthy but wonderful concluding section, to all on this list; Wright's
>> historical sensibilities are exactly where mine are on this issue).
> Wright's book is certainly a tour de force. The Gospels say that the body
> which
> came out of the ground is the body that went into the ground, complete
> with
> wounds. The Gospels deny that the resurrected Jesus was a spirit. They
> maintain that flesh and blood did inherit the kingdom of God.
> Wright spends many, many words making Paul say the same thing. No mean
> task when Paul says 'And as for what you sow, you do not plant the body
> that is to be'
> Paul says 'The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.'
> Paul says 'Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.';
> Wright has to turn 'a life-giving spirit&' into flesh, and
> empty it of any reference to real spirit, and , for good measure, he then
> has
> to empty Paul's 'flesh and blood cannot inherit' of any
> reference to real flesh.
> Wright also has to have Paul believing that Jesus was God made Flesh
> while on earth, yet only had a spiritual body after the resurrection.
> How much more spiritual can a body be than one which houses God Himself?
> I would be very happy to debate just what Paul meant by 'a life-giving
> spirit' on my page and Paul's
> conviction that Jesus had a heavenly body - ie one not made from flesh as
> Adam was.
> Anybody like to defend the idea that Paul thought our destroyed , decayed
> bodies would inherit the kingdom of God when he declares in 2 Corinthians
> Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a
> building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.
> Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling,
> because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are
> in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be
> unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is
> mortal may be swallowed up by life.
> Nobody who wrote that could have believed that a resurrected body was the
> earthly body transformed into Wright's new form of matter - transphysical
> matter . (incidentally, isn't this terminology of Wright's meaningless?)
> And nobody who had experience of a body of Jesus which could be touched or
> knew people who had touched Jesus would have ommitted such recollections
> when trying to describe to the Corinthians what a resurrected body could
> possibly be.
> Paul works entirely from theological first principles in 1 Corinthians 15.
> Fine in itself, but ignoring the elephant in the room that says that
> people supposedly already knew exactly how tangible and flesh and blood a
> resurrected body supposedly was.

The supposed contrast between what I Cor.15 & the gospels on the
resurrection isn't nearly as great as suggested here. OTOH the analogies
Paul gives in vv.41-50 (coincidentally one of the daily lectionary readings
for today) makes it clear that he's thinking of some continuity between the
body that is "sown" and that which is resurrected. He is not talking about
annihilation of the present body & repalcement of it by something else. His
"flesh and blood" is, in accord with more general biblical usage, humanity
in its present condition of weakness & vulnerability, to be contrasted with
the resurrection body. OTOH the gospel accounts, when viewed in their
totality, don't picture the risen Christ in just his same old pre-Easter
condition. He appears in a locked room, vanishes from the sight of the
Emmaus disciples, & in a couple of instances isn't recognized by his
friends. Both Paul & the gospels are consistent with a picture of
resurrection as a transformation of the present bodily condition - the kind
of thing that Jakob Bernoulli meant by having a logaritmic spiral put on his
tombstone with the inscription /eadem mutata resurgo/.

Which is to say, among other things, that Wright's terminology is by no
means "meaningless." It's as good as we can do in describing the transition
from our present state of existence to one of which we're given only hints.
None of this is meant to endorse everything Wright says, valuable as his
book is.

If Jesus - & prospectively we - are not in some sense risen in "the same
body" then WE aren't risen, plain & simple. Without my body I am not I.

But having said this, I'm not prepared to make statements about what a
camcorder would have registered at the tomb of Christ or in the upper room.
I'm inclined to agree with Ted but will not do so "with the certainty of

& no, I would not be "happy to debate" this with a person who begins his
post with "Wel, of course, the miracles are as much literary constructs as
the Koran and the Book of Mormon, and for much the same reasons." Of
course? How's that for an attempt at preemptive intimidation?

George Murphy
Received on Tue Oct 18 22:36:32 2005

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