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House Divided Chapter Seven The Resurrection of the Dead Amillennialist Robert B. Strimple Vs. Full Preterist David A. Green Part 13 Romans 8:11

House Divided

Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to

When Shall These Things Be?

Chapter Seven

The Resurrection of the Dead

 

Part 13 Romans 8:11

 

David A. Green

Copyright 2009 and 2013 All rights reserved.  No part of this book (or article) may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher or author of this chapter/article (Vision Publishing or David A. Green), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

Strimple Argument #13: Christ’s redeeming experience is the

model and pattern of what lies ahead for us. Romans 8:11 says that

God “will also” (i.e., just as He did for Christ) “give life to your mortal

bodies” (288, 294, 297, 326-330, 333-337). Therefore, the word “soma

(body), when used in reference to the resurrection of the dead, means

“the physical, material aspect of our person.”

 

Answer: Strimple is correct that the physical death, physical burial,

and physical resurrection of Christ was the “pattern,” “parallel” and

“model” of the church’s body-burial, body-death, and body-resurrection

with Him. And Strimple is correct that Paul said in Romans 8:11

that the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead “will also” give life

to the “mortal bodies” of believers.

 

Nevertheless, the eschatological church’s Spirit-empowered bodyburial,

body-death, and body-resurrection with Christ were not physical/

biological events. The “redemptive experience” of the eschatological

church was not a literal replay-in-process of what Christ experienced.

What Christ experienced physically (literal death, literal burial, and literal

resurrection), the eschatological church was experiencing spiritually

throughout the eschaton: Burial with Christ, death with Christ,

and resurrection with Christ through the age-changing power of the indwelling

Holy Spirit (Rom. 6:4-6,8; 8:17; 2 Cor. 13:4; Gal. 2:20; 3:27; Eph.

2:5,16; Col. 2:12-13,20; 3:1,3; 2 Tim. 2:11).

 

Most futurists accept the doctrine of a non-physical body-burial

with Christ and a non-physical body-death with Christ through the

Spirit. And they should. For as Paul said, “If Christ is in you, the body

is dead because of sin” (Rom. 8:10). The indwelling, Sin-killing Spirit

of Christ brought about the death of the mortal body of Sin and Death

while believers were still physically alive.

 

Preterists and futurists agree that Paul speaks of non-physical

body-death in Rom. 8:10. Yet when the doctrine of non-physical bodyresurrection

is offered, Strimple claims that such a non-physical usage

of the word “body” is “semantic sleight of hand” and a “contradiction in

terms.” He compares those who employ such a non-physical usage of

the word “body” to Humpty Dumpty arbitrarily changing the definition

of words (335-336).

 

Despite Strimple’s irrational ridicule, the Scriptures teach us that as

Christ was crucified physically, put to death physically, buried physically,

and resurrected from the dead physically, so were His people, through

His indwelling Spirit, buried bodily (yet non-physically) with Him into

His death; and while thus dying bodily (yet non-physically) with Him (to

Sin), His people were concurrently being resurrected bodily (yet nonphysically)

with Him through the same indwelling Spirit (Rom. 8:11) in

anticipation of the end of the old covenant age.

 

We know that the “body” was raised non-physically, because the

body” that was non-physically buried with Christ and non-physically

put to death with Him was, as Paul’s logic demands, to be resurrected

with Christ out of its non-physical burial and non-physical death (which

was death to the Adamic world of Sin, Death, and the Law). Therefore,

the eschatological resurrection of “the body” was necessarily non-physical

(not a biological resurrection).

 

In the second half of this chapter I will discuss the meaning of the

word “body” in eschatological, resurrection-of-the-dead contexts. For

now though, I will close this section with a preliminary argument that

bears directly on the historical basis for a resurrection unto biological

incorruptibility.

 

On page 332 of WSTTB Strimple says that Christ’s individual, postresurrection

body was physically “endowed with new qualities” so that it was physically

imperishable, physically glorious, physically powerful, and physically heavenly.

How does Strimple know this?

 

Strimple acknowledges that although Jesus, after His resurrection,

passed through locked doors, and though God “caused Him to be

seen,” and though Jesus suddenly “disappeared from their sight,” these

occurrences do not prove that Jesus’ post-resurrection body had been

changed. As Strimple agrees, even before Jesus was raised from the

dead, He walked on water, was transfigured, and “walked right through

a mob. Even the apostles themselves had passed through locked doors

and had vanished and reappeared (329).

 

Since none of those events indicate that either Jesus or the apostles

had physically imperishable bodies,[1] how does Strimple know that Jesus

had a physically imperishable body after His resurrection? Strimple

offers one piece of evidence, which is this:

 

Christ’s body would never die again. Therefore it was a physically

“imperishable, glorious, powerful, heavenly” body.

 

But this is hardly biblical proof. Enoch and Elijah were physically

taken up without seeing death. According to Strimple’s evidence,

Enoch and Elijah must have had biologically incorruptible bodies. But

if the hope of the promise is to receive a biologically incorruptible body,

then Enoch and Elijah could not have received such a body, because

Heb. 11:39 tells us that they “received not the promise.” If then, in the

futurist framework, Enoch and Elijah could not have put on physically

incorruptible bodies when they were taken up without seeing physical

death, why assume that Jesus became physically incorruptible when He

was assumed into the divine glory-cloud?

 

The fact is there is no scriptural proof that Christ’s body became biologically

incorruptible. That means that the four gospel narratives offer

no historical foundation and no Scripture-proof for the doctrine of a resurrection

of the dead unto biologically incorruptible bodies. The concept

has to be introduced into the gospel so that the gospel will better fit the

futurist supposition of an eschatological “resurrection of the flesh.”

 

Nevertheless, Strimple is so bold as to state, “ . . . [B]ut of course

the New Testament . . . lays great stress on the wonderful discontinuity

between Christ’s body before his resurrection and his body after it”

(332). Strimple offers no hint as to where in the New Testament this

“great stress” is found. That is because the “great stress” is found only

in the assumption of the futurist framework which has been imposed

upon the gospel narratives.

 



[1] Mathison in his chapter did not see what Strimple sees here. As

Mathison said: “Jesus’ resurrection body was changed enough that he was not

always recognized immediately. . . . He was also able to travel unhindered by

normal impediments. . . . ” Mathison did not realize that he was “proving” that

before Jesus’ resurrection, both He and the apostles had physically imperishable

bodies (193).

 

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