Do any of the Christians here believe the resurrection is metaphorical?

This is something I’ve wondered a while and asked in various threads but never really got any specific answers that I recall. I understand why nonbelievers will take the metaphorical route but I’m curious is any self professed Christians here believe that the resurrection of Jesus was not literally a physical resurrection. If not then do you believe it was some kind of “spiritual” resurrection and his body was left behind to rot? Does anyone believe that we as Christians are not resurrected somehow. After our physical bodies die and turn to skeletons and compost do you believe at some time who we are will exist again actively and with free will? Or is our resurrection into eternal life just a metaphor as well?

For me personally I believe that Jesus literally came back to life after being dead for three days. That his life force returned from the grave and entered his corpse and it came back to life and is immortal. At this moment I can’t* envision it as his spirit continued and his corpse was just like stolen by angels and buried and rotted away or whatever made the tomb empty.

Despite believing he physically resurrected I have a harder time believing we as his people will be physically resurrected. I imagine it more as our spirit resurrecting and our bodies just turning into worm food.

I have no idea when this happens. No idea of when we die it happens automatically or if we sleep until the white throne judgement or if the white throne judgement is metaphorical for some kind of like heavenly court date or what. Or if the white throne thing already happened.

It’s one of the many subjects I have absolutely no real idea what I believe or where I stand beyond my comments about Christ. I’ve also not studied it. I want to. But I keep putting it off because it seems like it’s going to be such a stressful headache full of hundreds of hours of online arguments as it’s fine tuned.

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I don’t think it matters. If Jesus literally appeared to his followers as a genuine vision or his body was resurrected makes no difference to me. God has shown us that death is ultimately conquered either way. Are we made of ordinary matter in heaven? Perpetually dying cells? I have no idea.

How do decayed bodies get resurrected? Does God make new atoms or go about collecting the original ones that were in the person’s body when they died? I have no idea.

Obviously the gospel of Mark suggests a bodily resurrection with the tomb story and Matthew and Luke who are dependent upon him but I am not convinced of the factuality of that scene. As was customary, Jesus’s body may have simply been tossed in a shallow grave and left for the wild animals. That was part of the shame of crucifixion if my understanding is correct. I don’t see any way to really know either way. Either you accept the tomb story or you don’t but I don’t think the evidence for or against is compelling either way. Apologetical arguments like the women at the tomb suggesting it’s historical are just not very compelling to many critical scholars.


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I believe in Jesus’ literal resurrection and I agree with Paul’s words:
1 Corinthians 15:14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. … 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.


What does a literal resurrection mean? I doubt Paul’s conception of a body and our modern conception of a body were the same. Does Paul distinguish between flesh and body?

Bart Ehrman actually put together some interesting thoughts on Paul here:

It is clear what he means and it was clear to the Athenians. He didn’t bring people to Jesus by discourses on accommodation.


I’m not necessarily opposed to it either. As in the body having been tossed elsewhere. There is a part of me that considers the fact that the sxriotire sun Jude mentions Michael and Satan arguing over the body of Moses. Then we see Moses with Christ and it’s a vision. I can’t help but think maybe some parallels are there concerning something mysterious with bodies but also that visions don’t require them.

But I guess ultimately I land with where Terry landed.

Do you think Paul feels our flesh is resurrected?

Spiritual not metaphorical. 1 Corinthians 15 sums it up for me. I don’t think that lends itself to a metaphorical interpretation.

Are some things in the Bible metaphorical? Absolutely. But not everything – not by a long shot. And things being metaphorical are not black and white. With a metaphor you are trying to understand something abstract by comparing it to something less abstract or saying it in a way that could be taken as less abstract but shouldn’t.

For example. We say our soldiers have given their lives for our freedom. Well they really have died so it is not a metaphor in that sense. But neither they did commit suicide in a magical exchange for American liberty. They died defending our liberty from threats to it.

For another example, we can say that the innocent have frequently paid the price for the redemption of many – like the apostle Paul for example. Often it is only when our sins have gone so far as costing the lives of innocent people do we repent and find the will to change. But this doesn’t mean that we caused the death of innocent people in order to get redemption – that would monstrous. I certainly do not believe in attaining some kind of magical redemption by the blood sacrifice of innocent people or animals.

So yeah there are a few things where I draw the line and understand the Bible with resort to metaphor, symbolism, or changes in culture and language. Things in opposition to science is one of them and black/blood magic is another. I reject the Mayan and Aztec religion and their beliefs in blood thirsty Gods who demand that innocent people die in order to love and forgive other people. That is a monster – a demon, even according to the Bible. Something that would have any rational moral person tossing the Bible into garbage is a good place to draw such a line and seek a more meaningful understanding of the text.

Because… the laws of nature make this clear. It is not the substance of the body but the form that matters. The elements of our physical composition are part of the natural cycle. So in 1 Corinthians 15 Paul talks of the body resurrected with the same form but a different substance, which He calls spiritual rather than physical/natural.

And yet the fact is that the resurrected Jesus did not behave according to the laws of nature anymore. He wasn’t a ghost and was certainly far more capable than other spirits we have heard tell of. But He wasn’t bound by the laws of nature like He was before either. He was even hard for some to recognize.


And he just appears in rooms in the accounts. Seems to come and go from our reality at will.



You can’t touch a vision. Put your hand in its wounds. A vision can’t cook you breakfast.

For me, Jesus’ impossible to naturally resuscitate corpse, another word for which is soul, nephesh, was glorified. Or there is no God. And rationally there isn’t of course. I want there to be, and if there is, He is infinitely more complex, more powerful than eternal nature which He grounds. It is nothing to Him to override the naturally irreversible chemical decomposition of of a 36-72 hour corpse on the cusp of fermenting microbially. That’s not the problem. That’s just a miracle. A piece of theatre for us. The problem is what happened to the - mediocre - human-divine twin-natured hybrid, perichoretic chimera of natures, Jesus? Who came in to existence starting 34 years before.

Where is He now? What’s He doing? This Earth local glorified person of two natures? Orthogonally complex in God.

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We know there are other dimensions because we cannot physically detect God, among other physically undetectable realities that some of us believe in, anyway.

People often use “metaphorical” to mean “not true” or “not historical” which isn’t really what metaphorical means. A metaphor is any vehicle for understanding or describing something in terms of something else.

Jesus resurrection is a metaphor for many things. All atonement models (ransom, rescue, sacrificial lamb, victorious hero, legal acquittal, substitution of prisoner, etc.) rely on metaphorical understandings of what Jesus’ death and resurrection accomplished.


Point of clarification here.

Anything can be used as a metaphor, but that is not the same as it being a metaphor.

Jesus uses seeds as a metaphor in the parable of the sowers. Doesn’t means seeds are a metaphor in general. Sometimes we say “not just a metaphor.” But more often than not, when using something as a metaphor, it is obvious that the thing used is not metaphor in itself.

So yes Jesus’ resurrection can be used as a metaphor for many things. But it is not a metaphor in itself. When the Bible tells us that Jesus was resurrected, it is not a use of metaphor. It is talking about something which happened – no matter how many preachers use His resurrection as a metaphor for something else.

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When I use metaphor I mean a non literal truth being revealed through a story. In case of the resurrection being a metaphor I mean that as well as not literal and not historical. I guess I don’t see Jesus resurrection of as metaphor for atonement. I think atonement is result of his death.

If Christs resurrection is a metaphor then perhaps it could be a metaphor for atonement but that’s not how I view it.

I believe in a physical resurrection. It’s part of the historic Christian faith. It’s also an affirmation of the goodness of creation, when Christ makes all things new. The Greeks, on the other hand, saw matter as evil, and so did Gnostic Christians.

The following is something I posted back in 2018:

Thought I’d share this article from our church newsletter, since there seems to be a lot of confusion about this topic. It was written by The Reverend Joel C. Daniels, Ph.D.

We continue to celebrate the Ascension for the ten days between that day and Pentecost. The bodily ascension is as essential to Christian salvation history as the bodily resurrection. And both are as scandalous to the pagan religious imagination as the bodily incarnation, the idea of God taking on flesh. This isn’t a new scandal. Along those lines, I was recently sent an Article From First Things , written by a friend of a friend, on the widespread Gnosticism of modern life - even and especially within Christian communities.

Gnosticism here is defined as a distrust of, and even feelings of disgust at, the body and embodiment. But, as the article points out, the source of sin isn’t the body, but the soul. This has been the classical Christian theological position since the time of the patristic authors, including Augustine and Cyril of Alexandria. To summarize Augustine, “to see the flesh as more sinful than the soul is to follow the way of the flesh.” The author writes

The apostolic tradition carries a radical message that defends the truth of human personhood against the secular tide of pessimism about the flesh. Safeguarding that message requires entering into the mysteries of the Incarnation and the Resurrection…


I thought I raised that a long time ago as my understanding of the subject got me banned from RZIM as a heretic. I simply asked how people imagined themselves to look like in their resurrection and by what property they would wish to be identified that made them distinguishable from Jesus in the afterlife. Would they want to exist there in the form in which they left, bent and frail and with difficulties to reach their feet to tie their shoelaces or as they thought of themselves at the peak of their life or even better as superman/woman like?
I found that I failed to answer Henry in 2016 who actually invited me to comment on that in Jan and eventually joined that thread back in august and I wonder if he ever saw my comments. Do humans have a non-physical soul? (And how does modern science affect the question?) - #146 by marvin
I think it is in this thread I last used part of the poem I wrote for my mother in laws funeral:
to live forever is the art
to learn to live in every heart

Ever since I use a different form:

to live forever is the art
to learn to live in Jesus heart.

If the resurrection does leave us with a physically resurrected body of Christ in the hope to come back in our own physical body his death was in vain as it left us with our desire to be a self, a separate unit from God with our own authority. Jesus heart is found in everyone who lets him into their heart - and that is where you want to be.

It boils down to our understanding of life and eternal life and trying to get a logically coherent worldview so once you understand what life is and that God did not create life, as you only can create what does not exist, you can be born again as in becoming part of eternal life again.

I learned about life from researching viability in microorganisms and figured out that it is the ability to control the flow of matter/energy at will. The bacterium is a bot with simple instruction encoded in its DNA. Thus you can kill it by scrambling its instructions, DNA denaturation or by depriving it of the control of energy gradients required to maintain its system, e.g. membrane permeabilization. Humans can transmit will over time by generating extra corporal code that can be transmitted without personal connection and we are aware that we can receive will in that way that we can incorporate.

Once we understand life in that way we can become will aware ad live in the will and realise who’s will we are doing an adapt a life in “thy will be done” and submit to Gods will.

Some people believe that the belief in a physical resurrection is the hallmark of being a Christian as well as believing in his creation by an act of magic. So the question is
Do the Christians here believe the resurrection is metaphysical
Do the Christians here believe the conception of Jesus is metaphysical

My understanding of Jesus is that his conception was physical and that he was born had a metaphysical cause and that his death was physical and his resurrection was metaphysical.
In both events a miracle happened as an act of hate and oppression was turned into a beacon of love and hope, a complete reversal of reality caused by the power of the word, to overcome the self and do something based on the word of God, to love thy neighbour like thyself (not oneself) thus giving up ones wishes for oneself for the sake of others. If we want to be our self for eternity we do not follow this word but want to be like God our self. But that is what the church seems to promise in its teaching, the ultimate prosperity gospel

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You answer yourself. A vision could most certainly cook you breakfast. That is not a problem, that would just be a miracle, a piece of theater for us. Why could a spiritual being not somehow interact with reality? Yet an irreversible decomposed corpse can recompose?

I don’t think Jesus’s resurrection was just a vision, existing only in the minds of his followers but it’s very difficult to say literal resurrection meaning a reanimating of his decaying corpse or appearance. Vision gives the impression of delusion. Maybe saying “spiritual appearance” as opposed to “vision” would be less likely to get one excommunicated.

One could, for example, adopt an adoptionist Christology as the Gospel of Mark might do with Jesus at his Jesus’s baptism. Or one could say Jesus was a spiritually pre-existent being as John 1 does and appeared in his earthly form after death because he ultimately wanted those who knew him to recognize him (even though the accounts seem to imply they had trouble on this front).

Does the man form of Jesus still exist? I kind of think the incarnation is over is it not? If we claim Jesus is God then he pre-existed the material appearance and chemical composition of his earthly body.

In the end Jesus is a divine ineffable mystery and I don’t think analyzing the details of scripture too closely will resolve it. The Biblical authors were as lost as we are when it comes to a rational, logistical explanation of the incarnation and the simultaneous humanity and divinity of Christ. Now we are trying to comprehend his resurrection which is narrated as both a bodily resurrection but also showing him vastly different. Many Jews believed in the genera resurrection of the dead at the time which means this is how they would understand those appearances, whatever they were. Not to mention, how does Jesus appear to Paul after the alleged ascension? Did Jesus ascend multiple times to heaven and come back? What exactly is an ascension then? Bodily resurrection to disciples but spiritual appearance to Paul? Or was the blinding light bodily as well? I don’t think we can untangle this knot nor understand it if we did. Somehow Jesus was raised. Somehow he appeared to his followers after his crucifixion. They believed he had defeated death and was raised by God. This latter statement is far and away the best method of accounting for the spread of the early Jesus movement.


I’m a simple man. The TV isn’t going to fix me a TV dinner I can eat. The incarnation can never end. My ‘problem’ above that you won’t address. What happened to the man Jesus? Our soulely human incarnation won’t end. The physical is glorified. And Jesus’ glorified body, 99% of the time, manifested physically, as a fully functional human body. How does He manifest in the transcendent creation? Where the rest of resurrected humanity are? From the past four hundred thousand years at least? Where He’s only existed for two thousand? Or do all the what will be trillion human dead await a general resurrection?

What about the rest of eternal, infinite transcendent creation, third heaven, and all its denizens? Jesus, son of man, wasn’t their Incarnation of the divine.

We can’t gloss over this with feigned ignorance, blind spots of the logical corollaries.

A physical resurrection isn’t about reanimating a corpse

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