Our resurrection bodies

I have been thinking about the resurrection and the new creation and how to imagine this in the light of a scientific outlook. As a new Christian, this is all new to me and I thought I might think out loud to get some thoughts and pointers to further reading that might help me.

On the one hand, God can do anything. I don’t object to “miracles”, i.e., God deviating from His usual patterns aka the “laws of nature”. On the other hand, it seems He does this very sparingly, and manages to achieve amazing things while sticking to those patterns. (Indeed, there is a sub-class of miracles, such our own answered prayers, that also stick to the patterns despite reflecting God’s agency. By “miracles” in the rest of this post, I mean apparently law-breaking ones, like the loaves and fishes incident.)

Imagine for a moment we were not humans, but instead were disembodied minds watching God’s creation unfold on Earth, with our current knowledge of physics but without knowing where things were going to go.

I think we would be amazed and surprised by the emergence of living organisms, and yet, we would detect no miracle. As far as we know, no “laws of nature” were violated.

Likewise, the emergence of embodied minds would amaze and surprise us, and yet we would detect no miracle.

So, it seems to me, perhaps we should expect that the new creation, including our resurrection bodies, will work this way. The emergence of life and of embodied minds show us that God can manifest amazing and unexpected phenomena in the material world, without requiring the suspension of the laws of nature. There is no reason to doubt that there could be a third great creative emergence, corresponding to the new creation, even if we can’t imagine it. Indeed, we should expect to not be able to imagine it.

This sits better with me than the idea that at the new creation God will turn the world into an ongoing and permanent miracle, suspending the laws of nature that applied before then. We (as evolutionary creationists) don’t believe in law-violating miracles for the original creation, so it seems best not to need them for new creation, either.

How will it work? What will it look like? That is necessarily a mystery to us. We know certain things from Scripture. One of them, I think, positions the new creation as something of an extension of the creation of animals with minds (humans, image-bearers). In both cases we have aspects of heaven coming to earth. The new creation takes this further than the creation of humanity did. That’s exciting!

That’s the end of me thinking out loud. I would love some pointers to further reading along these lines.

Read 1 Corinthians chapter 15.

I have just re-read it. (Wonderful!) Is there something specific you want to highlight about it?

I think it speaks for itself. Though perhaps the main point is that I would take what Paul writes in his epistles far more seriously than I would Revelation, because His explanations are down to earth and practical while Revelation is too far from reality as we experience to know what any of that really means.

So to summarize, the basic picture which Paul gives us (adding the terminology of science) is the physical/natural which operates according to the measurable demonstrable laws which include destruction and decay, and the spiritual which is a different portion of reality of a different substance which is not subject to these laws. The spiritual, Paul says, is more powerful and imperishable, but spiritual body grows from the physical/natural like wheat from a seed, but with a different substance which is not of the Earth.

But if you would like my further speculations I can give you that. Just as the plant takes its form from what is in the seed, so would the spiritual body take its form from what is in the physical/natural form. And I think the relevant information is the choices we make in our physical life. Why? Because it makes sense of everything we read in the Bible where our ultimate destiny depends on how we live our life and the choice we make.

Frankly I do not believe there is anything wrong with heaven and earth other than our sins and it is they which twist and distort everything in our own perceptions so that we complain of hardships rather than rejoice in its beauty and challenges. Thus the new heaven and earth I envision is the transformation of we will see when mankind can fulfill its full potential as its caretakers and the children of God.

The transcendent, if it exists, has always been in parallel with the eternal, infinite natural. And that’s the problem. Eternal, infinite nature arises from quantum instability in absolutely nothing. There is absolutely no requirement, absolutely no evidence that that instability is intentional and worse, if it is, that necessitates infinitely more complexity. The only warrant for that is the Church, the New Testament (in descending order of document age), Jesus. In that order.

But if God grounds nature, He is more than capable of grounding supernature, the transcendent; glory. What the nature of parallel supernature minimally has to be becomes the question.

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