On the Resurrection

11-04-2012 03:04 PM

Pope Shenouda III

In this present article I would speak to you about the possibility and the necessity of the Resurrection.

In this present article I would speak to you about the possibility and the necessity of the Resurrection.
The possibility of the Resurrection:
The raising of the bodies after death is indeed a miracle in the power of God the Almighty. No doubt, however, that raising the bodies is easier than creating them.
God who gave them the gift of existence is undoubtedly able to restore them to existence. He created them of the dust of the earth, and He is able to restore them once more from the dust. Furthermore, He created every thing from nothing; the earth and its dust He created them from nothing, then from the dust of the earth He made man.
Which then is more difficult: creating from nothing, or raising the body from the dust?
It is the unlimited power of our God the Creator. Suffice that He wills something, and it is immediately done, even without a word uttered or a command given by Him.
Therefore, the resurrection is the belief of the faithful:
Whoever believes in God and in His power, can believe in the resurrection. For it essentially depends on God’s will, knowledge, and power.
As for God’s will, He wants man to rise from the dead and to return to life. He did promise man to rise and to live forever. And since He promised, He certainly will fulfill His promise.
As for God’s knowledge and power, God knows where the elements of those bodies that dissolved are, and where their bones are. He knows how to re-form and re-construct them, and where the souls of those bodies are, and it is easy for Him to command the souls to return to their bodies, and the souls can easily return.
He is able to do all this; glorified is His great name, and most sublime is His divine power.
Whoever denies the possibility of the resurrection, certainly denies the miracles in general.
Not only this, but consequently such a person denies the doctrine of creating from nothing, denies God’s might and power, and perhaps also denies His very existence!
This applies to the atheists, the semi-learned, and the unbelievers, who believe in God and in His unlimited power, those believe in the miracles including the resurrection.
The necessity of the resurrection:
As we have seen the resurrection is possible and in God’s power, so also it is necessary in accordance with God’s justice, goodness, and righteousness.
1. It is necessary for the sake of justice:
It is necessary in order that everybody may be judged according to the works he did throughout his life on the earth, whether good or evil. If the works are good, the person will be rewarded, and if evil, he will be punished.
Unless there is a resurrection, people would indulge in the worldly pleasures and corruption, not caring about what will happen afterwards! Also unless there is a resurrection, injustice would prevail and the strong would dominate over the weak, not fearing eternal punishment.
On the other hand, belief in a resurrection followed by judgment and reward or punishment is a deterrent to people. This makes them feel that justice will take its course, in the other world if not in the present world.
2. The resurrection is necessary for making balance:
On the earth there is no balance among people: there are the rich and the poor; the happy and the miserable; the well off and the wretched. So, if there is no equality on earth, it is supposed to be in heaven. Whoever does not receive his rights on earth, he can receive them in heaven afterwards, and the Lord will reward him what he has not received in this present world, if only his works were pleasing to the Lord.
3. God has promised man eternal life, and the promise is for man as whole, not for the soul or the spirit only.
If the spirit only is given immediately and eternal bliss, we cannot say that man as a whole will enjoy eternal life, since the body will be deprived of such bliss! Therefore, the body should rise from the dead, unite with the spirit, and the whole person be rewarded for his works.
4. The resurrection is necessary, for unless there is a resurrection, the human body will have the same end as the bodies of the animals!
What then will be the advantage that distinguishes the rational human being who is given by God the gift of intellect, invention, science, power to build space ships to carry him to the moon and the planets and bring him back safe to the earth! By these gifts man made other wonderful inventions like the computers, the fax machine, and the mobile phones. Is it reasonable then that this wonderful man, who is given by God dominion over many aspects of nature, receive the same end that a beast or an insect receives? No mind can believe such a thing. Therefore, a resurrection is necessary and a must.
5. The resurrection of the body reasonably confirms with man’s dignity.
Man is distinguished more than all other creatures having bodies, for man—through the gifts granted him by God—can dominate over all of them, can take care of them if needed, and can make use of them. Is it not meet then that the body of this rational being be distinguished in dignity more than the bodies of the irrational creatures under his dominion?
6. The resurrection also is necessary to bring us to the ideal life which we have lost here on the earth.
In the other world we will see a marvelous beautiful life, where there will be no grief, no weeping, no corruption or injustice, no defect or fault; nothing but a life of eternal bliss. Man will be an ideal man, without sin, and in good company and communion with God and His angels and saints. How beautiful is that life in the other world which no eye has ever seen, nor ear has heard of, nor has occurred to a human heart. 
 This article was printed in Watani International on 30 April 2006
WATANI International
15 April 2012 
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