Resurrection of the dead

Resurrection of the dead

:"This article concerns itself with the belief in the final resurrection at the end of time, commonly found in the Abrahamic religions. For other meanings, see Resurrection (disambiguation). For the concept of bringing the dead back to life, see undead, life extension, and cryonics."

Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam all variously describe a resurrection, usually of all people to face God on Judgment Day.

Greek philosophy

One of the main themes in the Phaedo is the idea that the soul is immortal. Socrates offers four arguments for the soul's immortality.


Zoroastrianism includes a prophecy that the dead will be raised and judged at the end of time. The world will be purified and all creation will be reconciled to God. [ [ Zoroastrianism & Christianity] ]


The Sadducees did not believe in an afterlife, but the Pharisees believed in a literal resurrection of the body. [,


Most Christian denominations teach the concept of eternal life after death, provided through the atonement of Christ. It is generally believed that when a person's body dies, the soul is separated from the body and continues to exist forever. The term "resurrection of the dead" is generally used to refer to the idea that the dead bodies of all or some of humanity will be reformed and reanimated at the End Times.

This tenet is included at the end of the Nicene Creed, which concludes (in its version of 381 AD) that Christians "look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come." The Apostles' Creed explicitly ends with an affirmation of belief in "the resurrection of the body".

The Christian writers Irenaeus and Justin Martyr, in the 2nd Century, wrote against the idea that only the soul survived. Justin [] insists that a man is both soul and body and Christ has promised to raise both, just as his own body was raised. He wrote: "Seeing as ... the Saviour in the whole Gospel shows that there is salvation for the flesh, why do we any longer endure those unbelieving and dangerous arguments, and fail to see that we are retrograding when we listen to such an argument as this: that the soul is immortal, but the body mortal, and incapable of being revived? For this we used to hear from Pythagoras and Plato, even before we learned the truth. If then the Saviour said this, and proclaimed salvation to the soul alone, what new thing, beyond what we heard from Pythagoras and Plato and all their band, did He bring us? But now He has come proclaiming the glad tidings of a new and strange hope to men."

While the Christian doctrine of resurrection conforms to Jewish belief, there is, however, a minority point of view, held by certain Jewish mystics and others,).

Most Christian churches continue to uphold the belief that there will be a general resurrection of the dead at "the end of time", as described Paul when he said, "...he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world..." ( [;&version=31 Acts 17:31] KJV) and "...there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust." ( [;&version=31 Acts 24:15] KJV).

There is also a minority point of view, held by the Gnostic writers of the Nag Hammadi Codices, that Jesus taught the resurrection as a doctrine of 'Rebirth'.

According to the New Testament, Jesus argued with the Sadducees over the doctrine of the resurrection. These passages are . See also Mark 12. The Gospel of John also contains teachings about the resurrection of the dead (, ) may be about the resurrection of the dead. From the "Scholars Version" translation of Matthew 12:38-42: "...At judgment time, the citizens of Ninevah will come back to life along with this generation ... At judgment time, the queen of the south will be brought back to life along with this generation ..."

The "resurrection of the righteous" is mentioned at , , warns of some "who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some."

Additional cites are ; ;

Modern de-emphasis

Early church fathers defended the resurrection of the dead against the pagan belief that the immortal soul went to heaven immediately after death [ [ Do Souls Go To Heaven?] ] . Currently, however, it is a popular Christian belief that the souls of the righteous do go straight to heaven. [ [ Hereafter] ] [ [ ill We Be Reunited with Children Who Have Died?] ]

At the close of the medieval period, the modern era brought a shift in Christian thinking from an emphasis on the resurrection of the body back to the immortality of the soul. [Encyclopedia of Christian Theology Vol. 3, “Resurrection of the Dead” by Andre Dartigues, ed. by Jean-Yves Lacoste (New York: Routledge, 2005), 1381.] This shift was a result of a change in the zeitgeist, as a reaction to the renaissance and later to the enlightenment. Dartigues has observed that especially “from the 17th to the 19th century, the language of popular piety no longer evoked the resurrection of the soul but everlasting life. Although theological textbooks still mentioned resurrection, they dealt with it as a speculative question more than as an existential problem.” [Encyclopedia of Christian Theology Vol. 3, “Resurrection of the Dead” by Andre Dartigues, ed. by Jean-Yves Lacoste (New York: Routledge, 2005), 1381.]

This shift was supported not by any scripture, but largely by the popular religion of the Enlightenment, deism. Deism allowed for a supreme being, such as the philosophical first cause, but denied any significant personal or relational interaction with this figure. Deism, which was largely lead by rationality and reason, could allow a belief in the immortality of the soul, but not necessarily in the resurrection of the dead. American deist Ethan Allen demonstrates this thinking in his work, "Reason the Only Oracle of Man" (1784) where he argues in the preface that nearly every philosophical problem is beyond humanity’s understanding, including the miracles of Christianity, although he does allow for the immortality of an immaterial soul. [ The Encyclopedia of Unbelief, Vol. 1, A-K, “Deism,” Edited by Gordon Stein (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1985), 134.]

This is not to say that a belief in eternal life in heaven is contradictory to belief in the resurrection of the body. Most evangelicals believe that those who die in Christ go to be with Christ in heaven. But then at the second coming of Christ, there will be a rapture of all believers, including who have already died. ("For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17) It is at the point of rapture that the souls of dead believers become reunited with their bodies. Then all believers will continue to live with Christ in their glorified, physical bodies. They will be both body and soul, as humans were originally created.

In modern Christianity resurrection is in many places not mentioned much. Sometimes only heaven is spoken of as the goal of the believer.Fact|date=March 2008 Early 20th century American preacher Billy Sunday epitomizes the sentiment in his sermon “Heaven: A Wonderful Place; Where There is No More Death; Blessed Hope of the Christian.” In the message Sunday characteristically explained the feelings of his audience by saying “Everybody wants to go to Heaven. We are all curious. We want to know, where Heaven is, how it looks, who are there, what they wear, and how to get there!” Sunday speaks of many aspects of the afterlife such as the nice weather and eternal health, although there is no mention of the resurrection of the dead. He ends with an illustration about a man who dies and goes to heaven exclaiming “Home, home at last!” as if he had arrived at the end of his eschatological journey. [ Billy Sunday “Heaven: A Wonderful Place; Where There is No More Death; Blessed Hope of the Christian” A Sermon reprinted in The Sword of the Lord Vol. 71, no. 21 Oct 7, 2005. p. 1, 20-21.]

The emphasis on the immortality of the soul in heaven instead of the resurrection of the dead continues largely in the 21st century through popular charismatic and evangelical preaching. Jesus is often spoken of as “the way to heaven” and personal eschatology is generally seen in terms of whether or not a person gets into heaven when they die, rather than how they will fare at the resurrection of the dead. However, there are a good number of theologians, such as Thomas Oden, popular Christian writers, such as Randy Alcorn and Christian scholars, such as the Anglican Bishop of Durham, N.T. Wright [,8599,1710844,00.html ] who have defended the primacy of the resurrection in Christian faith.

Influence on secular law and custom

Formerly, it was widely believed that to rise on judgement day the body had to be whole and preferably buried with the feet to the east so that the person would rise facing God. [ [ Essex, Mass. - Cemetery: The Old Burying Ground, Essex, Mass.I. Description and History] "Up until the early 1800s, graves were marked by pairs of headstones and footstones, with the deceased laid to rest facing east to rise again at dawn of Judgement Day."] [ [ Grave and nave: an architecture of cemeteries and sanctuaries in rural Ontario] "Sanctuaries face east, and burials are with the feet to the east, allowing the incumbent to rise facing the dawn on the Day of Judgment"] A Parliamentary Act from the reign of King Henry VIII stipulated that only the corpses of executed murderers could be used for dissection. [ [ The history of judicial hanging in Britain: After the execution] "Henry VIII passed a law in 1540 allowing surgeons 4 bodies of executed criminals each per year. Little was known about anatomy and medical schools were very keen to get their hands on dead bodies that they could dissect"] Restricting the supply to the cadavers of murderers was seen as an extra punishment for the crime. If one believes dismemberment stopped the possibility of resurrection on judgement day, then a posthumous execution is an effective way of punishing a criminal. [Miriam Shergold and Jonathan Grant" [ The evolution of regulations for health research in England] "(pdf) Prepared for the Department of Health, February 2006. Page 4. "For example, the Church banned dissection and autopsies on the grounds of the spiritual welfare of the deceased."] Attitudes towards this issue changed very slowly in the United Kingdom and were not manifested in law until the passing of the Anatomy Act in 1832. For much of the British population it was not until the twentieth century that the link between the body and resurrection was finally broken as cremation was only made legal in 1902. [ [ Department for Constitutional Affairs] ]


Yawm al-Qayāmah (ArB|يوم القيامة literally: "Day of the Resurrection") is the Last Judgment in Islam. Belief in Qayaamah is part of Aqeedah ("creed") and is a fundamental tenet of faith in Islam. The trials and tribulations associated with it are detailed in both the Qur'an and the Hadith, as well as in the commentaries of the Islamic expositors and scholarly authorities such as al-Ghazali, Ibn Kathir, Ibn Majah, Muhammad al-Bukhari, and Ibn Khuzaimah who explain them in detail. Every human, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, is held accountable for his or her deeds and are judged by Allah accordingly (Qur'an 74.38). Al-Qayaamah is the 75th surah of the Qur'an.

ee also

* Intermediate state
* Preterism
* Reincarnation


External links

* [ Catholic Encyclopedia: General Resurrection]
* [ Jewish Encyclopedia: Resurrection]
* [ The True Nature of the Resurrection of the Dead]

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