Christian Beliefs About Life After Death by Paul Badham

By Paul Badham

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This latter consideration of Jesus' clothes is one of the reasons why I find difficulty with what is perhaps the most natural way of accounting for the appearances, namely that Jesus appeared to his disciples in a spiritual body. Such a body would be subject to different laws from those which govern us at present and could therefore appear and disappear at will, and pass through locked doors. Such a doctrine of a spiritual body has the authority of St Paul to support it, 75 and has the added virtue that it makes it possible for one to combine belief in the empty tomb and bodily resurrection of Jesus with a full recognition of the oddities associated with Jesus' appearances.

The historical issue involved in the resurrection claim is not why the disciples continued to cling to a false belief that Jesus was still alive, but why they acquired a radically new belief that he had risen. My argument for regarding the resurrection of Jesus as a real event moves from the fact of the disciples' faith to the 24 Christian Beliefs about Life after Death need for some sufficient cause to account for it. Bultmann however disputes this procedure. m It follows from this that for Bultmann 'Faith in the resurrection is really the same thing as faith in the saving efficacy of the cross,' 33 and consequently no objective resurrection is required.

But if such recompense were paid to the soul alone this would be completely unjust. 'If good deeds are rewarded the body will be wronged if it is not rewarded, inasmuch as it shared in the toils connected with well doing', while if faults are to be punished, it would be unjust for the soul to be punished for sins of the flesh' for which its own nature feels no appetite'Y Justice therefore demands, as Tertullian says, that 'man must be judged as a whole'. ' 16 If we grant their premises, then the Father's conclusions follow.

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