Eternal Perspectives

One of the few modern writers who has tried to help us with the task of imagining what the risen body might be like [is] C. S. Lewis. In a variety of places, but particularly in his remarkable book The Great Divorce, he manages to get us to envisage bodies that are more solid, more real, more substantial than our present ones. That is the task that 2 Corinthians in particular invites us to. These will be bodies of which the phrase “the weight of glory,” taken from that letter (4:17), will be seen, felt, and known to be appropriate.

. . . An “immortal body” is something most people find so strange that they don’t even pause to wonder if that’s what Paul and the other early Christians were talking about. But it is.

There is a world of difference between this belief and a belief in an “immortal soul.” Platonists believe that all humans have an immortal element within them, normally referred to as “soul.” (Having praised C. S. Lewis, I should say that he seems to fall into this trap.) In the New Testament, however, immortality is something that only God possesses by nature and that he then shares, as a gift of grace rather than an innate possession, with his people.

Why will we be given new bodies? According to the early Christians, the purpose of this new body will be to rule wisely over God’s new world.

~ N. T. Wright ~

[Surprised by Hope]

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