Thursday, October 30, 2008

Paul's Theory of Resurrection: A Debate

The debate between Richard Carrier and Jake O'Connell on Paul and the Resurrection is on-line for all to see!


Steven Carr said...

I see it did not take too long for Jake O'Connell to start rewriting the Bible.

'This is of course reminiscent of 1 Corinthians 15:54, where Paul says that the mortal corruptible preresurrection body must "put on" the incorruptible immortal resurrection body. '

No. 1 Corinthians 15:54 has no mention of 'body'. O'Connell just made that up.

Here is the text 'When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."

' Paul knows that though his present body may die, he can look forward to receiving the resurrection body (5:1).'

Here is 2 Corinthians 5:1 'Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.'

It says 'destroyed', not just 'die'.

I guess this is how Christian apologists are forced to debate. If the Bible does not say what they want it to say, they are forced to change what the Bible says to make it support their arguments.

So an easy victory for Richard Carrier already, and we have only gone 2 rounds.

It is beyond me why O'Connell thinks Paul thought of Jesus as a human set of nested Russian dolls, with an immortal body put on top of a corruptible body.

What a horrible image!

O'Connell says 'Ideally, he does not want to ever experience a bodiless state in heaven, but wants to go straight from the preresurrection body to the resurrection body'

You go FROM one body TO another body?

And O'Connell claims the idea that there is only ever one body?

O'Connell says 'Also, 2 Baruch 49-51 discusses at some length how the body will be transformed at the resurrection.'

Here is what 2 Baruch says. Notice the great length of the discussion of the transformation 'at the resurrection'

'For the earth shall then assuredly restore the dead,
Which it now receives, in order to preserve them
It shall make no change in their form,But as it has received, so shall it restore them, And as I delivered them unto it, so also shall it raise them.'

'It shall make no change in their form' must be talking about a transformation, in O'Connell's grasp of the passage.

The transformation takes place in Baruch AFTER the resurrection, not at the resurrection.

As for (3), Paul's failure to mention a resurrection of the flesh at most suggests that he thinks the flesh will be transformed at the resurrection so that it is no longer flesh (if it even suggests that), and a transformation of the flesh is still 1BT.

'No longer flesh'? But Jesus said the body was flesh and bone.

Even when doing their best, people just cannot make Paul talk about a flesh and bone resurrection of a body complete with wounds.

All of Paul's language suggests that Jesue became a spirit.

andrewbourne said...

If there is no connection between the Historical Body and the Risen Body then we are still in our sin `God became so that man might become God`, `What is not assummed is not redeemed`. As with much work on the Resurrection soteriological ideas are not considered if they were there would be a clearer realisation that Jesus mortal body was raised

Jake O'Connell said...

In response to Steven Carr:
1. The word "body" is implied in 1 Cor 15:54, as I will explain in my next rebuttal.
2. The word translated "destroy" in 2 Cor 5 does not necessarily mean to eliminate all of the matter out of which the thing is made. Jesus says the temple will be destroyed, but that doesn't mean all of the material of the
temple will be gone.
3. "Put on" is figurative, as I will explain in my next rebuttal. Paul does not mean the resurrection body literally goes on top of the present body. He just means that the present body will be transformed.
4. Of course, I did not mean it literally when I said that Paul wants go from the pre-resurrection body to the resurrection body, as if these are two different bodies. I mean that Paul wants to experience the transformation that will take place at Jesus' return, without having to die first. The fact that it sounds like I'm affirming two body resurrection when I explain my interpretation of Paul's position just shows that an author who affirms one body resurrection can be misunderstood on this point.
5. You're nitpicking when you say that the transformation in 2 Baruch doesn't take place at the resurrection. The transformation takes place very shortly after the bodies are raised from the dead; that counts as "at the resurrection."
6. Whether Luke believed that Jesus' resurrected body was still flesh is irrelevant to the debate since the debate is only about Paul's belief. And it's not necessary for me to defend the thesis that Paul believed that Jesus' resurrected body was still flesh (though I think this is the case--when Paul speaks of the church as the body of Christ as having flesh in Eph 5:30 (assuming Eph is Pauline)), because that's not what the debate is on (the position statement allows that a transformation of the resurrected flesh is still compatible with one body resurrection).

Steven Carr said...

Of course, the word 'body' is not implied in 1 Corinthians 15:54.

Which part of 'destroyed' are you struggling with?

Do corpses never get eaten by fish or reduced to the elements (air, earth, fire, water), by burning?

What does it mean to say that a body had returned to the elements it was made of (air, earth ,fire and water) and that it is not completely destroyed?

Paul clearly teaches the desturction of the body.

I am not 'nitpicking' about 2 Baruch.

Jews who believed in corpses being raised are clear to state either that God will reform the corpse, or that it will rise just as it was buried , with no changes, or both.

Paul teaches flat-out that 'You do not plant the body that will be,,'

Paul teaches flat-out that Jesus became a spirit.

Paul says flat-out that it doesn't matter if the body is destroyed, because their is a heavenly body.

And Paul doesn't teach that flesh will be reformed, as you implicitly admit.

What does it mean to say that a resurrected body is 'continuous' with the corpse, when the resurrected body is not made of flesh, and the material of the corpse has returned to the elements it was composed of.

God can transform water into wine, but can he transform water into wine, after somebody has boiled away the water?

'Of course, I did not mean it literally when I said that Paul wants go from the pre-resurrection body to the resurrection body, as if these are two different bodies.'

I know. It is just that , despite your best efforts, you cannot avoid using 2-body language when talking about Paul.

'Put on' is figurative.

How do you transform something by putting something on top of it?

How do Paul's metaphors of transformation work?

How do you transform a tent by destroying it and moving to a heavenly building?

How do you transform a body by taking some clothes off and putting other clothes on?

In the Gospel stories about Jesus, what had been metaphorically been put on top of what, and what was metpahorically underneath what had been put on?

How is the resurrection body as different from the earthly body as a fish is different to the moon, to use Paul's analogy?

Of course, in Carrier's view, all Paul's metaphors make perfect sense.

We wear our present body of flesh and blood.

It is destroyed (because you do not plant the body that will be).

We then put on a heavenly body, because heavenly things are as different to earthly things as a fish is different to the moon.

No wonder Paul regarded the Corinthians as idiots.

Their model of resurrection was like asking how a bird can change into the sun.

They didn't realise that earthly things do not change into heavenly things.

What idiots they were, in Paul's view.

Steven Carr said...

O'CONNELL in the resurrection debate -

'If Paul had said our bodies will not be reconstituted, just as a broken clay vessel will not, we would have a clear affirmation of 2BT. But Paul does not say that.'

Carrier said Paul compared our bodies to clay vessels which are destroyed after use.

Indeed, Paul says our bodies are destroyed.

But, claims O'Connell, Paul says our bodies are 'reconstituted'.

But surely if Paul had meant that our destroyed corpses are reconstituted , he would have said that the destroyed body was reconstituted.

But Paul never claims our bodies are reconstituted.

He says they are destroyed.

OCONNELL (in the debate)
Rather, they were claiming that Jesus had been supernaturally resurrected, after which he spent most of his time in heaven while making occasional appearances to his followers.

Really? Jesus was spending 'most of his time in heaven' during this period of 'making occasional appearances to his followers'?

Jesus must have been ascending and descending so often he should have had an elevator installed.

Weren't Christians allegedly claiming Jesus had been walking the earth for 40 days before ascending to Heaven?

Why then would the Romans not have hunted down Christians who claimed their leader had cheated death?

O'Connell even explains why.

The Romans surely would have either understood the resurrection appearances as analogous to religious visions (which were not at all unusual in the ancient world), or they would have figured that the witnesses to the appearances were simply lying (which is apparently just what the Jewish leaders were saying per Matthew 28:11-15).

Clearly, the earliest Christian proclamation sounded just like all the others.

As Paul said, Jesus had become a spirit.

Christians were not proclaiming a corpse had risen.

In fact, Christian converts scoffed at the idea of a corpse being raised. They just could not understand how it could happen.