Paul the Apostle, His Life Letters and Thought– Part Twenty Four

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p. 389—first analogy— seed-plant, but even plants decay. Second analogy different types of flesh but the same problem, they all decay. He then refers to stars and planets— which seem at least to last and shine forever. Unlike a fire here on earth which consumes what it alights, the stars didn’t seem to consume themselves. In Paul’s world heavenly bodies were different than earthly ones, so a better analogy.

p. 390—What is raised is a different body from the one that is buried, though not a different kind of flesh. The raised body is heavenly (vs. 40) and therefore imperishable (vs. 42). Paul may have known exactly what he meant but he had a hard time explaining it.

p. 391- 15.444-9 means that humans at first have Adams earthly body and then at res. They will have Christ’s heavenly body. Gen. 2.7 is quoted from the LXX to which Paul adds the name Adam ‘the first man, Adam, because a living psyche— soul.’ And when he died a ‘soulish’ body was buried.

p. 392— “This stands the ordinary meaning of psyche on its head. To the ordinary Greek speaker, the psyche was a disembodied soul. In Gen. 2.7 and 1 Cor. 15.44 it refers to Adam’s natural body or to the Adamic body. The word soul here refers to the physical body— [nope. It refers to the animating principle. Paul is not arguing for a body made out of soul any more than he is arguing for a body made out of spirit. The psyche is the animating principle the life-breath, just as nephesh means in the Hebrew, just as the Spirit is of the res. Body].

p. 393— Paul also inserts the word ‘first’ and well as Adam, into his quote of Gen. 2.7, which sets up the contrast with Christ. In Test. Abr. Rec A. 11.9f. Adam is called ‘the first-formed’ protoplastos. The term first implies a second or a last— it implies a comparison.

p. 395—Paul then says that the first man was of the dust, which is not in the LXX but is in the Hebrew. See Sib. Or. 8.445— formed of dust. Maybe Paul knew the Hebrew, or maybe his Greek text differed from the LXX.

p. 396– We shall bear the image of the man of heaven. [pre-existence?] They will have spiritual heavenly bodies like the raised Christ. But Jews did not think heavenly bodies like the planets were non-material. In fact, as Dale Martin shows in his Corinthian Body book, some even saw soul or spirit has having gossamer materiality.

p. 397— the verbs ‘put on’ ‘swallow up’ and ‘change’ make clear that Paul is not talking about the reunion of the soul with the body. The perishable body which constitutes the whole person puts on the imperishable body.

p. 398—Sanders argues on the basis of 15.52 when Paul says ‘we shall be changed’ he is implying that he will necessarily live until Christ returns, and not be raised but only be changed or transformed like others still living. But by contrast he says ‘the dead will be raised’ using the third person to distinguish from himself. [Again this is incorrect. Because Paul affirmed the possible imminence of Christ’s return, and did not know when he would die, he could only put himself in the category of the living].

He quotes a student paper arguing that what Paul saw in Damascus Road was Christ without a physical body, and so he assumes resurrection doesn’t involve a physical body and would not involve one when Christians are later raised. [Nothing in Paul suggests he saw a Christ who did not have a material body, nor is there anything in Acts that suggests this. He saw and heard a person is what we gather from Acts, not just a light].

p. 399— Paul wants to insist that Jesus was neither a resuscitated corpse nor a ghost nor just the same old Jesus. The spiritual body is not a flesh and blood body.