Friday, December 16, 2005

Resurrection, part 15

The second argument comes from Luke 24:36-43. In this passage, Jesus makes a surprise appearance after his death. When his disciples saw him, they "thought that they were seeing a spirit." In the Jehovah's Witness view, they would've been entirely correct. Jesus was a spirit. But in Luke, Jesus corrected them. He said, "See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; touch me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." It's interesting that Jesus would use the phrase "flesh and bones." Remember that "flesh and blood" is an idiom for mortality. Jesus avoided that idom and said, "flesh and bones" instead. Such was the Jewish view of bodily resurrection that many of them were careful to preserve the bones of their dead in ossuaries, because they thought the bones were the objects of the resurrection. By saying, "flesh and bones," Jesus was emphasizing his physicality. While the disciples were still staring at him flabergasted, Jesus asked for food and then began eating in front of them, giving more proof of his physicality.

Jehovah's Witnesses are not without a response to this argument. In their view, Jesus was raised as a spirit creature. However, each time he made an appearance to his disciples, he manufactered a physical body for the sake of display. That body was then done away with once the appearance was over. If the Jehovah's Witnesses are right, then you have to admit that Jesus was being very deceptive to his disciples. Why use a physical body to prove resurrection if the resurrection really had nothing to do with a physical body? Why correct the disciples who thought Jesus was a spirit if Jesus really was a spirit?

And here's another interesting question that I've never asked a Jehovah's Witness before. If Jesus was a spirit, and if he manufactered a body for the sake of display, then was Jesus both body and spirit at that time, or did he cease to be a spirit in order to become a physical body during those appearances? It would be interesting to know if Jehovah's Witnesses would ever admit to any form of substance dualism.

to be continued... Part 16


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