Encounters with the risen Christ characterize the
Christian hope of resurrection. We shall rise like Christ, with him,
and through him.
From the beginning, Christian faith in the resurrection has
met with incomprehension and opposition.
“On no point does
the Christian faith encounter more opposition than on the resur-
rection of the body.”
It is very commonly accepted that the life
of the human person continues in a spiritual fashion after death.
But how can we believe that this body, so clearly mortal, could rise
to everlasting life?
How do the dead rise?
What is “rising”?
In death, the separation of the soul from
the body, the human body decays and the soul goes to meet God,
while awaiting its reunion with its glorified body. God, in his
almighty power, will definitively grant incorruptible life to our
bodies by reuniting them with our souls, through the power of
Who will rise?
All the dead will rise, “those who have done
good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to
the resurrection of judgment.”
Christ is raised with his own body: “See my hands
andmy feet, that it is I myself”;
but he did not return to an earthly
life. So, in him, “all of them will rise again with their own bodies
which they now bear,” but Christ “will change our lowly body to
be like his glorious body,” into a “spiritual body”:
But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what
kind of body do they come?” You foolish man! What you
sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow
is not the body which is to be, but a bare kernel . . . . What is
sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. . . . The
dead will be raised imperishable. . . . For this perishable
nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature
must put on immortality.
1:22; 10:41; cf. 4:33.
551 St. Augustine,
En. in Ps.
88, 5: PL 37, 1134.
554 Lateran Council IV (1215): DS 801;
15:35-37, 42, 52, 53.