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tions of the ordinary man laid as the basis for a discussion on the Resurrection-state. The result of this is inevitable. According to Tertullian, if the hairs of our head are all numbered, this registration is with a view to their future reproduction. The weeping and gnashing of teeth are to Tertullian literal, physical, material. The outer darkness is external gloom. The being 'bound hand and foot' implies the solidity of the Resurrection-structure. The reclining at the feast, the standing before God, the eating of the tree of life, are in Tertullian's opinion most certain proofs of a corporeal form and structure (corporalis dispositionis fidelissima indicia). Human bones and teeth undecayed after being buried for centuries are to his mind 'the lasting germs of the body which is to spring into life again at the Resurrection.'? 'It is,' he says, ‘characteristic of a religious spirit to maintain the truth on the authority of a literal interpretation.'3 Accordingly he applies this principle. Christ affirms as the Father's Will 'that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. Now what had Christ received of the Father but that which He had Himself put on ? Man, of course, in his texture of flesh and soul. Neither, therefore, of those parts which He has received will He allow to perish : nay, no considerable fraction--nay, not the least fraction, of either'-'not even a hair or an eye or a tooth.'s

But Tertullian is suddenly confronted with the words 'fesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.' Here a literal interpretation would destroy his view. Accordingly that characteristic of a religious spirit' is abandoned. The words must receive a figurative interpretation. Christ, urges Tertullian, rose again in the flesh. * The very same Body which fell in death, and which lay in the sepulchre, also rose again. If, then, Christians are to rise after the example of Christ, they must rise in the flesh. Otherwise the example is meaningless. The 'flesh and blood,' therefore, which 'cannot inherit the Kingdom Op. cit. xxxv.

? Ibid. xlii. 4 lbid. xxxiv.

6 lbid. xxxv.

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3 lbid. xxx.

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---of God' must be unregenerate behaviour. The incongruity of intruding this ethical idea into a discussion of physical experience is entirely ignored. Or if 'Aesh and blood' must be literally interpreted, then, observes Tertullian, it is not the Resurrection which St. Paul says they cannot inherit, but the Kingdom of God.

Tertullian's opponents recoiled from the gross materiality of this conception. If that which constitutes identity is sameness of outline and limbs and particles, then the blind and the lame and defective must perpetuate their characteristic defects. Tertullian replied that nature is prior to injury. The Almighty can remake what once He made. The restorer of the flesh is the repairer of its deficiencies.

His opponents pressed him further to explain the rationale of the retention of physical organs after their functions had ceased. What significance could be found in the mouth and the throat and the organs of assimilation, when assimilation has passed away ? Tertullian was hard pressed. He maintained that, liberated from their functions, the physical organs are still required for judgement. Man cannot be entire without his limbs. Man consists, moreover, of the substance of his organs, and not of their functions. Perhaps some other function may be found for them. The mouth not necessary for food may be required for language and for praise.'

But it appears from another passage that Tertullian did not regard gross materiality as man's final bodily state. The Resurrection was not admission into Heaven, but into the Millennial reign of the Saints on earth : a period which would terminate in a further change in the physical condition of man. He writes :

* We confess that a Kingdom is promised to us upon earth, but before Heaven, but in another state of existence, inasmuch as it will be after the Resurrection, for a thousand years in the divinely-built city of Jerusalem, let down from Heaven. . . . We say that this city has been provided by God for receiving the saints on their Resurrection. . . . After its

i Op. cit. lvii. Ix. Ixi.


thousand years are over

there will ensue the destruction of the world and the conflagration of all things at the judgement : we shall then be changed in a moment into the substance of angels, even by the investiture of an incorruptible nature, and so be removed to that Kingdom in Heaven of which we have now been treating.'?

Not that we indeed claim the Kingdom of God for the flesh; all we do is to assert a resurrection for the substance thereof.... But the resurrection is one thing, and the Kingdom is another. The resurrection is first, and the Kingdom afterwards. We say therefore that the flesh rises again, but that when it is changed it obtains the Kingdom.'

'Having therefore become something else by its change, it will then obtain the Kingdom of God, no longer the old flesh and blood, but the body which God shall have given it.' ?



Thus the force of Tertullian's profoundly materialistic conception of the Resurrection-state is considerably modified by his distinction between Resurrection-state and the final Kingdom of God. The distinction, however, does not seem to have taken effect in the subsequent theology. The Millennium theory disappeared, but Tertullian's teaching on the change after the Resurrection disappeared with it. What survived in men's minds was his materialistic language, and this was quoted as a description of man's final bodily estate.

To do justice, however, to the materialistic elements of Tertullian's teaching it must be remembered that his theory was formulated in opposition to pagan disparagement of the body. The contemptuous and one-sided estimate of the ills and humiliations of the flesh was ringing in his ears and exciting his anger. The Gnostic depreciation of matter in general was prevailing all around him. The identification of moral evil with material substance was a fundamental axiom with many among his opponents. The Docetism which denied all reality to the physical nature of Jesus Christ complicated still further all treatment of the theme. And amid circumstances such as

ic. Marcion. III. xxiv.

; Ibid. V. x. : Cf. Sheldon, History of Christian Doctrine, i. 151.


these it is scarcely to be wondered that his intolerant and uncompromising temper should have tended to give his theory a reactionary form which made the most of divergences and the least of common ground.

But assuredly Tertullian made belief in the Resurrection exceedingly ffidicult for any philosophic mind. His modern admirer Schwane allows that his philosophy was 'insufficiently developed to give solution to such a problem. But the fact is, as Neander asserted long ago, that Tertullian in spite of speculative tendencies was not a metaphysician:? He never really faced the problem of what constitutes identity. He held the superficial view that identity consisted in the material particles, disintegrated by corruption, reassembled by Resurrection. A vigorous dialectician without logical consistency; a born debater, too impulsive to be impartial; too much of the advocate to seek for elements of truth in an opponent's mind; he was, as his more recent expounder says, an embarrassing advocate, an interpreter more devoted than exact. He surpassed the apologists of the age rather in the splendour of his expressions than in the depth of his thought. He enforced the Faith with despotic argumentativeness. In behalf of Authority he would suppress all invasions of reason into the precincts of religious truth. His famous saying reveals his character : 'We have no need of curiosity after Christ, nor of inquiry after the Gospel.' 4 But he identified the Gospel too closely with his own expositions, and the spirit of further inquiry refused to be restrained.

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This grossly materialistic conception was not in una disputed possession. A second theory was advocated in the Alexandrian School, and, being adopted by Greek theologians, acquired extensive influence. This theory is

Schwane, Dogmengeschichte. ? Neander, Antignosticus. • Adhémar d'Alès, La Théologie de Tertullien, 496, 425.

* Pr. 7, 'Nobis curiositate opus non est post Christum, nec inquisitione post Evangelium.'



primarily identificd with the name of Origen. It emphatically refused to ascribe solidity and physical organs to the body in the Resurrection-state. Doubtless Origen is not the first, but he is certainly the ablest, exponent of this view. His treatise on the Resurrection is unhappily lost; but its contents may be gathered from the fragmentary notices of opponents and friends.

Origen, according to Jerome,' denounced two theories on the Resurrection : the one as erroneous, the other as heretical. The erroneous was the materialistic view. He characterized its advocates as simple-minded, lovers of the flesh. The heretical view was that which restricted the future existence to the disembodied soul, and asserted that not only Christ's Resurrection but also His assumption of the flesh was fantastic, in appearance only and not in reality. Both these views were, according to Origen, to be rejected. He taught, says Jerome, that the substance of the flesh and blood neither perishes nor returns to its former state. The solidity of the flesh, the liquid blood, the sinews, the structure of the veins, the hardness of the bones, will not survive in the Resurrection. There is a certain principle in the human body which will germinate in the Resurrection ; but there will be no restoration of the outward form. 'Thou sowest not that body that shall be.' Here we see with eyes, act with hands, walk with feet. But in that spiritual body we shall be all sight, all hearing, all activity. He will change this body of our humiliation ; change : it, reiterates Origen. To his mind this involved the transmutation of the present physical constitution into something of a purely aetherial type, inaccessible to all our present material organs of sense. Origen also declared, says Jerome, that the Resurrection-Body of Christ, although offered to the evidence of the senses in order to establish the fact of the Resurrection in the doubting minds of men, nevertheless certified its own profound spirituality by the manner of its entrance and disappearance.

· Hieronym., Ad Pammachium adv. errores Joannes Hierosol., Opera, ii. 170. · Phil. ii. 21.



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