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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: The Procedure of the Last Judgment, and Its Awards, Only Possible on the Identity of the Risen Body with Our Present Flesh.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter LVI.—The Procedure of the Last Judgment, and Its Awards, Only Possible on the Identity of the Risen Body with Our Present Flesh.

For how absurd, and in truth how unjust, and in both respects how unworthy of God, for one substance to do the work, and another to reap the reward:  that this flesh of ours should be torn by martyrdom, and another wear the crown; or, on the other hand, that this flesh of ours should wallow in uncleanness, and another receive the condemnation! Is it not better to renounce all faith at once in the hope of the resurrection, 7715 than to trifle with the wisdom and justice of God? 7716 Better that Marcion should rise again than Valentinus. For it cannot be believed that the mind, or the memory, or the conscience of existing man is abolished by putting on that change of raiment which immortality and incorruption supplies; for in that case all the gain and fruit of the resurrection, and the permanent effect 7717 of God’s judgment both on soul and body, 7718 would certainly fall to the ground. If I remember not that it is I who have served Him, how shall I ascribe glory to God? How sing to Him “the new song,” 7719 if I am ignorant that it is I who owe Him thanks? But why is exception taken only against the change of the flesh, and not of the soul also, which in all things is superior to the flesh? How happens it, that the self-same soul which in our present flesh has gone through all life’s course, which has learnt the knowledge of God, and put on Christ, and sown the hope of salvation in this flesh, must reap its harvest in another flesh of which we know nothing? Verily that must be a most highly favoured flesh, which shall have the enjoyment of life at so gratuitous a rate! But if the soul is not to be changed also, then there is no resurrection of the soul; nor will it be believed to have itself risen, unless it has risen some different thing.


Footnotes

589:7715

With Marcion.

589:7716

With Valentinus.

589:7717

Statu.

589:7718

Utrobique.

589:7719

Rev. 5:9, Rev. 14:3.


Next: Our Bodies, However Mutilated Before or After Death, Shall Recover Their Perfect Integrity in the Resurrection. Illustration of the Enfranchised Slave.

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