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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: Our Destined Likeness to the Angels in the Glorious Life of the Resurrection.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter LXII.—Our Destined Likeness to the Angels in the Glorious Life of the Resurrection.

To this discussion, however, our Lord’s declaration puts an effectual end:  “They shall be,” says He, “equal unto the angels.” 7752 As by not marrying, because of not dying, so, of course, by not having to yield to any like necessity of our bodily state; even as the angels, too, sometimes. were “equal unto” men, by eating and drinking, and submitting their feet to the washing of the bath—having clothed themselves in human guise, without the loss of their own intrinsic nature. If therefore angels, when they became as men, submitted in their own unaltered substance of spirit to be treated as if they were flesh, why shall not men in like manner, when they become “equal unto the angels,” undergo in their unchanged substance of flesh the treatment of spiritual beings, no more exposed to the usual solicitations of the flesh in their angelic garb, than were the angels once to those of the spirit when encompassed in human form? We shall not therefore cease to continue in the flesh, because we cease to be importuned by the usual wants of the flesh; just as the angels ceased not therefore to remain in their spiritual substance, because of the suspension of their spiritual incidents. Lastly, Christ said not, “They shall be angels,” in order not to repeal their existence as men; but He said, “They shall be equal unto the angels,” 7753 that He might preserve their humanity unimpaired. When He ascribed an angelic likeness to the flesh, 7754 He took not from it its proper substance.


Footnotes

593:7752

Luke 20:36, Matt. 22:30.

593:7753

ἰσάγγελοι.

593:7754

Cui.


Next: Conclusion. The Resurrection of the Flesh in Its Absolute Identity and Perfection. Belief of This Had Become Weak. Hopes for Its Refreshing Restoration Under the Influences of the Paraclete.

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