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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. II:
City of God: Chapter 14

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 14.—Whether Infants Shall Rise in that Body Which They Would Have Had Had They Grown Up.

What, then, are we to say of infants, if not that they will not rise in that diminutive body in which they died, but shall receive by the marvellous and rapid operation of God that body which time by a slower process would have given them?  For in the Lord’s words, where He says, “Not a hair of your head p. 495 shall perish,” 1631 it is asserted that nothing which was possessed shall be wanting; but it is not said that nothing which was not possessed shall be given.  To the dead infant there was wanting the perfect stature of its body; for even the perfect infant lacks the perfection of bodily size, being capable of further growth.  This perfect stature is, in a sense, so possessed by all that they are conceived and born with it,—that is, they have it potentially, though not yet in actual bulk; just as all the members of the body are potentially in the seed, though, even after the child is born, some of them, the teeth for example, may be wanting.  In this seminal principle of every substance, there seems to be, as it were, the beginning of everything which does not yet exist, or rather does not appear, but which in process of time will come into being, or rather into sight.  In this, therefore, the child who is to be tall or short is already tall or short.  And in the resurrection of the body, we need, for the same reason, fear no bodily loss; for though all should be of equal size, and reach gigantic proportions, lest the men who were largest here should lose anything of their bulk and it should perish, in contradiction to the words of Christ, who said that not a hair of their head should perish, yet why should there lack the means by which that wonderful Worker should make such additions, seeing that He is the Creator, who Himself created all things out of nothing?



Luke 21.18

Next: Chapter 15

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