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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: Christ's Refutation of the Sadducees, and Affirmation of Catholic Doctrine.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XXXVI.—Christ’s Refutation of the Sadducees, and Affirmation of Catholic Doctrine.

Let us now see whether (the Lord) has not imparted greater strength to our doctrine in breaking down the subtle cavil of the Sadducees. Their great object, I take it, was to do away altogether with the resurrection, for the Sadducees in fact did not admit any salvation either for the soul or the flesh; 7520 and therefore, taking the strongest case they could for impairing the credibility of the resurrection, they adapted an argument from it in support of the question which they started. Their specious inquiry concerned the flesh, whether or not it would be subject to marriage after the resurrection; and they assumed the case of a woman who had married seven brothers, so that it was a doubtful point to which of them she should be restored. 7521 Now, let the purport both of the question and the answer be kept steadily in view, and the discussion is settled at once. For since the Sadducees indeed denied the resurrection, whilst the Lord affirmed it; since, too, (in affirming it,) He reproached them as being both ignorant of the Scriptures—those, of course which had declared the resurrection—as well as incredulous of the power of God, though, of course, effectual to raise the dead, and lastly, since He immediately added the words, “Now, that the dead are raised,” 7522 (speaking) without misgiving, and affirming the very thing which was being denied, even the resurrection of the dead before Him who is “the God of the living,”—(it clearly follows) that He affirmed this verity in the precise sense in which they were denying it; that it was, in fact, the resurrection of the two natures of man. Nor does it follow, (as they would have it,) that because Christ denied that men would marry, He therefore proved that they would not rise again. On the contrary, He called them “the children of the resurrection,” 7523 in a certain sense having by the resurrection to undergo a birth; and after that they marry no more, but in their risen life are “equal unto the angels,” 7524 inasmuch as they are not to marry, because they are not to die, but are destined to pass into the angelic state by putting on the raiment of incorruption, although with a change in the substance which is restored to life. Besides, no question could be raised whether we are to marry or die again or not, without involving in doubt the restoration most especially of that substance which has a particular relation both to death and marriage—that is, the flesh. Thus, then, you have the Lord affirming against the Jewish heretics what is now enp. 572 countering the denial of the Christian Sadducees—the resurrection of the entire man.


Footnotes

571:7520

Compare Tertullian’s De Præscript. Hæret. c. xxxiii.

571:7521

Matt. 22:23, Mark 12:18, Luke 20:27.

571:7522

Luke xx. 37.

571:7523

Luke 20.36.

571:7524

Luke 20.36.


Next: Christ's Assertion About the Unprofitableness of the Flesh Explained Consistently with Our Doctrine.

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