Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Life and Works of Rufinus with Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus.: The resurrection body is a spiritual body.
7. Since then, in reference to our hope of the resurrection, Christ is set forth all through as the archetype, since he is the first born of those who rise, and since he is the head of every creature, as it is written, 2834 “Who is the head of all, the first born from the dead, that in all things he might have the preeminence;” how is it that we stir up these vain strifes of words, and conflicts of evil surmises? Does not the faith of the church consist in the confession which I have set forth above? And is it not evident that men are moved to accuse others not by difference of belief, but by perversity of disposition? p. 438 At this point, however, in arguing about the resurrection of the flesh, our friend, as his habit is, mixes up what is ridiculous and farcical with what is serious. He says:
“Some poor creatures of the female sex among us are fond of asking what good the resurrection will be to them? They touch their breasts, and stroke their beardless faces, and strike their thighs and their bellies, and ask whether this poor weak body is to rise again. No, they say, if we are to be like angels we shall have the nature of angels.”
Who the poor women are whom he thus takes to task, and whether they are deserving of his attacks, he knows best. And if he considers himself to be one of those who are bound to preach that it is not our part to attack another out of revenge, but that in this instance he is right in attacking others when they have given him no cause for revenge; or if, again, he considers that it is no business of his to take care that weak women of his company should be subjected to attacks only for real causes, and not for such false and fictitious reasons as these—of all this, I say, he is himself the best judge. For us it is sufficient to act as he said that he would act: we shall not render evil for evil. But it is evident that the man who is angry with a woman because she says that she hopes not to have a frail body in the resurrection is of the opinion that the frailties of the body will remain. Only, what then, we ask, are we to make of the words of the Apostle: “It is sown in weakness, it will be raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it will be raised a spiritual body”? What frailty can you suppose to exist in a spiritual body? It is to rise in power; how then is it again to be frail? If it is frail, how can it be in power? Are not those poor women after all more right than you, when they say that their bodily frailty cannot have dominion over them in the world beyond? Why should you mock at them, when they are only following the Apostles words: “This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality?” The Apostles never taught that the body which would rise from the dead would be frail, but, on the contrary, that it would rise in power and in glory. Whence comes this opinion which you now produce? Perhaps it is one obtained from some of your Jews, 2835 which is now to be promulgated as a new law for the church, so that we may learn their ways: for in truth the Jews have such an opinion as this about the resurrection; they believe that they will rise, but in such sort as that they will enjoy all carnal delights and luxuries, and other pleasures of the body. What else, indeed, can this “bodily frailty” of yours mean except members given over to corruption, appetites stimulated and lusts inflamed?
Col. i. 18438:2835
Rufinus frequently taunts Jerome with having paid too much heed to the Jewish teachers from whom he learned Hebrew.
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