Sundayword BY PROSPER TINGINI
The questions of the resurrection and that of life after death have always been contentious issues both inside and outside the religious circles. Even some sections of the Christian faith do not believe in life after death, even though they may subscribe to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
To resurrect is to restore life to the person who has died. It entails bringing the spirit back into the body, in its original form. Jesus Christ is said to have resurrected because his original body is said to have gone to Heaven as one reunited with the spirit.
Those who believe in life after death tend to view the composition of the human entity as consisting of two things. The flesh, co-existing in unity with the spirit, which we can also term as the soul. On the death of the being, the body (flesh) separates from the spirit (soul).
The body decays as it no longer has any life to it. The soul separates itself, upon the loss of life of the flesh, and continues to exist in spiritual form. In other terms, we can say the life is transformed from a terrestrial being to a celestial form.
What is visible by the eye, the body, ceases to function. Human tradition requires that it be disposed of, most commonly buried into the ground; into the “dust”. That which is not visible by the natural eye, the soul or spirit, continues its life in another dimension and different sphere.
Natural existence should continue if resurrection takes place on planet earth. In Jesus Christ’s instance both body and spirit reunited, arose and went up to the Heavens. With life after death, only the spirit continues with its life in the spiritual world. The flesh is buried underground or cremated.
The body that is buried into the ground takes ages to eventually also turn into dust. This is in fulfilment of God’s proclamation to Adam, as a result of human sin. God spoke to Adam (Genesis 3:19): “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of which you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
To have a better understanding of this body and soul combination theory, let’s look at the Lord our God’s creation of man.
Genesis 2:7 reads: “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and then breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living thing.” The human body was at creation formed first from the dust of the earth, but only after the breath (spirit) of God was breathed into it did it become a living thing.
The moulded form of man was transformed into flesh immediately upon the entry of God’s spirit into it. The spirit thus abides within the human form in the likeness of God. Hence, it is written in the scriptures (Genesis 1:26): Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”
We know that the Almighty God abides in spiritual form in the spiritual realm. Our likeness to God is in the spirit format and not of flesh. The two separate at death and the body goes back to the ground from where it was taken and the soul back to the spiritual world, from where it came.
The separation of the two was brought about by the sin of Adam and Eve.
It is written that the two, the body and spirit (soul), will be reunited again, on judgement day, when both the dead and the living will be brought together to answer for their deeds on earth. There are many books, chapters and verses in our scriptures that talk of this resurrection day, to bring forth the judgement day.
As of when this will happen, nobody knows. Even Jesus Christ himself admitted to lack of such a knowledge, although for certainty that day is coming, or so it seems.
Resurrection and life after death are intertwined. Let’s also look at what our learned and sainted apostle, St Paul, wrote on resurrection. He gave some specific examples of nature that could assist us to understand this much better.
In 1 Corinthians 15:12-19, he writes: “Now if Christ is preached as raised from the death, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.
We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith if futile and you are still in your sins (not forgiven).
Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied.”
St Paul goes on to use the example of a seed to explain both the meaning of death and of resurrection. When planted into the dust of the ground the seed dies, just like in the personification of the human being at death. However, with the seed, as it decays it brings forth a new life, a new growth of plant.
So with death also comes life, as per the example of the seed. There is also a resurrection element to it.
In 1 Corinthians 15:35-44 St Paul writes: ‘But some will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish man! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body which is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen and each kind of seed its own body. For not all flesh is alike, but there is one kind for men, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish
. . . So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body.”
The domain of our Heavenly Father itself is a Godly secret, unknown to man. Let us be guided by our scriptures to reach our own conclusions, so that when the end of times is upon us, we are prepared and not found wanting.
Prosper Tingini is the President of the Children of God Missionary Assembly. Registration in progress for those who wish to undertake Bible Studies or train as Ministers of Religion. Contact 0771 260 195 or email: email@example.com