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St. Thomas Aquinas
Catechetical Instructions

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  • THE ELEVENTH ARTICLE: "The Resurrection of the Body."
    • QUALITIES OF THE RISEN BODIES
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QUALITIES OF THE RISEN BODIES

 

There is a fourfold condition of all those who shall take part in the

resurrection.

 

(a) The Identity of the Bodies of the Risen. - It will be the same body as

it is now, both as regards its flesh and its bones. Some, indeed, have said

that it will not be this same body which is corrupted that shall be raised

up; but such view is contrary to the Apostle: "For this corruptible must

put on incorruption."7 And likewise the Sacred Scripture says that by the

power of God this same body shall rise to life: "And I shall be clothed

again with my skin; and in my flesh I shall see my God."8

 

(b) The Incorruptibility of the Risen Bodies. - The bodies of the risen

shall be of a different quality from that of the mortal body, because they

shall be incorruptible, both of the blessed, who shall be ever in glory,

and of the damned, who shall be ever in punishments: "For this corruptible

must put on incorruption; and this mortal must put on immortality."9 And

since the body will be incorruptible and immortal, there will no longer be

the use of food or of the marriage relations: "For in the resurrection they

shall neither marry nor be married, but shall be as the Angels of God in

heaven."10 This is directly against the Jews and Mohammedans: "Nor shall he

return any more into his house."11

 

(c) The Integrity of the Risen Bodies. - Both the good and the wicked shall

rise with all soundness of body which is natural to man. He will not be

blind or deaf or bear any kind of physical defect: "The dead shall rise

again incorruptible,"12 this is to mean, wholly free from the defects of

the present life.13

 

(d) The Age of the Risen Bodies. - All will rise in the condition of perfect

age, which is of thirty-two or thirty-three years. This is because all who

were not yet arrived at this age, did not possess this perfect age, and the

old had already lost it. Hence, youths and children will be given what they

lack, and what the aged once had will be restored to them: "Until we all

attain the unity of faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a

perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ."14

 




7. I Cor., xv. 53.

 



8. Job, xix. 26. "The identical body which belongs to each one of us during

life shall, though corrupt, and dissolved into its original dust, be raised

up again to life. . . . Man is, therefore, to rise again in the same body

with which he served God, or was a slave to the devil that in the same body

he may experience rewards and a crown of victory, or endure the severest

punishments and everlasting torments" ("Roman Catechism," "loc. cit.," 7).

 



9. I Cor., xv. 53

 



10. Matt., xxii. 30.

 



11. Job. vii. 10. "To omit many other points, the chief difference between

the state of all bodies when risen from the dead, and what they had

previously been, is that before the resurrection they were subject to

dissolution; but when reanimated they shall all, without distinction of

good and bad, be invested with immortality. This marvellous restoration of

nature is the result of the glorious victory of Christ over death" ("Roman

Catechism," "loc. cit.," 12).

 



12. I Cor., xv. 52.

 



13. "Not only will the body rise, but it will rise endowed with whatever

constitutes the reality of its nature and adorns and ornaments man. . . .

The members, because essential to the integrity of human nature, shall all

be restored. . . . For the resurrection like the creation, is clearly to be

accounted among the chief works of God. And as at the creation all things

came perfect from the hand of God, so at the resurrection all things shall

be perfectly restored by the same omnipotent hand" ("Roman Catechism,"

"loc. cit.," 9).

 



14. Eph., iv. 13.

 






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