The Resurrection of Life

It’s still Eastertide, so this morning’s Moltmann Monday selection is about resurrection, from Sun of Righteousness, Arise! He’s describing how English speakers found it problematic to figure out how to translate “resurrectio carnis” because we feel weird about saying “flesh” so we use “body” instead. We seemed to settle on the phrase “resurrection of the dead” but Moltmann is asking whether or not that is, in fact, the same thing or if it limits the original meaning:

If we go back to the Hebrew root of ‘all flesh’, we find that the phrase kol basar means all the living…These universal dimensions of life get lost if we only have human beings in view. In a ‘resurrection of the flesh’ human beings will be redeemed together with the whole interwoven fabric of all the living, and the living space of the earth…

I would suggest talking about the resurrection of life, instead of a resurrection of the dead, the body or the flesh…Life in this sense means the life that is lived, not unlived, the life that is affirmed, not denied, the life that is loved and accepted. Real life is the bodiliness which I am: unlived life is alienated bodiliness which I have. How would it be if in the creed we were to talk about the resurrection of the lived life? WE should then accept dying too as a part of life, and believe in the victory of life over death.

As usual, I just think Moltmann has a way of easily fixing a theological mis-step that could send us (and has sent us) in the wrong directions. Resurrection is not limited to humans. Resurrection is not only what God wants for humanity, but what God wants for all of creation. So I love this suggestion of describing it as the resurrection of life. It’s a fitting way to acknowledge the faith-affirmed course of things, which is life-death-new life. We are constantly in this life-death-new life cycle, and so when we talk about resurrection, we are not only talking about physical human bodies but more importantly a sense in which all of creation will be re-enlivened.

Resurrection hope encompasses the entire community of creation. Let’s not limit it by making it only about humans.


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