Did Jesus teach bodily resurrection of the dead?
"This age of logic, having struggled out of a long dark night of superstition, belies belief in a literal interpretation of Christ's words in this verse. The word "graves" used by Jesus gave Biblical interpreters of little or no direct intuitional perception the thought that after death man's soul waits with its cold corpse entombed, able to rise only on Resurrection Day when archangel Gabriel blows his trumpet. It appears that for twenty centuries Gabriel has not sounded his trumpet, because the skeletons of millions can be found still in their graves.
This misconception of resurrection, that God would keep living souls refrigerated for years beneath the cold sod, and then suddenly warm them up to be sent to Hades or Heaven, is baseless, revolting, injurious, and unreasonable." - Paramahansa Yogananda
Did Jesus teach bodily resurrection of the dead?
"Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. (John 5:28-29)
This age of logic, having struggled out of a long dark night of superstition, belies belief in a literal interpretation of Christ's words in this verse. The word "graves" used by Jesus gave Biblical interpreters of little or no direct intuitional perception the thought that after death man's soul waits with its cold corpse entombed, able to rise only on Resurrection Day when archangel Gabriel blows his trumpet. It appears that for twenty centuries Gabriel has not sounded his trumpet, because the skeletons of millions can be found still in their graves.
This misconception of resurrection, that God would keep living souls refrigerated for years beneath the cold sod, and then suddenly warm them up to be sent to Hades or Heaven, is baseless, revolting, injurious, and unreasonable.
If that is the plan, what injustice it is that sinners and the virtuous alike, without discrimination, have been kept waiting for centuries. Surely the just law of cause and effect has something better to offer those who strived sincerely to live a righteous life. Are we to believe that an autocratic God, without rhyme or reason, dumps all souls after death under a clod of earth and keeps them sleeping peacefully or dreaming in nightmares for centuries until His mood suddenly chooses to command Gabriel to blow the trumpet and wake the dead? And what of those highly spiritual souls whose bodies are not buried but were cremated and the ashes scattered in the winds and seas?
(p.359) If Gabriel sounds the trumpet tomorrow, souls who died today would wake up after only a few hours, along with the souls who have been dead for centuries before the time of Christ. To drug immortal souls with the sleep of death for centuries, to gag their expression in the gloom of the tomb for aeons, to chloroform their intelligence for millenniums, and then suddenly wake them up and sort them out for Heaven and Hades, is an untenable conception to ascribe to a just and loving God.
How would God select from the various grades of dead sinners and the various degrees of virtuous people, and the babies who have had no time to be either virtuous or evil, which ones are to go eternally to Heaven and which eternally to Hades? From such a medley of imperfect, half-perfect, and neutral souls no divine justice could perform any reasonable selections. If God arbitrarily makes persons of reasonable or unreasonable mentality, souls predisposed to be either good or bad, nudged by a favorable or unfavorable earthly inheritance, and endows babies with reason and then lets them die before they can express their potentials, just for the sake of variety, then this earth is a hopeless mess, and its creatures hapless puppets dancing on strings of chance. Our common sense tells us that there must be a wiser purpose from a Creator who is wisdom itself. The reason and free choice of every human being must have time and equal opportunity to evolve and express the full God-given divinity of the soul.
The true meaning of these verses becomes clear when understood in the light of the law of karma and reincarnation".
The Second Coming of Christ (The Resurrection of the Christ Within You) Volume 1, Discourse 21, pg. 358-359
"That Jesus "rose from the grave" to new life is a fundamental theme of Christian teaching; certainly it is the most radical. For even though most people believed in eternal life, the insistence of certain Christians like Irenaeus that their bodies would be buried, decompose – and yet rise again at the appointed time – was met not only with disbelief but with horror. Christians themselves were unclear about what kind of body this resurrected body would be. When Paul wrote about the resurrection, although his words are often mistaken as arguing for physical resurrection, he himself clearly says the opposite: "What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable" (1 Corinthians 15:50). Without claiming to understand exactly what happens, Paul acknowledges that resurrection is a mystery, in which, he says, "we will all be changed" from physical to spiritual existence (1 Corinthians 15:51:53)....
Yet Christians like this author, while rejecting the idea of bodily resurrection, do not reject life after death. On the contrary, they suggest other ways of envisioning what that life might be. The 'Gospel of Philip', for example, calls belief in resurrection of the flesh the "faith of fools." Resurrection, this gospel claims, far from being a single historical event in the past, refers instead to the way that Christ's presence can be experienced here and now. Thus, those who are "born again" in baptism, symbolically speaking, also are "raised from the dead" when they awaken to spiritual life. Another anonymous Christian teacher, asked by a student named Rheginos to explain resurrection, wrote in reply an interpretation of what Paul had taught. Although resurrection does not involve the physical body, the teacher tells Rheginos, it is indeed a reality:
...do not think the resurrection is an illusion. It is no illusion, but it is the truth! Indeed, it is more fitting to say the world is an illusion, rather than the resurrection, which has come into being through our Lord the Savior, Jesus Christ ('Treatise on the Resurrection' 48:10-19).
Struggling to speak, as Paul had, of "mystery," this teacher suggests that resurrection is "the revelation of what is, and the transformation of things, and a transition into newness." Yet descriptions like these, he acknowledges, are only "the symbols and the images of resurrection"; Christ alone, he says, brings us into its reality ('Treatise on the Resurrection' 48:30-49:9)."
Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity
Elaine Pagels and Karen L. King
Penguin Group – London, England
“The doctrine of bodily resurrection, linked closely to the soul's nature and destiny, suffers like a fate. The ancients knew little or nothing about the human organism—its chemical constituents, its functioning parts, its psychology—and even less about the nature of death. Modern man has measured corruption, can detail the chemical changes that take place when bodily life ceases, has a clear idea of what precisely corruption and decay of the human frame connote, and defines human death precisely by the cessation of the observable functions of the body. The three religions define death as the moment when the soul leaves the body.
On the other hand, the scientist cannot accept the “outside” explanation: that a god will “resurrect” the corrupted body. He knows that in a living body today the actual molecules which compose it were not part of it some time ago. In another decade it will be made up of molecules which at present are elsewhere: in African lions, in passion-flowers of the Amazon, in Maine lobsters, in earth in Patagonia, and in the fur of a Polar bear. For the scientist, the body as such has truly ceased to exist. No “shade” or reduced form of the body exists in an “underworld” or in Elysian fields. The body has ceased to exist. He therefore finds the resurrection of the body unintelligible.”
Malachi Martin, The Encounter,
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1970, 286.
"There are lots of myths in the Bible and one of them is that at the Time of Resurrection your bodies will come out of the graves. This is not only for Christians, but also for the Muslims and Jews. Think of this - What remains in the grave after many years? Only a few bones. And if these bones came out how can you give them Realization? Think of it. It is a big myth. Not possible logically.
In Nal Damyanti Akhyan they have clearly given that when the Kalyug will come, all these seekers who are seeking in the hills and mountains will be born again, and they will be given their Self-Realization! Their Kundalinis will be awakened and that is logical, because that is what we are doing today."
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
India - December 25, 1993
"It is very hard to believe that we can become the Spirit. This is one of the big myths of Modern Times and many a times when I speak about becoming the Spirit people say that, "How can you say like that? "How can it be that easy?"
But it is a living process of our evolution and if it is done by the Power of a living God, then it has to be very simple, has to be very easy . . .
Today that Time has come. That Time has come. The Time of Judgment has come and at this Time we have to see that we'll be judging ourselves; but not by some sort of an authority, but by something which is within us which we call as the Kundalini, is placed in the triangular bone called as sacrum. Just see, Greeks knew about it. That's why they call the bone as sacrum. But what is this bone in the biblical understanding? It is the reflection of the Holy Ghost."
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
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