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Post-Mortem Existence and Resurrection of the Body in Paul

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image of Horizons in Biblical Theology

When read in both their broader historical and epistolary contexts 1 Corinthians 15, 2 Corinthians 4-5, 1 Thessalonians 4, and Philippians 1 suggest that Paul thinks most people (including believers) cease to exist at death. Martyrs and others of exceptional faithfulness (including apostles who die for the faith) may be exceptions to this general rule and thus possess a limited existence with God before the parousia. Paul does not seem to envision any sort of conscious or even unconscious intermediate state for most people who have died. They simply await the parousia to receive life with the resurrection body that is patterned after the body of the resurrected Christ. This is the form of existence that God intends for humans and that is appropriate for human fulfillment. Embodiment is an essential aspect of this full existence for Paul.

Affiliations: 1: Lexington Theological Seminary, Lexington, KY, USA;, Email: jsumney@lextheo.edu

10.1163/187122009X419925
/content/journals/10.1163/187122009x419925
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/content/journals/10.1163/187122009x419925
2009-04-01
2016-12-04

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