This article represents the second installment of a two-part series, the first having appeared in Issue #5, of a chapter from David Hollaz’s Examen Theologicum Acroamaticum dealing with the Last Day. The introduction to Part One will serve here just as well.
May the Holy Spirit, through our author, point our eyes to the glorious day of resurrection when we shall meet our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ in the eternal peace of heaven, our home. Ipsi gloria et imperium in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
Question 21: Whether the wicked will rise from the dead by the power of the merit of Christ?
Christ will not restore the unrighteous to eternal condemnation as a gracious mediator, but as an all-powerful and stern judge. Thus the wicked will not rise
A) by the power of the merit of Christ
B) but by the power of the divine decree and of the vengeful righteous.
We observe: a careful distinction should be made between the merit of Christ when considered with regard to how it is acquired and how it is applied. Christ, by his universal merit, has earned and acquired for all people (and so also for the wicked) a resurrection to eternal life. But because of a failure of application, the wicked do not obtain what was acquired and earned in the resurrection to life. From this it follows that they do not rise to eternal condemnation by the power of the merit of Christ, but by the power of the divine righteousness.
Proof for A: From I Cor. 15:23, where those who will rise by the power of the merit of Christ are said to be his members. From here the argument rises: The resurrection pertains to those who, by the future virtue of the merit of Christ, are members of Christ. The wicked however are not members of Christ. Therefore the resurrection does not pertain to the wicked by the future virtue of the merit of Christ.
You say: the wicked are not spiritual but natural members of Christ. For they are bone from his bones and flesh from his flesh, Eph. 5:30. We respond: Christ is called our head not naturally but spiritually. Therefore his members are not natural members but spiritual members because of the spiritual union through faith, Gal. 2:20, Eph. 3:17. Hence, members of Satan are not able to be members of Christ. For he who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Christ, Rom. 8:9.
Proof for B: The resurrection, which exists on account of the merit of Christ, is an enormous blessing, because a person is ordered to eternal life, John 11:25, 14:19. But the resurrection of the wicked is not a blessing but an enormous punishment. Therefore the resurrection of the wicked is not on account of the merit of Christ. This can be proven with fewer words: since the resurrection of the wicked orders to eternal condemnation, thus it is not a blessing but an enormous punishment. From this argument flows that other argument: none of the fruit of the merit of Christ becomes the possession of man without faith in Christ. But the resurrection does become the possession of the wicked people without faith in Christ. Therefore the resurrection of the wicked is not the fruit of the merit of Christ.
Proof for C: It stands open from the divine oracle of Gen. 2:17 that the wicked rise by the power of the decree and of the divine righteousness. On whatever day you eat from the fruit of that tree, you will surely die. The decree of God, the most righteous judge, is contained in this oracle, referring to temporal and eternal death, and thus the punishment of this age and of future ages. However it is not possible for the body, a partaker in sins, to suffer eternal punishment unless it is roused from the dust of the earth in order to undergo endless torments in fire. For that reason, if Christ would never have come in the flesh, he would have never earned anything good for men. However it is in his rising for human sinners that they suffer the eternal punishment of sinners, by the power of the divine, vengeful righteousness. We conclude: whatever would happen to people without the merit of Christ is not the fruit of the merit of Christ. But the resurrection to eternal punishment will happen for the wicked without the intervention of the merit of Christ. Therefore.1
You say: The resurrection to punishment is certainly not the effect of the merit of Christ. But the resurrection, understood generally2 and formally, inasmuch as it shifts the attention from the resurrection to glory and shame, is the effect of the merit of Christ. Thus the wicked, by the power of the merit of Christ, will surely rise, but not to punishment. We respond: the merit of Christ by itself looks to the salvific end of man. For this reason the restoration is abstractly and formally considered an act of divine omnipotence. However the resurrection to salvation is the fruit of the merit of Christ.
This is the antithesis of Benedictus Aretius,3 Henricus Boethius,4 and others who propose that even the wicked rise by the power of the merit of Christ. They argue:
Question 22: Whether precisely the same bodies which have fallen rise?
Precisely the same bodies which men have carried around in this mortal life
A) will rise on the last day
B) but will be clothed with new qualities.
Proof for A:
The resurrection is formally the second residence of the same thing which has fallen in death. For this reason, those who deny the resurrection of precisely the same body completely depreciate the true resurrection.
Paul says in I Cor. 15:53, This which is perishable must cloth itself with what is imperishable. Not without a reason does the Apostle add the demonstrative pronoun this6. But he adds it so that it would indicate that this body, which in this life is perishable, will be returned by God imperishable in the resurrection.
Each person will receive what he did in his body, good or evil, II Cor. 5:10. Therefore the same body that joined in the struggle in this age will be crowned in the coming age. But the body that was a participant in evils will not avoid shame by the power of the divine and vengeful righteousness.
He who restored Christ from the dead will also give life to our bodies because of the dwelling of his Spirit in us, as Paul attests in Rom. 8:11. Whatever bodies were homes of the Holy Spirit in this life will be made alive by God. And so the same bodies which the pious carry in this life were homes of the Holy Spirit. Therefore.
Job, after being made feeble by many evils, encouraged himself with the hope of his clearly weakened body being divinely restored, 19:26. After these things will be wrapped around my skin, yet from my flesh I will see God. This is the sense: after my skin has been reduced to dust, these bones of mine will be wrapped around with skin, and I will see the incarnate God with these corporal eyes of mine.
Proof for B:
The bodies of the faithful, glorified in the resurrection, will be similar to the illustrious body of Christ, Phil. 3:21. But Christ’s body has been adorned with new qualities. Therefore the bodies of the faithful also will shine with adornment.
Paul describes the mutation, which extends to the blessing of the resurrection, as being accidental7, I Cor. 15:42. (The body) is sown in the perishable; it is restored in the imperishable. It is sown in shame; it will be restored in glory. It is sown a living body; it will be restored a spiritual body. And so the bodies which we carry around in this life differ from the bodies of the restoration not in respect to substance, but
This is the antithesis of the Socinians8, who deny that precisely the same bodies will rise from the dead. Their arguments are:
A restored body is called spiritual in I Cor. 15:44. Therefore it differs essentially from this living body. We respond: It is called spiritual in respect to its quality and operation, not in respect to its substance. For they are not converted through the resurrection in spirit. The Galatians are spiritual9, Gal. 6:1, but not spirit.
After the resurrection we will be like the angels10, Luke 20:36. Moreover, angels are spirit. Therefore also we who are blessed will be spirit. We respond: we will be like the angels, not in absolute likeness but in respective likeness. We will not be the same as angels but similar to them, not through the essence of nature but through the harmony of quality and glory.
God will destroy the stomach and food, I Cor. 6:13. Therefore precisely the same body will not rise. We respond: the stomach will be destroyed in regard to its use, insofar as there will be neither food nor appetite nor use for food. Thus the stomach, insofar as its use for food, will be destroyed. For this reason, however, the substance of the stomach will not be abolished. When Christ, to whom our bodies will be similar in form11 Phil. 3:19, had been restored from death, he was not without a stomach, Luke 24:43.
Flesh and blood will not posses the kingdom of God as an inheritance, I Cor. 15:50. Therefore precisely the same body, insofar as its substance, will not rise. We respond: Living flesh and blood, insofar as they operate with natural qualities, with the supernatural axioms excluded, or insofar as they are subject to sin, will not posses the kingdom of God as an inheritance. Once the natural and defective qualities and infirmities have been stripped off, it is by all means necessary that they be vested in spiritual qualities, so that they would require neither the use for food nor the procreation of offspring, and that they would be subject to neither sin nor any infirmity.
In this instance.12 The substance of flesh and blood exists out of elements that are by nature contrary to one another. Indeed all these are corrupt. Flesh is able to be beaten, blood is able to flow freely, and they by other violent means are able to be destroyed. We respond:
Question 23: Whether there will be a distinction between the sexes in the resurrection?
The people roused from the dust of the earth will come forth in separate sexes, male and female.
Proof 1) The same bodies which have fallen will rise from the dead. But if a man comes forth in the place of a woman, the same body is not rising which has fallen in death.
Proof 2) When Christ, whose wife would have been a woman, was interrogated by the Sadducees in Matt. 22:30, he did not respond that we would experience a distinction between the sexes, but that there would not be a place there for marriages, for this reason, that the saints would be like the angels. Indeed, when Christ said that people in the next life neither marry nor are given in marriage, he is clearly affirming the distinction between the sexes. For men do the marrying and women are given in marriage.
This is the antithesis of certain Fathers and teachers of the Scholastics13, who deny the future distinction between the sexes in the resurrection. Their arguments are:
People in the resurrection will be like angels, Luke 20:36. But angels do not have a sex. We respond: They will not completely be like angles, but in a certain respect, no doubt in respect to spiritual qualities, not in respect to the substantial members of a body.
Any man of faith in the resurrection of the dead will be a man perfected to the measure of the stature of Christ, Eph. 4:13. Therefore in the next life there will be no women. We respond: Paul in the passage cited is not speaking of the resurrection of the dead but the progress of those who have been reborn in this life.
The feminine sex is the imperfection of man. Moreover every imperfection will gloriously be banished from those rising. We respond: Woman was fashioned in a state of purity in which all things were completely perfect.
Question 24: Of what does the resurrection of the dead formally consist?
The resurrection of the dead formally consists of
A) a reproduction, or restoration, of the body, the same thing that has fallen in death, out of that body’s scattered and dispersed atoms or particles.
B) a reunion of that same body with its soul.
Proof for A: The resurrection is different from creation because creation is either out of nothing or out of unlikely material. From this material, the sort of body that is first produced has never come forth. But the resurrection presupposes the material from which it is reproduced through the infinite power of God.
Proof for B: It is not possible for a body to be made alive unless it is united with its soul, its breath of life. For this reason, when a body recovers life, it is required that
Question 25: What is the purpose of the resurrection?
The purpose of the resurrection
A) in respect to the God who restores is the glory of the divine, remunerative, vengeful righteousness.
But the purpose of the resurrection in respect to the people who need restoration is either universal or particular.
B) The universal purpose for all those needing restoration is an appearance before the judgment seat of Christ the Judge.
C) The particular purpose, in respect to the faithful, is the perfect participation in eternal blessing.
D) In respect to the unfaithful, it is the consummation of eternal damnation.
Proof for A: The way by which God is moved to restore men is by his righteousness. God’s righteousness is partly rewarding, by which he rewards the good, and partly vengeful, by which he punishes the evil. The purpose for this is that each person receive which things were done through his body14, II Cor. 5:10. In this way, the glory of each kind of righteousness is rightly said to extend to the restoration of the dead.
Proof for B: All people will be restored by him in the end in order that they may stand before the judgment seat of Christ, Rom. 14:10. This is what the Apostle means in Heb. 9:27: It is appointed for people once to die; after this, the judgment, that is, after they will have been restored from the dead, they will appear at the judgment.
Proofs for C & D: From Acts 24:15. There will be a resurrection of the righteous and of the wicked, indeed for the former a resurrection to eternal life, for the later a resurrection to eternal shame, Dan. 7:2. Hence, in respect to its purpose, the resurrection is able to be distinguished in the glory of the righteous and the shame of the wicked.
A SIGH OF CONCLUSION AND PRAYER15
O Lord Jesus, Savior of the World, Conqueror of Death, Leader of Life, as devoutly as is possible for me to be, I pray, I implore, I beseech you: through your Most Holy Spirit make me a partaker of the first resurrection lest the second death have any power over me! Arouse my apathetic spirit to a frequent and pious meditation of the coming resurrection, so that, whether I drink or eat, or whatever I do, your divine voice may ever resound in my ears, “Rise, you dead; come to the judgment!” Give to me, I pray, a peaceful death, a glorious resurrection, and life everlasting!
The abbreviated sentence (Ergo.) is simply a way of saying, “Therefore, our point is validated by Scripture.” Every time Hollaz includes the word Therefore standing alone in its own sentence, it carries this loaded meaning. ↩
Benedictus Aretius (1522-1572 AD) was a professor of Hebrew, Greek, and Theology at the University at Bern (in modern Switzlerland). In his great literary work Theologia Promlemata, Aretius wrote about the fundamental articles of faith and sought a unification of all Protestants for the sake of church peace. Aretius became an enduring influence in the Reformed church. ↩
Boethius (480-524 AD), often called “the last of the Romans and the first of the medieval scholastics,” was a Neo-Platonic philosopher who attempted to merge Christian theology with the philosophy of Aristotle. Educated in Latin and Greek in Athens, he made it his life’s goal to translate Aristotle and Plato’s works from Greek into Latin for the sake of his contemporaries. His translation and commentaries on the Introduction to Aristotle’s Categories, written by Porphyry (232-305 AD), introduced medieval scholars to Aristotelian logic. Boethius’ most famous work, The Consolation of Philosophy, addressed the problem of why the righteous suffer and discussed earthly happiness and God’s goodness. Boethius used mystic rationalism to make conclusions on the nature of God and to interpret Christian doctrine. ↩
As Hollaz presents his opponents’ counterargument, the etc. simply summarizes the point to its logical conclusion. The rest of this sentence would naturally follow: “And all men die in Adam.” ↩
Accidentalis – an adjective used to describe a state of existence which has changed from its original essence into something that does not exist on its own in nature. Lutheran dogmaticians have made a point to distinguish accidentalis (accidental) from essentialis (essential). That which is original to the existence of any particular thing is essentialis; that which is a deviation or mutation from the original scheme is accidentalis. Hollaz here makes the point that the transformation which our bodies will undergo at the resurrection will be accidental, that is, our true and essential human bodies, which God provided us with at conception, will in fact be raised in the resurrection and will acquire new characteristics and powers in the resurrection that they do not have at present, characteristics and powers in respect to duration, external form, strength, operation, and endurance. ↩
Socinians were the followers of the theological system of Faustus Socinus (1539-1604 AD). Socinians were essentially anti-Trinitarian rationalists. They believed that man’s reason supersedes Biblical doctrine and rejected supernatural truths such as Christ’s divinity, predestination, original sin, and, particularly, the Trinity. Socinianism was popular in Poland (especially among the aristocracy) from about 1578-1658. Persecution scattered the following and hindered its continued popularity in Europe. ↩
This brief sentence is the beginning of the opponent’s second counterargument on this point. The opponent is basically saying, “Yes, perhaps in this instance living flesh and blood are not subject to sin’s effects once they have stripped of their sinful qualities and clothed in righteousness.” ↩
Scholasticism was an intellectual movement in Europe during the High Middle Ages (1000-1300 AD) that attempted to harmonize and prove the doctrines of Christianity based on reason. To the Scholastics, the Church established a framework for man’s logical rationalization build upon. Of the many controversies within Scholasticism, perhaps the question over the relationship between man’s two sources of knowledge, faith and reason, proved to be the most injurious to the Christian Church. ↩
τὰ διὰ τοῦ σώματος. ↩
SUSPIRIUM – Literally a sigh or a deep breath, Hollaz uses this word to wrap up his investigation on a topic and conclude with prayer. ↩
David Hollaz uses a question-and-answer format to cover the doctrine of the restoration and resurrection of the dead.
Aug 4, 2006