Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Characteristics of the Risen Body

From the Catholic Encyclopedia:
All shall rise from the dead in their own, in their entire, and in immortal bodies; but the good shall rise to the resurrection of life, the wicked to the resurrection of Judgment. It would destroy the very idea of resurrection, if the dead were to rise in bodies not their own. Again, the resurrection, like the creation, is to be numbered amongst the principal works of God; hence, as at the creation all things are perfect from the hand of God, so at the resurrection all things must be perfectly restored by the same omnipotent hand. But there is a difference between the earthly and the risen body; for the risen bodies of both saints and sinners shall be invested with immortality. This admirable restoration of nature is the result of the glorious triumph of Christ over death as described in several texts of Sacred Scripture: Isaiah 25:8; Hosea 13, 14; 1 Corinthians 15:26; Apocalypse 2:4. But while the just shall enjoy an endless felicity in the entirety of their restored members, the wicked "shall seek death, and shall not find it, shall desire to die, and death shall fly from them" (Revelation 9:6).
These three characteristics, identity, entirety, and
immortality, will be common to the risen bodies of the just and the wicked. But the bodies of the saints shall be distinguished by four transcendent endowments, often called qualities.
The first is "impassibility", which shall place them beyond the reach of pain and inconvenience. "It is sown", says the Apostle, "in corruption, it shall rise in incorruption" (
1 Corinthians 15:42). The Schoolmen call this quality impassibility', not incorruption, so as to mark it as a peculiarity of the glorified body; the bodies of the damned will be incorruptible indeed, but not impassible; they shall be subject to heat and cold, and all manner of pain.
The next quality is "brightness", or "glory", by which the bodies of the
saints shall shine like the sun. "It is sown in dishonor," says the Apostle, "it shall rise in glory" (1 Corinthians 15:43; cf. Matthew 13:43; 17:2; Philippians 3:21). All the bodies of the saints shall be equally impassible, but they shall be endowed with different degrees of glory. According to St. Paul: "One is the glory of the sun, another the glory of the moon, another the glory of the stars. For star differs from star in glory"'(1 Corinthians 15:41-42).
The third quality is that of "agility", by which the body shall be freed from its slowness of motion, and endowed with the capability of moving with the utmost facility and quickness wherever the
soul pleases. The Apostle says: "It is sown in weakness, it shall rise in power" (1 Corinthians 15:43).
The fourth quality is "subtility", by which the body becomes subject to the absolute dominion of the
soul. This is inferred from the words of the Apostle: "It is sown a natural body, it shall rise a spiritual body" (1 Corinthians 15:44). The body participates in the soul's more perfect and spiritual life to such an extent that it becomes itself like a spirit. We see this quality exemplified in the fact that Christ passed through material objects.


  1. This is very informative. Thank you!

  2. It seems that the Risen Body is of a totally new substance - not purely spiritual and etheric but also of material substance, as it can be touched. That means soma can adopt different properties according to pneuma's will power. Modern science speaks in Quantum Physics of matter as both light-wave and particle: would this explain at least partially the dual state of the new body?