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Submitted: 11/3/2010
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Question: Br. Johannes says, 'Nowhere in the Bible [does it say that] Jesus body changed from perishable into imperishable. . . . Nowhere does the Bible speak of Jesus as having a corruptible body.' This is a logical fallacy—trying to argue from a lack of evidence or arguing from ignorance: argumentum ad ignorantiam. The burden of proof is being shifted. Simply because the Bible does not explicitly state something does not require that something to be immediately invalid. There is ample supporting evidence that Christ's body did change. That evidence is derived from the Bible and from the Uniformity of Nature as I will try to explain. Br. Johannes wants to equate Jesus' body with Paul's reference to 'celestial bodies,' but he fails to recognize Paul's conclusion in vv. 42-44: 'So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.' If Jesus Christ did not possess the same 'flesh and blood' body, capable of pain, sickness, and ultimately death, then He could not have provided the necessary sacrifice to atone for man's sins. As such, his theology fails for many of the same reasons as the Gnostics' ideas (as you pointed out). Br. Johannes' insistence on John 6:51 as evidential support is very strained. In that passage, Jesus metaphorically equates his 'flesh' with the 'bread which came down from heaven' with the direct reference back to the manna of the OT (v. 50). The OT manna did not last; it 'bred worms and stank' in their homes (Ex. 16:20), and 'melted' when left exposed to the sun (Ex. 16:21). However, Br. Johannes misrepresents this manna by calling Christ's body 'imperishable heavenly flesh' when referencing John 6:51. If the OT manna was perishable, then Christ's body was capable of perishing. Furthermore, if we insist on a literal application of Christ's body being bread that must be eaten in order to 'live forever' (v. 49), then we fall into the Catholic tradition of transubstantiation. Failing to understand the symbolic, metaphoric intention yields very absurd conclusions. Now permit me to digress just a bit to set up a point. Science is only possible if we first presuppose a concept known as the Uniformity of Nature, i.e., that tomorrow will be like today. We presuppose uniformity in nature when we attempt to recreate scientific experiments under the same conditions. For example, we routinely believe water will always boil at 100 degrees Celsius under the same atmospheric conditions. As Christians, we can know this will always be true because the Bible declares that 'God cannot deny himself' (2 Tim. 2:13), that 'no lie is of the truth' (1 Jn. 2:21), and that God is 'upholding all things by the word of his power' (Heb. 1:3). Since God is continuously upholding the universe, we can consistently expect that no contradiction will ever occur. We do understand that God, at times, will directly influence the general nature of His creation, and we refer to those special events as 'miracles.' But we know that those events are very rare. Miracles are miracles because they are not of the norm. Now, as I'm sure you know, the concept of 'corruption' (φθορά) is the direct application of the Law of Entropy (Second Law of Thermodynamics). Br. Johannes asserts that 'flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God' (1 Cor. 15:50). Yet, that same verse also asserts 'corruption does not inherit incorruption (ἀφθαρσία).' Therefore, a change is essential (v. 51). If we even attempt to believe that the body of Jesus Christ was not subject to the second law, we deny His humanity! If Jesus was not subject to the same limitations in His flesh as we, then He could not have been the supreme sacrifice. The Scriptures affirm 'David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption (διαφθορά): But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption' (Acts 13:36-37). Luke's implication is that unless God had raised Christ, Jesus' body would have decayed away in direct obedience to the Law of Entropy. There is no escaping the uniformity of nature unless direct intervention by God is supplied. The intervention that spared Christ's body was not some form of supernatural 'flesh;' rather, it was the resurrection. The fact that the body of Christ had somehow been 'changed' (as Paul refers in 1 Cor. 15) may be evidenced when He spoke to His disciples: 'Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have' (Luke 24:39). Jesus does not say 'flesh and blood' here as He does in Matt. 16:17 where He refers to human beings. The difference in word usage is interesting. Some commentaries point out that the difference may be because of the OT's reference of the life of the flesh (which is subject to corruption) is in the blood, in direct comparison with the idea that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Thus, the idea behind 'flesh and bone' may indicate identity, Jesus was recognizable, but with diversity of laws, e.g., Christ's body was no longer subject to entropy (see Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown). This, of course, is not a firm proof, but it does illustrate a difference. However, I believe conclusive evidence is provided in the texts of 1 John 3:2 and Philippians 3:21. 'We know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him' (1 Jn 3:2). 'We look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself' (Php 3:20b-21). Jesus received a 'glorious body,' of which we, too, shall receive, for 'we shall be like him,' our body being 'fashioned like unto his.' If our body is to be changed to be like His, then it seems appropriate that His was once like ours. Why? Because Christ was the firstfruits of the Resurrection. Divine flesh advocates may want to argue this is a hasty generalization, but it isn't. As the firstfruits, Jesus' resurrection (both in reality and in type) was the example of what is yet to come when the harvest is complete. We can't circumvent that conclusion. Some may try to diminish the representation to suggest it is similar in reality only—that since Jesus was resurrected, so shall we. Yet Paul and John indicate that our bodies will be like His, illustrating the similarity is also in type, not just reality. You have already pointed out that Hebrews 2:14 declares 'as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same.' The text continues: 'In all things (κατὰπ?ντα) it behoved him (i.e., He was obligated) to be made like unto his brethren' (v. 17). For κατὰπ?ντα('in all things'), some other translations use 'in every respect.' The 'all things' refers to everything that by design constituted the nature of mankind: being born, requiring nourishment, growing into adulthood, and even suffering. This, however, does not require an intrinsic attribute of sin, for sin was not an original, necessary attribute of mankind in the beginning. Therefore, Jesus had no sin, but he was in every aspect human, subject to the same limitations, experiencing the same physiology, and just as susceptible to the second law of thermodynamics as every other human being. Br. Johannes tries to assert that Hebrews 7:26 implies that 'Jesus was incorrupt.' First of all, this is the fallacy of equivocation. We are not saying that Jesus was corrupt and sinful in His character. We are only asserting the fact that His body was susceptible to corruption just like every other human being. When Br. Johannes tries to equate the idea of His body's potential corruption with His nature being corruptible, he commits the fallacy of equivocation. I encounter this fallacy repeatedly in the creation/evolution debate. Evolutionists continually declare that 'evolution' (meaning macro-evolution) is true because we see 'evolution' (meaning micro-evolution) all the time. Macro-evolution (mud to man evolution) is not the same thing as micro-evolution (adaptation and variation). The fallacy is created when the speaker re-uses a word or idea which changes meaning in the middle of the argument. Br. Johannes understands that Jesus Christ was perfectly sinless and holy in His character. But he uses the word incorrupt to describe that aspect of Christ, and then changes the idea in the middle of his argument to assert that Christ's human body is incorrupt. Conversely, he insinuates that if Christ's body was corruptible, then that implies His character was also corruptible. This is equivocation. Br. Johannes declares, 'The Bible says this flesh was the same, yesterday, today, forever.' Really? Where? Hebrews 13:8 reads, 'Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.' But is this to be applied to His human body? This is the fallacy called argumentum ad absurdum. Taken to its ultimate conclusion, we must say that Jesus has always been human, that He was always an adult, that He was always a baby, that He is always suffering, et cetera. To interpret this verse in the manner which Br. Johannes asserts, we are left with absurdity! On your last post, you wrote, 'You seem to have started with a conclusion and now you are interpreting everything according to that conclusion.' This is exactly the case. Br. Johannes is committing the hermeneutic fallacy of eisegesis—reading into Scripture what has already been predetermined. And because of that, he commits further logical fallacies trying to support his idea.

Answer: Excellent comments, which ought to help every open heart to see the truth about the great God who has come in the flesh.