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Session 7: Eschatology

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12 Questions

Origen believed in the reality of bodily resurrection like Irenaeus.

False

Irenaeus thought that the risen body would be completely unrecognizable from the body that died.

False

Augustine's views on bodily resurrection were more aligned with Origen than with Irenaeus.

False

Origen held that the soul transforms into a being of pure light after death.

True

Irenaeus viewed the purpose of resurrection as overcoming death and experiencing eternal life while maintaining individual identities.

True

Origen believed that the soul was considered the true self, while the physical body was considered inherently good.

False

Augustine proposed that the body at resurrection would rise identical to its original earthly form.

False

According to Origen, the soul would return to heaven and reunite with God upon death.

True

Origen's view of resurrection is sometimes referred to as 'disembodied immortality' theory.

True

Irenaeus was a Christian apologist who became bishop of Jerusalem around AD 178.

False

Irenaeus' views on resurrection were in alignment with Platonic philosophy.

False

Augustine believed in the restoration of physical bodies as part of the resurrection process.

True

Study Notes

Resurrection: A Historical Perspective

The concept of resurrection has been a subject of philosophical and religious contemplation throughout history. Different thinkers have proposed various theories on what they believe constitutes resurrection and how it might occur. In this article, we will explore the views of three notable figures from different periods of history: Origen, Irenaeus, and Augustine.

Origen's Views

Origen (AD 185–254) was one of the earliest Christian theologians and perhaps the most influential of all Greek Fathers of the Church. He was known for his allegorical understanding of Scripture. Regarding the nature of resurrection, Origen held a view that is consistent with Platonic philosophy. For him, the soul was considered the true self, while the physical body was merely an instrument used by the soul during its earthly existence. He believed that, upon death, the soul would return to heaven and reunite with God, leaving the body behind as an empty shell. This view was shared among early Gnostic Christians and is sometimes referred to as "theory of spiritual resurrection" or "disembodied immortality" theory. In Origen's understanding, physical bodies were inherently evil, and therefore, the goal of God was not to restore these bodies but rather to transform souls into beings of pure light.

Irenaeus' Views

Irenaeus (c. AD 130 – c. 200) was a Christian apologist who became bishop of Lyons around AD 178. He was known for his role in defining orthodoxy against various heresies, including Gnosticism, which held views similar to those of Origen. In contrast to Origen, Irenaeus upheld a very strong belief in the reality of the resurrected body. According to him, the risen body would be transformed but still recognizable as the same body that had died. This transformation took place between death and the resurrection itself. For Irenaeus, the purpose of the resurrection was to provide a means for believers to overcome death and experience eternal life while maintaining their individual identities.

Augustine's Views

Augustine (AD 354–430), often called the most influential theologian in the history of Western Christianity after Paul, presented a more intermediate position between the views of Origen and Irenaeus. Like Irenaeus, he believed in the reality of the bodily resurrection and its importance for salvation. Unlike Irenaeus, however, Augustine did not think that the body could remain wholly intact at the resurrection, since it must pass through corruption and decay before being raised. Instead, Augustine suggested that the body would rise as something like a seed grows into a tree from a tiny kernel. Essentially, he posited that the resurrection would involve the restoration of some kind of organic unity, although not necessarily one identical to the original earthly body.

In conclusion, the concept of resurrection has been interpreted differently throughout history. Origen proposed a view where the soul returns to heaven after death, while Augustine held a more intermediate position between the reality of bodily resurrection like Irenaeus and the transformation of souls into beings of pure light as suggested by Origen. These theories reflect the diversity of thinking within the Christian tradition and highlight the ongoing exploration of religious and philosophical questions related to the nature of existence, the self, and the afterlife.

Explore the diverse perspectives on resurrection by examining the theories put forth by influential figures in Christian history: Origen, Irenaeus, and Augustine. Understand how these thinkers conceptualized the resurrection of the soul and the body, ranging from spiritual transformation to the restoration of an organic unity.

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