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death. It is on the wrong side of the question for those who would connect it with the living fact of the resurrection.
Such facts as these show us the difficulty of connecting identity with the material body, and of supposing that it enters, in any way, into the fact of the resurrection.
The ancients, having no science to instruct them, regarded the body as always the same and imperishable. Hence the Egyptians embalmed their dead and hid them within mountains of stone; hence the Jews buried within caves and rock-hewn sepulchres, sealing the entrance with stones, looking for a physical resurrection. But the knowledge of oxygen puts another face upon the matter, and we must not forget that God made oxygen and ordained its function. We do not set science against the Bible, but we may use science as an aid in interpreting it.
We now answer our question positively. Its negative side shows us that personal identity cannot lie in matter; then it must lie outside of matter.
What is the living creature man? He is not the matter that makes up the perpetual flux known as the human frame; he is nothing that the chemist can put test to. He must be something, not material, that endures, upon which the shifting phenomena of animal life play themselves off. We may not be able to say what it is, or to get a clear conception of it; but we know there is something that sustains the fleshly existence. Call it an organization, a dynamic essence, a substance, that which stands under the phenomena of life; call it, as does St. Paul, a spiritual body; any name answers so long as we recognize the thing. It may be well to regard the Scriptural distinction of body, soul, and spirit as organic and not rhetorical, and to think of man as a threefold being: a physical body, a human soul, and a living spirit. It is at least a convenient distinction, and so using it, we claim that identity resides in the two last as making up human nature, and in no sense in the first. Thus we do not come to the man, the unchanging person, till we get outside of matter. There, beyond the reach of the chemist and his tests, in the immaterial soul and spirit, in the underlying organization, in the living type, it matters not what we call it, lies the proper identity of man. No addition or withdrawal of matter can increase or lessen this identity. He is as perfectly man without as with flesh. And for aught we know, his mental and spiritual operations might go on without the physical system, though not without some sort of a body. If separated, the soul would quickly have another body suitable to its place and needs, for the soul is the builder of man; as Spenser says:
1 If there is any organized matter of which identity can be predicated, it must be a form that is beyond the known laws of matter, some refinement of it too delicate and ethereal to admit of disorganization. This is indeed supposable, and seems to some to be called for in order to explain the connection between mind and matter, but we have not, as yet, any grounds for accepting it; nor even thus could the gulf between the external world and consciousness be bridged. It offers, however, an interesting field for the united studies of the metaphysician, the physiologist, and the chemist. The acceptance of an interstellar ether as a simple logical inference from the nature of light, affords a hint that there may be discoveries of even another kind of matter.
“For of the soul the body form doth take,
For soul is form, and doth the body make."
Now as identity is the central idea of the resurrection, what is the fact of the resurrection ? Taught by so many ages of traditional belief, it is not easy to rid ourselves of the thought that it is in some way connected with the physical body, that something goes into the grave that is to come out. It is interesting to recall how clear a conception Socrates had on this matter. “In what way would you have us bury you ? ” said Crito to him. “In any way that you like; only you must get hold of me, and take care that I do not walk away from you." Then turning to those about him, with a smile, he continued : “ I cannot make Crito believe that I am the same Socrates who have been talking and conducting the argument; he fancies that I am the other Socrates whom he will soon see a dead body, and asks, How shall he bury me? And though I have spoken many words in the endeavor to show that when I have drunk the poison I shall leave you to go to the joys of the blessed, these words of mine with which I comforted you and myself, have had, as I perceive, no effect upon Crito. I would not have him say at the burial Thus we lay out Socrates, or, thus we follow him to the grave; for false words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil. Be of good cheer then, my dear Crito, and say that you are burying my body only, and do with that as you think best.”
Our thinking on this point will correct itself if
we keep in mind that the body is not the man, and that it is the man who is raised up. He goes into the other world simply unclothed of flesh, there to take on an environing body suited to his new conditions. As here we have a body adapted to gravitation and time and space, coördinated to physical law, a body with cycles of time - day and night, months and years, wrought into it, - a body that feeds upon organized matter, that responds to heat and cold, and is simply a pathway of nerves be. tween the mind and the external world, so doubtless it will be hereafter; the spirit will build about itself a body such as its new conditions demand.
This change necessarily takes place at death. A disembodied state, or a state of torpid existence between death and some far-off day of resurrection, an under-world where the soul waits for the reanimation of its body; these are old-world notions that survive only through chance contact with the Christian system. Christ did not teach them; his ascension was an illustrative denial of them. He found such beliefs existing as a part of the religion of the day, and did not contradict them in set terms, but taught higher truth in regard to the subject, and left them to fall by their own weight. This higher truth was the announcement of Himself as the Resurrection and the Life. This simple phrase, when thoroughly understood, is the repudiation of all these ghostly theories that overhung the ancient world, and have floated down into the Christian ages. It takes the element of far futurity out of the resurrection, and dissipates the shad
ows of the under-world, by putting life in place of death.
We will glance at some of the texts bearing on the subject. The Sadducees propose a question that implies the resurrection of the flesh at the last day, a doctrine of their rivals, the Pharisees, and fairly stated. Christ's answer is directed mainly to the dogma, not to either sect. Its central idea is that because the Patriarchs are alive, they have been raised up. “But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed; He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; for all live unto Him." Their resurrection is the pivot upon which their present life turns. If Christ's words do not mean this, we must despair of language as a vehicle of thought.
His words at the tomb of Lazarus are equally plain, and are of the same tenor. Martha states the doctrine of a resurrection at the last day; Christ sets it aside as a cold, comfortless superstition, and announced faith in Himself as covering the whole matter. The plainest feature of this narrative is the contrast Christ makes between Martha's words and his own; if one was right the other was wrong.
The words of Christ to the penitent thief, “Today thou shalt be with me in Paradise,” imply a life of conscious fellowship beyond, and because it was such, having all the elements of a perfect condition.
There are indeed words of Christ that seem to imply a resurrection from the grave, as, “ The hour cometh in which all that are in the tombs shall