Revelation, Chapters 1-3
Back to Post-Resurrection Appearance Stories

Transforming Mission Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission by David J

Who says we have a Sarx / Soma / Pneuma conflict?

Presentation by CB

v     1 Peter – “purpose in this Epistle is to exhort the faithful to a denial and contempt of the world, so that they may be free from carnal affections and all earthly hindrances, and aspire with their whole soul after the celestial kingdom of Christ, and so that being lifted up by hope, supported by patience, and fortified by courage and perseverance, they may overcome all kinds of temptations, and pursue this course and practice throughout life.”[1]

v     1 Peter 4:1 - …For he hath suffered. The writer describes that Christ’s death arms us to abolish the reign of sin in our lives that God may rule.  This follows the same meaning you find when Paul used in Romans 6:7.  He who is dead is justified or freed from sin.  When we become dead to the flesh, we have not more to do with sin, that it should reign in us, and exercise power in our life.[2] 

v     Interpreters agree on the complexity in Paul’s use of the Greek word sarx frequently translated flesh, soma translated as human body, and pneuma human spirit.  Paul’s most characteristic use of sarx is applied to sinful human nature (Romans 8) with many of the contrasts between sarx and pneuma, sarx refers to fallen human nature not the body[3]. 

v     “Flesh” is used in the Qumran scrolls and Jewish apocalyptic to refer to fallen humanity or a cosmic evil.  Oddly, the Apostolic Fathers are nearly in line with the LXX here.  Even the rest of the NT does no alter this picture by much: it is used one for moral negativity (Jn 8:15) and five times for rebelliousness (mostly in 2 Peter and Jude; 1 Jn 2:16).  The employment of sarx, then to indicate fallen humanity and the evil worldly system of values is a decidedly Pauline phenomenon, with its roots in Jewish apocalypic.[4] 

v     To discover what Paul meant by the spirit, the pneuma is not easy.  The spirit is the ruling part of man; it is the spirit which controls the thoughts and the emotions, and the mental activities and the passions.[5]  This is what makes humans different from animals.  Animals possess the psyche as do humans, but it is the spirit that makes us human.  Further, the pneuma is the link between God and humans.  Through it we can have fellowship and commune with God.  The real problem is to know whether pneuma, is part of being human or whether it is only part of being human after one becomes a Christian (see 1 Thes. 5:23). 

v     Paul thought that the spirit of a person is that part which is implanted by God; it is the presence and power of God; it is the coming of the risen Christ into residence within the person.  As a result of that is a link between that human and God which give new fellowship with God and a new power to express that fellowship in strength and beauty.[6]

v     The Spirit brings victory and life to the Christian.  In Non-Christian without Christ, the Holy Spirit may be said to exist, but not live.  The Spirit brings power to put to death the deeds of the soma. 

v     Sarx is the deadly enemy of pneuma.  According to Paul, to live in the flesh is the precise opposite of being a Christian.  It is opposite of living in the spirit, in Christ.  The body can be an instrument of the service and the glory of God; the flesh cannot.  The body can be purified and even glorified; the flesh must be eliminated and eradicated.  Sarx cannot please God, it is hostile to God.  Flesh is human as self –made in contrast to what God has meant them to be.  Flesh stands for the total effect upon human beings their own sin and the sin of all who have gone before.  The flesh is human nature as it has become through sin.  Flesh can neither avoid the fascination or sin nor resist the power of sin.  The flesh stands for human nature weakened, vitiated, and tainted by sin.  The flesh is human beings apart from Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit[7]. 

Part of my project is a sermon on John 21: 1-6. It is my belief that this story illustrates the battle in Peter between Sarx/Soma and Pneuma.  I believe we are born in the flesh and that flesh nature is sinful.  Sin severs our spiritual link with God.  I believe that when we accept Jesus Christ in faith we can be emptied of self.  It is then when our fleshly nature can be overcome by and with the Spirit of the Living God.  The battle then becomes God’s battle and not our own.

In my pericope we find Peter in battle.  His body and flesh are wrestling.  Jesus had previously commanded the disciples to wait in Galilee.  Tired of waiting Peter said, “I’m going fishing.” It is our human, fleshly, nature to go out on our own power under our own wisdom.  Was this why Peter headed out to sea?  Was he returning to his old comfortable life?    


-  In light of this discussion on flesh/body and spirit, can we find psychological reasons why Peter thought he saw Jesus on the beach? 

-  Is our fleshly human nature a psychological disorder that can be healed by modern medication? 

-         Is sin a response to life or life a response to sin?  Are the needs of the flesh an excuse for sin?   What is a soma to do to stay out of trouble? 

-         Can you trust in Jesus Christ, even today, in faith to re-connect with God? Does faith in Christ reconnect our spirit with The Spirit?  



Transforming Mission Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission by David J. Bosch

The Enlightenment creed taught that every individual was free to pursue his/her own happiness, irrespective of what others thought or said.  Too self-confident to acknowledge or draw on their religious roots, too urbane to be duped by the lure of some irrational ideologies, all that remains in the end is the embrace of nihilism.  The autonomy of the individual, so much flaunted in recent decades, has ended in heteronomy; the freedom to believe whatever one chooses to believe has ended in no belief at all; the refusal to risk interdependence has ended in alienation also from oneself.

It is becoming increasingly evident that the modern gods of the West- science, technology, and industrialization – have lost their magic.   



Has the Enlightenment flavored finding in historical research regarding the resurrection of Jesus Christ?  


Are commentaries directed toward psychoanalytical options to explain the resurrection?


Can we resolve the resurrection questions through psychoanalysis? 

[1] Calvin’s Commentaries, The Epistle of Paul The Apostle to the Hebrews and The First and Second Epistles of St. Peter.  Translator William B. Johnston.  Editors David W. Torrance, Thomas F. Torrance. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan.  P. 227. 

[2] Ibid. P.299.

[3] Dictionary of Paul and His Letters.  Ed. Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin.  InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois. P. 304.

[4] Ibid. P. 306

[5] Flesh and Spirit.  Willaim Barclay.  Abingdon Press, Nashville, Tennessee. 1962.  P. 13

[6] Ibid. P. 15. 

[7] Ibid. P.22.


Advanced Exegesis – Resurrection



Summary of Project Related Issues – Bodily Resurrection

Presentation by SC


John 20:11-18 – Mary is told by the resurrected Jesus: “Do not hold on to me, for I have not ascended to the Father.” (mh mou aptou)  


·        Why didn’t Mary recognize Jesus?  Was it this whole transformation thing or was it just he looked a little disheveled because he had been dead? (Joel)

·        Where was Mary going to take the body of Jesus? (JP)


Secondary Literature:

“Biblical Criticism and the Resurrection” – William P. Alston (as reviewed by KH): Alston claims that Fuller’s supposition that John 20 and Luke 24 record revelatory appearances and not bodily appearances is false.  It is reasonable that Jesus would appear embodied in human form.


Sarah Coakley (as reviewed by JR) says that Mary Magdalene’s testimony was downplayed and that she saw Jesus’ body as a “hard body” that would ascend.  She asks: Where does Hard Body go?  Who or what is the risen Christ?  Why is the form of Christ’s continuing presence of “secondary importance?”


In reviewing Alan Segal, DS asks, “Is it our soul that is resurrected or is our body?


NL reviewed Soskice, who explains Paul’s image of resurrection throuhg the image of the body as a temple.  Body of Christ is temple, we are part of the temple.


JL reviewed O’Collins, who talked about Hick’s claim that Mary Magdalene and Paul had near-death type of bright light experiences and that these were bereavement sequences.


My line of questioning leading toward my sermon:

·        What did the body of Jesus look like to Mary?

·        Where did the angels go when Mary turned around and see Jesus, though she didn’t recognize him yet?

·        What is the significance of Mary recognizing Jesus when he calls her name and not until then?

·        What about Jesus’ resurrection body precludes Mary from holding on to it? 

·        Do we “hold onto” the physical body of Jesus when we talk about the appearance stories?  Shouldn’t we, since it is so well attested? 

·        Why does Jesus ask Mary to not hold on?  Would it prevent him from ascending?

·        How does Jesus’ instruction to Mary relate to the church as the Body of Christ?

1 Corinthians 15:35-41 – Type of resurrection body, sowing that which is perishable, different types of bodies, different types of glories.


·        Chapter 15 is Midrash.  (DHH)

·        Descarte’s separation of mind and body has given us today the split of soul and body and a mechanistic view of the body, which are far from the ancient and Pauline view. (DHH)

·        According to Dale Martin, Paul redefines the resurrection body as being void of flesh (sarx), blood, and soul (psyche), with nothing earthly in it, but full of celestial substance, pneuma. (DHH)

·        What will the resurrected body be like? (DHH)

·        So far in this study we have noted that it will be our body without the flesh.  What will this be like? (DHH)

·        Sarx/soma debate: In Gal. 5:17-19 we find that the fleshly (sarx) things are: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.  While the fruits of the Spirits are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control, according to Gal. 5:22 (DHH)

·        If the resurrection body will be soma without sarx, will it simply be the absence of fleshly things from Gal. 5:17-19?  Is that what Jesus was? (me)


My line of questioning leading toward my sermon:

·        If we sow a “bare kernel”, and God gives whatever body God has chosen, does that mean that the type of resurrection body of all people will be determined differently?

·        In our day and age of body worship, what does the resurrection of the body mean to our culture?

·        What do the glories of the stars have to do with our resurrection bodies that have will have been sown in the earth?

·        How else does Paul use harvest imagery?

·        How can our non-agricultural society relate to this agriculture imagery?

·        Have we adopted fully Descartes idea of the mechanistic body void of mind and soul? 

·        What are the implications of cloning, genetic research, and organ transplantation on our resurrection bodies?


1 Corinthians 15:42-50 – Perishable sown becomes imperishable when raised, sown in shame, raised in glory; sown physical, raised spiritual.  Physical is first, then spiritual, flesh and blood cannot inherit Kingdom.


·        The writer claims that if there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body.  Where does this come from?  OT?  Pharisees? (KW)

·        Is there some evidence that the Damascus road experience caused the writer to extrapolate from it the belief that the risen Christ is the life giving spirit? (KW)

·        In the gospel of John, Jesus has a dialogue with a Jewish leader named Nicodemus which ends with Jesus saying, “What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.”  Could John be picking up on Paul, that is, the earthly man, heavenly man dialectic? (KW)

·        Daniel 7:13 and 12:2-3 explicitly address the doctrine of resurrection.  It is also alluded to in Ezekiel 37:10ff in metaphoric language of bones receiving breath and coming to life. (KW)

·        Psalm 16:10 and Job 19:25 – the future resurrection is suspected and hoped for. (KW)

·        The Pharisees were believers in the resurrection of the dead. (KW)

·        Why does Paul discuss physical and spiritual in such a dialectical sense?  I thought the Jews had a more holistic approach to life. (me)

·        Where does the image of the “last Adam” come from?  Is this Jesus? (me)

·        What does the “image of the man of heaven” look like?  Is it Jesus’ resurrection body?

·        Since “flesh and blood cannot enter the Kingdom”, does that mean that Jesus’ resurrected body was not physical?


My line of questioning leading toward my sermon:

·        We have physical bodies now, will we at the eschaton and resurrection?

·        Why is the physical first, since Jesus as Word was with God from the beginning of time (John 1)?  Did Paul hold this view, or was it just Johannine?

·        Is the image of physical bodies being sown really about dying, as we seem to assume?  Could it be about our present, dirty, earthly, physical lives, as opposed to our heavenly eternal life?

·        Is our weakness as physical related only to our death in the ground, or are we weak in our physical state of being now, as opposed to our spiritual state when we are raised?

·        Is Paul saying that Jesus died as a physical body, but was raised as a spirit?  Doesn’t this contradict Paul’s thesis about Jesus raising in bodily form?  Or is Paul claiming that there is a spiritual body apart from flesh and blood?

Doubt/belief<BR> <BR>
Presentation by SS

¨Doubt/belief ¨Seeing/not seeing and believing ¨Recognition/non-recognition


¨What role does doubt play? For the disciples? For us?

¨Does seeing = believing? ¨ What is one's responsibility in terms of relieving doubts? ¨Are there times when one's eyes "are kept from seeing"…later "to be opened" by God? Divine passive? What ignites recognition? ¨ What is it in the disciples/in us that needs "proof"? ¨ Did grief play a role in the disciples' doubting? ¨What is the relationship between doubt and fear? ¨Does "seeing" also allay fears? ¨What is relationship between doubt and faith? Doubt and trust? ¨ Did disciples doubt anything about Jesus pre-death and resurrection? ¨What is it that the disciples are doubting? The resurrection? Themselves ( "I can't believe my eyes") ¨What is the relationship of doubt and the resurrected Jesus? Was the "physical" resurrected body necessary in order for the disciples to believe?

John 20:27-30

John 20:27 ei=ta le,gei tw/| Qwma/|\ fe,re to.n da,ktulo,n sou w-de kai. i;de ta.j cei/ra,j mou kai. fe,re th.n cei/ra, sou kai. ba,le eivj th.n pleura,n mou( kai. mh. gi,nou a;pistoj (adj. NMS, unbelieving) avlla. pisto,jÅ 28 avpekri,qh Qwma/j kai. ei=pen auvtw/|\ o` ku,rio,j mou kai. o` qeo,j mouÅ 29 le,gei auvtw/| o` VIhsou/j\ o[ti e`w,raka,j (Perfect Active Indicative, 2s, oraw,see/observe/notice/perceive/understand/recognize/experience) me pepi,steukaj (Perfect Active Indicative, 2s)È maka,rioi oi` mh. ivdo,ntej (Aorist Active Participle, NMP, oraw) kai. pisteu,santejÅ (Aorist Active Participle, NMP)

John 20:27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." 28 Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" 29 Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (NIV)

John 20:27 Then He said to Thomas, "Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing." 28 Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" 29 Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." (NAU)

John 20:27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing." 28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" 29 Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe." (RSV)

John 20:27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don't be faithless any longer. Believe!" 28 "My Lord and my God!" Thomas exclaimed. 29 Then Jesus told him, "You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who haven't seen me and believe anyway." (NLT)

Other gospel appearances with "doubt":

Luke 24:38

Greek: ti, tetaragme,noi evste. kai. dia. ti, dialogismoi. (Noun, NMP, thought/opinion/motive/reasoning/doubt/question/argument dispute) avnabai,nousin evn th/| kardi,a| u`mw/nÈ

NIV "…why are you troubled and why do doubts rise in your minds?"

NAU "…Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?"

RSV "…why are you troubled and why do questionings rise in your hearts?"

NLT "…Why are you frightened?" he asked. "Why do you doubt who I am?"

Matthew 28:17

Greek: kai. ivdo,ntej auvto.n proseku,nhsan( oi` de. evdi,stasanÅ (Aorist Active Indicative, 3p)

NIV When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.

NAU When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful.

RSV And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted.

NLT When they saw him, they worshiped him-- but some of them still doubted!

How do the motifs of doubt/seeing & believing in the Gospel appearance stories relate to motifs of seeing & believing/ recognition outside of the Gospel stories?

Seeing and believing:

1 Peter 1:8

Greek: o]n ouvk ivdo,ntej (Participle Aorist Active, NMP, oraw) avgapa/te( eivj o]n a;rti mh. o`rw/ntej (Participle Present Active, NMP, oraw) pisteu,ontej (Participle, Present Active, NMP) de. avgallia/sqe cara/| avneklalh,tw| kai. dedoxasme,nh|

NIV Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy

NAU and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

RSV Without having seen him you love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy.

NLT You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him, you trust him; and even now you are happy with a glorious, inexpressible joy