07 February 2002

I handed back the quizzes to my students yesterday with the question about the final resurrection on them. They weren't very happy. A number of them actually began to question me, whether or not I had marked the quizzes correctly. Student: I went to Catholic school all my life and I was always told you go to heaven when you die and that's it.

Me: In that case you must also have gone to church all your life and said the words of our Creed, "I believe in the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come." That means being raised from death in renewed bodies in a renewed world.

Student: I thought it just meant going to heaven when you die...I was always taught that only Jesus got to rise from the dead like that.

Me: Yes, there is a sense in which Jesus' resurrection is unique, but Paul's entire argument in 1 Corinthians 15 is that we will be raised on the last day with bodies just like Jesus' body...walking, talking, breathing, eating, bearing the marks of this life, and recognizable as our own.

Student: That's weird. I never heard that before.

Me: Well, that's what "resurrection" means and how the church has historically understood it. And that's what I taught you guys a couple of days ago. Whatever your other teachers may have said, either you misunderstood them, they were unclear, or they got it wrong.

Student: Oh... I think theology is just way too confusing. Whatever.
Not the best exchange I've ever had. But I'll keep trying.