Saturday, May 03, 2008

The Real Francis Turretin on: the Resurrection

Turretin on the Resurrection

Here, first of all, we ought to distinguish between the foundation on which the faith of the resurrection rests, and the arguments by which that faith is confirmed. The only foundation is the omnipotent will of God, revealed in His word. But the arguments are manifold, and are drawn partly from Scripture, and partly from reason. Some are primary and demonstrative, others secondary and probable; some which prove the resurrection in general, both of good and bad; others which prove only the resurrection of the righteous, but which necessarily imply that of the wicked. The first reason is from passages of Scripture, both in the Old and New Testaments. The second from the resurrection of Christ. Because, the resurrection of Christ being granted, ours, which is inseparable from it, follows as a matter of course, 2 Cor. iv. 14; 1 Thess. iv. 14; Rom. viii. 11; 1 Cor. xv. 22. Hence, the ancients call the resurrection of Christ the example of our faith; the key of our sepulchres, and the pledge of our resurrection. Manifold reasons of this connexion may be given : 1. In respect of merit, Christ is our Redeemer, not of our souls only, but of our bodies also; therefore He ought to raise up the body that along with the soul it may be gifted with the life purchased by Him; whence the resurrection of the body is expected by the faithful, Rom. viii. 23. Otherwise He could neither be said to have redeemed our bodies, nor to have swallowed up death in victory. 2. In respect of efficacy, from the connexion of the Head and members; Christ rose as the Head of the Church, Eph. i. 20. If, therefore, the Head rose, why should He not draw after Him His own members? For of what kind were that body whose head were living but its members dead ? Yea, because I live, saith He, John xiv. 19, ye shall live also, because He is the resurrection and the life, that is, its foundation and principle. As in Adam all die, that is, derive the cause of death from him, so in Christ shall all be made alive, both meritoriously and effectively. Here belongs the type of the first-fruits, by which the whole harvest was sanctified ; whence, Paul says, "Christ by His resurrection became the first-fruits of them that sleep," because He rose first by His own proper power, and brings it about that we also rise. 3. In respect of dominion, because Christ so rose that He might be the Lord and King of His Church, Rom. xiv. 9, of the dead and living. But what kind of a dominion were that whose subjects should remain in death? This relation of Lord may be viewed in a twofold aspect, either with respect to the faithful, of whom He is so the Lord that He is also their Father; or with respect to the wicked, of whom He is the Lord and Judge; whence the necessity of the resurrection of both depends, — of believers indeed upon Christ, as Redeemer and Head, in so far as He ought to be the Saviour of His body; but of the wicked upon Christ the Judge, who ought to render to every one what is his own. Hence Paul, Acts xvii. 31; 2 Cor. v. 10. 4. In respect of the mutual communion subsisting between Christ and us, which requires that there should be a conformity between both. That what has taken place in the Head should be effected, after His example, also in the members, and what is denied of the members be denied of the Head also. Hence it happens that the apostle, not only from the affirmation of Christ's resurrection deduces ours, but also from the negation of ours infers the negation of His, 1 Cor. xv. 13, because the Head cannot be without the members. Third, from the covenant of God, which, since it necessarily imports perfect felicity and eternal life, cannot be fulfilled in us, unless with the immortality of the soul there be given also the resurrection of the body, that the whole man may partake of the benefits of the covenant for ever. Whither belongs the very formula of the covenant, "I am thy God," from which Christ reasons against the Sadducees, Matt. xxii. 32, as most efficacious for stopping their mouths. Fourth, from the justice of God which enjoins that rewards be rendered to the good, and punishment to the wicked, even in the body that sinned. But since actions are of the whole suppositum and the organic body hath its own part in either kind of actions, it is equitable that the whole man, not a part of him only, should be rewarded or punished. And since this does not always happen in this life, where the lots of good and bad are often confounded, it must of necessity be effected after this life, in bodies raised from the dead, 2 Cor. v. 10 ; 2 Thess. i. 6, 7. Fifth, from the condition of our bodies. Because, since our bodies have been made temples of the Holy Ghost, 1 Cor. iii. 16; vi. 91, and have already begun to be glorified by the resurrection and ascension of Christ, it cannot be that they should perish and vanish into thin air, but is necessary that they remain forever sanctuaries of the Holy Spirit. To which also they are consecrated by the use of the sacraments; while in baptism is given the symbol of our burial and resurrection with Christ; and in the supper we are fed with heavenly meat, which perisheth not, but remaineth unto life eternal, John vi. 54. Sixth, from the examples of those who were raised in the Old and New Testaments, which were illustrious preludes of the last resurrection. Seventh, from the absurdities, urged by Paul, which oppress the contrary opinion, 1 Cor. xv. 13, 14, 15, 19, 30, 32, &c. So sinners might securely indulge in carnal lusts, since no punishments are to be feared after this life. Since all which are most absurd, that from whence they are deduced is also absurd. In a word, the negation of the resurrection is the overthrow of the whole of Christianity, of all faith, piety, and hope.

(Loc. xx., Quaest. I.)

(source – The Quarterly Journal of Prophecy, Vol. XX, 1868, pp. 345-347)

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