I want to recommend to my readers this wonderful and important article by David Bentley Hart. I thank my colleague Dr. James Philip Arnold of Reunion Institute in Houston, TX for pointing it out to me. Philip earned his Ph.D. from Rice University and wrote his dissertation on Paul–so he and I have been thinking about these issues for many years–now decades!
David and I have deep theological differences in both our presuppositions and conclusions but I love everything he writes and his translation of the New Testament is incomparable. If you don’t know it and have a copy you will really appreciate it: The New Testament: A Translation. I recommend the hardcover edition. This is a volume you need to hold, mark, and study with notes.
The article is titled “The Spiritual was More Substantial than the Material for the Ancients,” published in Church Life Journal recently. I have been trying to get across this point to all of my readers over the years, namely how the transformation from “physical” to “spiritual” in both Paul and Jesus, as they picture the future resurrection of the dead and transformation of the cosmos is not a transition from what most people thank as “substantial” or physical to “non-substantial” or “spiritual.” The spiritual is in fact more substantial than the physical, which is temporary, perishing, weak, and without inherent power.
In keeping with these insights I invite you to read or re-read my blog post: Resurrection of the Dead: Old Body or New Body?