If you want to improve a bad day — or really any day at all — turn on Ray Charles’ song “Seven Spanish Angels,” an awesomely over-the-top song about star-crossed lovers in Texas who die in a shootout with unspecified bad guys. Seriously, it’s Ray Charles and Willie Nelson. If you’ve never heard it, take a minute and listen to this song.
There. Aren’t you happier now?
The only tiny hiccup in this otherwise epic song is that it turns the dead lovers in the Valley of the Gun into angels after they die. (Spanish angels apparently — because why not?) The whole dead-people-turn-into-angels notion has turned up a lot in popular culture over the years. Remember this book?
This classic Christmas story is about a little boy who has died and turned into an angel who eventually visits the Christ child. These are just two examples of the dead-people-as-angels phenomenon. This idea is popular, as is the notion that when we die, we leave our bodies and our spirits go to heaven.
The physicality of the resurrection is a part of Christian theology that some Christians forget and that others forget conveniently — that is, they get it in theory but choose not to think about that side of the resurrection too much. Influenced by Platonism and by the overall notion that our sinful bodies tend to get us into trouble, many Christians think of the body as something problematic that we leave behind in death. If we pattern our hope for resurrection on Jesus’, however, as all of Christian theology says we should, then we must assume from reading the accounts of Jesus’ resurrection that: (1) we will rise to new life after death; that (2) our risen life will differ from our life on earth today; and that (3) our resurrection will be physical in nature as well as spiritual.
In this class, the Rev. Lucas Mix, an Episcopal priest and evolutionary biologist, discusses the nature of resurrected life, emphasizing its physicality and what that physicality means for us both in the afterlife and in our lives today. He discusses what scripture tells us about the afterlife and how Greek and Jewish ideas about the afterlife have affected the way we understand it. He examines Jesus’ resurrection and its implications for everyone else’s resurrection, and he addresses errors (like the idea of a purely spiritual resurrection) that Christians make in their thinking about our risen lives. He discusses how resurrection might happen and what happens to us between death and the last day. Most importantly, he talks about how we should live in this life to begin living into our hope of resurrection and becoming united with the created world as the body of Christ in our risen lives.
This course is ideal for people who want to deepen their understanding of the resurrection. For a preview of the course, click here.