Saints Philip and James, 3rd May 2022
Paul is writing against a dualistic mindset among the Corinthians which over- emphasises the spiritual against the physical. No, the Resurrection of the body of Christ really happened; it’s, in a way, a complement or logical working out of the fact of incarnation and of a life well-lived. God really did take on material form, become a human being, flesh and blood, just like the rest of us, and so lived life, that that form, that material matter, is formational for us, even after death. Somehow, it becomes the basis of our new life in the hereafter precisely because it’s the basis of our new life now.
John is also writing against a view of Christ that belittles this unique act of salvation; this amazing interplay of the spiritual and the material that validates both; and this, only ‘in Christ’; for it is only ‘in Christ’ that we too can share in this life that gives life its full meaning now, and that will take us through death to live ‘in Christ’, ‘in God’, for ever after. But it’s not easy to grasp as we see in the exasperation Jesus shows towards Philip:
Have I been with you all this time, Philip…. and you still do not know me?
And hence also Paul’s citing of so many post-Resurrection witnesses, including James, – for as John has Jesus say:
To have seen me is to have seen the Father… Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.
This is not so much a working out of Trinitarian belief as an emphasis on Jesus as our route to God. The way he lived and died is to become our way, too. And only then will resurrection become meaningful to us; only then will we fully understand what being ‘in Christ’ means; only then, perhaps, does resurrection become true.