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The Resurrection of Jesus

Miscellanies by Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)

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Edwards talks about the manner of the resurrection.

242. Christian Religion. The Glorified Christ. It would not have been proper for Christ constantly to dwell among men after his resurrection. Men would be exceedingly apt to fall into idolatry, and because they saw the man Christ Jesus with their eyes, [they] would be apt to worship him, as directing their worship to the human nature. Therefore we are not to see the man Christ Jesus till we are perfected and are not liable to temptation on such occasions. For this reason, probably, it was not convenient for Christ to appear in great majesty and glory when on earth, but the contrary. For this reason, Christ endeavored to hide his transfiguration, and many other miracles, till after he was risen. And for this reason, he did not converse constantly with his disciples after his resurrection, as before. All these things were done in a manner the most wise and fit that can be imagined.

590. The Resurrected Christ. Question: Why was not Christ, after he rose from the dead, during his stay upon earth with his disciples, as he was before? Why was he not with them, constantly dwelling with them and going in and out with them? Answer: The very different states that Christ and his disciples were now in, would not allow of it. Christ, before his death and while in a state of humiliation, was in a like state with them. He was subject to hunger and thirst, as they were. He needed sleep as they did, and he needed the like defense from the weather that they did. He was in a state suitable for a cohabitation with them. But when he was risen from the dead, the case was exceedingly altered. He no longer continued in a state of humiliation but then began his exaltation. He put off mortality and all the infirmities of his body. The nature of his body was exceedingly different from theirs, as things celestial differ from things terrestrial. Mortal beings are not apt for a cohabitation with immortal, nor terrestrial with celestial, nor corruption with incorruption.

Besides, if Christ had been constantly with his disciples (dwelt among them and gone in and out with them as before), then he must have appeared either in his former mean state or his glorified state. If he had appeared in his former mean state, that would have been to have continued his state of humiliation after his resurrection, his finishing the work of redemption, and his triumph over the powers of darkness. He must have remained still in the form of a servant. He must still have remained empty of his glory or with his glory veiled. The circumstances of the disciples, yet in this corrupt and mortal state, and the state of this world, would no way admit of his appearing as an inhabitant of this world and dwelling here with them in his glorified state. The disciples were not meet to dwell with a glorified Savior. That would have been to have exalted them to a glorified state as to their objective glory and happiness, while they, the subjects, remained still in their corrupt, infirm, and mortal state, which would have been no way suitable. God will not thus mix and confound heaven and earth.

1228. Christ’s Resurrection. If sin, universally spread, brought universal death into the world, if it was worthy of a compassionate God to send someone into the world to take away sin, if miracles were the best proof of his mission, if his own resurrection was the most convincing miracle that could be wrought and at the same time carried with it the most experimental assurance of an happy victory over all the effects of sin and a comfortable renovation of the moral world, and if it was as easy with God to raise up his Son from death as it is for one man to wake another out of sleep — then I think the resurrection of Christ very far removed from improbability.” Deism Revealed, vol. i, p. 24.

1231. Christ’s Resurrection and Miracles. “If the fact of Christ’s resurrection, on account of its unusualness, appears improbable, it will on account of its expediency appear in a higher degree probable if duly considered. Seeing philosophy and other ordinary means had proved insufficient to retrieve mankind from ignorance, wickedness and misery, if God has mercy on mankind and has not utterly forsaken the world and cast it off, then recourse must be had to extraordinary and supernatural means, that is to revelation. For we cannot possibly conceive any other effectual expedient for such a purpose, nor can we conceive how the person by whom the revelation should be made could prove himself to be a messenger from God, without working miracles. Were he vested with no higher signs of power than other men, his plainer dictates would appear to be no more than the obvious suggestions of common sense or at most of philosophy. And if he delivered any doctrines undiscoverable by the force of reason, they would appear to be less. In either respect, he could only teach in his own name, not in that of God, and consequently without authority or effect. That it is highly probable God would send us an instructor thus qualified and empowered, and that this is not a probability only invented by divines to serve the purposes of Christianity, appears evidently from hence: that Plato fell into the same way of thinking long before our Savior came into the world. He was strongly of opinion that God would send some person or being into the world, who should teach mankind how they ought to serve the supreme Being. But had such a person appeared in Plato’s time, that philosopher would, no doubt, have expected from him the signs and credentials of a divine commission, which could have been nothing else but miracles. For without miracles, the pretended messenger could have had no right to dictate to Plato, nor to assume any higher character that that of a philosopher.” Deism Revealed, vol. ii, p. 16-17.

1333. Christ’s Resurrection. Concerning the objections against the reality of Christ’s resurrection: that he was not immediately known, that his body was not always visible, and often vanished out of sight, etc.

I observe that Christ’s body rose as much the same body that it was before, as was consistent with that state which it was requisite his risen body would be in.

It was no wonder the form of it was considerably changed when it rose not in its former infirmity, but was raised in power and to immortality and to impassability.

No wonder it was not always visible and the constant object of men’s external senses. For if it had been so, it would have remained still in some connection with this wicked world of mankind, still connected with the society of the polluted, depraved inhabitants of the earth, and so still within the reach of their malignity and reproach and the exercise of their enmity in other respects.

It was necessary that his risen body should not be connected universally with this earthly, changeable, corruptible world, as is the case with respect to bodies which belong to this mortal state of existence. For if so, his body must still remain liable to suffering and decay, would waste by perspiration, would need the constant repairs of food and sleep, would be liable to suffer injury by the weather, heat and cold, rains and dews, and would be incommoded by darkness, etc. But this was not proper. For his body did not now belong to this world as it did before, but was an heavenly body, though the change of it might not be so perfected as to fit it for its heavenly state till his ascension.

Consider the following two works by Edwards that have been updated and republished for easy reading:

Ripe for Damnation: Sermons on the Book of Revelation – by Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758). Are you hungry for more of Edwards’ sermons? On the book of Revelation? These new works are not found anywhere on A Puritan’s Mind, and there are new ones not found in his large 2 volume works. 4 deal with the plight of the wicked, and 2 deal with the bliss of saints in heaven. These sermons are powerful, practical, and biblical, glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ, and contain 2 never before published sermons.

Justification by Faith Alone – by Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758). In this classic work, Edwards covers the intricacies of how believers are made righteous only through Christ’s merits, and that this justifying righteousness is equally imputed to all elect believers. This is accomplished by the condition of faith as an instrument.

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