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The soul can be purified by its experiences in the body, but it is also shaped and wounded by them. In this gallery of pop culture, I find the Infinity Blade series the most interesting. For the theologian in me and not just the nerdy kid , the version of immortality in the series is the most interesting point: characters become Deathless by having their souls modified.

After this modification, it is their soul that grants immortality to their body, that ensures it will constantly repair itself and remain at the peak of youth and health. If they cannot return to their original body say, if it is incinerated , it is also the character of their soul that guarantees reincarnation for them, unlike the eternal death of other humans.

Deathless souls will seek out another suitable vessel, often a cloned version of their original body, which then becomes immortal upon union. The series is riddled by unanswered questions about memory, identity, redemption, and even the cyclical character of history. Infinity Blade suggests that the body may be made impervious, new, superhuman, without destroying the identity of the individual.

One of the characters reflects that he is as different from his old self as a seed is from an oak tree or even a great building made from a forest of trees. This is a perennial problem for theologies of the resurrection, and the seed is a perennial image. It comes up for Gregory. He is quite firm, at least in On the Soul and the Resurrection , that the soul returns to the same body, even to the same elements it knew before. It is like a restored sculpture or painting.

What is the resurrection to me, if instead of me someone else will return to life? How would I myself recognize myself, seeing in myself that which is not myself? I would not truly be myself, if I were not in all respects the same as myself. On the Soul and the Resurrection He thinks we must even look like ourselves, with similar hair, features, skin color, and so on. But the changes also are crucial, like the difference between a grain of wheat and the stalk or ear it produces. While remaining in itself, the seed becomes an ear of grain, which differs completely from its former self in size, beauty, variety, and form.

In the same manner, the human nature also ….

As if ripening into an ear, it changes into incorruptibility, glory, honor, power, and every kind of perfection. Well, sort of. Christian doctrine differs considerably from the rampant speculation on the human person that characterizes contemporary pop culture; these particular examples were mostly a useful springboard. But I am constantly amazed at the way Christian or sub-Christian ideas pop up in novels, movies, video games, comic books, and other forms of entertainment.

We should expect no less.

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As well as eating, the Gospels underscore the message that the resurrected life involves walking, breathing, talking and touching. So Jesus cooks a meal, eats bread and fish, and breathes on the disciples.

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The resurrection life is not any other life, but this life, flourishing even on the far side of human violence. The life-after-death is none other than the kind of life we experience before death. What is more, Jesus is not resurrected to some abstract state of living, but to a particular historical and cultural setting. His resurrected body speaks a language, follows social rules, and interacts with named human beings. Jesus was resurrected into the ordinary life of his friends. But this reading does not stand up to examination.

The resurrection meals are never set-piece occasions like the Last Supper, but spontaneous events that spring out of specific situations: an evening meal, a fishing trip, a visit. Yet the resurrection meals carry an immense theological importance.

Following Maundy Thursday, these meals are moments of forgiveness and reconciliation. They reinstate the bread-fellowship broken by disloyalty and fearfulness. The Last Supper is a meal of dispersal, from which Jesus and his disciples are sent out to face the consequences of betrayal and violence.


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At the resurrection meals, Jesus presides over a gathering back together of the shattered company of apostles. The disciples are given the body of Christ at the Last Supper, but they receive it properly in the meals after the resurrection. The bread shared at Emmaus and the fish barbecued at Tiberias are physical tokens of absolution. Another writer who could see the material essence of the resurrection was D. One of his oddest yet most charming stories is a late novella, The Man Who Died.

It tells of a strange man who comes back from the dead. The point of this resurrection is to enable the man who died to live fully within his body.

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Now that his mission is complete, he can enjoy his embodied existence in all its purity and power. Here, as elsewhere, Lawrence had a gift for putting his finger on something primitive and important. What Easter opens up is not some other life, but a transfiguration of the life we know. Easter theology has been stymied in recent decades by debates about the historical realism of the resurrection.

But the point of the resurrection narrative — whether understood in realist or non-realist terms — is to direct us to the availability of life now. This life is not locked away on the far side of death. There should be a place for all at the resurrection meal.

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The embodied Christ of the resurrection invites an incarnational spirituality of the kind we find in Gerard Manley Hopkins, who marvelled at the perfect physical presence of Christ. The natural world furnished Hopkins with endless sensations of the incarnate God: from the kestrel in flight to the eggs of a thrush. If Hopkins is right, then it is in material beauty and joy that an Easter spirituality should be grounded. This is a spirituality that prays with its eyes open and with all its senses alert. The Easter event, as the completion of the incarnation, is begging to be seen in the created world in which we live and breathe and have our being.

They reinstate the bread-fellowship broken by disloyalty and fearfulness. The Last Supper is a meal of dispersal, from which Jesus and his disciples are sent out to face the consequences of betrayal and violence. At the resurrection meals, Jesus presides over a gathering back together of the shattered company of apostles. The disciples are given the body of Christ at the Last Supper, but they receive it properly in the meals after the resurrection.

The bread shared at Emmaus and the fish barbecued at Tiberias are physical tokens of absolution. Another writer who could see the material essence of the resurrection was D. One of his oddest yet most charming stories is a late novella, The Man Who Died. It tells of a strange man who comes back from the dead. The point of this resurrection is to enable the man who died to live fully within his body. Now that his mission is complete, he can enjoy his embodied existence in all its purity and power.

Here, as elsewhere, Lawrence had a gift for putting his finger on something primitive and important.

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What Easter opens up is not some other life, but a transfiguration of the life we know. Easter theology has been stymied in recent decades by debates about the historical realism of the resurrection. But the point of the resurrection narrative — whether understood in realist or non-realist terms — is to direct us to the availability of life now.

This life is not locked away on the far side of death. There should be a place for all at the resurrection meal. The embodied Christ of the resurrection invites an incarnational spirituality of the kind we find in Gerard Manley Hopkins, who marvelled at the perfect physical presence of Christ. The natural world furnished Hopkins with endless sensations of the incarnate God: from the kestrel in flight to the eggs of a thrush.

If Hopkins is right, then it is in material beauty and joy that an Easter spirituality should be grounded. This is a spirituality that prays with its eyes open and with all its senses alert. The Easter event, as the completion of the incarnation, is begging to be seen in the created world in which we live and breathe and have our being. The wonder of this encounter with the incarnate God is not only beautiful, but makes us beautiful.

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