Aug 19, 2014

Paul saw only a vision of Jesus

 Paul Saw Only a Vision of Jesus.
Why early Christians only envisioned a Jesus in heaven. 
The apostle Paul's “First Letter to the Corinthians" is considered to be the New Testament's earliest document.
In it, Paul recalls his encounter with Jesus. He uses the Greek word for a physical or non-physical appearance.
He says--
1 Corinthians 15:4 [We preach] that he was buried and that he was raised to life three days later, as written in the scriptures; 5 that he appeared to Peter and then to all twelve apostles. ... 8 Last of all he appeared also to me--even though I am like someone whose birth was abnormal. 
The verb (ophthei) in the phrase "appeared to me" is used in the Gospels, too, when the resurrected Jesus appears to his disciples.
But Paul didn't see Jesus face to face.
  So he speaks about a vision he had. 
The question is whether Jesus was risen bodily from the grave.
The New Testament book of Acts (from the 80s CE) mentions another vision Paul had while in the Jerusalem Temple--
Acts 22:17 I went back to Jerusalem, and while I was praying in the Temple, I had a vision, 18 in which I saw the Lord, as he said to me, "Hurry and leave Jerusalem quickly, because the people here will not accept your witness about me." 
Paul preaches a Jesus buried for three days then risen to life.
But doesn't say to where he was risen to life.
So, one wonders if he preaches Jesus the spirit.
His letter fails to make it plain whether Jesus was body or spirit. 
Later than Paul, the Gospels describe a resurrected Jesus making a bodily appearance to his disciples. However, Paul's letters don't spell it out. 
Suppose a guy were to hear about the Christian doctrine of a Jesus risen from the grave. Paul's letters don't depict for him a bodily return to earth.
Paul says the body comes to life in heaven--
Romans 8:6 To be controlled by human nature results in death; to be controlled by the Spirit results in life and peace. 10 But if Christ lives in you, the Spirit is life for you because you have been put right with God, even though your bodies are going to die because of sin. 11 If the Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from death, lives in you, then he who raised Christ from death will also give life to your mortal bodies by the presence of his Spirit in you.

Bodies become new ones in the hereafter.
He preaches that the mortal body becomes a better one in heaven--
Philippians 3:20 [O]ur citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."

Paul might well believe in a Jesus with a new body in heaven.
At prayer in the Temple, Paul had had a vision of the glorious form of Jesus.
The earliest Christians might well have believed like Paul, in a Jesus in a new body in heaven.
They saw a glorified Jesus.
They saw him
with their eye of faith.

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