[The Presbyterian, June 5, 1924]
Bodily Resurrection Scientifically Sound
By Rev. David S. Clark, D.D.
THE modernistic denial of a bodily resurrection is based on half-truths. It is due, so far as it is sincere, to partial knowledge and one-sided emphasis. (In many cases, however, it is only a proclivity for unbelief.) There have been materialist philosophies and idealistic philosophies, and both have had their day. The one-sided emphasis has always wrought confusion of thought and consequent failure in morals and religion. Hobbes and Spinoza have been equally disastrous to moral order and to spiritual development. The world has discarded these philosophies and ought to discard their corollaries.
The modernistic denial of a bodily resurrection is part and parcel of the same fallacious one- sidedness—the minimizing rationalism that empties God’s plans of half their meaning.
The resurrection of the body is founded on the nature of things. The glorification of the material is as much the purpose of God as the sanctification of the spiritual. “The whole creation (ktisis, inanimate nature) groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” “For the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” The material creation is not insignificant; it is not unimportant. It is not non-entity, as some philosophies suppose. It is not the source of evil, as Manichaeism assumed. Material substance is the creation of God as truly as soul substance. Material forms are God-made and God-given. Material forms and functions enter into life’s activities, enable us to express our personality and extend the kingdom of God. Without material forms and functions, we could not talk, nor sing, nor proclaim the gospel, nor become recognizable to our friends.
We love the material in nature, and more than all in the forms and faces of those dear to us. Who would dare to stand at the open grave and say: There will be no resurrection of the body; the dead shall never rise again. It would outrage every holy affection. If the body is God’s workmanship, and functions in his plan for the world, we may be sure that he will honor it duly.
The universe is neither wholly material nor wholly spiritual. We cannot under-value either. They are hemispheres of one whole; and the material must be reckoned with as well as the spiritual as part of God’s universe. Materialistic monism, and idealistic monism, have not proved successful philosophies of the universe; while ethical monism is scarcely related to the matter at issue. A dualistic universe is the obvious presentment to our minds. And this is as God would have it, and therefore the material is God’s fiat as well as the spiritual. We are promised a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness—not the one minus the other. The material and the spiritual are hemispheres of one great whole in the universe of God, as seen in science and taught in revelation. The resurrection is founded on this great fact, and it is out of harmony with philosophic and scientific consistency to deny the doctrine of a bodily resurrection. God hath joined the material and the spiritual. Even he, in his immanence, inhabits the universe. And what God has joined together, let no man put asunder.