Augustine's Sermon 242 - Return to "Gary's Personal Creed."
Sermon 242. Although the sermon is centuries old, the translation is more recent and I do not have permission to reuse it here. The direct link is to archive.org, which is a web site that archives old web pages. I don't know why the original web pages were deleted, but one could imagine that it was due to copyright issues. The best I will do for you here is to summarize the sermon in my own words. The sermon is organized in eight parts and a total of twelve paragraphs.
(1) Sermon 242 is about the resurrection of Jesus and the form of the resurrection body. Augustine preaches that Jesus rose literally and physically, and could be touched by the followers to whom He appeared.
(2) Next, Augustine preaches that Jesus ate because He could, and because eating indicated that He had the power to eat. Jesus was not hungry. Likewise, Jesus showed His wounds because He chose to, in order to comfort the followers into believing that it really was Jesus who was appearing. The risen Jesus was not wounded, and there will be no corruption or defects in our own resurrected bodies.
(3) Augustine preaches that we will not be raised as old and bent or as babies unable to walk. "In a word, remove the possibility of corruption and add what you choose." Augustine begins an argument that our resurrected bodies will be of a form that will be able to exist wherever Heaven is. Ever the neo-Platonist, Augustine debunks Plato's arguments to the contrary.
(4) Augustine continues the argument in (3) by reminding us that Jesus was raised bodily to Heaven.
(5) The resurrection of the body is possible because all things are possible for God. I can forgive a Dark Ages guy like Augustine from using this type of argument, but we hear and read this sort of thing even today. Literalists "prove" the miracles of the Bible by attributing them to God, because everybody believes in a supernatural, omnipotent, interventionist God, right?
(6) Augustine preaches that bodies of the earth should sink under water, but wood, which is of the earth, floats. This re-ordering of the "order of weights" opens up the possibility that our solid resurrection bodies may exist in Heaven, even though our bodies are of the earth and Heaven is above the earth. Monty Python used the order of weights to convict a witch in "Holy Grail", but this apparently made sense when Augustine wrote it in the 5th century.
(7) Augustine continues to preach on the "order of weights" by discussing how a hollow object of lead may float, and something about "rivers suspended from the clouds before they flow on the earth". He adds an argument about how a healthy, robust man can move faster than an emaciated man even though the robust man is heavier. He asks, "If mortal health accomplishes this, what will immortality do?", but does not directly answer this.
(8) The resurrection body is solid, but its spiritual nature avoids the earthly and sinful tension between flesh and spirit. Augustine then summarizes previous points and concludes with words of encouragement for our faith journey.
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