“No Stomach” for N.T. Wright (and the questions that raises concerning the life of the world to come)

N.T. Wright

N.T. Wright on page 290 of The Resurrection of Jesus Christ seems to be admitting the obviousness of a biblical contradiction that many conservative Christians seem loathe to admit. Before reading the passage from N.T. Wright one needs to know which verses he is referring to. They are from a Pauline letter and one of the earliest New Testament discussions concerning what “resurrection” meant, i.e., Paul wrote in 1st Corinthians 6:13 & 15:50, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,” and, “Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food; but God will do away with both of them.” About such teachings N.T. Wright wrote:

“There is that about the body which will be destroyed; in the non-corruptible future world, food and the stomach are presumably irrelevant. So, for that matter (since food and stomach point metaphorically here to sexual behaviour and sexual organs) will human reproduction be irrelevant. Paul is again treading a fine line here, since he wants to say simultaneously both that the creator will destroy the bits of the body which are being touted by some in Corinth as those to do what they like with and that there is bodily continuity between the present person, behaving this way and that, and the person who will be raised to new bodily life.”

To comment on Wrightʼs comment, one need only note that the two last Gospels (Luke and John) abandoned Paulʼs earlier teaching and depicted scenes in which the resurrected Jesus “ate fish” and declared himself “not a spirit,” but one “having flesh and bone.” Which makes one wonder whether Paul might not have found such late Gospel depictions of the resurrected Jesus “heretical” had Paul lived long enough to read them.

Speaking again of N.T. Wright, in his latest book he preaches that Christians will be resurrected in a new body to live on a new earth, which raises all sorts of questions. Will people be raised with or without sex organs? Will resurrection bodies have the anatomy of Barbie dolls? (In which case, how “PG-rated!” Finally, a “family friendly creation!”) Why have that stuff between your legs for eternity if itʼs to be of no use?

On the other hand, Christians like C. S. Lewis hoped there would be “sex” in the afterlife. Of course some might not like being stuck with the same physical organ they had on earth, either because of its size or shape, or they might like to imagine trying out a different sex organ entirely rather than only having had the experience of one genderʼs sexuality. And what about people born in the “old creation” with a bit of both sexual organs, the “inter-sexed?” Will God reassign them a gender specific organ after they are resurrected? (Again, a nice PG-rated cosmos, safe from any gray or blurry areas.)

And speaking of a “family friendly” cosmos, how “family friendly” will it be if you canʼt raise families in it? If “new creation” resurrected bodies have sexual organs can the gonads function and conceive children? Will there be “post-resurrection new creation babies?” Such babies wouldnʼt be born in a fallen cosmos but would have all the advantages of being born in a “new creation” — all the food, love, and daily miracles anyone might ever hope to see from birth onwards. A bit of an advantage Iʼd say over all the damned in hell born into the “old creation” after Adamʼs fall. Doesnʼt sound very fair.

Of course if giving birth is NOT an option in the “new creation,” then God has sterilized the chosen for eternity. (Which is a bit funny considering all the sermons some Christians keep preaching here on earth that sterilization is wrong.)

Conversation Of A Semi-Rebellious Questioning Christian With God After Being Resurrected In The New Creation:

“Hey God! Thanks for the resurrected body! Glory! Hey whereʼs my? (Hands rummaging deeply in pants pockets.) Thanks be to God itʼs still there! (whew). Does it still work? Yes? But Iʼm shooting blanks for eternity? I canʼt make babies? In the old creation You told us to procreate and fill the earth, which you probably didnʼt have to make a ‘command’ after all, our pleasure really, until environmental decline and water shortages started happening as a result. Maybe you ought to have added a word or two about the dangers of ‘overfilling’ the earth? You also told us children were a great blessing, though you wound up having to toss yours into a lake of fire whose smoke rises forever. Now in the ‘new creation’ you want us to have sex for pleasure with no baby-making even possible? Weird how you reversed the rules. Almost sounds like a resounding wet dream victory for Hugh Hefner and the sexual revolution. Can we have cosmic orgies too? No? I see. So we have to do it for eternity with one spouse, or ‘spouses’ if weʼd thought ahead like king Solomon and married a couple hundred while living in the old creation. What if we died without choosing a partner but were still looking for one? Can we date in the new creation? Is heavy petting an option in the new creation? Can we continue dating till eternity ends without settling on any one partner? But maybe I ought to thank you for resurrecting us all with sterile gonads here in the ‘new creation,’ since the only children that I was able to conceive never ‘came to Jesus,’ and the thought of them in their damned state only reminds me how risky it might be for any of us to risk conceiving any more souls to fill hell. We donʼt want to overfill it like we did the earth! Or overfill heaven too for that matter, I guess. So thanks for the blessing of knowing that the only kids I will ever be able to conceive throughout eternity are suffering forever.” Then Adam, who was listening to my conversation with God, walks up to my ear and whispers, “Tell me about it.”

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