Life after Death | Orthodox | 7

God-given man’s flesh

Nowadays due to a great number of facts accumulated in the medicine science (not fantasies, akin to popular folklore, but sufficiently reliable facts), it is possible to state with the utmost credibility:

the existence of a soul is the undisputable scientific truth.

Despite a rude materialistic notion, forcefully imposed into the minds of the whole generations stating that a man is only a body, only an animal with a computer in his mind,

in reality, he is a self-conscious and indestructible personality; the carrier of this personality is above all a certain immortal substance – a soul, having 2 forms of existence:

First, known to us – in a body - a soul with a body (as different from the spirit) is a man’s flesh.

The other mysterious form of the soul existence – is after death.

Christianity reopens slightly a curtain of the mystery of its being beyond the earth boundaries.

For more comprehensive understanding of this mystery it is necessary to tell about the body as of a home for the soul.

The patristic teaching says quite definitely that a man before the Fall, before his present state, possessed a spiritual body but a material as well or if you like material and a spiritual body.

How could it be understood?
Don’t spiritual and material exclude each other?
According to the Christian religion – no.

On the contrary, only that very material body acquires normal image of its existence, when it becomes a spiritual one.

We may see that remarkable phenomenon in Christ Resurrected.

Do you remember how Christ passed through the closed doors, suddenly appeared before his disciples, broke bread with them… and suddenly disappeared.

At the same time he told his pupils:

Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have”. (Luke, 24: 39).

And it was He who said that, Who suddenly appeared in the room ‘with doors locked for fear of the Jews (John, 20; 19). Nobody opened Him the doors.

And what did the apostle Thomas feel, he, who didn’t believe in Resurrection, when suddenly he saw Christ coming into the room with closed doors and he heard from Him: “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe’.

Thomas’ answer was unique:

My Lord and my God” (John, 20; 27-28), that is, this is You – Yourself!

In Rome they show a finger of the apostle Thomas who touched imperishable rib of Christ. To be frank, I do not believe it very much, sorry.

But the point is not whether Thomas touched Christ’s rib and with that very finger - what is important is that Thomas touched the reality, going out of the boundaries of our habitual human experience, and made sure of it despite the protest of his so-called common sense.

And how was it possible not to protest: could it be possible that real flesh, blood and bones could go through the same real material objects freely, without hindrance?!

We may build different hypotheses to explain this phenomenon.

However all of them will be in the final count like telling fortunes by coffee grounds, for “now we see but a poor reflection”, (1 Corinthians, 13; 14) as if guessing.

But if you want here is one of such hypothesis:

At the present time thanks to a deeper scientific understanding of space and time it is possible to make guesses that a body remaining material, but having become spiritual, stays outside our three-dimensional space, in other “spaces”, being “inside” ours.

In these spaces a body does not need any material means for its existence.

Through these “spaces” a spiritual body may go inside any point of our earthy space-time freely, acquiring usual qualities for it.

But I repeat, this is not more than guessing, a poor reflection.

And what I know for sure that we all, will sooner that we think, turn to be there and ‘then we shall see face to face” (1 Corinthians, 13; 12).

That is why don’t hurry and wait a little.

Concerning the fact that the body could be spiritual the apostle Paul writes directly:

“So will it be with the resurrection of the dead.

The body that is sown is perishable , it is raised imperishable…It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body…For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality” (1 Corinthians, 15; 42, 44, 53).

The apostle writes about the future condition of a body, however it was as such before the Fall.

In the same way Saint Fathers teach that after the universal resurrection, people will have the same spiritual body, which the first man had (even more perfect), which possessed unusual, remarkable for our present condition qualities:

it knew neither illnesses, nor pain, nor sufferings, nor death.
It did not need clothes, protection from some outer influence;

it did not feel hunger, thirst, fleshly desires and as we see on resurrected Saviour it did not depend on our time and space.

And in the same way how it is impossible to make harm to the air, having struck it with a stick, in the same way our human body and soul were and will be invulnerable, dispassionate, non-affected by any sufferings.

Saint Ephraim of Syria (IV), wrote, for example:

“Winds in the Paradise float to and fro in front of the righteous men;

one blows them the food, the other one pours water…Winds feed spiritually those who live in the spirit… For spiritual creatures food is spiritual”.

“Paradisiacal fragrance satiate without bread; a breath of life serves beverage…Bodies containing blood and moisture, achieve there a purity similar to the soul itself…

There bodies elevate to the level of souls, a soul rises to the degree of a spirit…” and stays in a condition of a constant joy.

Saint Athanasius the Great (IV) characterized spiritual and corporal qualities of the first man: “For before the crime committed by Adam there was neither grief, nor fear, nor weariness, nor hunger, nor death”.

Saint Anthony the Great, speaking about those changes, which occur here on the ground with the body of a saint man, wrote:

”Thus a body sticks to any good and bending to the Power of the Holy Spirit changes so drastically, that finally becomes to a certain measure privy to those qualities of the spiritual body, which it is due to obtain after the resurrection of the righteous”.

The same is said by St. Cyril of Jerusalem:

“This body will rise…it will not remain the same, it will become eternal.

It will have no need either in the similar food to sustain life or in a stairway for rising, because it will become spiritual, something remarkable, such as it is impossible to express, as it must be, and we are incapable in doing that…”

Was a body created by God, in need of food and anything else (Genesis, 1, 29), as we know, that resurrected Christ ate their food in their presence? (Luke, 24, 43)

St. John Chrysostom answers this question:

‘So, upon His resurrection Christ took food and water not because of the necessity, - then his body was not in need of that, but to fulfil the matter of resurrection”.

The same thing is said by St. Macarius of Egypt:


Will the bodies of Adam and others upon their resurrection appear naked before God or will they have clothes on them and whether their food will be of different kind?

How then a body could be covered with clothes and how will it be fed (all people living in this century, men and women, must cover their private parts and take perishable food (comp. John, 6, 27)?

Will all this be needed to those resurrected after their delivery from the earth’s life and who will be returned to the previous composition or not?


‘The issue seems to me irrelevant and thoughtless, because we all know that all created splendour (comp. James 1, 11) and composition will be abolished (or fade away) upon delivery (or the end of the world), and the earth will not produce fruit for the body’s nourishment, but the sky will come with all its beauty.

Where from will people get their food and make clothes, if according to God, all the visible will pass away? Isn’t it clear that there is something else besides the visible and what will be given?...

God already now clothing the soul with glory and filling it with His fire, will give cloths to a body at that long-awaited time and He will transform our lowly bodies and they will be like His glorious body (Philippians, 3, 21), having given, the comfort with food at last and heavenly clothes and imperishable angel-like deeds”.

Here are the remarkable qualities that were inherent to and will be inherent to a man’s flesh-body and soul – in the life of the future age.