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Endnotes for Redemption and Resurrection

1 In my judgement. the most instructive single summary treatment of issues related to biblical-theological method is still Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology. Old and New Testaments (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1948), 11-27.

2 See in greater detail my The Centrality of the Resurrection (Phillipsburg, N.J.: Presbyterian and Reformed 1978; reprinted as Resurrection and Redemption, 1987), 33-74.

3 Geerhardus Vos, The Pauline Eschatology (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker. 1979), 45

4 Grammatically, with the verb egeiro used almost exclusively, Christ is either the direct object of (aorist) active forms (e.g., Rom. 4:24; 10:9), or the subject of (aorist and perfect) passive forms (e.g., 1 Cor. 15:20; 2 Cor. 5: 15). In the case of the latter. an intransitive/active sense is excluded by the context.

5 Spiritual/physical is not an apt distinction, and is perhaps even misleading, at least if ‘spiritual’ is used in its pervasive NT sense, referring to the activity of the Holy Spirit. The past resurrection of the believer is certainly spiritual in this sense, but so is the future, bodily resurrection - pre-eminently, climactically so (1 Cor. 15:44).

6 Missing, for instance, is a treatment of the forensic significance of the Resurrection, especially its relationship to justification. Briefly, Christ was raised for our justification (Rom. 4:25). The Resurrection vindicates Jesus in his obedience unto death (Phil. 2:8-9); it reveals that he embodies the perfect righteousness that avails before God. In that sense his resurrection is his justification and so, by imputation, through union with him by faith, our justification. Without the Resurrection, along with his death, there would be no justification of the ungodly (Rom. 4:5), our faith would be futile, and we would still be in our sins (1 Cor. 15:17): see further my Resurrection and Redemption, 114ff.

7 The absence of the article before pneuma has little weight as a counter-­argument, if for no other reason, because of the tendency in koine Greek to omit the article before nouns designating persons when, as here, in construction with a preposition. See A. Blass, A. Debrunner, RW. Funk, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961), 133f. (254, 255, 257).

8 This conclusion rests on a couple of interlocking, mutually reinforcing considerations that appear to me to be decisive. a) Pneuma in v. 45 and pneumatikon (spiritual. vv. 44a, b, 46) are cognate noun and adjective. The adjective, particularly as it is paired antithetically here with pneumatikos, and in the light of the only other NT occurrence of this antithesis earlier (in 2:14-15), has in view the work of the Spirit and what is effected by him. This is further confirmed by Paul’s consistent use of psuchikos anthropos elsewhere; it never has an anthropological sense (e.g., Rom. 1:11: Eph. 1:3; Col. 1:9: the only exception appears to be Eph. 6: 12). In 2:6-16 the activity of the Spirit - his sovereign, exclusive work in giving and receiving God’s revealed wisdom - is the primary focus of the immediate context. In contrast to the unbeliever (ho pneumatikos, v. 14), the spiritual man (pneumatikos, v. 15) is the believer (cf. vv. 4-5) as indwelt, enlightened, motivated, directed by the Spirit. The long-standing effort to enlist this passage in support of an anthropological trichotomy (with pneumatikos here referring to the human spirit come to its revived ascendancy), I take it, is not successful and ought to be abandoned; see. e.g., John Murray, Collected Writings of John Murray, vol. 2 (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1977), 23-33, esp. 23-29. b) The participial modifier in 15:45b points to the same conclusion. The last Adam did not simply become pneuma but ‘life-giving’ pneuma (pneuma zoiopoioun). Paul’s use of this verb elsewhere with the Spirit as subject proves decisive, especially his sweeping assertion in 2 Corinthians 3:6: ‘the Spirit gives life’. Few, if any, will dispute that here the Spirit (to pneuma) is ‘the Spirit of the living God’ just mentioned in 3:3, in other words, the Holy Spirit. And in Romans 8:11, a statement closely related to the 1 Corinthians 15 passage, the ‘life-giving’ activity of raising believers bodily is attributed to the Spirit (cf. John 6:63).

9 See, e.g., various articles in the recent Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, G.F. Hawthorne, RP. Martin, eds. (Downers Grove. Ill.: InterVarsity, 1993), 12a and 263b (L.J. Kreitzer), 107b, 108a, 112a (B. Witherington), 349a (R B. Gaffin), 407b (T. Paige), 435a (G. M. Burge), 554 (J. J. Scott). See further Vos, Pauline Eschatology, 10, 168-69, 184,312; Herman N. Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1975), 88, 222-23, 225, 539; Gaffin, Resurrection and Redemption, 78-92.

10 Virtually all the standard English translations obscure the sense of v. 45 by rendering spirit in the lower case. Notable exceptions are The Living Bible (and now The New Living Translation) and Today’s English Version; they, correctly I believe, capitalise Spirit.

11 To deny that pneuma in v. 45 is the Holy Spirit at the very least undercuts a reference to his activity in the cognate adjective spiritual in v. 44 and ends up giving it a more indefinite sense of something like supernatural. That easily tends toward the widespread misunderstanding that it describes the (immaterial) composition of the Resurrection body. Also, it has to be asked: Within the first-century Mediterranean thought-­world of Paul and his readers, what is a life-giving spirit with a lower­case s? What would that likely communicate, at least without further qualification, such as is lacking here, other than the notion of an angel or some other essentially immaterial being or apparition? But pneuma in that sense is exactly what Jesus. as resurrected, denies himself to be in Luke 24:37-39.

12 The flow of the reasoning in ch. 15 makes that virtually certain. It would make no sense for Paul to argue for the Resurrection of believers as he does if Christ were ‘life-giving’ by virtue of, say, his pre-existence or incarnation - or any consideration other than his resurrection. This is in no way to suggest that his pre-existence and incarnation are unimportant or non-essential for Paul; they simply lie outside his purview here.

13 With the immediate context in view, this prepositional phrase is almost certainly an exaltation predicate, not a description of origin, say, out of pre-existence at the incarnation. As such (’from heaven’, ‘the man from heaven’, v. 48, NIV), he is the one whose image believers (’those who are of heaven’, v. 48, NIV) will bear (fully, at the time of their bodily resurrection, v. 49; cf. Phil. 3:20-21).

14 The resurrection body is ‘spiritual’ (v. 44), it bears emphasising, not in the sense of being adapted to the human pneuma or because of its (immaterial) composition or substance (to mention persisting misconceptions) but because it embodies (!) the fullest outworking, the ultimate outcome, of the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer (along with the renewal to be experienced by the entire creation, e.g., Rom. 8:19-22). That eschatological body is the believer’s hope of total. (psycho-) physical transformation, and in that sense, our bodies, too, enlivened and renovated by the Spirit.

15 Herman Bavinck’s way of stating this truth is striking: ‘But the Holy Spirit has become entirely the property of Christ, and was, so to speak, absorbed into Christ or assimilated by him. By his resurrection and ascension Christ has become the quickening Spirit’. Our Reasonable Faith (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1956), 387.

16 Prior to this time, already even under the old covenant, Christ pre-incarnate and the Spirit were conjointly present and at work: 1 Cor. 10:3-4, whatever its further exegesis, points to that. Cf. 1 Pet. 1:10-11: The Spirit comprehensively at work in the OT prophets is specifically ‘the Spirit of Christ’.

17 On the once-for-all significance of Pentecost - along with the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ - see Richard B. Gaffin. Jr., Perspectives on Pentecost (Phillipsburg. N.J.: Presbyterian and Reformed. 1979), 13-41.

18 Although, as noted earlier, there is involved a real change/transformation experienced by Christ in terms of his true humanity, By virtue of the Resurrection, he now possesses what he did not previously possess, a glorified human nature (cf. 2 Cor. 13:4).

19 In more recent literature. Paul’s clearly trinitarian understanding of God is admirably demonstrated by Gordon D. Fee, God’s Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1994), 825-45, esp. 839-42.

20 A growing number of exegetes currently argue that the ‘Lord’ in v. 17a applies Ex. 34:34, just cited in v. 16, to the Spirit, and they minimise or even eliminate any christological reference from vv. 17b-18; e.g., Linda L. Belleville, Reflections of Glory (Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press. 1991), 256ff.: J. Dunn, ‘2 Corinthians 111.17 - “The Lord Is the Spirit”’, Journal of Theological Studies n.s. 31. no. 2 (Oct. 1970): 309-20; Fee, God’s Empowering Presence, 311-14; Scott J. Hafemann, Paul, Moses, and the History of Israel (Tubingen: J.C.B. Mohr. 1995), 396-400: Richard B. Hays, Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. 1989), 143-44; N.T. Wright, The Climax of the Covenant (Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1991), 183-84. But verse 17b (’the Spirit of the Lord’) already distinguishes between the Spirit and the Lord, so that the latter likely refers to Christ, in light of what immediately follows in v.18. There, ‘the Lord’s glory’ (NIV) is surely not the glory of the Spirit in distinction from Christ, but the glory of Christ; in beholding/reflecting that glory, Paul continues, believers are being transformed into ‘the same image’, and that image can only be the glory­-image of the exalted Christ. In the verses that follow, 4:4 (’the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God’, NIV), especially, points to that conclusion (note as well Rom. 8:29 and 1 Cor. 15:49). The only transforming glory believers behold with unveiled faces, which Paul knows of, is the glory of God in the (gospel- face of Christ (4:6), mediated, to be sure, to and within them by the Spirit.

21 That here, too, Paul does not intend an absolute identity, denying the personal distinction between Christ and the Spirit, is clear later on in the passage: the Spirit’s interceding here, within believers (vv. 26-27), is distinguished from the complementary intercession of the ascended Christ there, at God’s right hand (v. 34).

22 I leave to the side here the treatment of sanctification in the Lutheran and Reformed confessions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the extent to which they counteract and serve to correct this practical tendency.

23 See further especially the penetrating discussion of John Murray, Collected Writings, vol. 2, 277-84 (’Definitive Sanctification’); 285-93 (The Agency in Definitive Sanctification’).

24 See, in greater detail, my comments in Wayne A. Grudem, ed., Are Miraculous Gifts for Today? (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1996), 56-59.

25 To highlight this point by way of contrast, in terms of metaphors Paul uses for the Spirit: The arrival of the rest of the harvest does not involve the removal of the first-fruits (Rom. 8:23); the payment of the balance hardly results in subtracting the down payment or deposit (2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:14). Or, going to what is surely the heart of the Spirit’s activity, the resurrection of the body at Christ’s return will certainly not mean the undoing of the resurrection, already experienced, of the inner man.

26 Contemporary discussion of this passage (on all sides, I would observe) too frequently obscures or even misses Paul’s primary concern: for the present, until Jesus returns, it is not our knowledge (along with the prophetic gifts that may contribute to that knowledge), but our faith, hope, and love that have abiding, that is, eschatological, significance. In contrast to the partial, obscured, dimly mirrored quality of the believer’s present knowledge brought by such gifts, faith in its modes of hope and especially love has what we might call an eschatological ‘reach’ or ‘grasp’ (vv. 12-13).