Of God and His Creatures

Of the Quality of Risen Bodies in the Lost

THE bodies of those who are to be lost must be proportionate to their souls. Now the souls of the wicked have a nature which is good, as created by God: but the will in them will be disorderly, falling short of its proper end. Their bodies therefore, so far as nature goes, will be restored to entirety: thus they will rise at a perfect age without any diminution of organs or limbs, and without any defect or detriment, which any malformation or sickness may have brought on. Hence the Apostle says: The dead shall rise incorrupt (1 Cor. xv, 52): and that this is to be understood of all men, good and bad alike, is clear from the context.* But inasmuch as their soul will have its will turned away from God and deprived of its proper end, their bodies will not be spiritual (1 Cor. xv, 44, in the sense of being wholly subject to the spirit, but rather their soul will be in effect carnal. Nor will their bodies be agile, obeying the soul without difficulty, but rather ponderous and heavy and insupportable to the soul, even as their souls are by disobedience turned away from God. Their bodies will remain liable to suffering, even as now, or more so: they will suffer affliction from sensible things, but not corruption; as their souls will be tormented by the natural desire of happiness made frustrate. Their bodies too will be opaque and darksome, as their souls will be void of the light of divine knowledge. This is the meaning of what the Apostle says, that we shall all rise again, but we shall not all be changed (1 Cor. xv, 51): for the good alone shall be changed to glory, and the bodies of the wicked shall rise without glory.*

Some may think it impossible for the bodies of the wicked to be liable to suffering, and yet not liable to disintegration, since every impression suffered, when it goes beyond the common, takes off from the substance: so we see that if a body is long kept in the fire, it will be entirely consumed; and when pain becomes unusually intense, the soul is separated from the body. But all this happens on the supposition of the transmutability of matter from form to form. Now the human body, after the resurrection, will not be transmutable from form to form, either in the good or in the wicked; because in both it will be entirely perfected by the soul in respect of its natural being.*

4.88 : Of Sex and Age in the Resurrection
4.90 : How Incorporeal Subsistent Spirits suffer from Corporeal Fire, and are befittingly punished with Corporeal Punishments