The Christian Afterlife

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It would appear that the bodily resurrection of the dead is a teaching found rather late in the Bible. Initially, God’s people apparently believed that the current life is all that there is (Psalm 115:17). In the New Testament times, the Sadducees rejected belief in the afterlife as well. But as early as the prophet Daniel’s writing, and certainly later in the Apostle Paul’s writings, God revealed to his people a fuller plan of salvation, which included an afterlife characterized by bodily resurrection. This means that, contrary to popular notions about disembodied eternal existence, the Christian hope is grounded in Jesus Christ’s resurrection, which is a foreshadowing of what the church will share in as well.

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Dr. Matt O'Reilly is pastor of St. Mark United Methodist Church in Mobile, Alabama, a fellow of the Center for Pastor Theologians, and an adjunct member of the faculties at Asbury Theological Seminary and Wesley Biblical Seminary. Connect at or follow @mporeilly.