The Naked Dead Arise!

Nearly two years ago I caused some controversy by raising the question Does the risen Jesus have blood? This also referred more generally to resurrection bodies. Now a new question on the same lines has arisen at the blog Singing in the Reign: Will the Dead Be Raised Nude? In this Brant Pitre examines

the Jewish tradition which identified the resurrected body with the “garments of glory” that Adam and Eve had lost in the fall but would be restored to the righteous in in the messianic age

– a tradition which he sees reflected in 2 Corinthians 5:3. But he notes that Michelangelo, in his Last Judgment scene reproduced in the post, as well as Mel Gibson depicted naked resurrection bodies.

I don’t think there is any clear biblical teaching on this one. Presumably the risen Jesus appeared in appropriate clothing, even immediately after the resurrection when Mary Magdalene mistook him for a gardener (John 20:15). But that is not necessarily a precedent for the general resurrection. As for 2 Corinthians 5:2-4, surely the clothes mentioned here are a metaphor for the body, not to be understood literally.

Brant refers to “garments of glory” supposedly worn by Adam and Eve in the garden. But the biblical text makes it clear that these, if they existed at all, were not literal clothes:

The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

Genesis 2:25 (TNIV)

The resurrection life is more than a restoration of Eden, but not less than it. In it there will again be no shame, as all sins will be forgiven and everyone will have an unrestricted relationship with God (Revelation 21:3-4). The reference to robes (22:14) is surely symbolic. So, as I understand it, in the reurrection we will not be clothed in any literal sense, but only in the glory of God.

0 thoughts on “The Naked Dead Arise!

  1. A very interesting question, one that I really haven’t even considered very much. From my younger days, I guess I’ve always pictured us in white robes, for whatever reason I don’t know. I’m sure those who taught me the Bible stories at a young age never would have entertained the notion that we would be naked. As with most things that aren’t spelled out, I’ll probably continue to have my own thoughts on the matter, but leave the details up to God. Thanks for adding one more thing for me to think about!

  2. John, the white robes probably come from Revelation 7:9 and 22:14. But visions in Revelation should not be taken too literally. Yes, you are right, this is something that isn’t spelled out, so we won’t know for sure until we experience it for ourselves. We can just be sure that whatever happens it will be right and good, not shameful. But it is sometimes fun to speculate!

  3. Well, Iconoclast, I think I could accept these naturists’ statement of faith. But I don’t think their practices are exactly helpful towards this aim:

    We believe that all Christian believers are directed to introduce people to Jesus, and walk with them as they seek the truth through Him.

    – unless of course the people in question are already naturists.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture. Click on the picture to hear an audio file of the word.
Anti-spam image