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Ferdinand Christian Baur.

Paul, the apostle of Jesus Christ: his life and work, his epistles ..., Volume 2 online

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physical life : in the resurrection of Jesus a new principle of life
has entered into humanity.

But physical death is not merely the natural end of life : it also
results as the wages of sin under God's decree of condemnation.
Thus the life imparted to humanity through the resurrection of
Jesus must be something more than physical life. Over against
the /caraKpifia of death there stands, as the apostle says in a preg-
nant expression, Eom. v. 18, the hiKaidncri,^ fo)^?. That is to say,
the life given to humanity in the resurrection of Jesus is co-exten-
sive with the change which transfers a man from the state of sin into
the state of justification ; it comes in that change, and so is more
than physical life, though it includes that also — it is life in the
fullest and truest sense. But the chief evidence that there is
such a life, in which death is conquered and abolished, is the great
fact of the resurrection of Jesua The apostle regards the resurrec-
tion as the principal doctrine of the Christian faith. He writes
to the Corinthians, 1 Cor. xv. 3, that among the chief points of the
doctrine which had been delivered to him, and which he had com-
municated to them, were these : that Christ died for our sins accord-
ing to the Scriptures, and was buried, and that he rose again on the
third day. Now that Jesus rose again after his death is an out-
ward historical fact, from which Christianity derives its objective



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Chap. VI.] CHRISTIANITY AS A NEW PRINCIPLE. 217

historical character. In virtue of this fact it is the \a709 rov
aravpov, a doctrine founded on a distinct historical basis, and
thereby essentially diflferent from such truth as is evolved from
pure reason, 1 Cor. i. 18. It is therefore all-important that that fact
should be properly authenticated ; and the apostle brings forward
evidence on the subject, appealing to the appearances of Jesus both
to the older apostles and to himself. One great function of the
apostles in their preaching of the Gospel is to be witnesses of
the resurrection of Jesus, 1 Cor. xv. 15. But the resurrection is
something more than this single historical fact : it also involves a
general truth. For if it were in itself impossible that the dead should
rise, then Christ could not have risen. Christ's resurrection therefore
has made it clear and certain to us that resurrection from the dead is
possible, that there is such a resurrection. This knowledge is due to
Christianity ; nor is its connexion with Christianity a merely out-
ward or accidental one ; Christianity as a whole is based upon the
fact that a resurrection from the dead is possible, and that it has actu-
ally come to pass in Christ. If Christ be not risen, the apostle says,
verse 17, then the faith that Christians have is vain and delusive :
then there* is no forgiveness of sins, and the guilt of sin is not
removed from us ; hence the Christians who have fallen asleep are
lost. Death reigns over them with the same dominion which it
exercised from Adam to Christ : then there are no more miserable
men than Christians are, — they have much to suffer for their faith,
and their hope in Christ is limited to this world, there is no hope
in him beyond. If the death of the body be not done away, if
death as the end of this life be not succeeded by another Ufe, then
there is no power of life to overcome the mortality of man. In-
spiriting and blessed as the Christian faith is even for the present,
with its assurance of mercy, of justification, and of atonement with
God, yet it is always liable to be disturbed and darkened by the
thought of the death which is coming to the body ; and there is
no way out of this darkness and perplexity unless the Christian
can become assured that out of the death of the body he will rise
again to a new life. Even the spiritual life, which is the contents



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218 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part III.

of the Christian consciousness, would be no true life at all, if it
were not at the same time a physical life. Without the resurrec-
tion of the body the personality cannot continue, and the spiritual
life of Christianity must embrace this, and bring the Christian the
assurance that he will continue to exist with the same personality
as at present Christianity is therefore meaningless, and its absolute
idea is untrue except in the light of this fact — that there is a resur-
rection of the dead. It is not only that Christ rose from the dead
— he could not have risen if resurrection were in itself impossible, —
but that what happened in his case is also to happen to all others.
Thus in Christ and through his resurrection a new principle has
been introduced into humanity ; that principle has to be developed
in humanity. This is what the apostle means when he says that
Christ was raise4 up from the dead as the aTrapxn r&v KeKoifjaj'
fievcjv. As death reigns over the period beginning with Adam, so
the new principle of life which appeared in Christ rules over the
second period. The two periods and principles agree in this, that
Adam and Christ are both human, since Christ is a man as much
as Adam ; the one principle as well as the other is immanent in
humanity. Christ as much as Adam belongs essentially to humanity,
is subject to all its conditions and part of its history, and hence it
is, that the principle which he brought in becomes incorporate with
and a living power in humanity. As then in Adam all die, so in
Christ shall all be made alive, verse 22. They are made alive in him
because of their common nature with him, because he, who has in
himself the principle of life, is a man like them. Now how are
we to account for this sweeping statement, " AU shall be made
alive"? On the one side, only those who are in Christ are made
alive ; on the other side, the life is spoken of as co-extensive with
the death in Adam. The reason of this is that the physical and
the ethixjal idea of life are not held apart from each other. The
life that comes from Christ is the life of the resurrection, and
therefore a physical life ; but, on the other hand, only those can
obtain it who have the spiritual life that is awakened by faith in
Christ. The life which comes from Christ, then, is a thing which is



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Chap. VI.] CHRISTIANITY AS A NEW PBINCIPLE. 219

mediated by the spiritual life of faith, and must be life in the;
highest sense, the blessed life. The being made alive would thus
seem to mean nothing more o^ less than salvation. But it is
asserted of all universally, and this plainly implies the apostle's
belief that the principle which has come to actuality in Christ is of
sufficient energy and power to quicken all men for the resurrection
to the blessed life. His whole argument on the subject leads to this
conclusion. Adam and Christ, are related to each other as death
and life, as dying and rising again. The same human nature which
perishes in the one rises again in the other. In contrasting Adam
and Christ with each other as the physical and the spiritual
principle, the apostle goes on to show that the one cannot exist
without the other, that the two things, death and resurrection, are
essential momenta in one and the same process of development.
For so it is written, he says, verse 45, " The first man Adam was
made a living soul, the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is
psychical ; and afterward that which is spiritual The first man
was of the earth, earthy ; the second man is the Lord from heaven.
As the earthy was, so are they that are earthy ; and as the heavenly
was, so are they that are heavenly. And as we have borne the
image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
For flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God ; nor can the
corruptible inherit incorruption." There is thus not only a material
earthly life, but also a spiritual, heavenly life ; not only a physical,
*but also a pneumatical Adam. Some think that as the apostle is
discussing the resurrection he must be speaking merely of the
bodily constitution of the first man, with a view to showing that
there are different kinds of bodies, higher and lower, physical and
pneumatical, and that man rises from the lower to the higher.
The human race, the apostle is thought to argue, is first endowed
with an earthly body after the type of the first man, and only at a
later period does it attain to a higher, more than earthly nature,
after the type of the Eedeemer, ie. of his glorified body. The
present human body, then, is to be changed and glorified. But this



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220 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part III.

is not what the apostle is saying. It is not only the bodily structure
that he is thinking of when he calls the first Adam a living soul,
and the second a quickening spirit, — the one psychical and earthy,
the other spiritual and heavenly. He is thinking of the whole per-
sonality of the two. This is quite clear when we remember how
he does not regard the resurrection as being merely the restora-
tion of the body, but as that state of higher greater life of which
the glorified body is to be the seat.^ The resurrection does not
consist, in his view, in a change of the human body taking place
instantaneously at a certain crisis through a supernatural opera-
tion of God. This was the unspiritual Jewish view. But to the
apostle the resurrection is a form, a stage, of life, to -which the
whole system of organic life, natural and human, bears witness.
He adduces the following arguments to show the possibility of
the resurrection. 1. That nature presents us with phenomena
precisely analogous to it, changes in which new life springs from
death and corruption in the same individual The most appro-
priate symbol of the resurrection is the seed-corn which dies and
yet lives again, verses 36-38. 2. Nature presents to us a great
multiplicity and diversity of bodies or existences, some less perfect,
and some much more perfect. Hence we conclude that man also
may have not only a mortal but an immortal nature, verses 39-43.
3. The two elements that make up man's nature being the -^v;^
and the irvev/jLa (ylrvxv here as the sensuous part, and including the
aap^, the -^t^j^t^o? being equivalent to the aap/cucosi), and the two
opposite sides of human nature which are combined to a unity in
him, being represented by Adam and Christ, the first and the
second, the earthly and the heavenly man, the relation of the

1 When the apostle says, 1 Cor. xv, 44, (nrctperoi (r&iia ^;^ik6v, cyetpcrcu crcafia
rrvtvfiaTiKov ttm a-Sifjui ylrvxiKdv, Koi eari (ra>fjui nvevfwriKdVf this refers to the
whole personality and substance of the man in the two distinct periods. It is
not to be overlooked that o-S>fjui is to the apostle a diiferent thing from o-^pf , and
a much higher thing. He knows of no resurrection of the a-hp^ ; the <rap^ is no
part of the man's personality after the resurrection. Those who resurge exist
only in a a&fUL TrvfVfmriKbv ; <T&fia is thus to the apostle the concrete form in
which the substance of any being's\ existence is contained.



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Chap. VI.] CHRISTIANITY AS A NEW PRINCIPLE, 221

present life to the future cannot be conceived to be anything else
than an advance from the psychical life to the pneumatical. If in
his present state man stands at the stage of the psychical life,
what is more natural than that this subordinate stage should be
succeeded by a higher, should develop into the stage of the pneu-
matical life ? (verse 44.)

Now the contrast drawn by the apostle between Adam and Christ
is not merely that they are the antagonist principles of life and
death, and that in the one men die, and in the other rise again.
They are also the representatives, the one as -^ir;^^, the other as
'nvevfia, of the two great historical periods in which the life of
humanity runs its course. The collective life of mankind is treated
here after the analogy of the individual life. As with the in-
dividual the psychical element predominates in the earlier period of
life, the spiritual principle being quite undeveloped as yet, though
of course not wholly wanting; and as this psychical period is
succeeded by another in which the spiritual principle asserts itself
more and more, till in the man's full and mature age when he has
reached the freedom of the spiritual self-consciousness, it gains
complete ascendency, — so is it with humanity. The two periods
are determined by their respective principles, Adam and Christ.
In the first period it is only the psychical, sensual, carnal, side of
human nature, that side which suffers the dominion of sin, that
cdmes to the surface. In the second the spiritual is the predominat-
ing principle, the whole thoughts, desires, and actions of men are
determined by it. If. human history be thus divided into two
periods represented by and depending on Adam and Christ respec-
tively, then we reach two important conclusions on the nature of
these two periods. 1. The apostle does not seek to deduce the
sin of Adam and of his posterity from any other source than their
own free-will ; yet, at the same time, he could not altogether escape
from the idea that the reign of sin during the first period was
simply the natural predominance of the sensuous side of human
nature at the time. The relation of the two elements of human
nature to each other dictated a certain course which the develop-



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222 LIFE Ai\D WORK OF PAUL. [Part IIL

nient of humanity could not but follow : no other course was
possible. An earthly sensual man, as Adam was, he lacked the
strength required to master the sensual impulses of his nature and
to resist the tendency to sin which was inherent in his constitution.
Abstractly his free-will may have been competent for such an
effort, yet his will was insuflBciently informed by motives, many
of which could only be supplied by the reason and the spiritual
sensitiveness to be reached at a later stage. This predominance of
sense, this impotence of the moral will, this tendency to sin, were
a part of human nature from the beginning, and the apostle does
not suggest in the remotest way that this was a result of the sin
of the first man. Indeed he cannot have thought so ; for if Adam
was to stand in such a contrast with Christ, he must have been
essentially -^i^t/eo? and he yfj<; ')(puc6^, 2. As Adam represents this
side of human nature, and is its principle and the common root of
all those in whom it is predominant, so we behold in Christ the
principle of the other, spiritual side of human nature. This con-
trast of the two principles, however, shows us that it is something
more than the resurrection and the state to follow it in the future,
and the abolition it involves of the death inherited from Adam,
that Christ is regarded as procuring. What is obtained through
him is the higher spiritual consciousness of man, awakened by
Christ and invested with permanent authority and power. Christ
is the principle of this consciousness, and the reason why the apostle
speaks of it as a resurrection still in the future, is that the victory
of the new principle over the old, of life over death, is most vividly
represented in that form.. The power of the new principle, more-
over, can be best recognised and appreciated when viewed in its
effects in the future world and in bringing about the final consum-
mation. These future results throw a strong light back on the
beginnings of Christianity, and show the immense importance of'
the epoch in the development of humanity which Christ brought
about. The principle which has been brought to light in Christ is
thus of infinite extension : and it is also infinite intensively as
realized by the individual. It is the infinite Christian conscious-



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Chap. VI.] CHRISTIANITY AS A NEW PRINCIPLE, 223

ness, as a truly spiritual consciousness. The apostle expressly calls
the principle with which Christ stands over against Adam, pneu-
matical, and that though he is speaking of the resurrection. But
the ideas of physical and spiritual life are so closely interwoven
here, that the Christian principle could not be the principle of the
resurrection, save in virtue of what it is in itself. The Christian
principle includes and proceeds upon faith in Christ, on the assur-
ance of reconciliation and unity with God, on the fellowship of the
spirit, whose communications are the beginning and the condition
of the whole new relation ; and it lifts the Christian up so high
in the religious life, that all things give place to the idea of the
absolute with which he is inspired : he knows that neither death
nor life, neither things present nor things to come, can separate
him from the love of God in Christ Jesus. In this absolute con-
sciousness he already possesses that life which is superior to every-
thing worldly, fleeting, and finite ; and all that remains is that
this life should manifest itself outwardly and extensively in the
resurrection of the body.

In order to understand how the physical and the spiritual
elements are both comprehended and united in this life of which
Christ is the principle, we have only to remember that the apostle
represents the development of this life as the continued negation
of the opposite principle of death. It is in the victory it achieves
over death that its power and energy are manifested. To the
Christian consciousness death is already abolished ; it remains that
it should be abolished in outward fact. The resurrection is
not merely a life given to men by Christ at a certain definite
point of time : it is a life which men receive now, and which
carries with it the triumph of life over death. Each stage in the
development of this principle is thus a stage in the victory over
death. Every man rises again in his own order, the apostle says,
verse 23. There are therefore several distinct stages of the process.
The first negation of death is the resurrection of Christ himself,
for he is risen from the dead as the firstfruits of them that slept :
the principle is identical with his person, and he was necessarily



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224 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part IIL

Ae first in whom it proved its power to conquer death. The
second negation of death is the resurrection of those who belong to
Christ, at his coming. At the Parousia of Christ, those who are
dead rise again, those who are still living at the time are changed.
Though they have not yet died and fallen under death's dominion,
^et the principle of death is in them, and they would necessarily
succumb to it sooner or later. In them also, therefore, death has
to be overcome, the mortal in them has to be transmuted into
immortality, else they cannot share that life which begins with
the resurrection for those who rise. Hesh and blood cannot in-
herit the kingdom of God, nor can the corruptible, this material
and sensuous life which is composed of earthly elements, inherit
incorruption. On this account the apostle designates as a mystery
what was an unavoidable feature of his view of, the future life as
a post-resurrection life. It was a mystery in so far ad it was not
clearly realized — that all would not have died at the time of
Christ's coming, but that all would undergo a transformation
(since the resurrection is also a transformation) ; in a moment, in
the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, as soon as it sounds,
the dead will be raised incorruptible, and the living will be
changed. For according to the order ordained by God, in which
the whole process moves, from which the victory of the principle
of life over the principle of death is to result, it cannot but be the
case that this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this
mortal, immortality, 1 Cor. xv. 50-53. After the resurrection of
the dead, and the transformation of the living, comes the end, the
end of the whole present history ; then, that is to say, when Christ
delivers up the kingdom to God and the Father, when he shall
have destroyed every rule and every authority and power, for he
must reign till he has put all his enemies under his feet. The
last enemy that shall be destroyed is death, for he has put all
things under his feet. But when it ia said that all things are put
under him, it is manifest that this means all things except him
who put all things under him. And when aU things are subdued
under him, then shall he himself, the Son, subject himself also to



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Chap. VL] CHRIBTIANITY A8 A NEW FBINCIPLE. 525

him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all : v v.
24-28. It is very evident that the apostle here regards the whole
history of the world and men as the scene of the conflict of two
principles, one of which has sway at first, but is then attacked and
conquered and entirely destroyed by the other. The first of these
principles is death ; the history of the world begins with this one,
and comes to a close when death, and with death the entire dual-
ism of which the course of history is the development, has entirely
disappeared from it. In order to break the might of the principle
of death, Christ appeared at the time appointed him as the Son of
God the Father. God caused him, as it were, to issue from him-
self, enters in him into the process of history, and subjects himself
in him to the limitations of the world in its subjection to the
principle of death ; that in the finite the principle of infinity may
be bom and appear, and the world of death be changed into the
world of life. The power of the death-principle is broken by the
resurrection of Jesus, yet the life-principle cannot assert its full
supremacy as long as the world's history still goes on in time.
Thus the common division of history into the ante-Messianic and
the Messianic period is replaced in the apostle's mind by the higher
view that we are now in the aLG>v ovro^, and that the aiG}v fiiKKxav
is to follow it. Now is the world of opposition and of struggle :
Christ bears rule in the name of God, but only that he may sub-
due all hostile powers in which the principle of death continues
to assert itself. The world to come is the higher world where
the battle between, life and death has been fought out, and the
victory is complete ; where every jar is stilled. Here the eternal
and absolute God, who stands above all, takes back into himseli^
out of the historical process in which the world he had created
stood over against him, aU that is his, and embraces it all in the
eternal unity of his own undivided essence. If the conflict of the
two principles, life and death, be now concluded, and transformed
to unity, then Christ, who is identical with the principle of life,
cannot be any longer outside of God, — he must be in God. The
opposition through which God sought to bring about the unity of



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226 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part III.

the world with himself has now come to an end, and there is no
longer any need of mediation or of a mediator. Corruption has
put on incorruption, the mortal has put on immortality, and the
words of Scripture are fulfilled : death is swallowed up in victory ;
death is robbed of its sting. The apostle adds, The sting of death
is sin, and the strength of sin is the law ; but the victory is given
through the Lord Jesus Christ. In these words he recapitulates
the momenta through which the transition from the one principle
to the other takes place inwardly as well as outwardly. The
mediation consists, in a word, in this : that the life in which death
is overcome and abolished is the ScKalaac^; ^6>^ (Bom. v. 18).

Here we might ask if God's being all-in-all is held to imply
the final cessation of evil by the conversion of the wicked and of
the deviL The question might, be answered in different ways, but
is of slight importance. It makes little difference in the main,
whether the evil powers continue to exist in a state of entire ex-
haustion and impotence, or whether they be at last attracted by
the irresistible power of good. Whatever be thought on the
question, it must be perfectly clear that if death is to be robbed
of his last sting, then there can be no eternal punishment.

Among the changes to take place in this development of the
world's history there are two which we may mention specially.
They are connected with the great final catastrophe, one in the
physical, the other in the moral world. The first is the transfigura-



Online LibraryFerdinand Christian BaurPaul, the apostle of Jesus Christ: his life and work, his epistles ..., Volume 2 → online text (page 22 of 35)