The Apostles' Creed: The Resurrection & the Life
I did not grow up reciting the Apostles' Creed. In fact, my first exposure was during my freshman year in college when I visited a PCA church. As a “no creed but the Bible” kind of gal, I didn't quite know what to make of it or the reformed order of worship. I ended up going elsewhere. If I had stayed, it would have saved me a lot doctrinal heartache down the road. But thankfully after more than 30 years, God brought me to a confessional church which recites this affirmation of the faith once delivered to the saints.
When I stand and read these words with my brothers and sisters on a Sunday morning, each sentence in the Creed encapsulates so many vital truths of scripture. This often moves me to tears as I reflect on who God is and all that He has done. But of late, the last statement has been especially precious to me. “I believe in ... the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.”
The “resurrection of the body” reminds us that to be fully human is to be soul and body. God formed man out of the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. He then declared the creation of mankind to be very good. (Gen. 2:7; 1:31) In Psalm 139, David also continues this theme as he writes, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.” (Ps. 139:13-14 NASB) Scripture has a completely different view from the ancient Greek philosophers who taught that the physical is lesser. It is also opposed to Gnosticism, which believes that the material world is inherently evil and our bodies are encumbrances to be overcome. Rather our bodies are good gifts from God through which we serve Him as we interact with the people and the world around us.
We will also be fully human in heaven contrary to the popular sentiment that people become angels when they die. The saints who have gone ahead of us are in the presence of the Lord. But as glorious as that is, they are waiting for their souls to be reunited again with their bodies. Christ 's bodily resurrection has secured this hope. “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming.” (1 Cor. 15:20-23 NASB)
The “life everlasting” keeps eternity in view as we grieve and pray for the suffering in this world and contemplate our own mortality. For all the joys we have tasted, sin has left its mark on our bodies and minds. No one is exempt from sickness and death, and the latest news is ample evidence of how far we have fallen. This is hardly our best life now, and we should be pitied of all people if the present is all we have to look forward to. But Jesus has promised us, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” (John 11:25-26 NASB) Heaven is our final destination, not the grave. For when Christ returns, the bodies of those who have died in Christ will be raised. For those of us who are still alive, we will be changed in twinkling of an eye. (1 Cor. 15:51-52) Every believer will be with the Lord forever never to be parted again. Every tear will be wiped away. There will be no more crying, mourning, or pain, and all things will be made new. (Rev. 21:1-4)
“I believe in ... the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.” What a hope and comfort this gives. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
Persis Lorenti is member of Grace Baptist Chapel in Hampton, VA where she serves as bookkeeper and deacon of library/resources. She has a M.S. in computer science from Virginia Commonwealth University. She blogs at triedbyfire.blogspot.com and out-of-theordinary.blogspot.com. You can follow her on Twitter @triedwfire.