Friday, December 5, 2008

'soma psychikon' in 1 Cor. 15


From JETS:

Second, many commentators, most notably Robert H. Gundry in his magisterial Soma in Biblical Theology, have exploded the old ploy to construe σώμα ψυχικόν as "physical body" and subsequently oppose it to σώμα πνευματικόν ("spiritual body"). By way of summary, σώμα is never used in the NT to denote anything other than the physical body or the human being with special emphasis on the physical body. Hence to maintain that σώμα πνευματικόν refers to a σώμα made out of πνεύμα ("spirit") is self-contradictory, for an immaterial body composed of πνεύμα, by definition, ceases to be a σώμα ("physical body"). Rather, as William Lane Craig points out, Paul discloses the meaning of ψυχικόν and πνευματικόν in 1 Cor 2:14-15: "Α ψυχικός άνθρωπος Csoul-ish human') does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him or her . . . but the spiritual human (πνευματικός) discerns all things." Here we find that ψυχικός and πνευματικός represent opposite dominating principles towards which a person can be fundamentally oriented—either the person's own ψυχή ("soul") or the πνεύμα ("Spirit") of God.29 Clearly ψυχικός άνθρωπος does not signify a "physical human," but rather a human primarily inclined towards the selfish desires of his or her own soul. Likewise, πνευματικός does not refer to an immaterial human, but rather a human primarily inclined towards the desires of the Holy Spirit. It logically follows, therefore, that a σώμα ψυχικόν ("soul-ish body") is a body instinctively steered by the will of the soul, while the σώμα πνευματικόν ("spiritual body") is the same body of flesh as the σώμα ψυχικόν but instinctively steered by the will of the Holy Spirit. Thus, the notion that Paul's doctrine of resurrection in 1 Cor 15:44 opposes the physical body to an immaterial spiritual body is seen to be vacuous.