RS A LEVEL 10 marker

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Q: Explain the influence of belief in resurrection on Christian individuals and communities. [10 marks]

A: Belief in the resurrection may influence some Christians to believe in the concept of either physical or spiritual resurrection. Physical resurrection is a more ancient idea, where people would believe that the body would literally be raised, and will experience the delights of heaven or torments of hell physically. Such an idea has been influenced by Augustine’s writings, and perhaps from the Apostle’s Creed - ‘I believe in … the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting’. This shows to us how one would be influenced, and so believe in the bodily resurrection. However, other Christians beg to differ, where they believe in the spiritual resurrection. Ideas about the spiritual resurrection of a person have been influenced by Plato’s dualistic philosophy; a person is essentially a non-material soul housed in a body. As opposed to the concept of the bodily resurrection, those who believe in a spiritual resurrection believe that we will be in a spiritual heaven (united with God) and in a spiritual hell (absence of God). Belief in this has been influenced by many quotes in scripture, such as 1 Corinthians stating ‘When the body is buried, it is mortal. When raised it will be immortal. When buried it is a physical body. When raised it will be a spiritual body’. This goes to show how some Christians would believe in a spiritual resurrection, instead of a physical one, since it clearly explains that we are only physical when buried, but raised spiritually. Thus we see the different influences of belief in resurrection on Christian individuals and communities in regards to resurrection of the flesh or spiritual body.

Belief in the resurrection may also influence for Christians to have hope of an afterlife, and perhaps this would lead on and motivate individuals/communities to act kindly to one another and to give aid. For example, in Revelations it states ‘God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorry, nor crying, neither shall there be any pain’. This would mean that once united with God, all suffering will be removed, and we will enjoy a pleasant and delightful afterlife in heaven, with eternal joy. With this idea in mind, Christians would want to be the best person they can be, and strive to reach to heaven, so would help out with the community, do missionary work, and many many more works (e.g. works by Society of Friends) in order to reach eternal happiness. Impartially, belief in the resurrection is going to create a fear of hell, and so Christians would want to make sure that they become the ‘perfect christian’ in order to avoid hell. In Christian art, such as doom paintings, hell is depicted as an awful place to be, with pits of fire everywhere and the presence of the devil - creates a great fear for christians. Therefore, Christians would instead hope in the afterlife and strive to perhaps be more Christ-like - after all we are made in the image of God as stated in Genesis. This thus shows how belief in the resurrection influences christians.

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