Original Research

The Dead in Christ: Recovering Paul’s understanding of the after-life

Markus Cromhout
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 60, No 1/2 | a520 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v60i1/2.520 | © 2004 Markus Cromhout | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 October 2004 | Published: 20 October 2004

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Markus Cromhout, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Abstract

The study of the so-called “intermediate state” of the dead is conducted under the technical designation necrology. The evidence suggests that Paul’s necrology did not remain constant and its development was influenced by personal circumstances. Paul’s necrology consisted of two phases. Phase one: The dead were considered as “the others”. They were the ones to be raised. Phase two: Paul realised that he could be one of “the others” and the theological content of his necrology demanded further clarification. Drawing on his being-in-Christ mysticism, Paul stated that the dead would experience fellowship “with Christ”. It is also explicitly stated that Christians would retain their resurrection status in death and objectively experience the resurrection body that is under construction. This transformation process will be completed at the parousia.

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