Today’s Catechism sections discuss the resurrection of the body. Supporting material comes from Tertullian’s “On the Resurrection of the Flesh”.

Article 11


988 The Christian Creed - the profession of our faith in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and in God's creative, saving, and sanctifying action - culminates in the proclamation of the resurrection of the dead on the last day and in life everlasting.

989 We firmly believe, and hence we hope that, just as Christ is truly risen from the dead and lives forever, so after death the righteous will live forever with the risen Christ and he will raise them up on the last day.532 Our resurrection, like his own, will be the work of the Most Holy Trinity:

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit who dwells in you.533

990 The term "flesh" refers to man in his state of weakness and mortality.534 The "resurrection of the flesh" (the literal formulation of the Apostles' Creed) means not only that the immortal soul will live on after death, but that even our "mortal body" will come to life again.535

991 Belief in the resurrection of the dead has been an essential element of the Christian faith from its beginnings. "The confidence of Christians is the resurrection of the dead; believing this we live."536
How can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.... But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.537

The following excerpt comes from Tertullian’s “On the Resurrection of the Flesh”.

The resurrection of the dead is the Christian's trust. By it we are believers. To the belief of this (article of the faith) truth compels us— that truth which God reveals, but the crowd derides, which supposes that nothing will survive after death. And yet they do honour to their dead, and that too in the most expensive way according to their bequest, and with the daintiest banquets which the seasons can produce, on the presumption that those whom they declare to be incapable of all perception still retain an appetite. But (let the crowd deride): I on my side must deride it still more, especially when it burns up its dead with harshest inhumanity, only to pamper them immediately afterwards with gluttonous satiety, using the selfsame fires to honour them and to insult them. What piety is that which mocks its victims with cruelty? Is it sacrifice or insult (which the crowd offers), when it burns its offerings to those it has already burnt? But the wise, too, join with the vulgar crowd in their opinion sometimes. There is nothing after death, according to the school of Epicurus. After death all things come to an end, even death itself, says Seneca to like effect. It is satisfactory, however, that the no less important philosophy of Pythagoras and Empedocles, and the Plantonists, take the contrary view, and declare the soul to be immortal; affirming, moreover, in a way which most nearly approaches (to our own doctrine), that the soul actually returns into bodies, although not the same bodies, and not even those of human beings invariably: thus Euphorbus is supposed to have passed into Phythagoras, and Homer into a peacock. They firmly pronounced the soul's renewal to be in a body, (deeming it) more tolerable to change the quality (of the corporeal state) than to deny it wholly: they at least knocked at the door of truth, although they entered not. Thus the world, with all its errors, does not ignore the resurrection of the dead.


532 Cf. ⇒ Jn 6:39-40.
533 ⇒ Rom 8:11; cf. ⇒ 1 Thess 4:14; ⇒ 1 Cor 6:14; ⇒ 2 Cor 4:14; ⇒ Phil 3:10-11.
534 Cf. ⇒ Gen 6:3; ⇒ Ps 56:5; ⇒ Isa 40:6.
535 ⇒ Rom 8:11.
536 Tertullian, De res, 1,1: PL 2, 841.
537 ⇒ 1 Cor 15:12-14.