Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus
4 Feb., 2019
Thirteen syllables! (You don’t need to count them.) What a man! Born (as Allix has it) 145-150 A.D. He wrote De resurrectione carnis in which he lays out the case for the resurrection of the flesh. A native of Carthage, the son of a proconsular centurion, described by Jerome as a man of a “sharp and vehement temper.” He was born at a distance from the resurrection of Christ about the same as our distance now in anno Domini 2019 is from 1900, the death of Oscar Wilde. Now, y’all know that Oscar Wilde really lived and breathed even though none of you, walking and breathing now, saw him. Right? Right, we know Oscar lived and are pretty confident that he is well dead
I especially enjoy his treatise on the resurrection of the flesh. An excerpt from Tertullian’s treatise on “The Last Things” is supplied by Bettenson in his The Early Christian Fathers (Oxford University Press, 1956).
Here is this man, Tertullian, so very close to the age of the Apostles, commenting upon the power of God and our resurrection:
Look now at these analogies of the divine power [of creation] . . . Winters and summers, spring and autumn seasons roll around in their course with their own qualities, their own characters, their own fruits. For the earth is schooled by heaven to clothe the trees after they have been stripped, to colour the flowers anew, to cover the earth again with grass, to bring forth the seeds which have been destroyed. A wonderful plan! The defrauder becomes a preserver, making away in order to restore, losing in order to safeguard, spoiling in order to renew, reducing in order to enlarge; for indeed this process restores to us things far richer and finer than those which it brought to an end; by a ruin which is in truth a profit, and injustice which yields a dividend, a loss which is a gain. I might sum it up by saying tht renewal is a universal principle. Whatever you meet with has before existed; whatever you have lost returns to existence. All things return after they have disappeared; all things begin when they have ceased to be; they come to an end in order that they may come to be. Nothing perishes but with a view to restoration. Thus the whole order of things, this order of revolution, bears testimony to the resurrection of the dead. . .
Well, Tertullian was quite confident in the fact of the resurrection of Jesus and in the promises that this famous, and extraordinary, figure of history made.
Indeed, he rose from dead! And a reminder of such power is there in nature as daily evidence of the power out there which will be brought to bear upon our dead bodies which He will bring back to life.