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Keywords:

  • Death;
  • bioethics;
  • substantial form;
  • soul;
  • resurrection;
  • theological anthropology

Abstract

According to classical Christian doctrine, the human body is not a container for the soul but its “form”. In defending a form of this view, I suggest that the resurrected body of Christ represents the truth of human flesh. In the light of the resurrected and glorified body of Christ, who still bears his wounds, death can be understood as the loss of something irreplaceable and therefore mourned as a horrific deprivation of life; that is, because eternal life consists in the vision of God by our whole selves, and not just a separated soul, a proper Christian anthropology that began in some sense with the glorified body of Christ as the “truth of the physical” might suggest a very different biomedical practice than that with which we are familiar, which often proceeds from a methodological materialism underwritten by a dualistic metaphysics.