(An imagineered series by Leona Choy for her grandson, Jeffrey D. Choy.
Grandma, when we go to Mass and everybody stands up and says The Creed—what’s a “creed”?
It is a list of the really important things that Christians have believed ever since Jesus was resurrected. Christians went all over the world to tell people about Jesus so the apostles, Jesus’ followers, wanted to be sure everyone believed the true things that Jesus Himself taught.
I suppose that was a good idea so people wouldn’t get mixed up in their faith. But it seems that there are two creeds in the Missal. What’s the difference?
One creed is called “The Apostles’ Creed” and the one we usually recite at Church at Mass is “The Nicene Creed” which is a little longer and goes into more detail.
The Apostles’ Creed ends with “I believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.” Is that something different than Jesus’ resurrection we celebrate at Easter?
Yes, Jeffrey, that refers to the resurrection of the bodies of people who have died. When we die, our bodies are buried in the ground, but God judges our souls right away according to whether we have faith in Him and how we lived our lives. That is a decision each of us has to make while we are living. We won’t have any chance to change our minds after we die.
Wow! That’s serious, huh? Our souls are the invisible part of us that lives in our body, right? So if we know Jesus then our souls go to Heaven while our bodies stay in the ground? How long do they stay there?
Just a minute—you have two questions. Yes, some Christians’ souls might go straight to Heaven, but for many of us, we may need a little stopover in what we might call “a mud room” for our souls to get cleaned up and ready to see our perfect and holy God. The Bible says that unless we are holy, we can’t see God. Whether it is a place or a condition, it is really a part of Heaven, like the vestibule or entry hall. It’s for those who are for sure on the way to Heaven. Remember, we talked about that before?
Yup, I remember. And you said that “time” doesn’t apply anymore after we die, so “how long” we are in that stopover, if we need it, doesn’t even count ‘cause everything is smooshed together in eternity…it is always “now.” Grandma, that’s kinda hard to understand.
You’re right. None of us can really understand how that all works until we get there. So we just trust Jesus because He is said He was going to prepare a Place for us to be with Him. We’ll have lots of wonderful, happy surprises waiting for us!
OK then, so when do we get this resurrection of our bodies?
When Jesus comes back to earth again. We call that The Second Coming of Christ. We don’t know when that will be. It could be anytime. In the Apostles’ Creed we say, “He will come again to judge the living and the dead.”
How do we know what’s going to happen when Jesus comes?
In the gospel of John 5:28-29 Jesus said, “An hour is coming when all those in their tombs shall hear the voice of the Son of God and come forth. Those who have done right shall rise to a resurrection of life; the evildoers shall rise to a resurrection of judgment.” In Matthew 16:27 Jesus said about the same event, “The Son of Man [Jesus] will come with his Father’s glory accompanied by his angels. When he does, he will repay each man according to his conduct.”
Does that mean that the bodies of both good and bad people will get resurrected? Their souls and their bodies will get together again? Will we get the same body back again? Will I still be me? If a body was in the ground for a long time it would be yucky—maybe even a skeleton—how about if someone was lost at sea—or burned in a fire!
Whoa! That’s a lot of questions at once. Since God created us in the first place from the dust of the earth, He could certainly re-create your body no matter what condition it was in, don’t you think? It seems that we will really be exactly who we always were, but sort of a new model, you might say. We will be resurrected into a “glorified” body that will be like Jesus’ body was after His resurrection. Remember what Jesus could do?
Yeah, He could appear and disappear. He could go through walls and locked doors. Oh, He could also go long distances in an instant. Let’s see…but He could still eat food...and even have a barbecue on the beach for His followers. And His disciple Thomas could still see the wounds in Jesus’ hands and feet and sides.
Isn’t that exciting, Jeffrey? You’ll have a glorified body and it will be way better than that of the fantasy bionic man…or superman who pretended to leap buildings!
Yeah, but how long will that resurrection take?
You will just have to get your Bible and read some of the cool details in the entire fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians. Here’s a sample, “We shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.” That’s in verses 52 and 53. I’ve heard that “the twinkle in the eye” is faster than even a blink!
But when we get our new resurrected bodies, will we hang around on planet earth just like we lived before?
Apparently not, because God is preparing a whole new heavens and earth and Jesus said He was “making all things new.” For sure we’ll be spending eternity with God wherever and there will be no more suffering or death and all that earthly stuff.
Grandma, this is a lot to understand!
In the book of Revelation in the Bible we have some clues and little peeks, even big peeks, into what things may be like in eternity, but it’s all more than we can even imagine with our human minds right now, Jeffrey. So we’ll just have to “Wait and see.”
God sure has big and wonderful plans for us! And all because Jesus got resurrected first and we celebrate that at Easter!