On the Resurrection of the Dead
A New Metaphysics of Afterlife for Christian Thought
Christian tradition has largely held three theological affirmations on the resurrection of the physical body. Firstly, that bodily resurrection is not a superfluous hope of afterlife. Secondly, there is immediate post-mortem existence in Paradise. Finally, there is numerical identity between pre-mortem and post-resurrection human beings. The same tradition also largely adheres to a robust doctrine of The Intermediate State, a paradisiacal disembodied state of existence following the biological death of a human being. This book argues that these positions are in fact internally inconsistent, and so a new theological model for life after death is required.
The opening arguments of the book aim to show that The Intermediate State actually undermines the necessity of bodily resurrection. Additionally, substance dualism, a principle The Intermediate State requires, is shown to be equally untenable in this context. In response to this, the metaphysics of the afterlife in Christian theology is re-evaluated, and after investigating physicalist and constitutionist replacements for substance dualist metaphysics, a new theory called "Eschatological Presentism" is put forward. This model combines a broadly Thomistic hylemorphic metaphysics with a novel theory of Time.
This is an innovative examination of the doctrine of life after death. It will, therefore, be of great interest to scholars of analytic theology and philosophy of religion.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Oliver D. Crisp; Introduction 1 On the Horns of a Dilemma 2 Physicalism and Resurrection Hope 3 Lynne Baker’s Constitution Metaphysics 4 Hylemorphism and Disembodied Souls 5 Eschatological Presentism: A Model of Immediate Eschatological Resurrection 6 Hylemorphism and Eschatological Presentism: On the Resurrection of the Dead
James T. Turner, Jr. is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Anderson University in South Carolina, USA. From 2016–2018 he was Postdoctoral Research Associate on the Analytic Theology Project at Fuller Theological Seminary. He has published various articles in analytic theology and philosophy of religion dealing with, among other topics, Christian conceptions of afterlife, the imago Dei, the metaphysics of human beings, and Christology in journals such as Journal of Analytic Theology, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, and Journal of Reformed Theology.
"James T. Turner’s On the Resurrection of the Dead is an important contribution to the literature on analytic theology, which helpfully integrates philosophy of religion, biblical studies, and systematic theology. Provocatively, Turner critically objects to a traditional view of Christian anthropology and develops a fascinating case for the immediate resurrection view of the afterlife."
– Joshua R. Farris, Houston Baptist University and Heythrop College, University of London
"Turner makes an original and significant theological contribution to the resurgent debate about substance dualism as he explores the question of afterlife in Christian theology. Notably, Turner rejects substance dualism not because it lacks philosophical coherence but because he finds it inconsistent with his view of the overriding theological importance of embodiment in afterlife. The work moves deftly across the philosophical and theological landscape to challenge the consistency of a disembodied intermediate state, advocating instead an immediate resurrection underpinned by a novel combination of hylemorphism and eschatological presentism. The book gives substance dualists reason to check their theological foundations and is an excellent example of contemporary analytic theology."
– Jonathan J. Loose, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Psychology, Heythrop College, University of London
"Turner’s engagement with the subject is intelligent and creative, and merits serious attention from serious scholars."
- Daniel Lendman, Reading Religion