Wednesday, December 12, 2007
This installment of my MMB series concerns my “third” observation from part 1:
Third - Barker teaches that Israel’s “First Temple” religion believed in and taught the doctrine of deification.
Barker’s view of deification is significantly different than that taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In fact, in all my readings on the different views of deification, Barker's is unique. I believe that this uniqueness stems from her views on resurrection and incarnation. The following are some of her thoughts on resurrection:
In temple theology, resurrection was not a post mortem experience. It was theosis, the transformation of a human being into a divine being – which came with the gift of Wisdom; and theosis, described in various ways, was at the heart of temple tradition, together with the belief in a resurrected anointed one, a resurrected Messiah. (Temple Theology – An Introduction, p.23.)
Just as there were two creations, so there were two bodies for each human being. The once described in the second story, formed ‘from the dust of the ground’ (Gen. 2.7) was ‘vastly different’ from the one in the first story, made ‘in the image’ of God (Creation 134). The one from the dust was body, soma, and soul, psuche, man or woman, and by nature mortal. The one ‘after the image’ was incorporeal, neither male nor female and incorruptible. These tow are described elsewhere as the two Adams, the heavenly, ‘made after the image and without part or lot in corruptible or terrestrial substance’, and the earthly one made of clay (All. Int. I.31). When Paul contrasts the physical body and the spiritual body he uses this terminology. The physical body, soma psuchikon, is raised as a spiritual body, soma pneumatikon. In other words, the resurrection body is the body of the first creation, incorporeal, invisible, made after the image and incorruptible (1 Cor. 15.42-50). It is neither male nor female, just as Paul elsewhere described those who are baptized into Christ (Gal. 3.28). (The Revelation of Jesus Christ, pp. 23, 24.)
The Christian resurrection belief was not one of resuscitation, but of rebirth as a child of God. (The Revelation of Jesus Christ, pp. 338, 339.)
What Paul meant by a spiritual body, soma pneumatikon, in contrast to the physical body, soma psuchikon, is best illustrated by comparison with Philo’s account of the Adam…Philo explained the two accounts of creation (Gen. 1.1-2.4a and Gen. 2.4b-3.24) by saying that the first was the creation of the heavenly archetypes and the second of the material world. The earthly Adam, said Philo, was ‘vastly different’ from the man made in the image of God…the man made after the image, the man of Genesis 1, was incorporeal, invisible, neither male nor female, and by nature incorruptible (Creation 134). (The Revelation of Jesus Christ, p. 339.)
Jesus himself says very little about resurrection, but what he does say is revealing. The dead were those who did not follow him: Follow me, he said to a would-be disciple who hesitated, and leave the dead to bury their own dead (Matt. 8:22/Luke 9:60). It is also celar from the answer to the Sadducees that he did not envisage a physical resurrection. They asked about the marital statue of a woman who had had seven husbands and Jesus replied that in heaven there would be no marriage: ‘…They are equal to angels and are sons of God because they are sons of the resurrections’ (Luke 20:36), The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was a God of the living and not of the dead; the patriarchs were alive in his presence…Jesus did no envisage the resurrection as a physical resuscitation in the distant future; it was an angelic state, living in the presence of God. (The Risen Lord, p. 10.)
What the earliest church understood by the resurrection of Jesus was not the resuscitation of a body but the exaltation of the king, the Servant, the Melchizedek priest. (The Risen Lord, p. 23.)
Barker’s views of resurrection, incarnation and deification are intertwined to such an extent that it is impossible to separate any of them from the each other; and one important aspect is an integral ingredient of all three: one experiences resurrection, incarnation and deification in this life.
A careful analysis of Barker’s teachings on first Temple deification offers little (if any) resemblance to deification/exaltation in LDS theology. Not only does deification take place prior to ones death and entrance into heaven, deification has nothing to do with the resurrection of the physical body; which is a non-negotiable element of Latter-day Saint deification/exaltation.
Grace and peace,