Body of resurrection

Body of resurrection is a typical term of Esoteric Christianity, used to indicate a spiritual body associated with a special enlightenment or experience.

The doctrine of the spiritual body

Many western and Eastern traditions share a common doctrine on a spiritual and immortal body which represent the ultimate goal of many ascetical works. This concept of a spiritual and immortal body which has to be formed has many names according to several traditions. Sometimes the idea of such an immortal body has been called the resurrection body and the glorified body in Christianity, the most sacred body (wujud al-aqdas) and supracelestial body (jism asli haqiqi) in Sufism, the diamond body in Taoism and Vajrayana, the light body or rainbow body in Tibetan Buddhism, the body of bliss in Kriya Yoga, and the immortal body (soma athanaton) in Hermeticism. It has to be specified that each of these names belongs to a different tradition, and every tradition has its own doctrine that differs from the others, so these terms cannot be entirely identified with one another; nevertheless, all of these currents share a common teaching which is the idea of the formation, under special ascetical or supernatural conditions, of an immortal and spiritual body.

Properties of the body of resurrection

Focusing on the resurrection body, which means a spiritual body in an Esoteric Christian framework, we can find some properties of these bodies which are shared by all the esoteric Christian movements. Indeed according to Biblical Scriptures, the resurrected bodies possess several properties:
  • immortality
  • entirety, implying the restitution of the limbs, the distinction of the sexes and the perfection of the senses;
  • the excellent physique and physical beauty (natural prerogative).
  • incorruptibility, freedom from decay, or impassibility, freedom from pain, deriving from the perfect submission of the body to the soul
  • clarity or glory: the bodies of saints will reflect the light, the inner splendor of the soul, therefore, in the body they will conform to the Incarnate Word;
  • agility, so that the body of the saint, once free from the natural heaviness (imponderability), will be able to move rapidly from one place to another in the cosmos;
  • subtility, the faculty to penetrate everything: the glorious body penetrates, without difficulty nor mutual damage, the other bodies in the Universe. The resurrection bodies, according to almost all the esoteric Christian currents, will be taken for sure at the end of the time when there will be the resurrection of all the bodies of the dead, good and bad, to be judged by Jesus Christ and receive eternal reward or eternal punishment.

    In addition, most esoteric Christian traditions believe that the resurrection body or glorified body can be achieved during this lifetime with special ascetic exercises (which can vary between distinct esoteric movements) or as a supernatural gift.

    Guardian of the Threshold and the Resurrection Body

    In some modern esoteric Christian and theosophical oriented doctrines the resurrection body is related to the Guardian of the Threshold. Although several authors spoke about both of these elements and sometimes they even relate them together (cfr. Rudolf Steiner, Max Heindel, etc...) the most developed theory explaining the relation between these two entities in a theosophical framework is probably due to Tommaso Palamidessi. In his, The Guardian of the Threshold and the evolutionary way, Palamidessi identifies the spectral entity called the lesser Guardian of the Threshold with the archetype of the future resurrection body. In this line of thought the lesser Guardian of the Threshold has to be purified, constructed and molded to become the resurrection body of the individual.