“And to any thoughtful person would anything appear more incredible, than, if we were not in the body, and some one were to say that it was possible that from a small drop of human seed bones and sinews and flesh be formed into a shape such as we see? For let this now be said hypothetically: if you yourselves were not such as you now are, and born of such parents and causes, and one were to show you human seed and a picture of a man, and were to say with confidence that from such a substance such a being could be produced, would you believe before you saw the actual production? No one will dare to deny that such a statement would surpass belief. In the same way, then, you are now incredulous because you have never seen a dead man rise again. But as at first you would not have believed it possible that such persons could be produced from the small drop, and yet now you see them thus produced, so also judge ye that it is not impossible that the bodies of men, after they have been dissolved, and like seeds resolved into earth, should in God’s appointed time rise again and put on incorruption. For what power worthy of God those imagine who say, that each thing returns to that from which it was produced, and that beyond this not even God Himself can do anything, we are unable to conceive; but this we see clearly, that they would not have believed it possible that they could have become such and produced from such materials, as they now see both themselves and the whole world to be. And that it is better to believe even what is impossible to our own nature and to men, than to be unbelieving like the rest of the world, we have learned; for we know that our Master Jesus Christ said, that “what is impossible with men is possible with God,” and, “Fear not them that kill you, and after that can do no more; but fear Him who after death is able to cast both soul and body into hell.” And hell is a place where those are to be punished who have lived wickedly, and who do not believe that those things which God has taught us by Christ will come to pass” (Justin Martyr, First Apology, XII).
Michael Ives is a Presbyterian minister serving a congregation in Rhode Island. He graduated from Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div.) in 2005 and is presently doing postgraduate research on the parish model of urban missions in the thought of Thomas Chalmers, 19th century Scottish minister and social reformer. In addition to his passion for all things Chalmers, he is very interested in the pastoral theory and practice of the Reformed tradition, with special interest in catechisms and catechetical practice. He enjoys blogging about these topics here. Michael has the distinct honor of being happily married to the most beautiful woman in the world and has been blessed with a son and three daughters.