Saturday, May 24, 2014

Every person will receive a new body during the Second Coming ( Part 3 ) - St. Epifanios, Bishop of Cyprus

God did not exile man from Paradise because He did not want him to eat and reap life from the tree (for man would have lived forever as soon as he ate from the tree of life), but so that evil would not become eternal.

Because if God wanted man to die once and for all without tasting life, why did He send Christ to the earth from the heavens? To contend that God did
this because He regretted [sentencing man to death], is a feeble argument.

God is neither oblivious of the future nor malicious; on the contrary, He is perfectly good, and He knows everything that will take place in the future. Therefore, He did not exile man from Paradise in order to prevent him from eating from the tree of life and impede him from remaining alive forever, but in order to first mortify sin through death [of the body], and subsequently, after the death of man and the dissolution of sin, for man to be resurrected pure and immaculate, and thus partake of life.

To assert that the body is unable to receive immortality is absurd and blasphemy. Why was Adam exiled (after being cloaked with coats of
skins (Gen. 3:21)) and impeded from eating from the tree of life if it was impossible for man to live eternally with his body? He was impeded
precisely because it was possible for him not to die had he tasted from this tree: "And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of Us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put fo
rth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever. Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So He drove out Adam (Gen. 3:22-24). 

Hence, it was possible for man to live had he not been prevented from tasting of immortality. He was prevented, however, in order for sin to perish as it was sentenced to death along with the body, and so that the body could be resurrected once sin
had been destroyed. God decided to cloak man with death so that man would not become an eternal evil, as we have already stated, having within himself sin as a reigning and everlasting entity; for sin would have taken root in an immortal body and would have had a source of everlasting nourishment. 

Thus, the purpose of the coats of skins was for sin to be utterly destroyed, through the decomposition of the body, so that not even a small rootlet would be left behind from which new shoots of sin would be able to emerge again. 

St. Epifanios, Bishop of Cyprus
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