In a recent article I wrote for the Chuck Colson Center, I shared a Time Magazine report from the close of last century. Time had reported that two thirds of Americans who say they believe in the resurrection of the dead do not believe they will have bodies after the resurrection.
More recently, a Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll interviewed 1,007 American adults and discovered that only 36% of them said “yes” to the question: “Do you believe that, after you die, your physical body will be resurrected someday?” Yet most of these same Americans also acknowledged being believers and going to church.
The Christians who were polled reflect the increasingly common notion that the culmination of salvation is to live in heaven for eternity as disembodied spirits rather than to have our physical body raised from the dead. The Time Magazine poll suggests that this is now often what people assume the word ‘resurrection’ means.
Many who rightly consider it a sign of theological liberalism to spiritualize Christ’s resurrection into something non-physical are quite comfortable doing just that when it comes to their own. This stands in contrast to both the Bible (particularly 1st Corinthians 15) and ancient Christian creeds (particularly the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed), which taught that the resurrection of the physical body is the culmination of salvation.
Although the Christians who were polled did not realize it, their thinking had been deeply tinctured by the heresy of Gnosticism.