On Bodily Immortality in the Eastern Church Fathers

Dr. Nathan A. Jacobs, PhD

This essay examines what the Eastern Church fathers have to say about bodily immortality by discussing (1) Adamic immortality and the Fall and (2) Eastern patristic understanding of resurrection as immortality.

The soul is that part of human nature that bears God’s image, and this image is what makes it possible for man to partake of the divine nature and become immortal. Had Adam’s higher nature (his soul) done so, this would have raised up his lower nature (his body) to also partake of immortality. But the Fall buries and distorts the image of God, crippling the soul’s capacity to participate in divine life and attain immortality.

This bodily immortality is the true hope of immortality, according to the Eastern fathers. And it is this immortality, not the indissolubility of the soul, which humanity has been created to attain, and which the work of Christ restored.

The full-text of this paper is available for free by clicking here. The paper is part of an ongoing EPS web project focused on a Philosophy of Theological Anthropology.