Saint Justin (c.100-160),
philosopher and martyr
Treatise on the Resurrection, 8 (Migne 1994, p.354 rev.)
“He is not God of the dead, but of the living”
The flesh is precious in God’s sight; of all his works it is the one he prefers and so it is natural that he would save it…
Don’t you think it would be ridiculous if something that was created with so much care, that which the Creator considers to be more precious than anything else, were to fall back into nothingness?
When a sculptor or painter wants the images they have fashioned to remain to testify to their glory, they restore them once they have deteriorated.
And would God see his property, his work, fall back into nothingness and exist no more?
We would call a “laborer of uselessness” anyone who built a house to destroy it or who allowed it to fall into ruins when he might have kept it standing.
In the same way, would we not be accusing God of creating the flesh without purpose?
But no, the Immortal one is not like that; he who is by nature the Spirit of the universe cannot be a fool!…
The truth is that God has called the flesh to be born again and has promised it eternal life.
Because wherever the good news of man’s salvation is proclaimed, it is proclaimed also for the flesh.
For what, indeed, is man if not a living being endowed with intelligence, formed of soul and body? Does the soul alone make a man?
No, for it is the soul of a man.
Are we to call “man” the body?
No, we say that it is the body of a man. So if neither of these two elements makes up man by itself alone, it is the union of the two that we call “man”.
However, it is man that God has called to life and resurrection: not part of him but the whole man, namely soul and body.
So wouldn’t it be absurd if, while both exist according to and within the same reality, one of them should be saved and the other not?