Did Paul Believe in the Physical Resurrection of Jesus?

The Importance of Resurrection in Christianity

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most important doctrines in Christianity. It is the cornerstone of Christian faith and belief.

According to the Bible, Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried, but on the third day, he rose from the dead. This event has been celebrated by Christians for centuries as proof that Jesus is the Son of God, and that through his resurrection, believers can have eternal life.

What Did Paul Believe About the Resurrection

Paul was one of the most influential figures in early Christianity. He wrote many letters to Christian communities throughout the Roman Empire, which form a significant portion of the New Testament. In his letters, Paul often refers to the resurrection of Jesus.

Some scholars have argued that Paul did not believe in a physical resurrection. Instead, they suggest that Paul believed in a spiritual or metaphorical resurrection. However, this interpretation is not supported by a close reading of Paul’s letters.

Paul’s Language

Paul’s language suggests that he believed in a physical resurrection. In his letter to the Corinthians, he writes:

If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

This passage implies that if there is no physical resurrection of Christ, then there can be no hope for believers either.

The Empty Tomb

Another argument for Paul’s belief in a physical resurrection is his reference to an empty tomb. In his letter to the Romans, he writes:

[Jesus] was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.

After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.

This passage suggests that Jesus physically rose from the dead and appeared to many people. The mention of an empty tomb also implies a physical resurrection.

The Importance of Physical Resurrection

Paul’s belief in a physical resurrection is important because it underscores the central tenet of Christianity: that through Christ’s death and resurrection, believers can have eternal life. If Christ did not physically rise from the dead, then his sacrifice would have been meaningless.


In conclusion, Paul believed in a physical resurrection of Jesus Christ. His language in his letters suggests that he saw this event as crucial to Christian faith and belief. Today, millions of Christians around the world continue to celebrate this event as proof of their faith in Jesus Christ.