For starters, let’s define some terms. By “hyper-preterism,” I include any and all belief systems that argue that all biblical prophecy is fulfilled, which necessarily includes the general resurrection of the dead. Whether a system is labeled “full-preterism,” “pantelism,” or “covenant eschatology,” it makes no difference to this refutation. I can not care less what any of these systems positively state regarding the general resurrection. At one time, I counted at least six different views among them. They can hash out their heretical opinions amongst themselves. But what they all have in common is that an “all-is-fulfilled eschatology” must of necessity deny a general, self-same, bodily resurrection.

The purpose of this post is to demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt that this same denial existed among a few at the church in Corinth, and Paul destroys their false belief in 1 Corinthians 15, esp. verses 12-18. Doing so, Paul affirms the belief in bodily resurrection and since this has not yet occurred, it remains a prophecy to be fulfilled, thus refuting any view that claims that “all prophecy is fulfilled.”

Some of my readers may be unfamiliar with this chapter, so let me set this up. The letter of 1 Corinthians is a corrective epistle by the Apostle Paul, designed to correct numerous problems in their church, including but not limited to misuse of the Lord’s Supper, cliques, abuse of spiritual gifts, sexual immorality, and so on. When we reach chapter 15, Paul is addressing a false belief held by some that the “dead are not raised.”

We know this to be the case because of verse 12b, where Paul asks, “how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?

That some in Corinth were denying the “resurrection of the dead” is unquestioned, even by hyper-preterists. But what is questioned is the nature of the resurrection that they rejected.

I will now prove to you that what this small group in Corinth were denying was a self-same, bodily resurrection.

First, I want to draw your attention to how Paul starts his defense:

Verse 1. Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me….11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

Notice a couple of things from this:

1. Note the essential elements of the Gospel that Paul highlights, to begin his defense. The Gospel consisted of Christ’s physical death for our sins, the burial of that same body, and the physical resurrection of that same body. Everything highlighted here by Paul involves the physical body of Christ.

2. Note that Paul now moves on to inform the Corinthians that hundreds, if not thousands, of people, witnessed a bodily resurrected Christ. And just in case you doubt the nature of Jesus’ resurrected body, Lk 24 reminds you:

Lk 24.37 they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.

Paul does not want you, the reader, to miss the undeniable fact that Jesus physically died, was buried, and bodily resurrected from the grave; and hundreds of people could attest to that fact.

3. Note that having reminded the Corinthians of the bodily resurrection of Christ, which makes up an essential element to his Gospel, Paul reminds the Corinthians that this is the Gospel I preached to you, which “you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached…

Here is an important observation: these resurrection deniers did not deny the bodily resurrection of Christ! What they refused, for various reasons, was that the rest of the dead would be resurrected. But because they believed in the bodily resurrection of Christ, Paul is now able to capitalize on that shared belief and demonstrate that if they deny the resurrection for the rest of the dead, they must of necessity reject that which they accepted, the bodily resurrection of Christ.

Paul hammers this home a couple of times:

Verse 12: Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.

He argues again in v 16:

For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.

And herein lies the undeniable proof that the resurrection that this “some” in Corinth were denying was of a self-same, bodily nature.

First, note that Paul’s primary argument against these deniers was to establish a LOGICAL, thus NECESSARILY IMPLIED, relationship between the “resurrection of the dead” with the “resurrection of Christ.” It is that LOGICAL relationship between these two beliefs which constitutes the force of Paul’s argument.

If we were to convert Paul’s words to the language of logical forms, Paul is essentially arguing in verses 13 and 16 that “if it is true that ‘No A is B,’ then it cannot be true that ‘Some A is B.'”

Now, I could spend a great deal of time getting into a technical explanation of logic, propositional forms, immediate inferences, syllogisms, and so on. But I don’t want to lose some readers. The basic idea is really simple here. Anyone can grasp this. Let’s put it in plain English:

If a person is claiming that no one can raise from the dead, then he is claiming that resurrection of the dead is UNIVERSALLY impossible. No one can do it. There are no exceptions. And if that is true, then obviously it cannot be true at the same time that a PARTICULAR person can raise from the dead; because now you are making the exception and contradicting yourself. Either no one can do it, or some can. It cannot be both.

And the flip side to it is this; if it is true that Jesus rose from the dead, which these deniers accepted, then obviously it is false to say that “no one” can raise from the dead. Simple, right?

Secondly, having demonstrated the logical relationship between the two propositions, let us now consider an essential component of logical relationships. In order for Paul’s logical argument to work, his terms have to mean the same thing throughout! Because if a word or phrase means different things in an argument, then the propositions are talking about two different things, and thus the relationship is broken. In logic, this is the fallacy known as equivocation.

If “resurrection of the dead” for the general populace does not mean the same thing that “resurrection of the dead” means in regards to Jesus, then Paul’s logical argument loses support!

Imagine this: Suppose you argue that, “No man can jump 100ft in the air solely on his own muscle power.” And then a challenger comes along and says, “hogwash! My brother jumped 150ft in the air!”

“Prove it,” you say. So the guy drives home, picks up his brother, and returns to you.

“Alright, let’s see you jump.”

The guy then slips on some futuristic rocket boots by NASA, jumps about a foot high, triggering the thrusters, and launches 150ft into the air.

Did he prove it? OF COURSE NOT. Why? Because jumping with rocket boots is NOT the same thing as jumping “solely on your own muscle power.”

Those are two totally different things. You didn’t argue that no one could do it with NASA rocket boots. You argued that no one could do it “solely on their own power.”

Again, simple, right?

Paul’s LOGICAL argument is that if we are going to claim that no one, universally, can raise from the dead, then it is impossible for Jesus, a particular example within that universal, to have risen from the dead.

The force of Paul’s argument rests in these two points: (1) he establishes a logical relationship between the “resurrection of Christ” with the “resurrection” of other dead people and (2) whatever is meant by “resurrection” must mean the same thing throughout the argument, in order for the argument to work. And since the self-same, bodily resurrection of Christ is clearly in view, (see the introduction above where Paul clearly define the physicality of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection with the eye-witness testimonies of a bodily resurrected Christ from hundreds), then the self-same, bodily “resurrection of the dead” is what is in view for the rest of the dead.

We can paraphrase Paul in this manner, to bring out fully his meaning:

If it is impossible for dead bodies to resurrect, then it logically follows that Christ’s dead body did not resurrect.

And folks, if that is true, then, as Paul goes on to explain, all those who witnessed and spoke of the resurrected Christ are liars. You might as well chunk your Bible.

But bodily resurrection of the dead is not impossible. And Exhibit A is Jesus Christ himself, who not only bodily resurrected, but was seen by hundreds, if not thousands, and was the “firstfruit of those fallen asleep.” (v. 20)

There is no other way to understand Paul’s words here. Some were denying the resurrection of bodies, yet accepted that Christ bodily rose, so Paul argues that those two beliefs are contradictory to one another because of the logical relationship between them. They both cannot be true at the same time. And since Christ did bodily rise, then there can be no objection to the rest of us bodily rising. Thus, the physical and bodily resurrection for the rest of us is established.

If a heretical hyper-preterist (or any other resurrection denier) wants to argue that the nature of their denial involved something other than self-same, bodily resurrection, they have to demonstrate, at minimum, two things: (there is so much more to get into with this chapter)

1. What is the nature of the resurrection that they denied?

2. How does the nature of that denial correspond directly to the nature of Christ’s resurrection, so that Paul can include the particular example of Christ within the universal negative and thus not commit a logical fallacy by equivocating on terms?

What hyper-preterists posit simply cannot make sense of Paul’s logical argument and everything leading up to it.


  1. Or it could be that when they said there was no resurrection of the dead they were teaching that the old covenant saints wouldn’t be resurrected. In other words. If Christ is the first fruits from the old covenant saints how can you say there is no resurrection of the dead ones(old covenant saints). The dead being resurrected in question is not “all” dead. They already believed those “in Christ” would be resurrected but not the old covenant ones. But Paul uses the modis podens argument :

    If you believe that Christ was the firstfruits (of the old covenant saints) and that your loved ones and any in Christ will be raised , then you must also believe in the resurrection of the old covenant saints as well.

    • Phil, your argument is self-refuting.

      Why would they affirm that Christ was the firstfruits of the old covenant saints while at the same time deny the old covenant saints? It would make better sense to say that they denied that Christ was the firstfruits of the old covenant saints, not affirm it.

  2. Thanks for your article, Jason; I think you nailed it.
    I’ve been wrestling with the hyper preterist view for a while now.. it seems to me that if their view of resurrection as having already occurred in the first century can be proven as false (which I think your argument demonstrates), then the entire system of full preterism goes straight down the tubes, don’t you think?
    Because all eschatological elements are inseparably linked within the same time frame e.g. resurrection from the dead, final judgment, pervasive elimination of sin and death from all sectors of reality, etc…

    • John,

      There are certainly some things that i would include as “eschatological” realities that were fulfilled then. The biggest example is Christ Himself. He came as the “second Adam,” who ushered in the “last days.” His resurrection is obviously tied to the general resurrection as the “firstfruit.” So, the eschaton has been initiated in some sense.

      With that said, there are other aspects of eschatology that are obviously future and tied together, as you have pointed out. So, regarding the ones you have listed, i agree with you. And i also agree with you that proving a future resurrection is all it would take.

      This is what many hyper-preterists don’t seem to understand. Their theory is so radical (ALL is fulfilled) that all it takes to disprove it is to demonstrate just ONE prophecy that is still future. Just one! haha. And it’s not that hard.

      Consider the flip side to this: John, there’s a little known secret that many hyper-preterists know but won’t openly admit and that is….there is no such view. Because in order to believe that ALL prophecy has been fulfilled, without exception, a person or group of people would have to be able to exegetically demonstrate that. And that has NEVER been done; not by a single hyper-preterist nor by the entire group. In fact, when Sam debated Miano, Miano was asked about a prophecy in Daniel and he admitted that he hadn’t studied it. Um…well…if he hadn’t studied it, then how does he know it’s fulfilled? He doesn’t.

      Hyper-preterism is a sham, that is largely built on a particular view of certain “time-texts”, of which everything else in Scripture is forced to fit. It’s nonsense.

      • Hi, Jason; I didn’t realize you had replied to my comment, thanks for the response; I came back today to reference your article for my pastor, we’ve been talking a little about hyper-preterism, and wanted to send him your link here.

        Yes, absolutely, the “already/not yet” prophetic pattern is all through the scriptures.
        When reading your reply, the passage that came to mind is John 5:25-29..

        “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

        For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.

        And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.

        Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice

        and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.”

        I think when Jesus says in vs 25 that “the hour.. is now here” of the dead hearing his voice and coming alive/receiving life..
        isn’t only the kingdom breaking in with Jesus’ miracles in his earthly ministry, such as Lazarus coming back to life, but that was also the start of the promised resurrection from the dead for the whole house of Israel i.e. spiritual resurrection by the hearing of faith through the proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom, the gospel of grace.

        But, in vss 28-29, all those in the tombs will hear him and come out at “the coming hour”..

        So, what I’m getting at is sort of like your logic in your article, but in reverse..
        why would he say they were hearing and living at the very moment he was speaking, but then at a coming hour, they’re coming out of the tombs, both good and bad?
        In other words, coming out of the tombs has to be something different than the hearing and living that was happening as he was speaking..
        which can only mean actual bodily resurrection from the tombs, as far as I can tell.

        If not, then why else would he word it with seemingly calculated, differing descriptions for the now and the not yet?
        Maybe I’m over analyzing? What do you think?

  3. my last comment, I basically said Israel was already “hearing and living” while Jesus speaking with them..
    but, it would have been clearer for me to say they were already “hearing and coming alive” (spiritual regeneration).

    Just wanted to clarify.

  4. I am a full-preterist. I have to be honest that I did not read your article because I have heard these arguments which you call “irrefutable” many times over the last 20 years. Just skimming it was enough to show it was nothing really new to me. The truth is ….

    * Blah, Blah, Blah *

    • I don’t care what you think, Mark. You’re not going to use the comment section of my blog as a platform to spew your garbage, especially after admitting that you didn’t even read the article. Bye, bye.


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