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What denominations believe in a universal bodily resurrection? If it's easier to answer which denominations DON'T believe in a universal bodily resurrection, then that is a valid answer as well.

By this I mean

  1. resurrection grants an immortal, physical body (as opposed to either just reviving the mortal body, and also opposed to a "spiritual" immaterial "body")

  2. universal in that regardless of being saved from sin, being jugded worthy of heaven or anything else, even sinners destined to eternal separation from God are resurrected.

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  • I'm not sure that one can distinguish between 'reviving the mortal body' and 'granting an immortal physical body'. Resurrection is . . . . . resurrection.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 11:29
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    @NigelJ I mean the distinction between the body afterwards being mortal vs. immortal. More precisely, I want to distinguish between those who believe the second death is literally a death / destruction of the body and/or soul, and those who believe sinners will live eternally as well (just differently than those saved).
    – kutschkem
    Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 11:58
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    @kutschkem Do you wish to specify which resurrection you refer to? There are at least two - and they are very dissimilar. One is to immortality as Jesus experienced, the other is to mortal life as they had before death.
    – steveowen
    Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 4:08
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    @steveowen I mean the one that is the ultimate fate of mankind. I want to say the one Jesus experienced, but I have no idea whether someone out there thinks that differs in any way from what people will experience. I don't mean miracles like Lazarus.
    – kutschkem
    Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 8:01
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    @kutschkem, but that's not what you asked. My comment was about what the Bible says, not about "what denominations believe in a universal bodily resurrection?", so it wouldn't be a suitable answer for the question. Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 15:12

4 Answers 4

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There is one denomination I know of (Jehovah's Witnesses) that believes in a physical resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous. They will be resurrected to life on earth during the 1,000 year reign of Christ Jesus (ruling from heaven) and during that time they will have the opportunity to prove themselves worthy of living forever on a paradise earth.

However, living forever is not guaranteed. The final outcome for all those resurrected will depend on their faithfulness and conduct in the new world. Here is a short extract from 'Questions from Readers' Watchtower September 2022: Who will be resurrected on earth, and what type of resurrection will they experience?

Revelation 20:12, 13 explains that all resurrected ones will need to obey the “things written in the scrolls,” that is, the new laws that will be in effect in the new world. Those who do not obey will be removed.—Isa. 65:20.

Daniel 12:2 foretells that some of those sleeping in death will wake up “to everlasting life and others to reproach and to everlasting contempt.” This verse speaks of the final outcome of their resurrection—“everlasting life” or “everlasting contempt.” So at the end of the 1,000 years, some will receive everlasting life and others will be destroyed forever.—Rev. 20:15; 21:3, 4.

The article concludes:

Jehovah is not only the God of compassion but also the God of justice and fairness. (Deut. 32:4; Ps. 33:5) He will show his love by resurrecting both the righteous and the unrighteous. He will at the same time maintain his high standards of morality. Only those who come to love him and live up to his standards will be allowed to keep living in the new world.

Source: https://www.jw.org/en/library/magazines/watchtower-study-september-2022/questions-from-readers-september-2022-1/

This means that some people who have been resurrected but fail to pass the final test will have died twice, contrary to what Hebrews 9:27 says. They will “be destroyed forever”, i.e. annihilated.

Edit: For clarification, Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe that every single person who has died will be resurrected, Adam and Eve being two examples. Also, Jehovah's enemies will be killed at Armageddon and they will not get a second chance to repent during the millennium.

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You commented that, "I was thinking of JW where, as far as I know, there is no resurrection of the lost, a "normal" bodily resurrection for the saved who will inherit the earth, but an immaterial body for Jesus and the 144.000 who go to heaven. And of annihilationism." This is worth clarifying, in addition to the explanations already given in another answer, with JW articles and sources given.

Your first point, that there will be no resurrection for some, that is, "the lost", has been mentioned in JW literature. On the subject of Armageddon, this study book detailed God's global judgment, saying:

"Moreover, those slaughtered at Armageddon will not be laid in graves with markers to memorialize them. Birds of every sort and beasts of the field will share in the benefits of God's triumph and, at the same time, help cleanse the earth of the many carcasses that will lie strewed upon the ground like ferilizer, unlamented, unburied, abhorred by the survivors, (Ezekiel 39:1-5, 17:20; Revelation 19:17, 18) "Those slain by Jehovah" will have earned eternal infamy for themselves." Worldwide Security, p. 159, published 1986 WTB&TS, bold mine

As an example of such "eternal infamy", consider how no hope is given for Adam being forgiven:

"Clearly then, when Adam disobeyed God and was condemned to death, he paid a very high price... There was no hope for Adam or Eve because they willfully chose to disobey God." What Does the Bible Really Teach? p. 49, published 2005 & 2015.

"Thus, although it is possible for those who pass the final test to rebel against God and hence be destroyed, it is very unlikely that such a thing will occur."

[Question] "After the final test at the end of the Millennium, will it be possible for humans to sin and die?: [Answer] “What would happen to the one who chose to rebel after the final test when there is no death or Hades? At that time, Adamic death is no more. And Hades, the common grave of mankind with the hope of resurrection, is no more. Still, Jehovah can annihilate any rebel in the lake of fire, denying him any hope of a resurrection. That death would be like the death that Adam and Eve experienced, not the death that humans inherited from Adam.” Watchtower 15 August 2006: Questions from Readers p. 30 & p. 31

[Question] Who will be Resurrected? [Answer] “The Scriptures speak of only two possibilities for the dead — the temporary state of nonexistence and the state of eternal death. Those who are judged unworthy of a resurrection are pitched into “Gehenna,” or “the lake of fire.” (Matthew 5:22; Mark 9:47, 48; Revelation 20:14) Among these would be the first human pair, Adam and Eve, the betrayer Judas Iscariot, and certain ones who died when God executed judgment upon them, such as the people in Noah’s day and the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah." Watchtower 15 July 2005: Questions from Readers bold mine

Note how many people are viewed by JWs as having no hope of a resurrection because they will have been annihilated at their death? Strangely, the JWs do not seem to like being viewed as 'annihilationists' and deny it, but that 2006 Watchtower quote is perfectly clear. Yet it needs to be said that the JW leaders may have changed their views because there is nothing indicated about any of that in other publications, especially more recently (that I know of, that is.) It would be helpful if any JW reading this could state whether they have admitted that annihilationism, and no resurrection for some (like Adam & Eve, Judas Iscariot, and those destroyed at the Flood, and in Sodom & Gomorrah etc.) were wrong teachings.

However, until any such clarification comes, this means that the JWs do NOT fit the bill for your idea of what constitutes belief in an immortal physical-body resurrection (your No. 1) because they say Jehovah could annihilate any rebel either during the 1,000 year Millennium, or after it. They speak of 'everlasting life' for the resurrected on earth, not immortality. They do believe 144,000 who die and are then resurrected as spirits, to go to heaven, will never die thereafter. Also, your No. 2 point is not met by JWs either because my quotes show that they believe more than a few sinners deserving eternal separation will never be resurrected. They will effectively have been annihilated at their death if they are never resurrected.

I submit this as an answer, to fit your criteria, "If it's easier to answer which denominations DON'T believe in a universal bodily resurrection, then that is a valid answer as well." You may take the JWs off your list.

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I think your answer is essentially asking about Annihilationism which is answered already quite well via the Wikipedia article.

Of organised church groups (having more than a 100,000 members) it is probably only Seventh-day Adventists who fit your entire criteria. There are a number of smaller 20 - 50,000 groups that share in this belief.

I must admit some haziness on the precise JW belief in this but I think they believe in no “torment/punishment in fire” for the wicked dead. This article on the JW site goes into it in some detail. Further study might be needed to check on the fiery punishment aspect.

From the Wikipedia article is the sentence “It experienced a resurgence in the 1980s when several prominent theologians including John Stott were prepared to argue that it could be held sincerely as a legitimate interpretation of biblical texts by those who give supreme authority to scripture.”

This particularly applies to SDA’s who hold to no belief other than what the Bible teaches. As you will further note on the article this is a distinctive SDA doctrine.

If you scroll down to the “History” topic on the Wikipedia page it should answer your questions more fully.

However based on your answer to Nigel J in the comments I think your question might be badly put, and your real question might be in the lines of “Who believes in immortal physical bodies for both the saved and the lost” or maybe “Who believes in an immortal body for those in the lake of fire” or similar. But if you are looking for physical bodies but not immortal (ie, no eternal torment) for those in hell then that article is spot on.

I do not know of anyone who believes in an eternally burning hell with immortal physical bodies and saved in heaven without immortal physical bodies.

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  • I was thinking of JW where, as far as I know, there is no resurrection of the lost, a "normal" bodily resurrection for the saved who will inherit the earth, but an immaterial body for Jesus and the 144.000 who go to heaven. And of annihilationism. And who knows who might believe the resurrected Jesus was basically a spirit that only took on the semblance of flesh to appear. Basically I just want to be sure that what I think the mainstream is (universal, bodily resurrection) is actually the mainstream. I agree my question is a little awkward though.
    – kutschkem
    Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 8:08
  • I don't think it is mainstream that believes in immortal bodily resurrection for the saved. I believe (counting by Protestant members) that the belief is rather in an immaterial immortal saved soul which goes to heaven immediately on death and they 'watch' over their loved ones on earth. I have yet to correlate this with the resurrection because it makes no sense to me that someone in heaven must then return to earth to resurrect. I've never really understood the almost universal Catholic and Protestant belief in an immortal soul. Another question perhaps. Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 9:31
  • Not sure about protestants but catholics, as far as I know, do have some place where souls reside between their death and resurrection.
    – kutschkem
    Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 9:57
  • christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/9278/… does cover a few of the main question issues there, including touching on material vs immaterial resurrection. Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 10:08
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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints affirms that all of God's Children who come to earth, whether they lived righteously or not, will be resurrected. Resurrection is to have the spirit and physical body reunited, never to be separated. This is a free gift by Jesus Christ. This is clearly taught in the Bible, for example: "21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor 15:21-22). See also John 5:28-29, and Acts 24:15.

Also, members of that Church believe these words from the Book of Mormon, which teaches their position clearly:

Alma 11:41-44

41 Therefore the wicked remain as though there had been no redemption made, except it be the loosing of the bands of death; for behold, the day cometh that all shall rise from the dead and stand before God, and be judged according to their works. 42 Now, there is a death which is called a temporal death; and the death of Christ shall loose the bands of this temporal death, that all shall be raised from this temporal death. 43 The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time; and we shall be brought to stand before God, knowing even as we know now, and have a bright recollection of all our guilt. 44 Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body, and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil.

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