Basil the Great

Daily Reading for June 14 • Basil the Great, Bishop of Caesarea, 379

A perfect illustration of Basil’s methodology is the analogy he draws between the life cycle of the caterpillar-butterfly and Paul’s teaching on the resurrection body. For most Greeks, the idea of a resurrected body made little sense philosophically, religiously, or physically. How, many wondered, could a body that had decayed be raised from the dead? How could this type of change actually take place? The mechanics of resurrection seemed an impossibility. Basil responded by encouraging his listeners to observe more closely the many creatures, such as the caterpillar, who demonstrate this kind of metamorphosis in their life cycle. The lesser surely can illustrate the greater.

From Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers by Christopher A. Hall (InterVarsity Press, 1998).

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