Burial of Christ

In consequence of sin, other defects, both on the part of the body and on the part of the soul, overtake man after death. With regard to defects on the part of the body, the body returns to the earth from which it was taken. This defect on the part of the body has two phases in the case of ourselves: it is laid away and it corrupts. It is laid away, inasmuch as the dead body is placed beneath the earth in burial; and it corrupts, inasmuch as the body is resolved into the elements of which it was composed.

Christ wished to be subject to the first of these defects, namely, the placing of His body beneath the earth. But He did not submit to the other defect, the dissolving of His body into dust. Thus Psalm 15:10 says of Him: “Nor will you let your holy one to see corruption,” that is, decay of the body. The reason for this is plain: although Christ’s body received matter from human nature, its formation was accomplished not by any human power but by the power of the Holy Spirit. Accordingly, the substance of His matter being what it was, He wished to be subject to the place beneath the earth usually given over to dead bodies; for that place which is in keeping with the matter of the predominant element in bodies is rightly assigned to them. But He did not wish the body that had been formed by the Holy Spirit to undergo dissolution, since in this respect He was different from other men.


St. Thomas Aquinas. (1265-1274). Compendium Theologiae: Burial of Christ, trans. by Cyril Vollert. St. Louis & London: B. Herder Book Co., 1947

All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).

Agere Sequitur Esse