You’ve probably heard the jokes about Zombie Jesus rising from the dead on Easter Sunday, but let’s look at the facts:
According to Christian belief Jesus did rise from the dead, but by all accounts he was just as much himself after coming back from the dead as he was before his crucifixion. Zombies, on the other hand, usually share nothing in common with the human who once occupied their bodies except for the physical body itself.
Technically speaking, a zombie is not a person raised from the dead, but rather a new creature animating the shell of what was once a living human being. The former person is gone, and something new has taken his or her place.
Also, Jesus ascends to heaven after being resurrected, while zombies aren’t going anywhere. The verdict on Jesus? Not a zombie– although the biblical prophet Zechariah does seem to prophesy a zombie pandemic, which ought to give us all something to think about:
The Lord will send a plague to all the nations that fought Jerusalem. Their flesh will rot where they stand, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. The people will be stricken by a great panic, and they will attack one another. (14:12–13)
In the meantime, Jesus’s not-zombieness is helpful in illustrating a core quality of zombies: they aren’t the person whose body they occupy. Think of the body as a house and the zombie as a squatter. The rightful owners have moved on, and someone else has taken up residence in what should be an abandoned property.
So if you ever have the misfortune of running into a recently deceased family member shambling up your driveway with a hunger for human flesh, don’t hesitate to take swift and violent action. That’s not Uncle Bob anymore; that’s just some freeloader wearing his skin and bones.
(Illustration provided by Ezra Li Eismont)